INTERVIEW: Dagny chats US tour, new music and journey so far!
Friday night, I sat down with Norway’s Dagny just an hour before she took the stage at a sold out show at iconic starting place, the Middle East in Cambridge. Dagny has done just one other US tour prior to this headlining run, opening up for LANY last fall, and it’s clear it’s only going to pick up even more. For our interview, we sat at a table in the restaurant to chat this headlining run, her songwriting process and what is to come for her in the next year! During the interview, the realness in Dagny shown through as she speed ate a bowl of soup for dinner and took pictures with a guest at the restaurant’s dog even!
Dagny is one of those artists who I know will be a stock answer when someone asks me who the most successful artists are that I’ve interviewed. With a third EP planned for this fall, a home on Republic Records and two new singles on the horizon, it is clear Dagny will only go up from here. If her crowd is any indication of what’s to come, she will soon be a household name. Find our chat below and catch Dagny before everyone else does!
You did your first US tour last year with LANY, this is your first headlining run in the states. Going into these shows, how did you prepare for these shows?
Yeah because headlining shows are quite different then support tours. Like we did last year. For the start of this year, February/March, we did a big headlining tour in Norway. So a lot of the preparations were actually done before that tour so we kind of just scaled it down into a slightly smaller like club scene kind of tour. For me, a big part of it is just picking the songs. We’ve always done a very energetic, up tempo set and when you do a slightly bigger show, then you also have to dare and take it down and be really vulnerable and that was new for me. Just getting my head around that and picking the colors and things. I think this is a really good question for my sister, she’s been doing all the organization. Like picking all the lighting and stuff. That must have been a pain in the ass. For me, this tour, I’ve been fortunate enough to just be able to be excited about it. It feels like a big thing. Coming from Tromso in northern Norway, to be on a headlining tour in the US.
And tonight is sold out. Maybe how is that, how is that feeling, considering you’ve only done one tour in the US?
That was probably the biggest thing. I was terrified that we were going to release and that no one was going to come to the shows. So the fact that so many of the shows have sold out. It’s all kinds of different venues. Like here, it’s just under two hundred then there are some shows that are four, five hundred. So it’s nice to see that people are coming to the show and enjoying it. I think a big part of it is the tour we did in autumn because we got to meet so many people and perform in front of so many people that would have probably never heard about it.
So some of the shows have been like sold out at five hundred and some smaller like this?
Yeah, Montreal, we had never been to Montreal before and that was interesting. Because it was maybe eighty people but then like half of them were sitting and everyone was coming up to me after being like why were there tables? We wanted to dance! And I was like yeah I know I’m sorry! So I’m learning that for next time! No tables.
And you haven’t been doing this forever. Obviously you’re still really young but you’ve been playing Europe for several years. When it came to planning these US sets, some of these songs I’m sure are much older. How did you go about planning these set lists? You still just have the two EP’s out.
Exactly, because that’s always a tricky bit about doing a headline show when you’ve released so little music. But I think, you know I’ve been writing for years, releasing wise we’re always kind of conscious about whether the song feels like big enough or blah blah blah, blah blah blah, all these things. And for me, that’s the shame about how music is now. I really want to make an album because you get the opportunity to show different sides of yourself as an artist and I think that for me, obviously having been writing for years, there have been different periods and different sounds. So doing a headlining show was also really nice because then I get to do songs that aren’t necessarily as easily translated on record. But it still feels like a good live song. So I just picked all my kind of favorites from the last five years I guess.
And do you think an LP is somewhere on the horizon? You are signed to a major label in the US, with Republic, or do you still think it’s a little while away?
I don’t think it’s too far off. It’s always there in my mind and I know that they know that I want to make an album.
EP’s seem like the big trend right now, it’s what everyone is doing right now.
Yeah but I haven’t fucking made an EP either in a year and a half. I think there’s a EP on the horizon very soon. And I think that there is a record as well. But obviously since I’ve been writing for so many years, I just want to make it right. And it feels like I’m getting closer to doing that but it’s a process. And I’m one of those people that constantly is changing and evolving. So you know one year I feel like oh this is my record then three months later, I’m like no wait I don’t want to do that song I want to do this song instead. So slowly but surely, I’m working it out. I hope that people want to listen to more sides of my music so that will be good timing when it comes out.
Like we keep saying, you’ve been writing for years. Do you think the writing process still changes or has it kind of fallen into a pretty steady rhythm?
I think you become more confident and for me, that’s been a slow process. Because I’m working with so many new people all the time. They can take a little bit of time to warm up creatively but I’ve kind of found the people that I feel get what I want to do and I feel like they are big contributors to that sound. For me, the whole thing has just been about becoming confident and comfortable enough to do just what I want to do and my melodies and my lyrics. So in that sense, that’s probably changed. A few years back or even more, I probably would have just gone with an idea rather then trying to steer it to where I wanted it to go and that’s been a good learning process. But when you make a record, you want to make the record the way you want to make it. So I think I found my people now.
Then you’re doing this tour, only your second tour in the US, we’re still really early into 2018. Just hitting May now. Coming up on festival season. Maybe focuses or goals for you over these next few months?
First of all, I think this year it’s important that I do release new music. We’re just releasing the first song now on May 4th which is only next week. Then another one at the start of June, then again hoping that the EP will come out early Autumn. Because last year was so much touring with very little focus on recording and releasing. So for me, that would be the biggest focus this year.
You did so many festivals, right like thirty something?
I did like 37 festivals and I’m doing 20 this year. I’m like oh we’re only doing 20 and everyone is like that’s not only!
Most bands do like five and are proud of themselves for five.
Yeah we’re really working for it. And then we’re doing a European tour. You never know, we might do another US tour if it goes well. For me touring is the love of my life. It really is. It’s always been the drive behind music. It’s always the focus but I also need to spend more time in the studio which I think I will this year. I want to actually come play shows and people actually know the songs.