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Interviews |  04 Apr 2009 14:07 |  By chiragsutar

Norwegian band Something Sally - "Bollywood culture is very strong in Norway. I think it's strong everywhere"

Mumbai, which is otherwise known for its rock and metal favourism, made some space for a pop act, as Norwegian band Something Sally mesmerised music lovers last week.
Despite their short stay in the metropolis, they left music enthusiasts in pure awe of their easy and careless sound.

While most international bands come to India on multi city tours, Something Sally's visit was like the bat of an eyelash – they left too soon…
Before their last gig in the city, the band spared time from their schedule and spoke to's Chirag Sutar about their discovery through Myspace, their debut album �Familiar Strangers', culture shock after landing in India, Bollywood connection, a future album (it may not be retro!) and much more…

What kind of impression did you have about India?

Kristian (bassist): You have to be here to understand – it's hard to explain because there is really a huge culture difference to what we are used to – there is a huge contrast in India…

So, was it a culture shock?

Thomas (Guitarist): I didn't have any culture shocks, because I was here when I was 14. I remember when I landed, it smelled like India - I got the same feeling when I landed here during my first visit. India has so many people, there are a lot of contrasts, (refers to room where we are sitting) we are here sitting in a modern office, and when we move out we see people lying on the streets, with no shelter - that's a big contrast! You don't have that in Norway, not at all.

How did you find the listeners' reaction at the venues you played (Landmark, Blue Frog) compared to playing in Norway?

Ane (Vocalist): I think people are honestly into music, it looks like people have ears out there and that's a great experience because you want people to listen to your music rather than just pretend. Back in Norway, people mostly go to pubs, for socialising or drinking beer with friends, they don't listen that carefully. But here, I feel people are listening…

OK, how did the band happen?

Kristian (bassist): (points to Ane and Thomas ) They went to the same class in high school. Thomas had a band, and he was writing songs in Norwegian and suddenly he started writing songs in �English' and he couldn't sing them himself! So he picked up the best looking girl in the class, Ane. I must say that he had never heard her sing before (laughs) – but it worked pretty well.

I knew Thomas from sports, and I was also into music – I could play some bass. After that, we worked in many different band situations. We had a band in the beginning with seven people! So, we played with different musicians – but it has always been us three. After many musicians joined and left, we decided we three would write songs together and that we would work with people we want to work with. That's how Something Sally started – three years ago.

Why the name Something Sally?

Thomas: In England, Sally means girl next door. It's a very common name and this may sound weird (laughs), but Ane wanted a different stage personal

Ane: (cuts in) I am sure that's how it is everywhere… but we, especially Norwegians, have a mindset, we don't blow our own horn's  So, one can't really go and say Hey, I am Ane and I am great at singing'  But, I was also thinking how can you go on stage and get people to like what you are doing without really having to say that out loud I needed some 'physiological' reason to go on stage and make people love me – so I took on the Sally 'alter ego'! (laughs)

Thomas: (sarcastically) Yeah, She's a very 'cool' girl next door (laughs)

What were the names you came up before this?

Ane: We were actually called 'Sally and the groove force' but that didn't go down well with people. We realised people didn't catch that name, so we just ended up having to change it “ People could only recall the word Sally'. So, one day we had a major brainstorm with four pages of different names. It had names like Sally goes to Hollywood, Sally And The Sunday Morning Show. We knew that I had to be â€?something' with 'Sally' - and there you go  – â€?Something Sally'. But, I really liked Sally goes to Hollywood (laughs) and Sally And The Sunshine People.

How much time did you spend on working on the first album..

Kristian: It took almost three years, we didn't know what to expect and how to do things. Some of the songs were ready when we went to the recording studio, while there was some (music) which we wrote during the recording period it was more like putting pieces together – we put some drums – or some guitars, and we formed the songs in the studio, which is a really time demanding process.

I think, in out next album, we want to arrange all the songs in the band situation and then record everything in two weeks. This album was really a good experience as we learnt a lot and we spent a lot of time doing it because we wanted it to be great.

Ane: We didn't even know that we are actually going to make the album, it happened because a producer approached us. He asked if we would like to come and do a couple of tracks. We went and that ended with 12 full tracks it was so much fun…

Tell me about the song themes on your album Visualize, The Taste, Garden Of Eden.

Kristian: I think the interesting thing with this album is that it was written over a period of three years. So the first song was written in 2004 and the last song we wrote was two weeks before the final mastering – doing an album over three years was interesting because it gives the album a great variation you have songs from different periods.

Who does the song writing part?

Thomas: I used to write the songs in the earlier days, but very soon we started writing songs together it was a very great thing to do because everybody then feels they belong to the band a bit more. Garden of Eden is a song that Kristian started playing – I came up with melody for the verse and we made five different choruses! That was a long process...

�The Taste' was a song that I wrote while on a plane back from U.S.

and Sally Can't Wait?

