Photographer: Anne Valeur
Hello Neon Ion, welcome to Buzz Music and thank you for being here. This unique dance-pop sound is rooted in classic and educated practices of music. Natalie, what necessities did you have to meet when choosing the band for Neon Ion?
I have had the honor of working with strong and unique musicians on this project. I chose them because they are able to be free in my music in a way that makes the live performance different from the album. And most importantly this makes it A LOT of fun to be on stage because we create something new together. On stage is where I feel most at home and the most creative. So to have a band with great individuals, that you feel free and comfortable with on stage is key.
Natalie, you were originally a solo artist making incredible and unique music, just as you are now. What influenced your decision to go in this new direction with Neon Ion?
Ever since I was a kid I listened to a lot of soul and RnB. Then jazz became an all-consuming factor in my life around the age of 17. It was amazing to dive so deep into that genre. Jazz is a truly magical thing! But then I started listening to more contemporary artists and discovered acts such as Frank Ocean, James Blake, and Little Dragon. And I just fell in love with their sounds. I just felt connected to it, and it made me want to write songs in a different way. Then I met my producer Erlend Mokkelbost. We had a date where we listened to music, and we just hit it off. Writing songs just became easy and Neon Ion was born! This new sonic direction was something I always had on the tip of my tongue, but it needed Erlend to come alive.
You have been praised for your awe-inspiring live performances. What are some of the things you do while performing, to ensure a great show?
It's hard to describe. I think its this mystical energy that unravels on stage, that you can never recreate. It's like chasing a utopia, and the chase makes you work hard to reach the high that you get from an amazing performance. Its the fight, the work, the interaction with the musicians on stage, and they wish to connect with the audience that makes it interesting. The bottom line is that my focus has to be sharp and on point. I have to focus on the music, and not worry about stuff like if there is someone "important" in the audience from the music biz or something like that.
Neon Dream was inspired by Los Angeles and the band’s love for the city. What are some of the other themes we can expect to find in your up-coming music?
In my songs, there is always some kind of melancholy, in addition to it being danceable and fun. It's like when you are in a club, dancing and crying your heart out at the same time. I am also very inspired by traveling, meeting people, connections. I fall in love very easily with everything, and so when I leave a place, or a tour ends, I'm always heartbroken. Does it sound weird if I say that a lot of the songs on this album are about heartbreak when I'm happily married? I'll leave it open. Because I don't know the answer to that yet.
What can we expect to see from Neon Ion throughout 2020?
A lot of exciting things are happening this year! There will be 3 more singles dropping in April, then the album Heart Echoes is released on the 8th of May. We are doing a release tour part 1 in Norway and the UK. Then in the autumn, we will do part 2. Hopefully, we will do a show in LA in the autumn!
Also, I'm already writing new songs... so a lot more music is coming your way! It just feels amazing to be going out on tour again. Before I went to the studio with this music I was touring for years with different projects. So I wasn't used to just being in the studio, not playing concerts. So I have a lot of energy to bring to the stage now!
Discover Neon Ion's music, here.