The Hidden Björk Interview

Grapevine #05 - mai 2007, 4 mai 2007

Björk’s new album, Volta, will be released this May 7. It is her first studio album in three years. The release has generated quite a level of anticipation among loyal Björk fans and early reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. In support of her new release, Björk has embarked on a world tour. The Grapevine caught up with Björk as she was sitting poolside in California, enjoying the sun in preparation for her performance at the Coachella Music Festival the following day, and posed a few questions.

There is long list of famous guest contributors on this album – Timbaland, Mark Bell from LFO, Konono n°1, Antony Hegarty from Antony and the John- sons, Toumani Diabate, Min Xiao-Fen, Chris Corsano and Brian Chippen- dale from Lightning Bolt – did you write the album with that in mind ?
Björk : No, not exactly. I never plan that far ahead really. It was more just improvised as we went along.

How do you go about preparing for a long tour like this one ?
I practiced with the band for about a month beforehand. en I just threw a few dinner parties and said good-bye. I did try to do some running to prepare the lungs, but there really was not enough time. Usually it is the same old method that always works best : jump off the deep end !

Just before the tour started you added a brass section of ten girls (the Brass Girls) to your live setting. Was this planned long before, and did you need to change many arrangements to make the brass section work ?
Well, I first started working with brass on the score for Drawing Restraint 9, but that was more kind of abstract, ambient stuff. Then I became very interested in making music that was more kind of pop-music with brass, so I started to sample the brass stuff from the Drawing Restraint 9 project. Then I wrote brass arrangements for more songs and I recorded it with a brass section, including the Brass Girls. So, it was not really done in a hurry. It has been a slow development since 2005. But we had to rearrange some of my old songs for a brass section, so the Brass Girls have been madly busy...

Recently, on the first date of your world tour in Laugardalshöll, Reykjavík, you dedicated the song Declare Independence to the Faeroe Islands and Greenland. Did you write that lyric with those countries in particular in mind ?
Yes and no. I became very interested in writing lyrics that were both very personal and very political at the same time. Me speaking to a friend for example, and saying to her : “declare independence !” I, at least, thought it would be funny. I also think that political lyrics are quite possibly the lamest lyrics you can find, that is why I thought it would be an exciting challenge to do it well. But I can wholeheartedly say that I think it is preposterous that those countries are still colonies.

When did you become interested in the independence struggle in the Faeroe Islands and Greenland ?
Do not all Icelanders take interest in how nations fare that are in the same spot that we once were ?

Will you dedicate this song to the Faeroe Islands and Greenland in Roskilde (Denmark), and do you expect a strong reaction from Denmark (the ruling nation of the Faeroe Islands and Greenland) if you do ?
I don’t know. We will just have to see. We have 40 songs rehearsed and ready and we will just have to see what we will think is appropriate then.

There is a competition for your fans to make a video to Innocence, one of the new songs on Volta. How did the idea come about and are you going to select the best proposal yourself ?
I just needed to break out of the usual pattern, to do something a little more unpredictable. But yes, I intend to select the winner myself.

For more info on the Björk tour dates and the video competition, visit :

par Sveinn Birkir Björnsson publié dans Grapevine #05 - mai 2007


  • Wonderbrass (Icelandic Brass Section)