(Everybody looks at each other) … was that the first song that we wrote?

Kristian: No, it wasn't.

Ane: I think it was the second song (laughs)… Anyway, the song started with a simple hook – we really liked it when we started working on it. We recorded it just one month after it was done that was our first single – one and half years before the album release!

You came into the spotlight after being discovered by Joss Stone on Myspace… how did it happen?

Kristian: Her tour manager found us on Myspace and got in touch with us, but we didn't hear from him for a while. Suddenly, he called and asked if we could support Joss Stone in Vienna in three days – we were on a holiday when he called!

We just had to pack our bags and get home – we did one show in Vienna and she really liked it. Later, she invited us to join her on the rest of her European tour.

What do you think impressed her?

Kristian: I think she really got impressed with our energy. We still remember that day as one of the most amazing days we had on stage. We went on stage in this beautiful arena with loads of people – we had never played to that many people before!

Thomas: I would like to say one thing – on such occasions, maybe bands would be hiding behind their instruments because it's a bit scary situation – having so many people in front of you. But, to us, it was like �this is now'…

Ane: (cuts in) Yes, we put on the �Sally' in us...

Thomas: She (Joss stone) invited us to join on the rest of the tour later, we got to know her and she also wanted to do a song with us on the album. The song �Tip of my tongue' – that actually came from her.

Don't you think it would have been better if you toured other metropolitan cities rather than just playing in Mumbai?

Ane: (Sighs) Oh! It's hopeless. We are coming here just for four days and going back –but we will come back…

Thomas: We want to see more cities. I think this collaboration (with Saregama) would be a strong collaboration. We'll definitely come back.

Did you hear any Indian musicians?

Kirstian: After the gig, we got some CDs and we were listening to Indian music – we heard Niladri (Kumar) and Parwati (Kumari) and watched some Bollywood TV (laughs)

Ane: Bollywood culture is very strong in Norway. I think it's strong everywhere. I have seen some bollywood movies!

Kristian: Some of our friends are really into Bollywood – It's kind of a cool thing to be into – I guess.

Thomas: In music, Bollywood is a very well known sound. You go into some Indian restaurant or some Indian place (in Norway) and you will always hear it. It's not that we have never heard it before – it's just that we don't know the names!

Ane: You need a lot of technique to sing that, and the entire (searches for the right word) what's it called? (hums a tune to demonstrate)


Ane: That's the word. I think it's very hard to copy that – I am sure it takes a different technique.

Kristian: It would be interesting to do a collaboration with someone.

Your album has a complete retro sound… was that intentional?

Ane: I think we were quite trained in our mind .. (laughs)

Kristian: The sound is influenced by what we always hear. We listen to music from the early days. I listen to music from the 80's while Thomas is influenced by the 60's.

Ane: You want it to sound what you like. Yeah – that's our �Taste'.

Is this sound you'll have even in your coming album?

Kristian: It might change.

Thomas: From the 60's to the 80's, there have been quite a lot of different sounds. So, on this album we landed up somewhere in the 70's – but still we are modern. We use synthesisers, I use delays and other effects – so all this adds up to the overall sound.

Do you think it's feasible for artistes like you to come here?

Ane: I have been told that the international music has quite a small percentage of the whole industry in India because India is quite self sufficient when it comes to entertainment. For us, it was like – �Hello, we want to play along with you guys as well'. I think you guys; the media has the power to let people know that we are out. There are so many talents out there, so people need to be told that they should also give us an ear.

Your voice, listeners say reminds of Annie Lennox…

Ane: It's a big compliment. Annie Lennox is one of my dad's favourite singers. I haven't been that much influenced by her style, but I think that's just a co-incidence that our tone is very much the same. She's a wonderful artiste, very intelligent and strong woman, so I like being compared to her.

Why is the album called �Familiar strangers…

Kristian: I think because we have been inspired by songs from the early days, people can relate to them very well or get a feeling �OK, this sounds familiar'. Some listeners feel they have heard this before – but still it's new. So, I say it's familiar but, at the same time – new.

What's coming up next?

Ane: Oh, we have been writing new material from our next album. We will probably start working on it this fall in the studio, so we have some time now to continue writing. We'll also do festivals and other gigs during the summer – a mini tour is being planned around Europe.

Do you ever play covers?

Kirstian: We played a song last night.

Ane: Normally we play our own material – that's what we like to do. But, if you have to do covers, you have to interpret it in your own way, there's no other way, otherwise people would rather buy a CD – you can't just copy.

Kristian: At this point, we have a lot of our own songs to play, but it's good to know and play other songs as well and try and do it in your own way.

Which song did you cover recently?

Ane: Right now, we are doing a Joss Stone track called �Tell me about it'. Actually, we had got a challenge in the regional music TV show to do something out of the box – something that we are not used to do. They suggested that we do a Joss cover and it was just going to be the three of us, so we made up a fun little version of it which we often play.