Anna of the North‘s beginnings are serendipitous, to say the least. A few years ago, while studying in Australia, bedroom singer-songwriter Anna Lotterud crossed paths with NZ producer Brady Daniell-Smith at his live show, joining him onstage on a whim. Since then, the pair have been crafting sophisticated pop tracks together, bringing their live sets to a mix of intimate venues and festival crowds.
This year has seen the duo rising to the top of the music radar; from releasing new stunning audio and visual material, to being hit-up by Tyler, The Creator to feature on his new album ‘Flower Boy’, it’s been a momentous lead-up to AOTN’s debut LP ‘Lovers’, a record filtering tales of heartbreak through melodic triumph.
We chatted to Anna about threads, taking risks, the unlikely OFWGKTA collaboration, and her love for Melbourne.
Best Before: You only started making music as Anna of the North a few years ago. What role did music play in your life before then?
Anna Lotterud: Music has always been a big part of my life. My dad was a musician, so our house has always been filled with music. He has a studio at home, so I have recordings from when I was, like, four years old. Even though music has always been a dream, I never really believed it was anything I could do as a career, you know? You need to study. You need to work.
You’re about to kick of your debut headline tour here in Oz, where the adventure began. Do you feel like you’ve come full circle?
The tour was great. It was so insane that Melbourne was sold out— you know, when you travel all around the world and there are actually people showing up. I really hope that Australia can be a place that we can go back to every year. Both me and Brady have a big connection to it.
“Everyone thought we had this big plan behind the project, but we didn’t. We had to figure it all out.”
Can you tell us a bit about the music scene in Norway (how is there consistently so much incredible pop coming from that part of the world?!)
I don’t know what it is. But Its a lot of good music coming out of Norway these days. Sweden used to be the place in Scandinavia to generate most music. But now it seems like Norway is taking the lead. Maybe the good music has always been here. Its just now that the world is opening their eyes for it.
How did your recent collaboration with Tyler come about?
It happened really organically. Taco from Odd Future got in touch with me on Twitter a couple of years ago. They were playing our song “Sway” on the Odd Future Radio station. We both played this festival called Øya in Norway, so I met up with the guys and we just kept in touch. Tyler got in touch with me while he was working on his album. He had some vocal ideas that reminded him a bit of “Sway”. He asked me if I was keen on recording them, so I did.
How has your working relationship with Brady morphed over the years?
We both were pretty new to this thing when it all started. We didn’t really know how it all worked. I remember when we released “Sway”, everyone thought we had this big plan behind the project, but we didn’t. We had to figure it all out. It’s been a huge learning process for both of us. We’re really different in many ways but, when it comes to music, we really vibe with each other.
You were one of the faces of the 2016 KENZO X H&M lookbook and have worked with Adidas. How does style influence your creativity?
For me, music and fashion walk hand in hand. I feel like it’s a way of expressing yourself. You wear and listen to what makes you happy, what feels personal.
What were you listening to while writing ‘Lovers’?
It was really important for me to listen to a lot of music — music I wouldn’t usually listen to— and explore new music, searching for inspiration. But Honne is always one of those bands I always go back to.
You’ve said that, for you “music is a way to travel back in time”. Where does your new single “Fire” take you?
It takes me back to the memory of being done with a relationship, when you’re finally free from being addicted to that one person.
Do you have a song you’re most excited to perform live from the new record?
I really like performing “Friends”. It’s one of the most personal songs from the album.
Did you get any down time while you were here?
I did have some down time in Melbourne. It was amazing going back to where I use to live; seeing old friends, wandering the same streets— everything is still there. Not much has changed. I love Melbourne.
‘Lovers’ is out today. Be whisked away here: