On the launch of their debut single ‘25‘, we chatted to Sofie Tollefsbøl, mastermind behind Norwegian neo-soul outfit Fieh about dreams, synths and ‘real instruments’.
First things first, where does the name come from and what does it mean?
Sofie Tollefsbøl: It’s my name, Sofie, without the So and with an H (laughs). Probably inspired by Nas I would guess, I came up with it super long ago – it was my name on all vintage Norwegian social media.
When the band was formed, did you always know it was going to be a soul/funk outfit, or did it just get there organically?
Yes to both. We were all very much into all kinds of soul, funk, disco, R’n’B and hiphop, and more modern RnB/soulthings which derive from those genres when we started the band, so it wasn’t any surprise for the project to turn out that way even if it wasn’t planned.
You point out that you want to show young people ‘what your instruments sound like’ – what’s the thinking there? Do you feel like the youth of today are cut off from real instruments?
Yes. I don’t know about the rest of the world, but at least in Norway quite a lot of the modern pop music played on the radio and that young people are exposed to is extremely synth-based, without the sound of like…a guitar. Or just a voice that’s not been autotuned to shit and had so many effects put on it that you can’t recognise it and then put disgustingly loud in the mix. Not meaning that I don’t like synths or autotune, but I just know that a lot of young people would like to hear music that’s fairly accessible but still sounds different to that.
You clearly spent a lot on the video – how important are videos for bands trying to get attention these days? How do you feel about feeding the YouTube machine even though the revenues aren’t great?
I don’t know if it’s more or less important than before, but growing up, I used to love music videos, like the videos of Missy Elliott, they were so wild, and Outkast’s videos. I still remember many music videos from 2000-2010 so well, I used to see them on TV, which I guess isn’t really a thing any longer.
But maybe I just remember the old videos and love them because of the nostalgia. Anyways, there are surely some cool videos these days too, like the ones of Hiro Murai, and the ones for Lemonade.
And, when it comes to revenues, we are musicians, so revenues are never great anyway.
What are your goals for the next year? Are you planning to support the album with tours?
I hope we’ll play a lot of shows and make our next album!
What’s the best gig by a new band you’ve been to in the last year?
That’s a very hard question! Last week I was at a concert with Steinmøysa feat. Ståle Storløkken, that was the best thing I had seen in a long while. There is this Norwegian band called Pom Poko which I have seen many times the last year, they’re great every time. Also in February 2018 I saw a band called Bear Brother with Mats Äleklint, I remember that still because it was great.
What can Fieh do that no-one else can?
What’s on the band’s bucket list? What achievement would make you go ‘right, I can die happy now’?
Hmmmmm. I felt like that while we were making the first album, like – okay, when this is done I’ll just stop doing music or maybe just die, at least I made one pretty cool record. But now I think it would be to make a way better album. In Electric Lady Studios. And maybe produced by Questlove, or Terrace Martin. And tour the world, of course!