Hailing from Norway, Circumnavigate combine the cinematic quality of bands like Sigur Rós with the intimacy of folk music, evoking the kind of natural beauty you would find in their homeland. The four-piece dream-folk group are releasing their new album ‘When Words Collide’ on 14th December, and their new single ‘Secret’ is a graceful tune that leans toward a folk-pop sound with a strong atmospheric element. It’s driven by Sigrid Zeiner-Gundersen’s ethereal vocals and a wonderful string section, while Carl Frederik Kontny’s guitar playing provides a memorable hook.
We caught up with Circumnavigate to talk about their new single and album.
Could you introduce yourselves?
Sure! I guess we are best described as a 4 piece Scandinavian folk/pop band, with elements of jazz and classical thrown in. Our members are lead singer Sigrid, Carl Frederik on keys & guitar, Ross on drums & Percussion and Charlie on bass.
How did you start making music together?
Carl & Sigrid met at high school in Sandvika, Norway years ago and bonded over a love of Coldplay & Thomas Dybdahl; They used to perform covers in school talent shows and that progressed to writing their own music. Sigrid then moved to London to study music, where she met Ross and Charlie through mutual friends. It was all very natural and we came together as friends first, before the music followed!
What are some themes that run through your music? Is your home country of Norway a big inspiration?
As mentioned above, our core is folk/pop, but we take influence from a lot of places and different bands; We love to incorporate warm string sections, trumpet lines and 4 piece harmonies, essentially to create beautiful music, wether it be big and epic, or small and delicate. I’d say this is where the Norwegian influence comes in, if you were to imagine it in terms of imagery & scenery!
Would you say you’re going in a folkier direction with your new material?
Not necessarily; We tended to write the songs for this album based on what we enjoyed at the time of writing, rather than with a specific genre in mind – more of just what felt good. Some of the tracks were written for motion picture too, so that determined the feel of certain album tracks.
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How did you write ‘Secret’?
Secret came about quite naturally, starting with Carl’s hooky guitar riff. Sigrid also tends to write a lot of lyrics out of melodic context on her phone and about every day life, so we just brainstormed what previously written lyrics would work and developed them to suit. “The song is about a situation I ended up in a few years ago and also about being hopeful and open minded about love and connection.” Sigrid
You’ve contributed music to film productions recently. Could you talk a bit about that? How is it different from writing for an EP or album?
We’re very fortunate to have a great friend in film producer Lisa Black, who runs production company Garnet Girl over in the States; She has been a long-term supporter and fan of the band and has really pushed for opportunities for us over there! The most recent collaboration was syncing 3 songs to the official trailer of Domenica Cameron-Scorsese’s debut feature ‘Almost Paris’, which is due out on demand 9th January 2018. On this occasion, the songs were existing tracks already, however, we do sometimes write to briefs; We get sent scripts and told the themes the producers are looking for and try to tailor them to that – it’s a lot of fun and pushes us creatively. Some of the songs we pitched have ended up on our debut album.
Is there anything you’re working on that you’re particularly excited about?
The biggest thing in our lives right now is building to the release of our debut album, When Worlds Collide, due out on the 14th December 2017. We have been working away at it for the past 3 years between studios in Oslo and London and are really excited to see how it gets received; It’s also exciting because it means we can look to the future and a new chapter in the writing of Circumnavigate! There will also be plenty of gigs; The next one is on the 15th November in front of the Prince & Prime Minister of Norway, so this too is a real honour! Album launch party will be a cause for celebration and this is TBC.