Thomas Dybdahl


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The beautiful new video for "O" by Thomas Dybdahl & In The Country feat. Monica Heldal is out. Directed by... http://t.co/n8P0LY8PU5


At a Glance

Nationality: Norwegian
Born: Apr 12 1979


Biography

Sometimes you have to throw yourself open to serendipity.

As a self-confessed control freak, it wasn’t a realisation that came easily to Thomas Dybdahl. At the end of last year, letting go meant boarding a plane from his native Norway to Los Angeles with no clear idea of the record he was about to make or any prior friendship with most of the musicians awaiting his arrival. Over the course of a solo career stretching back eleven years, Dybdahl had very much done things his way: hand-picking his favourite musicians and establishing a rapport, all the better to tease out the hushed, soulful ... Read more

Sometimes you have to throw yourself open to serendipity.

As a self-confessed control freak, it wasn’t a realisation that came easily to Thomas Dybdahl. At the end of last year, letting go meant boarding a plane from his native Norway to Los Angeles with no clear idea of the record he was about to make or any prior friendship with most of the musicians awaiting his arrival. Over the course of a solo career stretching back eleven years, Dybdahl had very much done things his way: hand-picking his favourite musicians and establishing a rapport, all the better to tease out the hushed, soulful grain of a voice that has become something of a national treasure in his own country. All that began to change in 2011, when Dybdahl attracted the attention of legendary American producer Larry Klein. It’s perhaps not too hard to see what prompted Klein to sign Dybdahl to his own Strange Cargo imprint. Having acted as a foil to Joni Mitchell, Madeleine Peyroux and Melody Gardot, Klein must have surely seen something of all these artists in the intuitive sensuality of Dybdahl’s approach.

For Dybdahl, Klein’s overtures came just at the right time. After the nuanced elliptical detours of 2010’s ‘Waiting For That One Clear Moment’, Dybdahl allowed Klein to hand-pick the track listing for his 2011 record ‘Songs’ – a career-spanning anthology designed as a primer for newcomers to the singer’s canon. For Dybdahl, ‘Songs’ represented the throwing down of a gauntlet. Track for track, his new album ‘What’s Left Is Forever’ had to stand square alongside past highlights such as ‘All’s Not Lost’, ‘One Day You’ll Dance For Me New York City’ and ‘From Grace’. Having set himself such a lofty objective, Dybdahl set about writing in a shed located within a communal garden near the house he shares in the Norwegian city of Sandnes with his wife and young son – “I was really just trying to get the best of both worlds. Being close to my family, yet having the necessary seclusion to write.” He thought he had the album fully sketched out when he arrived in Venice Beach to hook up with Larry Klein, but the muses had other ideas. “I got over my jetlag with a couple of glasses of wine, and then I unpacked the guitar from the flight case. Sometimes you’re consumed by an overwhelming certainty that if you pick up a guitar at this precise moment, then a song will come.” Half an hour later, Dybdahl had written what became the first single from ‘What’s Left Is Forever’. Slowly spidering out from a pensive strum into a soft, shuffling lover’s pact, ‘But We Did’ was the song that, in Dybdahl’s words, “opened the door to the rest of the album.”

The door may have been open, but it still required a leap of faith from the person whose name adorns the record sleeve. Bonds needed to be established with musicians who he had yet to meet. Drummer Jay Bellerose is perhaps best known for his work with Ray Lamontagne. Dybdahl relinquished the reins and watched him go to work on the almost subsonic syncopations of ‘So Long’ and ‘This Love Is Here To Stay’. What he saw left him frequently lost for words. “The beat?” smiles Dybdahl, “He would come up with what he calls an ‘engine’ for the song – this rhythm that could just go on indefinitely. We would build the recording around that. With ‘So Long’, he just got this look on his face and he clearly knew what he was doing, and he went out and built the kit he needed to play the song. Same for ‘This Love Is Here To Stay’. By that stage, I had pretty much finished the record, but I just felt it lacked a song that would have an immediate effect. I sat down with Larry and the songwriter David Baerwald and we just shot the breeze. It practically wrote itself.”

