Sometimes, the best thing to do is to take a break and recalibrate things. It’s hard to make art without living through experiences first and you’ll find that a project takes on a whole different meaning when you return. Blondage has undergone a metamorphosis. Once a duo that started in Copenhagen in 2017 is now the solo project of Pernille Smith-Sivertsen. I Love Music is a six-song EP that embodies Smith-Sivertsen’s new sense of freedom, both personally and creatively.
Like a person rediscovering themselves, the songs take an exploration throughout the pop genre. From the dreamy undertones of ‘Breakfast In My Bed’ to the playful arrangments of ‘Good Time,’ it’s a project that chronicles a woman finding a pure sense of individuality. I spoke to Smith-Sivertsen about what she learned during her self-discovery period and how this new EP is shaped around those moments in time. These songs were her feeling the fear of going solo, but doing it anyway.
You initially started Blondage as a duo, but now it’s reborn into a solo project to your own molding. What type of metamorphosis did you go through both creatively and personally from 2017 to now?
I think I changed from being someone who let things happen and worked (very hard) with whatever was given me to becoming someone who actively pursues a goal. I always give whatever it takes even though, sometimes, I often feel too fragile and afraid of doing it. Having reached this point and releasing this EP is a great personal victory for me. I overcame my fear and self-doubt and had the courage to pull through. Creatively, I learned to trust my own instincts; both in collaboration with others and when I was producing and writing on my own. That has been the greatest thing about going solo.
I feel like listening to “I Love Music” as a whole is basically you embracing the art form again. Even the title track speaks to you choosing music over a person. Were there things or people that you had to let go before going on this new journey?
The songs on the EP are from the transition period where I was discovering and chasing this whole new identity as a solo artist. All of a sudden, everything felt different because I could breathe, taste, and act on my own. I sang in a new way, wrote in a new way, and to be honest, I’ve felt a deep connection to the writing process that I’ve never felt before. It’s been therapeutic. All the battles with the music industry, collaborators, and my own inner demons have been really hard.
One thing remained pure throughout and that was the music. Somehow, I felt like the music was living on its own deserted island within me. Far away from all the emotional pollution and conflicts and blossoming and thriving on its own. Many artists feel the opposite way. Where the music itself is the source of doubt and anxiety. To me, that was my true escape from it all.
“Over It” the song and the video both seem to be a critique of a culture that puts so much emphasis on appearances. Your music is within the pop music realm and that’s been prevalent more than ever. How do you keep a sense of self amidst all of that?
It’s a really hard balance and I haven’t found the right formula yet. Working with yourself as a brand is a complete mind-fuck and I think it’s impossible not to be affected by the pressure of promoting yourself on social media. You become so self-aware even if you don’t want to. I like to dress up, go a bit crazy and play with my appearance, but it’s only fun when you’re feeling empowered, strong, and confident. When you aren’t, then you can’t live up to this image. You stop sharing and then you only promote the perfect picture. We (and myself included) need to get better at sharing all the dull shit as well. Or just stop sharing so much. I think I’ll just come up with an animated avatar for my next album. Problem solved!
Whose idea was it for the beat switch on Juice? I thought that was really interesting. Also, throughout this whole EP, you personify this very tough, energetic person, but in this song, you want this person to see the other side of you. How did it come about?
It happened by mistake actually. I was recording with this amazing guitarist, Rune Risager in Copenhagen and we tried transposing it half a note to make the melody a bit lighter. It didn’t work and we went back to the other key. One of the recordings in a different key played after the song was over and we turned it into an outro. It was pretty magical!
How was it working with Esben Andersen in this studio on these collections of these songs? Musically, you play around with a lot of different arrangments and beat tempos.
It was really great, actually! After having decided to stop being a duo, all the pressure disappeared and the creative process became fun again. It was a great joy to finish the songs that we had worked on together. It meant a lot to us both that we finished what we started. He thought it was a relief just letting me have the final say in all the artistic choices. He’s an amazing producer and no one can capture my ideas the way he can. It’s like we’re hooked onto the same frequency when it comes to music. I don’t mind that this EP varies so much in style and tempo. I’ve chosen the vibe that fitted each song’s message and feeling – not a style that would work in terms of putting all the songs in the same genre box. I love to play around with moods and go from soft to hard and electronic to organic.
“Glitter Over Shit” to me felt like you put a stamp over this music and sort of, this new incarnation of Blondage. What is one thing you want someone to take away from listening to this EP?
I really hope that it shines through that this EP is my personal celebration of love, music, and freedom and finding your own path in life.