October is with us, it will soon be Christmas and here is an EP entitled Next Summer. The second offering from Danish electro pop artist HunBjørn, aka Ulla Pihl, formerly of experimental band Lima Lima, Next Summer is about moving forward and the encouragement to stand up for your own ways and beliefs. HunBjørn’s debut EP, In Vacuo was about searching for possibilities in a state of paused existence and Next Summer takes that to the next level.
Full of catchy electro pop and dreamy vocals, the five track EP carries songs of inner courage and strength, the best of which is the lead single, ‘Who Are We To Love‘. At first listen, the song appears to be a love song between two people, questioning how do we choose who to love, what right do we have to love someone but a look at the stylish video lets on that this is in fact, a love song about the environment. The song originally came out of HunBjørn’s urge to fly long haul on holiday, something she found it difficult to reconcile with her environmentalist beliefs – a very common issue for many of us at the moment. Wanting to write a song about the environment and the problems facing us all can come across as sanctimonious so, HunBjørn says that “…instead I tried to express the double standards that I myself apply…So I’ve tried to express those opposing feelings in the song. How much is just words and how much do we really act? How much do we leave for our decision makers or even worse –for our kids?” The dreamy vocals floating over a synth laden beat make this a song that deserves listening to on repeat – it’s quite hypnotic.
The title track, ‘Next Summer‘, was written during Ulla’s pregnancy (shown in the video for ‘Who Are We To Love’ and looks at the breakdown of a relationship. You may think this is a surprising thing to be writing about with a child on the way but Ulla says that it “came to me out of nowhere one day… reminiscing and reflecting on my childhood and my parent’s divorce. It is me wanting a different life for my own family. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was actually pregnant when I wrote it and had a little boy this summer. Who knows, maybe it was my subconsciousness peaking through in this song.” The track evokes a feeling of sadness with lyrics such as “we should be holding hands” but by the end of the song, pessimism and sadness gives way to hope that this family can be different, with lyrics “my lover says we’re smarter than the rest” and “we don’t have to be like them” showing the way forward.
The EP ends with ‘In The Dark‘, a track that starts out feeling closed and oppressive before becoming more open, with a feeling of freedom breaking through to finish the track on a high note. This is entirely in keeping with the theme of concern for our planet explored on ‘Who Are We To Love’ and also with moving forward in life.
HunBjørn’s advice for aspiring artists is “to stay true to yourself and to keep listening to your own inner voice. The uniqueness in your music derives from that inner voice and if you don’t listen to it, you lose yourself and then, making music becomes way less fun. In order to be creative you have to focus on why you love doing what you do, experiment and have fun with it. If you’re already thinking of who’s going to like your song before it’s even written, you won’t surprise yourself and in my experience the music and the creative process won’t flow freely.”
Next Summer is released on 25 October on All We Are Records. Get your copy here.
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