Another record which famously saw an artist come to an almost psychic attunement with players whose acquaintance he had just made was Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks – and it was that album whose arrangements acted as a jumping off point for the sun-dappled dawn rapture of ‘I Never Knew That What I Didn’t Know Could Kill Me’. “I wanted that loose, rambling feel that dictates the mood of Astral Weeks. The chords are pretty complex, so it was all the more important to make sure that the movements within those chords were pretty minimal so it felt like we were in the same spot.”

When it came to record the closing song on ‘What’s Left Is Forever’, Dybdahl’s love of Arvo Pärt – in particular the Estonian composer’s Cantus In Memoriam Benjamin Britten – came to the fore. Seeking to tease out another breath taking arrangement from Vince Mendoza, ‘The Next Wave Is A Big One’ saw Dybdahl setting out to create a piece that – as with the Pärt composition – pretty much stays in one place but gives an illusion of movement. The end result bears testament not only to the evolution of Dybdahl’s songwriting, but his ability to marshal extraordinary performances from those around him.

Across the course of thirteen songs, the pendulum swings between the gauzy free-associating rapture of these songs and something closer to what the singer calls “my notion of what a pop song should be.” By his own admission, Dybdahl is wary of encroaching into territory that risks being labeled “cheesy.” But it’s this very suspicion of cliché that stops ‘What’s Left Is Forever’ getting too comfortable in its own skin. The mesmerising rhythmic asymmetry of ‘Running On Fumes’ partly came about as a result of Dybdahl’s obsession with Dirty Projectors. No less beguiling in its immediacy is ‘Man On A Wire’ – sinuous meditation on the emotional attachments that we make as we advance through life, and a chance for the protagonist to rhetorically ask what remains were they to be briefly set aside. Talking about the song, Dybdahl explains: “When I hear something like Josh Rouse’s Nashville which has so many great pop songs on it, and I realise that it’s all in the execution.”

Disproving the old adage about the pram in the hallway is one of Dybdahl’s most immediately affecting songs. With yet another exquisite arrangement from Mendoza, ‘Easy Tiger’ sees the singer setting out a “rough road map” to see his son through the difficult years ahead. Here and on ‘Soulsister’, the supple, subtle control of Dybdahl’s voice sets the emotional tempo. If you were compiling a playlist, these songs could slot in nicely between, say, something from Terry Reid’s River and Terry Callier’s Dancing Girl.

Like anyone who spends the downtime between soundcheck and showtime scouring the racks of the nearest second-hand record store, the holy grail for Thomas Dybdahl remains the same as it did back in 2002 when he put out his first solo record. Back then, of course, the idea of buying an album without having a CD or record to show for it was alien to most people. Over a decade on, it’s the predominant means of buying music. And yet, for Thomas Dybdahl, the theoretically obsolete album – a dozen or so new songs by one artist, sequenced with the specific intention of being enjoyed as a single piece of work – has yet to be bettered. “If you get it right and draw the listener in and hold them right there, then what you have is far more than the sum of its parts. That’s why I keep buying albums. Come to think of it, that’s why I keep making them.”

This biography was provided by the artist or their representative.

Sometimes you have to throw yourself open to serendipity.

As a self-confessed control freak, it wasn’t a realisation that came easily to Thomas Dybdahl. At the end of last year, letting go meant boarding a plane from his native Norway to Los Angeles with no clear idea of the record he was about to make or any prior friendship with most of the musicians awaiting his arrival. Over the course of a solo career stretching back eleven years, Dybdahl had very much done things his way: hand-picking his favourite musicians and establishing a rapport, all the better to tease out the hushed, soulful grain of a voice that has become something of a national treasure in his own country. All that began to change in 2011, when Dybdahl attracted the attention of legendary American producer Larry Klein. It’s perhaps not too hard to see what prompted Klein to sign Dybdahl to his own Strange Cargo imprint. Having acted as a foil to Joni Mitchell, Madeleine Peyroux and Melody Gardot, Klein must have surely seen something of all these artists in the intuitive sensuality of Dybdahl’s approach.

