Emilíana Torrini Davíðsdóttir is a half Iceland ic, half Italian singer/songwriter whose music embraces elements of folk, electronica, pop/rock, and trip-hop, and who has earned favorable comparisons to such vocally gifted artists as Beth Hirsch and Björk. Born in 1977 in Iceland , Torrini was raised in Kópavogur, where she attended opera school. After three releases (Spoon, Crouçie D’où Là, and Merman), she joined forces with Tears for Fears’ Roland Orzabal to produce 1999’s Love in the Time of Science. The famed Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson heard her cool, otherworldly croon and approved Torrini to voice the finale music for 2002’s The Two Towers.
Torrini followed up releasing Fisherman’s Woman, her first album for the London-based label Rough Trade Records. It was a back-to-basics effort that deemphasized Torrini’s use of electronics in favor of acoustic guitar, piano, and the singer’s cherubic vocals. 2008 Me and Armini including the hit single “Jungle Drum” followed. Torrini took the album on a two-year worldwide tour and then became a parent in 2010, after which she took a short break from music. Both of these events changed her approach to music and influenced her songwriting process heavily. She was introduced to Oberheim synths and producer/collaborator Dan Carey’s drone synth the Swarmathon, with both instruments inspiring songs on her 2013 release, Tookah.
Kókó pógó is when an egg breaks in the nest and spills everywhere, falls down to the ground and changes into an egg again.
Spider-Giraffes eat worms
Dinosaur police is called Policeorus
What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
Being alive and never knowing anything, even less now since hearing my sons
reasonings of a 3 year old. Today I live by them.
How and when did you get into making music?
I started putting out records at 16 and did not start writing songs until very late around 19.
What are your 5 favourite albums of all time?
I do not have any favorite albums of all time. I have a soup of songs that I can give you.
These are my favorite songs of all time…Today:
Mysteries by Beth Gibbons and the rusting man
Mad about the Boy by Dynah Washington
I Surrender by David Sylvian, a beautiful man gave me that song and I have shed a few tears over it.
I have only heard this song once and it had such powerful impact on me it is by the amazing
Kate Tempest and called The Gods or God (something like that). Now I am obsessed with having it in my collection.
I´m Sticking with You by Velvet Underground (my son sings this song all the time)
What do you associate with Berlin?
Friends, laughter and adventure. Never knowing where I am.
What’s your favourite place in your town?
If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
Travel the world learning languages and poetry, collect books.
What was the last record you bought?
The Gun Club, Miami
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
For the moment I am happy with Mara Carlyle and Willy Mason.
What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
Many years ago I walked into a tent at a German Festival and Arcade Fire was playing.
I had never heard of them it is one of my all time favorite gigs and I also had the privilege to support Terry Callier in a tiny Jazz club in London years ago and that was truly amazing.
Also I saw David Bowie in a tiny pub playing the guitar. I still can not get my head around that.
How important is technology to your creative process?
I guess it is everything. Without it I would have to remember all my ideas and write the music down..uff
Do you have siblings and are they proud or jealous of you?
What a strange question…you seem to have a complicated relationship with yours. I do not think they think about it much. They know me no other way then this.
Jean-Marie Babonneau | babonneau.com
| Interview with Emilíana Torrini by Digital in Berlin