Norwegian indie folk duo Tuvaband – comprised of Simon Would and Tuva Hellum – have been crazy busy prepping to release their debut EP, which is set to drop in November. The pair – who are incredibly socially conscious and tend to lend that activism to their art – recently released their single “Trees” to critical acclaim. The song, which touches on the importance of our natural habitat, is an ethereal taste of what’s to come.
With that in mind, we were ecstatic to catch a few moments with the band leading up to their big show at Mirrors Festival. Here is what they had to say.
What is the first song or album you ever remember hearing, and who introduced it to you?
I can’t remember. I do remember that Aretha Franklin was one of my first favourite artists and that I had a lot of her albums. I wanted to become the new Aretha Franklin. A mix between Aretha Franklin and Gwen Stefani (when she was in No Doubt).
The first album Simon heard was Radiohead – Amnesiac. His uncle had bought it and they were listening to it in the car in Ireland. It’s still one of his favorite albums.
What is the origin story of Tuvaband? Was it impossibly amazing?
I was studying child welfare, and the girls I was living with was tired of hearing me make annoying sounds and doing my man-vocals out loud in our apartment. They told a guy in our class, to bring me to his studio to make me try to sing normal. I did, and it was the most fun I’ve had. I started singing with this guy and another musician. I thought we were a band and told my family and friends. Turned out we were just jamming. I went to my room and started making my own songs, and called myself Tuvaband as a joke. I would never sing in front of people, but gave my parents a Tuvaband CD for Christmas.
Back in Oslo after my studies, I met Simon and his friend in a bar, which were looking for a girl to sing a duet with. After three hours at an afterparty, when people had started falling asleep, I finally sang with Simon and his friend. Many months later I asked if Simon could play guitar in Tuvaband. We found out we would rather be a duo than a band and therefore could keep that name.
“Trees” is incredibly beautiful. We know production happened in two separate apartments, but what was the process like for this one? Lyrics first, melody first? Concept vs. words? Paint us a picture!
Thank you so much!
I’de written the lyrics earlier, but the melody we were just jamming, it’s the first song we had which started from a random jam. We had to structure the song together later to make it sound more like a song. There was a lot of rounds trying to record it and make it sound good. I think it took us almost a year to make it right.
What do you hope people glean from this track, specifically?
It would be nice if some people like the song so much that they will listen to the lyrics. First about the rainforest, then about our self-destructing behaviour, and then maybe produce even more thoughts about what we could do differently when it comes to the environment.
Your new EP is due in November. Can we expect other equally as socially conscious tracks on it? Is there an overarching message in its tranquility?
A lot of the songs I write has a similar message to the one in ‘Trees’, but the EP has a lot of different themes. It’s constructed in a way as a story, which evolves as the EP progresses. It goes from being about dealing with a trauma, then the aftermath of a trauma. And then when you are done dealing with this, it shifts towards the world around you, which is where ‘Trees’ and two other songs come in.
What are you most excited about with the upcoming EP release?
It’s nice to finally get something out that we’ve been working on for a long time, and to show people that we have more songs. We are close to finishing yet another EP, so it is about time to release the debut EP.
I have to say that we are both really excited about releasing a really nice music video, made by Marius Mathisrud and Oscar Juul Sørensen, for one of the tracks on the EP too!
Alright. The tough one. Cats or dogs?
It’s definitely cats for me. I’m the cat lady, but with no cats. When I’m 65, I will probably have 14 cats. If I ever start a side project as a musician, my name would be ‘The Mother of Cats’. Simon is a dog person and had a dog growing up. That says a lot about how different we are from each other.
Anything else you’d like us to know?
We are playing at Mirrors (festival) in Hackney, London, 28th of October. We hope to see you there!
Catch up with Tuvaband during a Rough Trade In-Store gig on October 27th, and at Mirrors on the 28th. Keep up with Tuvaband here.