INTERVIEW: Norwegian-American Singer-Songwriter Signe Marie Rustad

Pic by Marthe Amanda Vannebo

Hi Signe, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

I’ve been great, and busy. Excited to finally put out some new music!

Can you talk to us more about your song “Die With Your Boots On”?

“Die With Your Boots On” is a song about the power of music.  How it can have the power to heal, to push us forward and to make us stop and reflect. There is love in these lyrics, but more importantly, there is a lot of hope.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

My booking team, (and also promoters and DJs) Die With Your Boots On, was celebrating its 5 year anniversary, and I was to play at the event. I hadn’t been writing the past 3 years, but I felt like I wanted to do something special to thank them for all the great music they’d brought on to stages and played during their DJ-sets around Oslo. So, I was sitting on my couch at home with the guitar in my lap, looking out of the window, and the lyrics and music just kind of started flowing out like the most natural thing. It felt like I was able to connect with how I felt for the first time in 3 years and turn it into something positive.

How was the recording and writing process?

I didn’t feel like my band and I were nailing the sound of the song, just something with the groove wasn’t quite right the first times we rehearsed it and played it live. Then I remember one night we were rehearsing, not long before we were going in to the studio to record, one of the guys in my band mentioned The Wings and Paul McCartney (of whom I’m a big fan) and then someone had a reference to old school Elton John. We played it again, and my drummer and bass player completely nailed the right groove and feeling. I think we played it 2 or 3 times through in the studio, we didn’t need many takes or a lot of extra “stuff”, we knew we just had to play this one with our hearts. I’m so proud of my band for doing that, I couldn’t be more happy with how they’ve brought the song to life.

How did the process of putting together your upcoming album When Words Flew Freely differ from your previous releases?

Very different. My two previous records have been very “set” before going into the studio to record. I’ve more or less known what I’ve wanted the sound to be like, what I’ve wanted to do, for every song. For When Words Flew Freely, that has not been the case at all. Many of the songs were completely open when I brought them in, “Die With Your Boots On” was the exception, and then producer Kenneth Ishak and I have molded them together. Kenneth really has a huge part in how the record has turned out, I actually think my two favorite tracks of the album would have been scrapped if it wasn’t for him.

What role does Norway play in your music?

I was born and raised on a farm in rural Norway, and I feel like the elements around my upbringing – the fields, river and forest – centered me with stability, but also filled me with some deep-rooted restlessness. The pull between this stability and restlessness  has been a recurring theme in my songs.

What aspect of your life did you get to explore on your upcoming record?

The album’s nine tracks revolve around traumatic life events, and the feeling of emotional stagnation, that resulted in writer’s block. There is a longing to reconnect with something lost, but also – between the lines – a joy over being able to feel hopeful again.

Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

Most of the songs off the record were written before a writer’s block that lasted about 3 years settled in. At that time, as strange as it sounds, living and breathing was about enough for me to be inspired to write – thus the title: When Words Flew Freely. Having an open mind and heart is mostly what it’s about for me to be able to write.

What else is happening next in Signe Marie Rustad’s world?

Once the record is released (Nov 1st 2019), I’ll be hitting the road as much as possible with my band. Can’t wait!

Listen here

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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