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Sweet Songs & Rarities

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Ane Brun

Words Paul Watson

Norwegian songstress, Ane Brun, talks about her musical evolution, touring with Peter Gabriel, and her neat little recording studio on the ocean...

How important was your decision to go out alone, and not down the major label route?
I have been independent since the beginning, and was lucky, as I found a manager from the start, started my label, and it’s really been the best choice, especially when you look at what a chaotic time it’s been these past few years in the music business. I feel like I’ve been on this little island on my own, just kind of floating through the chaos, you know? I’ve built my own fanbase, and throughout my career it’s always just been a case of building everything up myself. And through the chaos, we’ve always found ways to make it work.

And your record, Songs, celebrates that...
Yeah, Songs is your typical anthology type thing; 32 songs from the last 10 years in my career. We also did something called Rarities, which is also a collection of songs, but it’s a bit different, as it’s a lot of previously unreleased material. So basically, we released two double albums last year, which is crazy!

You’ve done a lot of work with Peter Gabriel...
Yeah, I’ve done three tours with Peter, and I also sung on his album, New Blood. That was 2010-11, but I actually met Peter in 2005 when I was playing at a huge festival - a Mandella foundation concert, with a lot of stars. He came up to me after my little set and said he liked what he heard, and then it took five years for him to contact me! [laughs] I got an email from his main technician in 2010, and he asked me to come on tour. They’d remembered me from 2005, and were looking for an extra singer; they looked at what I’d done since then, and a week after the call, I was in England doing rehearsals. It’s amazing, really...

You’re quite adept at recording too, right?
Yeah, I can record my own solo stuff on Logic or Pro Tools – simple productions at my own studio, basically; and a lot of the recordings from the Rarities album are my own. I have a set of Genelec 8030s in my studio, which I’ve had for years; I love them, and I never thought I’d need anything else, but this year, I added the 7050 sub to my setup, and it’s now even better, as many of my productions are much larger feeling, and it’s kind of given me a bigger picture, I guess.

Tell me about your cabin by the sea...
[smiles] Well, I am building a cabin by the ocean in Norway, where I’m going to be writing a lot of music. I’ve got a pair of Genelec 8010s, which are nice and compact, and they will be coming with me! I bring them anywhere when I want to work, basically, as it’s easy for me to just connect them to my Apogee Duet, and they sound great. They’re in a little bag, which is perfect, as I travel so much, and I really like the sound. With Genelec, you always get a big sound in a small shell, I find. I mean, I also use the 8030s from my studio as rehearsal speakers if I don’t want to go into a rehearsal studio. I just plug them into my mixing board, and they work fantastically. They’re powerful enough, and I feel like they generate a sound that is very familiar to me – a very natural and honest sound, which I’ve become accustomed to over the years. That’s important as
an artist.

How do you think our industry sits now, compared to 10 years ago?
Well, the small labels aren’t making much money, and nor are the artists. For me, 2005-6 was the peak for an indie label, as we had the Internet at the same time as we had CDs, and I sold a lot of CDs at that time, and made a lot of money for my albums and tours. We had the exposure to the Internet, so it was easy to get out there... But we also made money! Now, there’s no money anywhere, so we are back to knocking on big labels’ doors. Streaming and touring income is low for new artists; at the beginning of your career, even if you’re playing at a big festival, you won’t get a big fee. It’s not like it was, because you don’t sell CDs anymore. Honestly, I don’t understand how they do it today, but I do know that there’s a lot of good music out there, and through the Internet, be it Instagram, videos, social media... You’ve got to use it all.

www.genelec.com