Pouring their heart out, are Swedish trio Normandie on their justifiably described stunning third album Dark & Beautiful Secrets, which is set for release on February 19th, 2021 via Easy Life Records. To uncover the truth behind the album, we shined the spotlight on singer/songwriter Philip Strand, to delve into the rites of passage that helped shape him as a person.
With this being the first opportunity for fans to hear the band as they truly are, on what this third album reveals, what the previous two didn’t, Strand explains “Oh, everything…without dwelling on our past, without shitting on our previous records, I feel like a new door has opened…I feel almost untruthful to our previous albums now, with this one being so honest”. On what influenced the new side of songwriting he continues, “we had to do something else here, we had to spin this around to make it become something else really, otherwise it’s just going to fit in the same pocket as Inguz and White Flag”. With himself hiding in plain site on the album cover, he details “we’re really trying to push the agenda…that this is going to be the personal album that we do, we might not ever do it again, this is it and we want to do it 110%…the entire album [is] extremely open and naked…and that’s why the album cover is naked basically”.
With more studio time allowing for the creation of Babylon, we discussed if the covid restrictions helped to shape the album, “It helped finalise the album, and I’m happy that the majority of the album was kind of finished…small portions of 2020 can be found on the album but the majority is coming from my past…I wanted to have an album that resonates for years…the year 2020 and 2021 will always…be remembered as the year that we really connected with our fans on a deeper and emotional level”. On the reflective Babylon music video scene, we had to ask just how much tinfoil was used and the idea behind it “Maybe like 500 meters…is about different groups in society, that can come together and create these really, really strong bonds, regardless of what the topic is about”.
Discussing the response to Normandie community the Inner Circle, Strand details “the circle is a way…to let people in a little bit closer. During a pandemic like this we made a decision fairly quickly. Like we need to have a common ground to stand on, that is not focused on us sharing content…we wanted to have more of an equal level of communication where people…can start conversations themselves, which has been very cool. It’s…a community where we can…listen to our fans and understand what they go through and hear their story more. It’s very nice to share some light on them”.
The first single released from the upcoming album was Jericho, which the frontman reveals what compelled him to dig deeper, “I felt like I wanted to do something that’s very much in the present of what I’m going through, what I feel and what I was thinking right now…I’ve never seen myself writing about my personal life, and all of a sudden I had to face that urge. There was a void in me…I really felt like now’s the time to do it. I need to do this both for me and for everybody else”.
With each song removing a brick in the band’s wall, we spoke about the importance of the single release order “It was really important but at the same time I wasn’t 100% sure that Jericho would or should be the first single, to me, the first single has always been Holy Water, because that is the most Dark and Beautiful Secrets esk”. On releasing Atmosphere before Christmas “I think that resonated a lot with our fans…I think that loneliness was a very big issue this year…that song wasn’t actually meant to be a single, but to me it’s always been one of the most important songs on the album”.
“I SHOULDN’T BE ASHAMED OF MY PAST…THAT I NEED TO BE MORE THANKFUL FOR THE SHIT I’VE BEEN THROUGH…IT’S SO CLICHE BUT IT’S LIKE I WOULDN’T BE THE PERSON I AM IF I DIDN’T HAVE THAT ROUGH TIME“
Discussing the music video “it fits the track so well…it feels very honest, it’s like the song…it’s not trying to be something else, it’s there for the lyrics”. With Holy Water asking the question of ‘who we are’ we spoke about the lessons learnt during this fragile time “I’ve learnt that…I shouldn’t be ashamed of my past…that I need to be more thankful for the shit i’ve been through…it’s so cliche but it’s like I wouldn’t be the person I am if I didn’t have that rough time…rather than trying to fit in, I am everything I’ve ever been and that’s what I’ve come to terms with”.
With the album tour now due to take place in the Autumn, Strand expresses how he feels about performing the songs, he’s held so close to his chest, “it’s almost like starting over again…I think facing our fans with them knowing that much about me for the first time that’s going to be very naked…from the get go, I think it’s going to feel like a bandaid being ripped off, where we all of a sudden have a really, really strong bond that is unbreakable. With people connecting to how Strand has both dealt with and deals with depression, he expresses “the toughest song for me will probably be Hostage…for the first time ever I’m going to be able to see that in their eyes and they’re going to see that in my eyes and it’s going to be terrible but beautiful. I want people to scream the lyrics at me…and that has been a big, huge bonus for us…that it’s actually possible for our fans to connect to us, closer than ever through these songs….It’s been a bonus that the singles have found a way into people’s hearts”
“THE BEST WAY TO FIND A STABLE GROUND IS TO BUILD ON JUST YOU AND YOU ALONE“
With Dark & Beautiful Secrets based on finding strength and courage, we ended the conversation with advice on how to make your own stand in life, “the best way to find a stable ground is to build on just you and you alone, because that can never fall apart…you’ll never stray away from yourself, if you build on yourself, rather than trying to find your identity somewhere else…I would never say to somebody like, oh stop searching for who you are, because the search is the finding…I think that, the crisis is necessary to find that identity.“
Dark & Beautiful Secrets will be out February 19th, 2021 via Easy Life Records.