Part indie-pop supergroup, part extended family band, Elva is the new project from Elizabeth and Ola Morris Innset. The pair met when Ola’s previous band, Making Marks, went on tour with Elizabeth’s previous band Allo Darlin’; the pair went on to get married, move to Norway, and realising they didn’t have time for a more traditional band, started making music together as Elva. A few years after they had that excellent idea, the band last week released their debut album, Winter Sun, on German label, Tapete Records.
Winter Sun was recorded in an old school house in the Swedish forest, and seems to have picked up some of the thematic influences you’d expect from a record made in the midst of such a scenic setting. The other key influence on the record seems to be the birth of the couple’s child, parts of the record seem to play out like a sonic postcard for their daughter once they’re old enough to appreciate her parents creativity. Musically, the record has a subtle eclecticism, while the songs are all fused with a gentle sensitivity courtesy of both of the pair’s delightfully easy vocal styles, they are also not afraid to explore different parts of their musical backgrounds. There’s moments where Winter Sun is folky and minimal, yet in others they ramp up the lushness into rich country soundscapes, before the next creating some sort of rambunctious, screeching indie-rock. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Winter Sun is the obvious craft that has gone into its creation, it is the record that Elva so clearly wanted to make. A tribute to life’s natural cycles; the passing seasons, birth and death, bands splitting up and new bands forming – Elva is the sound of what comes next.
FTR: For those who don’t know who are Elva?
Elva is perhaps not quite like most bands. We are based in Moss, Norway and mainly consist of Elizabeth and Ola Morris Innset, we have the same last name because we’re married. We’re often joined by Jørgen Nordby on the drums and Diego Ivars on the bass, two of the finest people the world has to offer, and lately we have also been joined by the incredible Ofelia Ossum on the cello. No bands are like most bands, and I guess married couples in bands aren’t that uncommon either. Maybe it’s just uncommon for us, we’ve never done it before but then we’ve never been married before either. Maybe after a while it will turn out to be the most normal thing ever. Anyway, we met through music, as Ola’s band Making Marks (formerly mylittlepony) played support for Elizabeth’s band Allo Darlin’ on a European tour in 2012. In 2013 we moved to Italy. Both Making Marks and Allo Darlin’ kept going for a few years, but eventually had to end. When we moved to Norway in 2016 we decided to start a band together, as we still really wanted to play music, but felt like we didn’t really have time to be in “normal” bands based other places and going on tour a lot.
FTR: What can you remember about your first show?
Our very first show was just the two of us in Vienna in the winter of 2017. We travelled to play at the screening of a film by a promoter who has put on several shows for both Allo Darlin’ and Making Marks in Vienna before. We got there the day before, and the promoter, Markus, said he was putting on a show that night with an artist called Declan McKenna, and asked if we wanted to play support for him. So we did. Him and his band were very young, which inevitably made us feel quite old, but his audience of 15 year old girls were very enthusiastic! We played acoustically with just a guitar and a banjo, and they were all dead silent during the song and gave us lots of lovely teenage feedback.
FTR: Why do you make music? Why not another art form?
We have started doing some drawing together with our toddler daughter, but apart from that Ola does write novels as well as songs. Elizabeth thinks that music is the highest art form, because it combines so many aspects, both words, melody, rhythm and performance. Ola doesn’t believe in ranking art forms, but doing other forms of writing does mean that he can focus on what makes a song a song when writing one, not trying to make songs that pretend to be novels or manifestos. This means that more intellectual stuff or characters or plots don’t really make it into his songs. Instead he tries to write songs that are as simple, near and catchy as Elizabeth’s (without quite succeeding) (Ola wrote this).
FTR: What can people expect from the Elva live show?
Since we have a toddler, there are currently very few of them, but we are practicing now for a release show in Oslo on April 30. There will be some acoustic songs with just the two of us or just us and the cello, but also lots of band songs. Like on the record, some of them are even quite noisy, and we have a lot of fun pretending to be a loud rock band some times too.
FTR: What’s next for Elva?
We plan to have this band and keep making music for a long time. So stand by for more records, and eventually also more shows!
They Listen To…
Dinosaur Jr. – Feel The Pain
Case/Lang/Veirs – Song For Judee
Paul Simon – Hearts and Bones
Yo La Tengo – Stockholme Syndrome
Bill Callahan – Small Plane
Winter Sun is out April 19th via Tapete. Click HERE for more information on Elva.