The duo talk new single “I Survived” and how they poured out their own struggles into music.
When we were younger, we all had that dream of making an all-star duo with our best friend. Belting out karaoke-worthy hits into makeshift microphones and mustering up a Britney Spears-inspired choreo, we all thought our dreams would surely become a reality, and it did for long-term friends Pia Ovanda and Carina Madsius. Meeting at a party in Berlin, the duo revealed that from the very first meeting a connection was made and chemistry starting brewing. Numerous tours and singles later, the creative tour de force are now gearing up to drop their sophomore album this year and they’re giving us a teaser with their first insight, “I Survived”. Drenched in warming harmonies and female unity, the single represents their unique alt-pop flair as they effortlessly navigate an array of vocal layers and glittering synths.
“‘I Survived’ is a ballad of resilience,” the duo revealed. “It’s a song of self-assurance and an elegy, resonating the hopes that connect us, and a tender reminder not to lose them even when things go south. For us, ‘I Survived’ mirrors personal experiences in overcoming adversity and reclaiming authenticity.”
From writing fearless tracks to continuing to their message of support and affinity amongst women, the duo have been going at full force with their own creative vision, while tying in pop influences such as Jorja Smith and James Blake along the way. With their approach to music already causing a stir in the scene, the duo are set to head out on tour this year May and we caught up with them talking their new album, plans for tour and how they poured out their own struggles into their music.
Check out the interview below…
Hi Pia and Carina – how have you been during this uncertain time? How has it impacted your music and creativity?
After many cancelled shows and festivals last year, it was very unclear where this is going and we had to learn to find our place in this new situation. After a while we started seeing benefits despite the situation being so difficult: The time this pandemic gave us made room for creation, so we had a very productive phase, in which the first songs for the album were written. Surely, the whole situation impacted our creativity subconsciously, since there’s a lot of new feelings, situations, more confrontation with yourself, more alone time and more uncertainty, which all eventually leaves a mark on our emotional and mental states and reflects in the songs and the creative process.
How has Berlin influenced you sonically? Who are your musical heroes?
Berlin can be a wonderful city for artists. There are so many underground scenes, many possibilities, diversity and a colourful and ever-growing art scene, which is beautiful. Now, this scene is kind of on hold, unfortunately. But in general, you could say that Berlin inspired us to be more authentic, to find our voice, our sound and stay true to our gut feeling. Some of our musical heroes are Laura Mvula, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Johann Sebastian Bach, Jazmine Sullivan, Sophie (RIP), Glenn Gould, James Blake, Hélène Grimaud, Nina Simone, Herbie Hancock and many more.
You guys are longterm friends, but when was the moment you realised that you wanted to make music together?
We met at a party while we were studying music. We liked each other so much that we wanted to share an apartment, and shortly after moving in together we started writing our first songs as a duo. It felt like it was meant to be.
Pia: I used to wake up to Carina practising classical piano. Some of the most beautiful mornings of my life. I knew from the beginning, I’d love to make music with Carina one day.
Carina: We had great chemistry from the start, and when I first heard her singing I was fully blown away. I was also very excited about her playing the Cello and knew that this could make a great duo with the two of us.
How would you describe your genre? And what do you both bring to the music?
That’s always a tough one. We feel like dream-pop, indie-pop is a good way to describe the vibe of our music. It definitely has influences of many more genres we’re fond of for example R&B, classical music, jazz, electronic music and experimental music.
Pia: To me Carina is a genius. She’s such a spirited mind, full of creation, ideas and wonders. She’s bringing unbelievable compositorial talent and the most wonderful, enchanting piano playing, an emotional depth that I think only big artists have, a love for details, a great ear for soundscapes and song structures and strong visions.
Carina: Pia’s voice is one of the most moving voices I heard so far. Her warmhearted soul and ability to feel deeply mirror in her vocals. She has a great talent expressing the topics and feelings we discuss lyrically. She’s a very genuine and honest songwriter and always open to new ideas. Her voice is extremely multifaceted from softest high notes to strong belting.
Congratulations on your new song “I Survived” – which is an apt song at a time like this – what was it inspired by?
Thanks! We’re very excited about this release. It feels like this song has been a long time coming. The content of I Survived is very transferable to this time, since it is about dealing with and overcoming adversity and eventually reclaiming authenticity. It was inspired by our own struggles and the conversations we had about that: struggling to find our place, in our personal lives individually, as well as finding our place as women and especially female songwriters and producers in this industry.
And it’s taken from your forthcoming album. What can you tell us about it? What do you think ties the songs together as a body of work?
The upcoming album will be very personal. One of the biggest reflections and conversations we’re having recently are about authenticity. We think and hope that this will reflect in the new music and the album. The lyrics are more raw and personal, the sound is more us and the stories are real conversations. What ties the songs together is us. It’s all written by us and produced and mixed by Carina. Also lyrically there will be a storyline throughout the album. It will allow you to accompany this person through various emotional states.
How does it feel releasing new music when the world feels so uncertain – what do you hope your music will bring?
It felt really good to release I Survived. It made us feel alive and like we can still do our job. The whole art industry and its existence are suffering and we want to show that creativity doesn’t stop during a pandemic, and the voices of art can’t be silenced by a standstill, which is a powerful, connective feeling. Music can create connection, a moment of joy or even the feeling of being understood, which is something really powerful we hope we can give people with our songs. The other thing we hope for is for people to maybe even be inspired to open up, spark conversations, be vulnerable and share their personal experiences of overcoming adversity.
And you’ve got a tour booked for May – what’s next for you? What are you looking forward to in 2021?
For now, we still have our tour booked, but we’ll have to see if and how these shows can even take place. This pandemic sure teaches us patience, so we’re trying to take things as they come. Our main focus now is working on the next songs towards the album. We just moved into a new studio space in Berlin this year and we’re looking forward to finishing setting the studio up and spending our time there, working on new songs, preparing for live shows, planning the album, trying to stay sane during this pandemic and further defining our very own sound. We can’t wait to take you along for the ride.