The Norwegian trio Chain Wallet just released their debut album – the self-titled collection of deceptively infectious dream pop tunes that has been welcomed to high critical acclaim.
With melodic hooks and a sense of innocence, the ten tracks of Chain Wallet establish the band as an untarnished outfit, keen to cut their own path. However, the subject matter of betrayal, idleness, broken dreams, and existential meltdowns displays an awareness of modern culture that sits head and shoulders above their peers. The album is as good as it gets for making first impressions – considerate, crafted, and layered with depth.
ARTISTdirect caught up with guitarist Christian Line Aanesen to discuss the debut album, the relationship at the center of the band, and Chain Wallet’s ambitions for the future.
Where are you right now?
I have just woken up in my apartment in Bergen. It’s dark, and the weather is grim with a promise of fall.
Please name your fellow band members and their roles… oh, and who has the best dance moves?
My fellow band members are Frode Boris Bakken (synth) and Stian Iverson (vocals and guitar). Together they form Chain Wallet’s dynamic Lennon & McCartney-esque writing duo. This, I guess, gives me the Harrison-role as the mysterious guitar playing yogi. Out of the bunch Frode probably has got the most distinguished dance moves.
Tell us about your new project: Who did you work with? Where was it recorded? What’s it about? Is there candy?
Our project is a three piece (five piece live) indie pop lightning in a bottle. Some people have described it as romantic post punk. We have collaborated with our producer Matias Tellez (Young Dreams). Our recently released debut album was recorded at Skogen Studio, in an old abandoned meat factory in Bergen.
The album is about a troubled character’s self-indulgent pity, his gradual loss of touch with reality and his numerous insisting attempts on returning to normal life. We wanted to capture a feeling of acute distress, fragmented memories and unfulfilled ambitions.
How do you describe your music to new friends?
I always describe it in as general terms as possible, so that my new friends don’t get put off by any misread genre connotations. I probably say “pop”.
How did you first meet, and where exactly did you become a band?
Frode and I grew up in the suburbs of Stavanger, and used to make jangly rock together. Stian met Frode in Paris, at a hip concert by the canal. In Bergen, Frode and I had a project we called Cave Mallet, the predecessor-name of Chain Wallet.
Because of newly knit friendships, all three of us decided to share a rehearsal space to work on our separate projects (Stian’s solo project ‘Nights’). After listening to each other’s demos we actually found out that the projects had similarities, so we merged them into a more powerful unity.
Other than Chain Wallet, what should your hometown be known for?
Just having a vibrant, cool music scene for jazzcats like ourselves.
Please look around you right now and please describe the first item or person you see that’s significant to you.
Just behind me, on the wall in my apartment, I have a framed version of some early Chain Wallet art work made by our designer, Johanne Karlsrud. She’s made all graphic imagery for us since the beginning. A cool and talented woman.
What first inspired you to pursue music?
Jamming along with Metallica.
What’s the best advice anyone has given you about pursuing a life in music?
“The less money you earn, the cooler your band is.”
Not including your current crew, who (alive or dead) would you love to have in your van for an all day drive from gig to gig?
Jim Jarmusch – documenting the tour on camera. He could later do some serious editing, put on a black/white-filter and make us seem iconic.
What song best sums up your life right now?
What is the best reaction to your music you have experienced so far?
People in Norway are not that good at expressing their feelings so most reactions are rather modest. In Denmark we made two guys cry.
Take a moment to dream – Where do hope to be a year from now?
In the studio with Carolyn Allen, of the Wake, recording a beautiful and romantic duet for our sophomore album.
What’s your next step towards that dream?
For more information visit Chain Wallet on ARTISTdirect