For Dybdahl, Klein’s overtures came just at the right time. After the nuanced elliptical detours of 2010’s ‘Waiting For That One Clear Moment’, Dybdahl allowed Klein to hand-pick the track listing for his 2011 record ‘Songs’ – a career-spanning anthology designed as a primer for newcomers to the singer’s canon. For Dybdahl, ‘Songs’ represented the throwing down of a gauntlet. Track for track, his new album ‘What’s Left Is Forever’ had to stand square alongside past highlights such as ‘All’s Not Lost’, ‘One Day You’ll Dance For Me New York City’ and ‘From Grace’. Having set himself such a lofty objective, Dybdahl set about writing in a shed located within a communal garden near the house he shares in the Norwegian city of Sandnes with his wife and young son – “I was really just trying to get the best of both worlds. Being close to my family, yet having the necessary seclusion to write.” He thought he had the album fully sketched out when he arrived in Venice Beach to hook up with Larry Klein, but the muses had other ideas. “I got over my jetlag with a couple of glasses of wine, and then I unpacked the guitar from the flight case. Sometimes you’re consumed by an overwhelming certainty that if you pick up a guitar at this precise moment, then a song will come.” Half an hour later, Dybdahl had written what became the first single from ‘What’s Left Is Forever’. Slowly spidering out from a pensive strum into a soft, shuffling lover’s pact, ‘But We Did’ was the song that, in Dybdahl’s words, “opened the door to the rest of the album.”

The door may have been open, but it still required a leap of faith from the person whose name adorns the record sleeve. Bonds needed to be established with musicians who he had yet to meet. Drummer Jay Bellerose is perhaps best known for his work with Ray Lamontagne. Dybdahl relinquished the reins and watched him go to work on the almost subsonic syncopations of ‘So Long’ and ‘This Love Is Here To Stay’. What he saw left him frequently lost for words. “The beat?” smiles Dybdahl, “He would come up with what he calls an ‘engine’ for the song – this rhythm that could just go on indefinitely. We would build the recording around that. With ‘So Long’, he just got this look on his face and he clearly knew what he was doing, and he went out and built the kit he needed to play the song. Same for ‘This Love Is Here To Stay’. By that stage, I had pretty much finished the record, but I just felt it lacked a song that would have an immediate effect. I sat down with Larry and the songwriter David Baerwald and we just shot the breeze. It practically wrote itself.”

Another record which famously saw an artist come to an almost psychic attunement with players whose acquaintance he had just made was Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks – and it was that album whose arrangements acted as a jumping off point for the sun-dappled dawn rapture of ‘I Never Knew That What I Didn’t Know Could Kill Me’. “I wanted that loose, rambling feel that dictates the mood of Astral Weeks. The chords are pretty complex, so it was all the more important to make sure that the movements within those chords were pretty minimal so it felt like we were in the same spot.”

When it came to record the closing song on ‘What’s Left Is Forever’, Dybdahl’s love of Arvo Pärt – in particular the Estonian composer’s Cantus In Memoriam Benjamin Britten – came to the fore. Seeking to tease out another breath taking arrangement from Vince Mendoza, ‘The Next Wave Is A Big One’ saw Dybdahl setting out to create a piece that – as with the Pärt composition – pretty much stays in one place but gives an illusion of movement. The end result bears testament not only to the evolution of Dybdahl’s songwriting, but his ability to marshal extraordinary performances from those around him.

Across the course of thirteen songs, the pendulum swings between the gauzy free-associating rapture of these songs and something closer to what the singer calls “my notion of what a pop song should be.” By his own admission, Dybdahl is wary of encroaching into territory that risks being labeled “cheesy.” But it’s this very suspicion of cliché that stops ‘What’s Left Is Forever’ getting too comfortable in its own skin. The mesmerising rhythmic asymmetry of ‘Running On Fumes’ partly came about as a result of Dybdahl’s obsession with Dirty Projectors. No less beguiling in its immediacy is ‘Man On A Wire’ – sinuous meditation on the emotional attachments that we make as we advance through life, and a chance for the protagonist to rhetorically ask what remains were they to be briefly set aside. Talking about the song, Dybdahl explains: “When I hear something like Josh Rouse’s Nashville which has so many great pop songs on it, and I realise that it’s all in the execution.”

