Norwegian pop star Aurora doesn't see the world through plain eyes; she’s adept at finding those elements in life that feel ethereal while remaining firmly on the ground, amongst nature, thriving in the wild growth. If you need proof, just check out the second part of her dual album release.
On last year's ‘Infection Of A Different Kind (Step 1)’ she delved into the delicate nature of humanity, and on its follow-up, ‘A Different Kind of Human (Step 2)’ she contends with the consequences of our behaviour, and the world we humans have created.
"People say ‘live like you don't care’ or ‘party like you don't care’, but I like to care," she explains. “I think people do, too, now more than ever, for example when Trump was elected people became more involved politically because they were frustrated. It’s a time of open ears and open eyes."
Hi Aurora, how are you?
I’m good. I was in Australia, but now I’m in Belo Horizonte, in Brazil!
Having a lovely time, then. So, how have things been since the release of 'Infections Of A Different Kind (Step 1)' last year?
It’s been very good. It’s an incredible feeling working on something so fast after you finished it. 'Infections...' was made only a few months before, it’s been a really fun release for me. It was supposed to be this gift for my fans, and myself, because I wanted to make an album where I just really followed my instinct.
Was ‘Step 2’ planned at the same time, or did you wait for ‘Step 1’ to land and then go from there?
It was first supposed to be one album, but then I realised more and more how it’s quite easy to divide from song to song - and I had too many songs so we all thought it would be a good idea to split the album into two parts. It’s kind of like it became more and more clear as I made ‘Step One’, I realised this is an entire album of its own, but I had all these songs that are a continuation to the story.
The overarching story is the human emotion and connection; how did that develop between ‘Step 1’ and ‘2’?
It’s been very interesting because ‘Step 1’ was made in a really grand place in the south of France, and the emotional process of part one is the most individual and the ‘inner’ part of the emotional life to human beings. It was nice to make this inner part of this process in this grand place. It seemed like we were on a different planet, and I think you need that to make an album that feels like its in a different place.
‘Step 2’ was made in a tiny purple room because it’s not about where I am, it’s about looking out to the rest of the world. ‘Step 2’ is much bigger - the perspective is much bigger. If we just know and get a different perspective of how much our small actions can make huge differences all around the world. [It’s also] much more political because it’s up to us, of course, to save what’s left of humankind; and animals, politics, and the planet and all of that stuff and it’s been really exciting to make the soundtrack to that!
With touring, you can see first hand how different people, humans, build communities. How has that been?
It’s been lovely because you see how we people have the same needs. At the shows, I see people cry at the same songs - people have the same pain in their eyes, and the same love, and the same happiness in every single city.
[But I also] see people express their emotions differently and that’s been a very important part for me to learn how we all have the same emotions and needs, but we have been given so many different tools to attack our emotions from country to country. It’s very different to how we deal with things in Norway, to how they deal with things in Brazil or North America, and I think that’s why it's very obvious to me why we need music to help because it’s a common language that we all understand.
We’re quite clustered creatures, we are full of these knots in our souls and muscles, and we seem to struggle to talk about things. It’s great to see how music can really bring these things out of us.
Why did you decide to make this one more politically charged, and more thunderous and loud?
I always make the music I feel is the most satisfying for me. After I made ‘Step 1’, I felt like I’d covered for now that sensitive part of myself, of my heart, that needed to be translated to the world through music. Then I felt that from now on I want to shout and scream because the passion in music is getting more intimate and quiet, which I think is cool and wonderful, but I felt myself having more of a need to scream and shout and be loud. To get the point out there.
It’s interesting how people don’t like to listen when their parents tell them what to do, or teachers or the law, because it’s not open for interpretation. With music, it’s very individual to how people interpret your message, which makes it so powerful.
Do you feel charged lyrics in more sensitive songs don't quite carry the same weight or power?
Sometimes it can. On this album, I have a lot of contrasts. I’m very addicted to the contrasts, and how things go from extremely big to small. I always have this quiet moment in every song because you don’t notice the greatness in things until you experience a moment of silence - I think that’s very important in music.
It’s been fascinating to figure out how to get people to think about what needs to be done and how we can do it, to change the way and give people ideas. It’s also about planting an idea in people's heads, not preaching. It’s about speaking about something in a poetic way that plants an idea. It’s about showing people how beautiful the world is, and showing people how beautiful it is to do something good because people want to be good and to do good things.
For me, it's satisfying to be loud on stage at the moment so I’ve been making a lot of explosive music so I can be explosive live - so I can go wild, which is fun!
What are you channelling in these explosive moments?
Oh, a lot of things! It’s quite weird because a lot of things I never thought I would do. I can sing and jump and dance and be way more explosive than I thought I ever could be. It's like it comes from a different place and you can keep on going for much more than you ever could. You don’t have any physical pain in your muscles, or you’re tired - you just keep on going. You get energy from this other place, which is fascinating. It only happens when I’m on stage, or when I go to rave parties!
It sounds outer body.
It is very much outer body, and it has to be because you’re touching the hearts of a thousand people usually in every venue, so there are a lot of people sharing this experience with you. It becomes very noticeable in every way that it's not about me, it’s about them - the people in the crowd.
‘The Seed’ is the final track which rounds up the two albums - why was that one chosen?
There is one more song afterwards, which is a hint for way, way, way more forward in the future, but ‘The Seed’ I felt it was a good way to tie things together because it’s representing a lot of things. It’s representing my personal fire inside of me because I’m very passionate about saving the planet. It’s about human history, about how we’ve co-existed in the world and how we’ve forgotten how to live with nature and the power we have. It’s a very sad story, a very sad side of the story of humankind. It was a good way to end the album, to fuel the fire in people and to speak louder, about how we have to learn to exist with everything again. That’s why I figured out it’s a good way to end it all. Or this chapter, at least. The next one is already in the making!
Will that be a continuation of the idea surrounding ‘Infections’ and 'A Different Kind’, or will it focus on another aspect of life?
With every album I’ve made it has the perspective getting bigger. On ‘Step 2’, it can encompass many things, but I think the most important aspect is that you choose to be a different kind of human.
The evolution humans undertake every day must be a constant fuel for someone like yourself?
Yes, it is, and it's about acknowledging when you’re grateful for something or seeing the differences in people and seeing how important it is that we’re so diverse. Without our diversity, we wouldn’t be going anywhere. No one would challenge anyone, and we wouldn’t evolve as quickly as we do as a species.
But it’s also like I’m a different kind of human because it was hard when I was younger, and it’s become easier as I’ve got older. It's also a message to all these people.
It has many sides, which is most important. Sometimes it’s a choice, sometimes we’re born that way, and sometimes it's a choice you make to be a different kind of human that acts instead of dreaming and do something for the world or the people around you. We have power - we have so much power - and it needs to be used.
How do you feel now both albums are done and the concept has concluded?
I don’t feel that special emotion is big enough for me to think of a word for it because I don’t feel like I’ve ended a chapter. I know the minute I finish a project, I’m just hungry for the next. I don’t spend much time dwelling on what I’ve done. Maybe I take one moment in the studio on the day I’m done to be proud, but I spend most of my time and energy just being excited for what I want to do next. I already know, and hope, that I can release a new album early next year because I’m hungry to show more music to the world.
If there’s no reason to stop, you shouldn’t.
I’m too hungry now to stop and to look at things. I just need to keep going because that’s what makes me feel the most happy right now.
Taken from the June issue of Dork. Aurora's album 'A Different Kind of Human (Step 2)' is out now.
Featuring Bastille, Aurora, Pixx, The Rhythm Method, Sea Girls, Bloxx and loads more.