It’s hard to imagine a more fitting debut album for Norwegian alt-pop artist Jimi Somewhere. Somehow sitting between the feelings of uncertainty and assuredness, the record achieves its goal of bridging the gap between the journey from adolescence into adulthood. Through the emotionally expansive debut, Somewhere’s refreshing confidence seems to grow and evolve with each passing song. Speaking about the project and the four years leading up to its release in an exclusive interview with EARMILK, he recalls the emotions and fulfillment that come from making the music you love with the people that move you.
“The process of collaboration has been really fun making this” Jimi relates as he Facetimes me from his apartment in Oslo. “I made all the songs with my best friend Milo (Orchis) who helped produce the whole album, so it’s just been us discovering everything together and figuring it out as we go along.” Orchis has been a long-time collaborator of Jimi since the two first met in eighth grade. “We were into different music at the time, where he was producing EDM music and I was really into writing raps. We didn’t really start getting on the same page until high school when we figured out what we wanted to do and started making some of the first Jimi Somewhere songs.” The joy and happiness of being able to create something artistically satisfying with a childhood friend is palpable throughout the record. “Acre”, which directly features Orchis, encapsulates an overcoming of insecurity and a tangible growth toward catharsis. This catharsis is also a central theme of the project, as most tracks seek to elicit audio wonder generated by joyous alt-pop mastery and extremely varied sonic DNA.
“Early Coldplay, Bright Eyes, even Porter Robinson from Milo’s side” Jimi says reeling off influences for the album, “KA (Kevin Abstract), Kanye obviously, even Childish Gambino. Because the Internet was a big reference for us.” The wildly varied inspirations don’t come as much of a surprise after hearing the work’s smorgasbord of sounds. Blurring genre lines has always been especially important for the Norway-based creative as he views his sound as a product of his influences, especially given the substantial incubation period of the project. “There’s so many different inspirations because there’s a lot of music you listen to in like 3-4 years” Jimi laughs. The main constant on the record that pivots genre barriers every few minutes is the defiantly deep emotional depth of the artist that drives it forward.
Jimi Somewhere has a long-standing, deep appreciation of film and it shows on the album as well as the entirety of his previous work. “There’s a lot of Wes Anderson in (the album)” he explains, “’Bottle Rocket’ and ‘Moonrise’ are both clear references to Wes. ‘Moonrise’ actually was inspired by the idea for Moonrise Kingdom which was that two kids who shared a love together but didn’t fully understand what this love was.” “The whole project is structured to flow together like you’re watching a movie” Jimi continues. “Bottle Rocket” is a crowd-pleasing, anthemic track that thematically occurs on the rising action of the album’s plot. Reaching the natural crescendo and denouement of the project, “Moonrise” is a sweepingly ambitious coming-of-age ballad that echoes the rich sonic largesse of the album.
Functioning as the confident and worldly conclusion of the project, “Golden” ties a bow around the themes and direction of the project with a thunderous, breathtaking ride into the sunset. Sampling Dream Koala’s “Gold”, the track examines the cost of achieving freedom and of staying golden even after embarking upon your personal voyage to find identity. Something magical is created in the echoing final moments of the record that leaves the listener with the simple phrase, "what now?" that leaves a sense of wonder lingering in the audience that persists long after the runtime has ceased.
Every song on the project seems to play perfectly into the theme of childlike wonder transitioning into a mature but cautiously optimistic outlook, something that everyone could use right now. Overjoyed and excited to have his long-term brainchild finally available to the public, Jimi relates how the sound of this project relates to all prior releases. “I think this album is larger and more well composed than my previous work. It was the first time recording live drums and violin” he explains, “These songs really feel like they have a larger perspective than the songs we chose for the EP’s.” This project is truly the sonic evolution of Jimi Somewhere, but not only just his sound, as he explains, “’Nothing Gold Can Stay’ is my whole adolescence wrapped up in 50 minutes.” Representing his journey from recording in his mother’s basement to recording in some of the most revered studios in L.A., the record is a breath of fresh air and a much-needed serotonin injection for anyone experiencing mental anguish or ennui in the crazy times in which we live.