Disproving the old adage about the pram in the hallway is one of Dybdahl’s most immediately affecting songs. With yet another exquisite arrangement from Mendoza, ‘Easy Tiger’ sees the singer setting out a “rough road map” to see his son through the difficult years ahead. Here and on ‘Soulsister’, the supple, subtle control of Dybdahl’s voice sets the emotional tempo. If you were compiling a playlist, these songs could slot in nicely between, say, something from Terry Reid’s River and Terry Callier’s Dancing Girl.

Like anyone who spends the downtime between soundcheck and showtime scouring the racks of the nearest second-hand record store, the holy grail for Thomas Dybdahl remains the same as it did back in 2002 when he put out his first solo record. Back then, of course, the idea of buying an album without having a CD or record to show for it was alien to most people. Over a decade on, it’s the predominant means of buying music. And yet, for Thomas Dybdahl, the theoretically obsolete album – a dozen or so new songs by one artist, sequenced with the specific intention of being enjoyed as a single piece of work – has yet to be bettered. “If you get it right and draw the listener in and hold them right there, then what you have is far more than the sum of its parts. That’s why I keep buying albums. Come to think of it, that’s why I keep making them.”

This biography was provided by the artist or their representative.

Sometimes you have to throw yourself open to serendipity.

As a self-confessed control freak, it wasn’t a realisation that came easily to Thomas Dybdahl. At the end of last year, letting go meant boarding a plane from his native Norway to Los Angeles with no clear idea of the record he was about to make or any prior friendship with most of the musicians awaiting his arrival. Over the course of a solo career stretching back eleven years, Dybdahl had very much done things his way: hand-picking his favourite musicians and establishing a rapport, all the better to tease out the hushed, soulful grain of a voice that has become something of a national treasure in his own country. All that began to change in 2011, when Dybdahl attracted the attention of legendary American producer Larry Klein. It’s perhaps not too hard to see what prompted Klein to sign Dybdahl to his own Strange Cargo imprint. Having acted as a foil to Joni Mitchell, Madeleine Peyroux and Melody Gardot, Klein must have surely seen something of all these artists in the intuitive sensuality of Dybdahl’s approach.

For Dybdahl, Klein’s overtures came just at the right time. After the nuanced elliptical detours of 2010’s ‘Waiting For That One Clear Moment’, Dybdahl allowed Klein to hand-pick the track listing for his 2011 record ‘Songs’ – a career-spanning anthology designed as a primer for newcomers to the singer’s canon. For Dybdahl, ‘Songs’ represented the throwing down of a gauntlet. Track for track, his new album ‘What’s Left Is Forever’ had to stand square alongside past highlights such as ‘All’s Not Lost’, ‘One Day You’ll Dance For Me New York City’ and ‘From Grace’. Having set himself such a lofty objective, Dybdahl set about writing in a shed located within a communal garden near the house he shares in the Norwegian city of Sandnes with his wife and young son – “I was really just trying to get the best of both worlds. Being close to my family, yet having the necessary seclusion to write.” He thought he had the album fully sketched out when he arrived in Venice Beach to hook up with Larry Klein, but the muses had other ideas. “I got over my jetlag with a couple of glasses of wine, and then I unpacked the guitar from the flight case. Sometimes you’re consumed by an overwhelming certainty that if you pick up a guitar at this precise moment, then a song will come.” Half an hour later, Dybdahl had written what became the first single from ‘What’s Left Is Forever’. Slowly spidering out from a pensive strum into a soft, shuffling lover’s pact, ‘But We Did’ was the song that, in Dybdahl’s words, “opened the door to the rest of the album.”

