soda fountain rag

soda fountain rag

my friends make fun of me because i use the word ludic a lot. but is a word that i really like. the idea of playfullness used to experience/discover/create things fascinates me. that's the case of soda fountain rag.
after a lot of songs released in ep's, singles and for free on the internet, yesboyicecream records released 'reel around me' a few days ago.
with uncomplicated lyrics and a great skill to create lyrics, sfr gets you precisely through the simplicity of strong melodies and lovely (almost childish) lyrics about unusual and bittersweet subjects. and just like the good people we all know we are, isn't bittersweet in a dimishing, filled with anger or pointing at the other way, but in a life affirming, innocent way that's more focused on making you feel better than anything else.
(can't forget to mention that along her, there anders (the april skies) and niko (princess niko), two artists that i like and admire (a lot)!)

from myspace
in our chat with soda (ragnhild), we get to comprehend her songs even better: her connection with childhood, diy essence... check it for yourself!

and after her words, a song from her new album!

01. when did you discovered music (or vice versa) and how soda fountain rag was born? where the name comes from?
my mum used to be a music teacher/pianist, and both my parents are music lovers, so there was always a lot of music in my home. my mum used to lift me up and place me on top of the grand piano, and then we would sing and play together. i still know more children's songs than the average person because of this i think, and this might also be the reason why some people think that my songs sometimes sound like songs for children. i also played the violin from the age of five, but i didn't really get the concept of practicing, so i was never as good as i could have been. However the music at home was mostly classical (and the beatles!), so i was basically popculturally lost for a very long time. i taught myself to play the piano (though my mum helped) and the guitar (just the basics, as didn't have the patience to get really good at it), and played in several different bands prior to starting soda fountain rag. soda started as a home recording experiment in 2006, greatly influenced by sweden's rough bunnies, when i started to make some songs to test some new recording equipment on the home computer. the early recordings are really lo-fi, though i thought it sounded absolutely great at the time. i didn't have a clue back then, and some might say that i still don't... through some lucky coincidence my music was picked up by different great guys from different places in the world. mads from denmark, roque in the us, alessandro in italy, emmet in ireland and guillaume in france! all of a sudden i was getting a lot of listeners on myspace, people were writing about me, and asking if they could release my stuff. alessandro even invited me to italy to play there, before i had played a single gig. this might very well be the most luck i have ever had in my life.
the name soda fountain rag (which is a pain in the ass to tell people in noisy surroundings) is the name of the first song duke ellington ever wrote. i was watching a programme about the history of jazz on norway's nrk2 when this song was mentioned. i told anders that if I ever had a solo project this would be the name for it, and then i wrote the name down on a post-it note so i wouldn't forget it.

02. what populates your imagination/universe?

this is a really difficult question, but i think you can get some of the answer if you listen to the lyrics of my songs. otherwise there are a lot of weird thoughts, lots of sadness, bitterness and endless joy concentrated around very small things in life. usually i get very caught up in one particular thing at a time, and this thing will then get all my attention. in 2010 i've been really preoccupied with boats, particularly hurtigruten (a boat going up and down the coast of norway), an old steamboat company from bergen (bds), and crocheting.

03. you make short songs with this very peculiar pop-ish melodic sense with this witty sense of humor balanced with some naivety. what inspires you to write songs?
inspiration can come from all sort of places. a small piece of a melody paired with some topic that i want to talk about is usually the start for a song. sometimes there will be a small line of lyrics, or a situation i've seen, experienced or thought of. i like bands and artists that care about the lyrics of their songs, and i try to be that way myself, i try to make the songs meaningful. as far as i know only one of my songs has got a lyric that is utterly rubbish, and this is the very first soda fountain rag song "the catcher". this song is featured in a new version on my new album "reel around me" which is out now 5 july.

04. playing with you there's anders (from the april skies) and niko (from princess niko) two musicians that i really, really admire for there musical feeling and hability for constantly write infectious pop songs. since i found out that they were linked to the project, i've been curious to know how did you guys meet and how do you make music. i mean, do they participate on the creative process or just support you on live performances?
anders and i come from the same town (kristiansund, a small coastal town (that they indeed did not forget to bomb) in the western parts of norway). we moved to bergen in 2001, and met nicko there some years later through out mutual friend lars (former bass player with soda fountain rag). anders produces the songs i record at home. this means that through the years he's been cleaning up a lot of messy songs. we both care more and more about how the songs sounds, so this is part of the reason why songs are appearing at a slower pace nowadays (as opposed to a period in 2006 with almost a song a week). lately i've been putting out some demos on myspace, as it's fun to do things a little fast and careless sometimes.
anders is also the one who's telling me to do things over again if it's not good enough. he will probably also be playing more guitar on recordings in the future, as i'm not that stubborn on doing everything myself anymore, and let's face it, i'm not a very good guitarist.

05. you're releasing 'reel around me' on yes boy ice cream. could you talk about the making of it... how it was recorded and things like that?
"reel around me" was recorded with the full live band, anders, nicko and me, in a small village near brescia in the northern part of italy. we were invited to do this recording by alessandro (from we were never being boring collective), and he was also the engineer and producer for this album. as much as possible of the album is recorded live. we combined the recording with a small tour of italy, and had a great time!

06. music consumption and distribution nowadays: what are your thoughts about it?
i think it's really difficult to earn something on recordings these days, but on the other hand it's easier to get your music heard by a lot of people spread all over the world. i'm still a huge fan of the physical format though. i like to hold things in my hands. i'm noticing with joy that vinyl sales are going up, as i love vinyl, and would like more bands to release their stuff in this beautiful format. it seems like indiepoppers still care about buying the music they like, so i'm not that worried. i'm not in it for the money anyway, but it would be nice if the independent labels sell enough to keep the business going. we really need them!

07. do you get to live of music or have another job?
no, i cannot make a living from my music. this is also a reason for the slower production of songs nowadays. it was easier to make room for songwriting when one was a student. now i'm actually a philosopher (and this is the stupidest career move you can make, don't do it kids!), but it's hard to find relevant jobs, so to make sure I'm doing something meaningful i'm currently working in a kindergarden. it's a great job.

08. any song you'd like to cover?
nm, not right now. If i'm completely in love with a song, i sometimes dabble with the thought of a cover. it would be quite fun to do a springsteen song!

09. name the perfect place and time to hear your music.
perfect time, i don't know, but the perfect place could be on a train. turn it up an look out of the window!

10. recommend something you've been listening lately.
lately i've been listening a lot to a song called "brooklyn" by youngblood brass band, and "evensong" by the gentle waves. And a lot of billy joel, the 52nd street album. also, as there is a world cup going on i've been listening a lot to "soccer fan" by real sounds of africa. go oranje!

11. anything else you feel like saying?
best wishes,

here's new dancing shoes.

urørt (here you can download a lot of her songs clicking on 'last ned').

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