Following on from last week’s Swedish video, this one is from the Norwegian Sol Heilo, who was an integral part of the all-female rock/country/cabaret quartet Katzenjammer, currently on hiatus.
Sol Heilo is the band member who has made the most of a go at a solo career so far, releasing one album, ‘Skinhorse Playground’, with another in the works. A complex character, much deeper than her bubbly outer persona reveals, many of her songs, written while touring almost constantly for 12 years with Katzenjammer, lay open her innermost thoughts about that role and the relationships she developed over those years with both people and places.
She opted to place this single on a new label, one owned by Petter Katastrofe (Petter Bjørklund Kristiansen) and partner Stian ‘Staysman’ Thorbjørnsen. She met Mr Katastrofe (which translates as ‘disaster’) a Norwegian singer and songwriter, earlier this year on a TV show, Hver gang vi møtes, (‘Every time we meet’) and on which participants had to sing each other’s songs. Apparently it was during that show that he decided to quit as an artist and move into label management and production, taking Sol Heilo along as his first client. The only condition was that he did not interfere in her writing.
She says the song “is about feeling trapped in a situation or constellation, where you have been assigned a role that you may not want to have. But then this is your gang, and you won’t get out of that role. Maybe a bit like being a minor in a family.”
There are two ways of interpreting that. It could refer to her role in Katzenjammer, one that became increasingly difficult for her, despite her being the one who tried hardest to keep the band together after the 2015 departure of Marianne Sveen. At least one of the songs on ‘Skinhorse Playground’ dealt with that subject.
Or the song could reference a personal relationship. The supporting clue there comes in this video, which appears to pick up from where she left off in a previous video, for the song ‘Killing Karma’ from the ‘Skinhorse Playground’ album (the writing on the wall is the lyrics to ‘Killing Karma’). It features her as the ‘Sol doll’ again, stripped for action as previously, and the same unidentified figure in black (‘The Cloak & Dagger Heart’) who tormented her in that earlier video, in an almost Harvey Weinstein-like fashion. But it leaves some unanswered questions, as to his identity (she’s previously declined to name him), about the Babushka doll who eats him and what that means, the hanging dog in the wood, and just who the band members are (they are obviously females in disguise). Could it be..?
Sol Heilo fills the job description of a ‘polymath’ perfectly. There is little she can’t do. Apart from her musical skills (she can play 17 instruments, having started out as a drummer in eight bands at the same time) and vocal capabilities, she’s a composer, arranger, producer, artist, designer and costume designer. In the last 12 months she’s been working with a leading Norwegian animation studio. Privately, she makes her own videos for her songs, on her iPhone, including this one, typically requiring, when they are animations, up to 7,000 individual shots and extensive editing work in iMovie that collectively can take months of work.
The video also features examples of her artwork. All in all, quite a package.
If this sort of thing takes your fancy the ‘Killing Karma’ video is more complex, and subtly amusing.