Swedish dream-pop act Mountain Bird master an original and charismatic sound that will transfer you into a different world. The dreamy noise created by the talented Adam Öhman impressed the Universal Music Group enough to take Adam’s project under their wing. The latest single Violent Night might have taken a while to compose but the final result sees a track full of deep, interesting and beautiful musical work. In the following interview, Adam tells us about Mountain Bird, signing to a major label, his creative process and much more.
Music Gets Me By is extremely pleased to bring in some girl power once again and introduce you to the charismatic solo artist Natasha Miren and her moving dream-pop tunes, haunting vocals and great songwriting skills. Now based in London, the talented Dutch singer-songwriter is ready to pursue her dream, start gigging and get the recognition she deserves. There is a couple of wonderful tracks of hers available on her Soundcloud page and YouTube, and if you like the sound she creates, make sure to catch her live at the Lock Tavern in London on 7th November.
You can get to know Natasha a bit more in our following interview.
How did you get into music and what made you want to pursue a career as a solo artist?
I’ve been drawn to musical instruments for as long as I can remember – one of my favourite toys as a toddler was a toy stratocaster! I started piano lessons when I was 9, and knew I wanted to compose movie scores by the time I was 11. But then I started to write so much poetry as a teenager, that I felt like I couldn’t just do instrumental music. As for why I went solo – my main inspirations were people like Alanis Morissette and Fiona Apple, so I naturally gravitated towards following that path. But it took me until last year to work up the courage to actually sing my own songs. That was thanks to tons of encouragement from people around me.
You come from Holland. How does the Dutch music scene differ from the UK one?
I’m not sure how good of an idea of the Dutch music scene I have actually, as I come from a small town called Hilversum and never really saw gigs anywhere else (other than big acts). I mostly went to see rock bands, and mostly at the same main venue. The best thing about London in comparison is the diversity of cultures and nationalities. Most people I meet aren’t originally from here either, so it’s cool to be part of a scene that comes from all over the place, made up of people who came to London for the same reason I did.
What could you tell us about the two tracks, which are available to listen to on your Soundcloud page?
I recorded Overdose and Scarlet with my producers, Nick Amour and Guz Lally (collectively called Let’s Throw Shapes), and they came about in very different ways! I think they show my spectrum of material. Overdose is about losing someone, or yourself, to addiction, and I pretty much wrote it in one go as an acoustic guitar song. Scarlet started as a musical idea, which led onto something kinky lyrics-wise. I’ll let people try to figure out what it’s about…
How about the videos. Who did you record them with?
Well, the studio is on a boat, and our boat neighbour just happens to be an amazing director! His name is Adrian Moat, and he’s done incredible work with RSA Films. His lighting-guy friend Jeremy Benning happened to be around too, and he ended up doing inventive things using just stuff he found around the boat! Flashlights, coloured plastic… We then got Aaron Johnson at Final Cut to do us a huge favour and edit it all. There are a few more videos I’ll be releasing down the line.
What were your main musical influences while growing up and what music do you listen to nowadays?
I listen to all kinds of genres, from metal to classical to bubblegum pop to techno, and I always have! But Alanis Morissette is the first person I remember wanting to be like – she’s what me made decide to be a guitar chick. Then I got into Fiona Apple when I was about 18, and loved her occasionally whisper-y singing style, and sometimes uncomfortable lyrics. She’s what made me decide to sing.
Is there anyone you’d wish to collaborate with musically in the future?
Because I love so many different genres, and love to try out new instruments and styles, I hope to dabble in projects that are totally different from what I do. My need-to-do list: metal, chillout, dance and trance. Those are dreams of mine… I don’t have specific artists in mind, but hopefully I get to work with the future masters of those genres!
Where do you usually draw ideas from when writing songs?
Most of my songs have traditionally been directed at someone in my life, things I want to express but would never say to them personally. I never give away who or what they’re really about – I like to keep things ambiguous! I think it’s nice for listeners to make up their own stories, or relate it to their own experiences. I wouldn’t want my stupid personal life to get in the way of that!
If you were to chose a quote or lyric that motivates you from day to day, what would it be?
I don’t have particular quotes, but I do have a couple of concepts that I try to remind myself of daily. One is that “anything is possible”, or that I am capable of anything I want (and I mean scientifically and physically!), and the other is that “everything is going to be okay”. I believe that things are always okay, because if they go according to plan – great!, but if they don’t, you always learn from it. And I feel like there’s a force that knows what’s best for us in the end.
What are the main goals, you’d like to achieve with your music?
This might sound cheesy, but my overarching goal is that I fulfill my purpose in life. I have an inkling I know what that is, because I’ve gotten so much guidance in the last year! No matter how hard I tried not to sing (out of fear), all roads led me to sing my own songs solo. I just need to keep having the courage to take these cues. I know things will be clear later on life.
In terms of releases and live shows, do you have anything special coming up?
I’m playing my first gig at the Lock Tavern on 7th November, a night presented by Young and Lost Club, supporting Damon Valentine. After that, I’ll be getting together a band and developing a longer set, and will be booking gigs as soon as possible. I played so many gigs in my old band, so I am bursting to get back on the scene again!