Øyvind Holm’ new album “The Unreliable Narrator” is out today via Crispin Glover Records

Photo: Olga Bushueva/IHTLNY

Read the interview with the singer-songwriter about his solo career, working on the design for the vinyl record and a new album coming next year.

“The Unreliable Narrator”  is your third solo album – the first one, “The Vanishing Act”, was released in 2005. And then fifteen years later, in 2020 came “After the Bees”. What was the reason for this long break between the first two albums and what do you think about continuing your solo career?

Back then I guess I didn’t feel quite ready to go out on my own. “The Vanishing Act” was recorded right after my first band Dipsomaniacs broke up. So, to tell you the truth, it felt a bit lonely being a solo artist after all those years in a band. Not long after that I put together Deleted Waveform Gatherings, and released four albums with them before Sugarfoot was born.

Since then I’ve been in bands for nearly twenty years, so this time around it felt kind of liberating to do solo stuff again. That doesn’t mean that I’m no longer surrounded by lots of great, very talented musicians. It isn’t solo as in “alone”. I’m very much open to creative suggestions when we record. The point is simply that it felt really rewarding to be able to focus more on my pop roots again when I recorded “After The Bees”.

Right now I’m at a good place musically, and I really enjoy writing and recording solo material. My creative ambition is to be returning to the studio again this fall to record yet another solo album. 

But, as I said, I still very much enjoy collaborating with other people. And if/when the stars align, I’m convinced we could knock out another great Sugarfoot album. 

The album on vinyl has a very impressive design. Could you tell us more about the working process and the final result?

This is one of the great things about being on a label such as Crispin Glover Records. A good design is always a priority. If you’ve got a good idea, Torgeir Lund at CGR will always do his best to support it and make it happen.

For the design I had envisioned a front photo printed on some kind of semi-transparent paper. Kind of like the sandwich paper people in Norway wrap around their lunch before they go to work or school in the morning. The people at Record Industry suggested that we’d use a type of paper called tracing paper. It is a bit thicker than regular sandwich paper, but it has the same look and lets light through if you hold it up to a lamp or the sun.

The idea was to have a die-cut sleeve that only showed part of the picture through the cut-out when you slipped it inside the sleeve. You can’t look me in the eye, so it’s harder to tell if I’m telling the truth – “The Unreliable Narrator”

Along with the front photo, we included a lyric sheet, a CD and a bonus 7”. There’s even an ultra limited edition that includes an extra A4 photo.

With so many details that had to fall into place at the same time, I have to admit we were quite nervous when we opened that first box of vinyl. I think we all feel the final result exceeded all our expectations. It really turned out quite nice.

A large number of events are planned in connection with the release of the album: vinyl listening at bar Moskus April 5th, CGR In-store April 9th, two release concerts on April 21st and 22nd at Moskus. What are your plans after this?

I really hope to do more gigs with the band this year to promote the album, but everyone connected to this project has really busy schedules on their own. So it’s all about finding those little pockets where all of us are free at the same time.  But we really love playing together, so more gigs will definitely turn up. Doing a few stripped down solo shows at smaller venues is also a possibility in between band gigs. So stay tuned. 

When can we expect some new music from you?

Well, if I get around to do more recording this fall, a new album can hopefully be released sometime during the fall of 2023. At the moment it takes 6-8 months to get vinyl records manufactured. That will give me plenty of time to promote “The Unreliable Narrator”, instead of just going crazy while waiting for the vinyl to arrive, which was the case this time. My original plan was actually to release this one in August of 2021. But then the world went mad.

Listen to “The Unreliable Narrator” on all streaming services or get your copy on vinyl:

“The Unreliable Narrator”:

Words & Music by Øyvind Holm
Recorded at Brygga Studio, Trondheim, Norway
Engineered, mixed & produced by Pål Brekkås
Mastered by Magnus Kofoed

The Band:

Øyvind Holm: lead & backing vocals, el. & acoustic guitars, keyboards, piano, mellotron

Pål Brekkås: backing vocals, bass, minimoog, roland ju-06, mellotron, wurlitzer, upright piano, percussion

Arve Gulbrandsen: drums, percussion

Thomas Henriksen: moog one, minimoog, yamaha cp 70, upright piano, glockenspiel, wurlitzer

Alexander Pettersen: backing vocals, el. & acoustic guitars, el. sitar, minimoog, bass, mellotron, eventide h3000 se, upright piano, logan piano strings synth, behringer vc340 vocoder, roland ju-06, handclaps, drums, percussion

Additional musicians:

Kirsti Huke: vocals on “The Stranger”, “Traveling Through Time” & “Driftwood”
Ida Jenshus: vocals on “Ghost Dance”, “Water”, “iLove” & “Indigo”
Bergmund Waal Skaslien: viola on “You Plot The Crime”, “Indigo” & “Early November”
Rolf Martin Snustad saxophones on “Ghost Dance”, “Traveling Through Time” & “Cinema”