The door may have been open, but it still required a leap of faith from the person whose name adorns the record sleeve. Bonds needed to be established with musicians who he had yet to meet. Drummer Jay Bellerose is perhaps best known for his work with Ray Lamontagne. Dybdahl relinquished the reins and watched him go to work on the almost subsonic syncopations of ‘So Long’ and ‘This Love Is Here To Stay’. What he saw left him frequently lost for words. “The beat?” smiles Dybdahl, “He would come up with what he calls an ‘engine’ for the song – this rhythm that could just go on indefinitely. We would build the recording around that. With ‘So Long’, he just got this look on his face and he clearly knew what he was doing, and he went out and built the kit he needed to play the song. Same for ‘This Love Is Here To Stay’. By that stage, I had pretty much finished the record, but I just felt it lacked a song that would have an immediate effect. I sat down with Larry and the songwriter David Baerwald and we just shot the breeze. It practically wrote itself.”

Another record which famously saw an artist come to an almost psychic attunement with players whose acquaintance he had just made was Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks – and it was that album whose arrangements acted as a jumping off point for the sun-dappled dawn rapture of ‘I Never Knew That What I Didn’t Know Could Kill Me’. “I wanted that loose, rambling feel that dictates the mood of Astral Weeks. The chords are pretty complex, so it was all the more important to make sure that the movements within those chords were pretty minimal so it felt like we were in the same spot.”

When it came to record the closing song on ‘What’s Left Is Forever’, Dybdahl’s love of Arvo Pärt – in particular the Estonian composer’s Cantus In Memoriam Benjamin Britten – came to the fore. Seeking to tease out another breath taking arrangement from Vince Mendoza, ‘The Next Wave Is A Big One’ saw Dybdahl setting out to create a piece that – as with the Pärt composition – pretty much stays in one place but gives an illusion of movement. The end result bears testament not only to the evolution of Dybdahl’s songwriting, but his ability to marshal extraordinary performances from those around him.

Across the course of thirteen songs, the pendulum swings between the gauzy free-associating rapture of these songs and something closer to what the singer calls “my notion of what a pop song should be.” By his own admission, Dybdahl is wary of encroaching into territory that risks being labeled “cheesy.” But it’s this very suspicion of cliché that stops ‘What’s Left Is Forever’ getting too comfortable in its own skin. The mesmerising rhythmic asymmetry of ‘Running On Fumes’ partly came about as a result of Dybdahl’s obsession with Dirty Projectors. No less beguiling in its immediacy is ‘Man On A Wire’ – sinuous meditation on the emotional attachments that we make as we advance through life, and a chance for the protagonist to rhetorically ask what remains were they to be briefly set aside. Talking about the song, Dybdahl explains: “When I hear something like Josh Rouse’s Nashville which has so many great pop songs on it, and I realise that it’s all in the execution.”

Disproving the old adage about the pram in the hallway is one of Dybdahl’s most immediately affecting songs. With yet another exquisite arrangement from Mendoza, ‘Easy Tiger’ sees the singer setting out a “rough road map” to see his son through the difficult years ahead. Here and on ‘Soulsister’, the supple, subtle control of Dybdahl’s voice sets the emotional tempo. If you were compiling a playlist, these songs could slot in nicely between, say, something from Terry Reid’s River and Terry Callier’s Dancing Girl.

Like anyone who spends the downtime between soundcheck and showtime scouring the racks of the nearest second-hand record store, the holy grail for Thomas Dybdahl remains the same as it did back in 2002 when he put out his first solo record. Back then, of course, the idea of buying an album without having a CD or record to show for it was alien to most people. Over a decade on, it’s the predominant means of buying music. And yet, for Thomas Dybdahl, the theoretically obsolete album – a dozen or so new songs by one artist, sequenced with the specific intention of being enjoyed as a single piece of work – has yet to be bettered. “If you get it right and draw the listener in and hold them right there, then what you have is far more than the sum of its parts. That’s why I keep buying albums. Come to think of it, that’s why I keep making them.”

This biography was provided by the artist or their representative.

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