Stig Gustu Larsen is a singer/songwriter based in Oslo. The debut EP “Finding Home” was released in November 2014 it got great reviews and debuted at number 5 on the Norwegian iTunes charts. After touring all of 2015 and 2016, Stig is now ready with his second EP, the already critically acclaimed record “Lifelines + Echoes” (October 19th).
You’re currently busy & ready to release your second EP titled, “Lifelines + Echoes” set to release October 19th! What has this process been like to prepare for this release? It’s been hectic and a lot of work. It was important to me that this record turned out they way I wanted it, so I chose to do everything myself. I have done the cover art, promotion pictures, press releases and everything else, but when it’s all said and done, I wouldn’t want it any other way.
What does this EP mean to you? This is by far the most personal record I have ever written. I have always written songs that have some sort of personal meaning to me, but with this record each song is linked to one specific moment or person in my life. It’s about losing someone close from my childhood, an unborn child that I never got to meet, up to losing a friend way to early. I don’t wanna say it’s a concept record, but there is most definitely a theme-record, where the EP as a whole tells a story of loss and the life after..
What was the recording process like? Strange. I first started writing this record last year. I even started recording a few songs, but it just didn’t feel right. I tried to record in some sort of a traditional studio, but didn’t feel that I got the sound I wanted, so I started the whole process over again. I think I have recorded this whole record about six times before I felt it was finished. I had a clear vision in my head that this record should have some sort of live feel to it, and since I record all the instruments myself (except the bass track on Walk it off, which is done by Jørund Hjeltnes Langdal), it’s a bit hard to get that «live band» feel to it. So I recorded each instruments in one take and left some of the faults and glitches in the final mix. I just think that it sounds more genuine and for this record I think that the total is way more important than a perfect played, perfect pitched and glossy sound.
Do you have a favorite song off of the EP? If so, why? Right now I think that my favorite is Next Year. It’s a simple song with simple production. I just like that the rain and the sounds of city goes on in the background all throughout the entire song. This is the song I struggled the most with during the recording. I ended up setting up two mice’s in my living room and just recorded the whole thing live and in one take at 4 in the morning.
How does this EP differ from your first EP, “Finding Home” that you released in 2014? My first EP was a fun project, but I think I still was trying to find my way and my own sound away from my former band «GUSTU». When the band ended I just didn’t feel like I was done with music, but I didn’t know where I wanted to go. The whole «Finding Home» EP was written and recorded in about three weeks, while «Lifelines + Echoes» took me about one whole year.
Before you started working on this EP, you were touring most of 2015 and this year. Where did you tour, and how did those shows go? I toured all over Norway after the release of «Finding Home». I have been in cities like Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim, Hamar and smaller towns, like my hometown of Atna. From May to July I did a tour playing festivals and things like that, and it was just awesome. I got invited to do some shows in New York, London and Amsterdam as well, but it was just to difficult to make it happen this year, but I hope to get the shows into the 2017 tour.
What is your favorite part about performing live? I love to interact with the audience. It’s been an adjustment going from playing with a rock band, to standing all alone on stage with a guitar and a piano, but I must say I just love it. Standing alone on stage you get a whole new perspective and connection with the audience.
How has your hometown of Oslo, Norway influenced your music? Oslo has actually influenced the record in a great way. When I write songs, I often start off with an idea and I record it on my iPhone. Then I take a long walk around the city listening to different music to get inspiration. I went all over the city with a handheld recorder and recorded all the different sounds of the city and used it as an instruments in all of the songs on the record. The idea is that the listener is joining in on a walk around the city, while the music is kind of the thoughts or the backdrop. So Oslo is a huge part of the record.
When you aren’t writing or performing, what takes up your time? Right now I am preparing for some Christmas concerts this December, but it’s hard to say no to a jack and coke out on the town with some friends.
What is next for you coming up in 2017? I have already started booking concerts for 2017 and I am already writing the next EP. «Lifelines + Echoes» is actually a part two, just like Star Wars, I release the ending before the start. «Lifelines + Echoes» part one is being released in 2017 and it will not only be online, both part 1 and 2 will be released as an vinyl as side 1 and side 2. Other than that, I just hope people like the record. What more can you ask for?