Thea & The Wild Bloom an Americana-Pop songbook featuring ‘Deadheading’

When Emmylou Harris’ “Where Will I Be” hit the radio a few years ago, a flood of memories flooded back to Thea Raknes. The Norwegian singer, who goes by the nickname Thea & The Wild, began to think back to listening to Harris with her mother as a child.

“It gave me all kinds of memories of my childhood, and it was really moving,” Raknes told the American songwriter, hearing “Where Will I Be” again and returning to the music of Harris – especially this song – listening to it in the shower. , when she was pregnant and as a musical mechanism to calm herself down. Captivated by the production of the track, taken from Harris’ 1995 album wrecking balland her slow drumming and emotional vocals, Raknes kept returning to the song as a point of reference while writing her third album, dead head (physical format).

Produced with his partner Cato “Salsa” Thomassen of alternative rock band Madrugada, and written entirely by Raknes, Deadheading moves through his entire life changes like a nostalgic memory of days gone by, dealing with heightened regrets and worries, as well as only to its own rebirth and new life. freedom to explore his music differently.

The notion of deadheading – a gardening term referring to the removal of dead flower heads from plants to make room for new blooms – and leaving something behind to start over resonated with Raknes, who moved to the Hurum Peninsula in southern Norway in 2017 to raise her two children. Separated from family and friends in her hometown of Oslo, Raknes began living her own life.

“I missed my friends and family, and they all live in central Oslo,” says Raknes. “I always wonder what was the right choice, but you have to drop something to grow something new. You have to cut it because then the new flowers will come. Leave the old behind.

She added, “I kind of think to myself what should I do in a lot of these songs.”

Through dead head, Raknes uncovers his fears and doubts, his mental ups and downs, and some of the lighter moments in between. Full of his most vulnerable renditions, dead head back and forth from the internalized to the interpersonal centered around relationships on the “poison apple” soaked in the country –I knew I wasn’t easy / Oh, you picked a funny one– and the more moody rhythms of a powerful “Little Sister”, opening with he’s not your king, and you’re nobody’s rockwhile more premature perceptions of love run through the tender “The Moment”.

“It’s written from the point of view of when the relationship stopped being romantic,” Raknes says of this final track. “The moment we had, we lost it and it’s not coming back. It hasn’t happened yet, but I’m still worried.

Raknes addresses his mood swings and finds the right space during more despondent times in the hopeful impulses of “Misery Mountain” – the title taken from a porcelain mug a neighbor has given the artist since. the highest peak on Bjørnøya (Bear) Island in Norway. She connects the distant location (also called Misery Mountain), to where she will reset her bad mood. I said things I wish I could take back / And I did things I wish I could undo, she sings, reassured that things will be better once she comes down from her mountain of misery.

“I had this idea of ​​taking a step back when I have my sad days and I feel like everything is just shit, and climbing the mountain of misery and leaving everyone alone and not emailing or calling people and not telling anyone,” Raknes explains of the song. “Someone gave me this advice once. When you’re in that depressed state, don’t overdo it. Don’t make plans. Don’t send too many emails. Just leave it and come back when you feel like yourself again, so that’s what “Misery Mountain” is all about. But it’s not that easy, because I’d be sitting there, alone, depressed, and that’s not smart.

Moving from the more rhythmic guitar “Stay Here My Heart”, other worries resurface with questioned actions on the post-punk drum and synth glaze of “How Could We” and the bounce around negative thoughts –Oh when my days are like nights, I’m the enemy / The same wave brings me / Pulls me away— to the more laid-back indie-pop of “Rip Tide.”

Caught between all of her adult responsibilities and memories of days gone by, Raknes contemplates being a kid again to the more steady beat of “Take Me Back.”

“It’s a clear desire to be a kid again because when I walk my kid in the pram he’s so safe and warm and has no responsibilities and no worries,” Raknes shares of the song. “And I’m thinking, ‘wouldn’t it be nice to be like a kid again,’ and I’m homesick for that. Suddenly, I have all these new roles to play in my life, because I’m now a mother. and that I own a house. We’re all supposed to be responsible, but at the same time, we’re all like a child on the inside in some way.

dead head marks a period of new growth for Raknes, in singing and songwriting, beginning with the 2018 release, Icarusand its beginnings, Strangers and lovers, which earned the artist a Spellemann nomination (Norwegian Grammy) in the Indie category.

There is solace in motherhood for Raknes, but songwriting is a more abstract affair for the artist, one that requires a certain escape. Sometimes songs need a longer distance, which led Rakness to make a brief pilgrimage to the neighboring Faroe Islands to write. Tending to her home garden of fruits, vegetables, and a collection of crested chickens that provide the family with fresh eggs is where lyrics and melodies can often come in too.

“It’s so personal because all the emotions are in it,” Raknes shares of his solitary writing. “If you’re working in the garden, you’re planting seeds, and it’s more practical and doesn’t require as many emotions that you go through – the insecurities or the questions ‘Should I do this’ or ‘Does anyone wants to listen to this. The garden is just happy and kind.

Although writing dead head was a cathartic process for Raknes, the songs were the ones needed to To cut for its own growth.

“I felt a little more relaxed doing the songs and that they were also more honest,” Raknes says. “I’ve always written lyrics as symbols or metaphors, and I feel like they weren’t always so clear, whereas now I think lyrics are easier to understand. They’re more honest, naked, and a little scarier.

Photos: Magdalena Malinowska / Present PR

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