From the Norwegian pine forests and rivers to Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, the young musician Jimi Somewhere tries to find immortality through his music. The album Nothing Gold Can Stay, takes us on a journey from adolescence to adulthood, where he reminisces his passing teenage years; capturing the inevitability of fleeting romantic moments. His songs are coming of age tales, with nostalgic and ethereal sounds that make us ponder about the necessity of letting go in order to move forward, to see the magic of the every day and to not be afraid of living big.
How’s your life been since Covid, are you in Norway?
Yes, I am! It's been cool really. There are some things I was supposed to do that fell through, like going to Los Angeles and shows and stuff but overall, it's been good. Just spending my days at my apartment in Oslo working on new music and more. I started painting too.
You just released your album Nothing Gold Can Stay, which features the single The World. The song is about travelling and the difficulties of sustaining long-distance relationships in our fast-paced world. Has maintaining your relationships become easier for you since the pandemic, now that everything has become quieter and the world is forced to slow down?
Yeah, for sure. I've connected with my city much more this year. Made some really valuable friendships this summer when Covid regulations weren't too bad. So, it's been nice. But I think my problem is also that, regardless of everything, I'm always going to be very invested in my work. But the world slowing down has definitely helped and made me reflect a lot. My father is the same way, so I'm very aware of it and it's something that I'm working on, not letting my job take over all my personal life.
Your album Nothing Gold Can Stay, makes us wonder about the inevitability of fleeting time, how every moment is temporary and will pass. Is this album an attempt to capture the inevitable, as a way to honour fleeting moments to find a form of solace?
You said it way better than I've managed to but yes. Life is short and fragile and if you don't pay attention it will fly by you. So I try to capture the moments that mean the most to me and put them into songs. That way they will live forever.
Is it important for you to reflect on the past in order to move forward?
I think so. You've got to be aware of what made you who you are in order to grow, I think. I'm also such a romantic that I think the only way I'll get over certain memories is by knowing I've immortalised them in my music or art.
Can you tell us about your stage name Jimi Somewhere. Where did the need to create an alter-ego come from?
I always felt like I'd be much more obligated to always tell the truth. I wanted to treat this persona like a movie character. Don't get me wrong though, my songs are always fairly autobiographical because that's the only way I know how to write, but it takes a little pressure off and builds a wall between me and my work, which is nice.
You grew up in the small village of Hokksund, Norway. I’ve read that your quiet surroundings made you escape towards imaginative realms, by seeking influences elsewhere, mostly online. Would you say your identity is largely influenced by the internet? In a world where everything seems mouldable, what’s your definition of authenticity?
As I've grown, I think I've realised how much more important my surroundings have been to me than I may have thought when I was younger. You see it clearly on even my album cover which has these big evergreen trees on the front. That's classic Norway. The Internet definitely shaped my taste though. People always tell me my music sounds more American then Norwegian. So, I think it's a good mix between the surroundings in my upbringing and the influence of the internet.
Authenticity to me is just honesty. Just be honest. I don't care if an artist promotes one thing or another as long as that is their truth. If it is, I'm down to listen.
Your single Jesus has been inspired by your experiences of going to Christian summer camps. How did your Christian background influence you? What does faith mean to you in this stage of your life?
I think my Christian background might be why I'm drawn towards such big and larger than life feelings. I used to be at summer camps and we would pray, and they played these big, beautiful hymns that really touched me. It made me feel like I was a part of something big. Later in life, I've taken a step back from religion but I still think the emotion in those songs is really special.
As of now, I’m not a very spiritual person but I do think faith is interesting. It's something I like to discuss and every now and then, I open the Bible. There's a lot of wisdom in there so I try to learn from what I feel like is worth learning from and leave the rest.
It's important to question the structures we grow up with, in order to make our own decisions, to grow and evolve. Have these choices challenge your relationship with understanding what home means to you, to formulate your own sense of belonging?
My parents have always been very open-minded and made sure to let me know that I didn't have to agree or follow their way of life. They taught me to be critical of everything. That’s something that really stuck with me. Right now, I think my home is just my close friends and family. I have a small circle of people who I would truly take a bullet for, and they make all the bullshit one deals with in life a little easier. I feel very lucky to have that support system around me. Genuine, open-minded people who won't judge you. We all deserve people like that. It makes me feel like home could be anywhere.
Your songs are coming of age tales. We all try to understand the world, where we are going, what we are doing and what we desire – finding sense in so much nonsense. It’s a scary process leaving behind your adolescence and stepping into the ‘real world’ to discover our own paths. How would you define the relationship you have with yourself? Are you in tune with your intuition?
I think so, I've always had a pretty clear path and vision. I still feel that I'm growing, though. I look at it like whittling a stick, almost. Just trying to get it sharper and more defined always. Overall, though, I feel in tune and at peace with myself and where I'm at in life. There's work to be done, but that just makes it more exciting.
You self-direct your music videos with a very cinematic approach, it’s great that you are able to merge your passions for both music and film. Has cinema always been important fuel for your music? Do the titles of your songs contribute to this cinematic approach? Any film-related projects you envision for the future?
Cinema definitely has been a really important fuel. Even the mood and aesthetic choices in my first single Escape were inspired by this short film I saw. My father is a photographer, so I grew up taking photos and being very visual in my work. That carried over into music too. When it comes to the titles, I think they are just as important as everything else. I want you to get excited just by reading the tracklist. Some of the song titles on there are also inspired by certain movies like Moonlight Kingdom for example.
I recently started writing a movie, actually. It's just in the beginning phases, but I had this idea I wanted to follow. It's like a dream project I guess. Making a movie is so expensive and difficult that I have a hard time seeing how it would get realised anytime soon, but maybe it could happen when I'm like 35. It's something that really excites me though, so I guess I just have to write it and see what happens.
You said you are influenced by filmmaker Spike Jonze, his work is very imaginative. Did you always dream about other places, creating another life for yourself?
More than dreaming about another place, I think it's about wanting to share my world. Because even though I hide behind this pseudonym, all my work is usually pretty autobiographical. I'll go on a walk and see like a tree blowing in the wind and I'll think "Damn, I wish I could show the whole world how beautiful that looks right now." Suddenly, there's a shot of that tree blowing in a new video I do. That's the motivation behind a lot of my work I think. The need to share. It might be a little narcissistic but so is all art. And sometimes, someone on the other side of the world will relate so much to what you share that it takes on a new life for that person. That's the most beautiful thing.
Having worked in Los Angeles, in what way does the immense contrast between your quiet home town of Hokksund with the malleable characteristics of a place like LA shape your sound? Do you need to return to Hokksund to find the earth beneath your feet?
Maybe not find the earth beneath my feet, but definitely to relax. In LA, there's something happening all the time. There's so much industry talk, parties, important people etc., it gets exhausting. Plus, we live on couches most of the time so you never really settle down. The peace I get from being home is different. I do like being in LA though, it's always super productive and a learning experience. Lowkey too, nothing is more grounding than being there. You really get the feeling of like, I'm not shit yet (laughs).
With the album, Nothing Gold Can Stay out in the world, what are the next steps for Jimi Somewhere?
To be honest I'm deep into album number two. I don't think now is the time to slow down. We have a bunch of loose singles too. I'm trying to experiment and collaborate right now, follow whatever feels exciting. I'm also trying to put out a photobook and maybe exhibit some art. So yeah! A bunch of stuff.
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