It's hard not to become enamored by Karin Dreijer Andersson's voice, a heartbreaking instrument that she frequently manipulates to take on the roles of the characters in her songs. On her debut album as Fever Ray, Andersson, who is best known for her work with The Knife (as well as collaborations with Royksopp), creates a collection of tales as sweetly nostalgic as they are sonically disturbing. Fever Ray plays tonight at Henry Fonda Theater. Below, check out a brief conversation with Andersson and some of her most intriguing videos.
Fever Ray "When I Grow Up" (Live)
The staging and costumes for your Fever Ray performances looks amazing. What inspired it?
I have been working with Andreas Nilsson who did the "If I Had a Heart" video. He worked with The Knife years ago. I had been working with him for many years. We started to discuss when the album was finished how to do this on stage. I was very into having a band to play with on stage, so we're five people on stage. Andreas is the one who designed the costumes and the smoke and lasers and everything. We try to fill up the room. We really want to capture the audience in what's going on on stage.
Are you at all influenced by theatrical productions?
I think mostly film. I watch a lot of films. I've never been to an opera, but I go to theater sometimes. I think that with theater there are so many possibilities to have it work with the stage and the audience. You're able to do whatever you want to and I think that it's a little bit strange that there are so many, that people don't work with it so much in a concert form. When you go to see a band, you know the music and you want something more. At least I do.
Fever Ray "Triangle Walks"
What's your favorite concert this year?
I think this year, I've been to very many shows because we've played at many festivals. I think that Amadou and Mariam is the best show I've seen this year. It's a band from Mali very beautiful music.
[This year] I've seen bands that I used to listen to in the 1990s for the first time, like Jane's Addiction. I think that could have been better if I saw them back then. It's a bit strange when those things happen.
Are the Fever Ray songs connected together as part of a larger story or is each song an individual story?
I think they are really individual stories. I think that when I started writing them, I didn't know what was going to happen.
Fever Ray "Seven"
When you're working on the videos, do you have much input or do you leave it in the hands of the directors?
I choose the directors. I like to find people that I think have their own very clear idea of what they want to do so that they can make their own interpretation of the music.
Was there a specific inspiration for the video for "Seven"?
I think it was Johan [Renck, director], he really wanted to do the video. I think he was the one who started to talk about this old woman. I think it's absolutely Johan's idea, but we had discussed some reference points a long time ago.