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2016 Artist Survey: AURORA

AURORA on 2016's Best Albums, David Bowie and Leonard Cohen, First Kisses, and Stranger Things

Jan 10, 2017 Issue # 59 - 15th Anniversary Photography by Knut Aaserud Bookmark and Share

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For Under the Radar‘s 14th annual Artist Survey we emailed some of our favorite artists a few questions relating to 2016. We asked them about their favorite albums of the year and their thoughts on various notable 2016 news stories involving either the music industry or world events, as well as some quirkier personal questions. Here are some answers from AURORA (full name Aurora Aksnes). The 20-year-old Norwegian singer/songwriter released her debut album, All My Demons Greeting Me as a Friend, in 2016 on Glassnote.

For our annual Artist Surveys we emailed the same set of questions to musicians about Trump and the election, 2016’s deaths, self-driving cars, Stranger Things, first kisses, scary movies they shouldn’t have seen as a child, which Friends character they are most like, and much more.

Pick up or download Under the Radar’s Best of 2016 / 15th Anniversary Issue for Artist Survey interviews with Amber Arcades, Austra, Faris Badwan of Cat’s Eyes and The Horrors, Boxed In, Caveman, The Charlatans, Cursive, Lucy Dacus, The Dears, C Duncan, Sadie Dupuis of Sad13 and Speedy Ortiz, Dutch Uncles, Ezra Furman, Robyn Hitchcock, The Invisible, Justin Lockey of Editors and Minor Victories, Lost Under Heaven (LUH), Lush, Midlake, Phantogram, The Range, Springtime Carnivore, Sunflower Bean, Surfer Blood, TEEN, The Thermals, Nick Valensi of CRX and The Strokes, Jenn Wasner of Flock of Dimes and Wye Oak, and Yuck.

Top 10 Albums of 2016

I haven’t had the time to discover 10 new albums released this year! Wardruna released a new album called Runaljod - Ragnarok, I love their music and style. Very inspired by Norwegian folk music with lyrics on the old Norwegian language. Very dark, and very hypnotic. David Bowie released Blackstar, which I absolutely love. It’s very dark, and strikes me with sadness in many ways. He told us all about his condition without us even knowing it. He’s been exploring, and you can hear that. Our beloved Leonard Cohen also released one. It’s called You Want It Darker. It’s absolutely beautiful, he’s using a men’s choir on one of my favorite songs “It Seemed the Better Way” and it touches all the right heart strings. It’s hard to think that he is gone. But comforting knowing that he left all this music behind.

2016 was regarded by many as a fairly tough and negative year. Was it also a hard year for you personally? If so, how? And also what were the high points for you?

It has been a really tough year. Lots of work, traveling, being sick, and missing my family. But it’s also been a magical year full of adventures. And every time I come home, I’ve already forgotten about all the times I felt homesick and sad. It’s often the good memories that stick with me. Which is a good sign. As long as the hard work is more giving than tiring, I will keep going. The world has lost some good people on the way. It’s a part of life. Luckily we are good at putting light on all we have been given. Good people doing good things.

What are your thoughts on how the U.S. presidential election played out?

I think as always there are many people happy with how it went, and many people that are not. It’s a part of change. And it’s also important that the world keeps changing. It’s meant to change. And sometimes the change made is progress, and other times a way to learn from our mistakes. Just like a child.

Let’s discuss Donald Trump. What does the rise of Trump tell you about America in 2016? What concerns you most about a Trump presidency? How do you think his presidency might personally change your life? What message do you have for those who voted for Trump? What actions will you take over the course of the next four years to either protest a Trump presidency or support it?

No I think let’s not! Haha!

What reality TV star would you have rather been elected president?

Bill Murray.

If you were president, what would you try to accomplish in your first 100 days in office?

Now the world needs to be inspired. To remember how connected we all are to each other rather than divided. We are all equals. And in a thousand ways so similar to each other. We get closer to accomplishing great things, one man can’t do much alone. But with a position like that-imagine how many people you could inspire.

What are your thoughts on Brexit and the future of the European Union? To what extent do you think the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump were motivated by the same factors?

I would rather not get involved.

We lost three highly influential music icons in 2016. What are your thoughts on the passing of David Bowie, Prince, and Leonard Cohen? And what are your favorite albums by each artist

Of course it’s sad! It’s always sad when people leave this planet. Some of them didn’t even live that long lives. Leonard Cohen was one of my most influential inspirations. It’s strange knowing that his career and life has come to an end. It’s strange how even they who seem immortal will reach the end of their lives. People come and go. Even heroes. And both him, David Bowie, and Prince were great men. I actually really like both Cohen and Bowie’s newest albums: You Want It Darker and Blackstar.

What do you think Prince and Bowie’s afterlife project sounds like?

Sounds magical.

Which Friends character are you most like?

I’ve always felt the most connected to Phoebe. “Smelly Cat” will always be remembered. #neverforget

What scary movie did you see way too young as a child, how’d you end up seeing it, and does it still scare you now?

I didn’t have the need to watch scary movies when I was young. Frankly I don’t watch much TV. But I think the movie that damaged me the most was Titanic. It’s so beautiful and so horrible at the same time. I think one does not ever get old enough to watch that movie. Never.

Are you ready for self-driving cars and a more automated future?

It’s fascinating and terrifying at the same time.

Tell us about the most memorable fan encounter you had this year.

Meetings with my fans are mostly just wonderful. They are pretty cool people. But I see how my music attracts people with whom I find similarities to myself. Maybe that’s why they connect with me and my music in the first place. The strangest ones must be when people propose to me. I am not really looking for marriage at the time.

Tell us about your first kiss.

My first kiss was beautiful. I went down to my neighbor (I was 4). He was wearing a Spider-Man suit. We kissed. It was quick and lovely, I was happy with what I had accomplished that day. And remained a big fan of Spider-Man until this very day.

Under the Radar has been around for 15 years now, since December 2001. How do you feel the music industry has most changed in that time, both for the better and the worst?

Well I did not know much of the music industry 15 years ago (when I was 5) and neither do I know much about it now. But it seems like everyone is still looking for the same things. A good voice, with a pretty face and a song which could be a catchy tune on the radio. And that is in some ways a very natural part of the process of becoming a successful musician. But it’s also very boring. In many ways I feel like the music industry has lost a part of its personality. I think many things both sound and look the same. Talking about the same things. It’s very strange. Half computer, half man. And it’s sad how so much of it has no nerve. Because people get used to it, and forget how to appreciate more challenging music. Which makes it more difficult for challenging music to succeed. It’s an endless hunt.

Which Stranger Things character do you most relate with? Why?

I like Eleven. And I like their school teacher.

What are your thoughts on President Barack Obama now that he’s leaving office

He seems like a really genuine and nice man. A good role model, with a good heart and a way of speech. He knows what words to tell to the people, I think that is both a very important and a beautiful gift.

What VHS tape or DVD did you wear out growing up?

I watched The Hunchback of Notre Dame a lot.

What TV show did you most enjoy binge watching in 2016?

I really like Black Mirror. Terrifying. And I still watch Avatar: The Last Air Bender.



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I. Rex
January 1st 2018

why did you pummel that poor child with so many Trump questions? were you trying to get her in trouble and stress her out?