Digging deeper

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By: Ketil Mosnes
March 22, 2021

Karin Park on musical journeys, mental journeys and homecomings.

Not many Scandinavian pop artists are able to look back on a career as varied and eventful as Karin Park’s. It has been said that experiencing her live is similar to that of 'seeing Rachael from the movie Blade Runner and David Bowie in one and the same person', and stylistically she has been compared to, among others, her Nordic colleagues Björk and The Knife, as well as synth-pioneers Depeche Mode.The Swedish multi-artist was born in the Dalarna district, and after finishing music education at the conservatory in Stockholm and a three-year stay in Japan, she settled in Bergen around the year 2000. There, her career began to pick up speed:It was in Bergen it all started. The possibilities felt endless, and meeting Geir Luedy (producer, editor's note) was crucial for my decision to step up the songwriting game, Karin Park says in an interview with the Bergen International Festival.

Geir went all in. It was amazing, and I am so grateful. Everyone in the music business there was very inclusive, I will never forget that.Park's debut album Superworldunknown was released in 2003, securing her the Norwegian Alarm Award in the Best Newcomer category the following year. In addition, she was nominated for two Spellemann Awards (the Norwegian Grammys). Eventually, the young artist returned to her homeland, where the musical style took a new turn.– On your latest albums, the music has a rather dark sound. Where is the inspiration, or idea, primarily coming from?

Above all, I think I'm trying to dig deeper. If you use the sea as a metaphor, it gets darker the deeper you dive, and then it's about trying to light a candle down there. I read Eliphas Levi, Madam Blavatsky and Jung, who all inspire me in trying to get to the bottom. I also listen a lot to Scott Walker and The Doors.– Will you at some point consider yourself 'at home', creatively speaking? Or will you continue the search for new musical landscapes to explore?I don’t know, to be honest. I think I kind of started at home… it happened automatically. Then I lost myself on the road and began a very long journey back. I feel like I'm going in the right direction now, but I don’t know if I will ever return. Maybe it's time to give up when you’re finally home?Karin's 20-year long career has so far resulted in six album releases. She has also appeared as a producer for other artists, including her husband Kjetil Nernes' noise rock band Årabrot (in which she also plays), whose Park-produced album was nominated for the Spellemann Awards. Furthermore, she has been an actress in the horror film Hidden (2009), played the role of Fantine in the staging of Les Misérables in Oslo, and participated as a songwriter in the Eurovision finals with I Feed You My Love, performed by Margaret Berger in 2013, to name a few of her activities.– How do you prepare yourself mentally and creatively for these very different tasks? Do you have a specific 'method', or do you simply go with the flow?

It’s a wide gap between Eurovision and playing with Årabrot at a metal festival, but I’m always the same person no matter where I go. Being able to touch people with my voice and with music is beyond any genre for me. Trying to share something that feels meaningful…I get much better at what I do when I focus on giving instead of taking. That's the starting point for my mental preparations before I do something.Karin Park's latest album Church of Imagination was released in 2020 to great acclaim. She says that the upcoming concert at the Bergen International Festival will be based on this release:

For a year and a half now, I have worked on a solo show based on my voice, analogue synths, mellotron and a pedal organ. I am currently very interested in the power of thought, so the show will be like an invitation to a journey within your own imagination. I’m going to post some samples on Instagram in order to give a few hints about what people can expect. I’m almost bursting with happiness when thinking of playing live again!

Karin Park/facts:
  • Born: 1978, Djura, Sverige.

  • Discography: Superworldunknown (2003).Change Your Mind (2006).Ashes To Gold (2009).Highwire Poetry (2012).Apocalypse Pop (2015).Church of Imagination (2020).

  • Other projects:Årabrot (band).Pandora Drive (band).Actess.Model.

  • Some of her musical partnerships:Christoffer Berg (Swedish producer know for his work with The Knife, Fever Ray and Massive Attack).Margaret Berger (Norwegian pop artist).Maya Jane Cole (British producer and DJ).Axwell (from the pop group Swedish House Mafia).Fredrik Saroea (from the Norwegian pop group Datarock).

Supported by Vestland county council

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