From the first haunting notes of Denmark-based Esther Maria’s 2012 release, The Abyss, it’s impossible not to be drawn in. Between the haunting, alt-country melodies beneath atmospheric layers and the powerhouse vocals (think PJ Harvey), it is music meant to intrigue and enthrall.
Eagerly awaiting this week’s sets, OTM was able through the magic of the internet to invite Esther Maria to join us on the virtual comfy couch for a quick chat about music, pirates, and that equally swaggering legend, Tom Waits.
Esther Maria: To be honest I don’t know whats’ moving out there at the moment, I have been looking forward to the Atoms for Peace album – otherwise anything that hasen’t been produced into a cream pie or involves digitally enhanced vocals!
Name five essential albums you can’t live without.
The Heart of Saturday Night (Tom Waits), The Bends (Radiohead), After the Gold Rush (Neil Young), Mozart’s Requiem and From the Basement on the Hill (Elliot Smith)
Your favourite guilty pleasure?
Definitely sex in the afternoon, but let’s just leave the guilt bit out.
Share with us something that fans would find intriguing, but no music writer has managed to draw out of you yet.
I was member of a cult-like community called Tvind from the age of 13 until I was 17.
The great debate of our lives: who would win, ninjas or pirates? More importantly, why?
Pirates – because if you cut off one of their limbs, they just stick a peg there instead and they are still as deadly. Besides, pirates are cool. Ninjas are skinny boys in pyjamas!
Thinking of concerts you’ve attended as a fan/spectator, what’s the weirdest thing you’ve seen someone else do in an audience?
A guy who stripped down naked and try to jump on stage at a Supergrass concert – it was a laugh, but not as much as when he started to crowd surf. I can still see his genitalia passing above me, arghhhh!
The music industry can be daunting at best. What keeps you going in a world flooded with talent, each person or group jockeying for listeners and airplay?
Is the world flooded with talent, or have we just lost the ability to have critical observation and distance, also towards ourselves?
It’s great that a large majority of people have the possibility to be creative — humans are immensely creative — but not everybody is talented. For me, it’s about my life, what I find important, and sustainning my sanity. The only way I can do that is by being creative, expressing myself via music, singing. There is no quitting or opting-out; it would be the same as giving up on life itself!
Your first concert: who was it, and how old were you? More importantly, how was it?
It was a Jazz concert with my mum (who is also a singer) at a bar called Café Victor in Copenhagen. A very famous bass player called Hugo Rasmussen was playing with her. I was about 8 maybe 9. I remmeber being so fascinated by him (he has a very large red beard) but most of all, by the resonance of the Bass. It was quite wonderful. Then my attention was drawn outside where the natural history museum was transporting a dinosaur bone on the back of the van. Quite surreal, really.
The world is ending in ten minutes. You can listen to one and only one song before the world ends. What song do you go out on?
“The Heart of Saturday night” – Tom Waits.
What can we look forward to from you in 2013?
A new single and EP, a lot of concerts and, if we’re lucky, a bit of success!
I have no doubt that CMW audiences will be thrilled. Thanks so much, Esther.
You have a few chances to enjoy the artistry of Esther Maria, so make the most of them this week. Esther Maria performs March 21st at 11:15 (acoustic, Lounge Bar Marriott) and March 23rd at 8:30pm (Tranzac).
Esther Maria has also graciously contributed a copy of The Abyss for our CMW Giveaway! Share this interview on social media or head here to learn how to win!