Interview: Tuvaband

On the back of bolshy new single Post-Isolation, Amber Frost sat down with Norwegian alt-rocker Tuvaband to dissect her unique sound and what she envisions for the future of music.

Once a duo but now a solo project belonging to Tuva Hellum Marschhäuser, Tuvaband explores the raw and minimalist side of delicate indie and alternative music. The soft, calm and ethereal voice belonging to Tuva combined with a harsh distorted, and almost unsettling instrumentation of tracks such as Post-Isolation enables Tuva to create her own boundaries that music has oftentimes set. If one was to separate the voice from the instrumentation, it could be argued that you wouldn’t put them together, however, the understated talent of Tuva means that the two create a beautifully raw and distorted edge to the music she creates.

Tuva began writing the album that features post-isolation back in the Spring of 2019, working tirelessly on the demos and taking time to capture almost exactly what she wanted from the studio production of her album. She admits this made the creation of the album “easier than previous releases,” as she already felt that she had perfectly captivated the essence of her music and gained self-esteem from those around her. “I didn’t think I was good enough,” she begins, “but the other musicians around me gave me self-esteem by encouraging me to keep what I’d already recorded.”

‘Between raw lyrical depth and heavy distortion, Tuva has found a space to turn her pain into beauty through the art of music.’

The young star has proven herself to be talented not only in writing lyrics and performing them, but also in playing guitar, bass, and synth. She also produces all of her own music, stating that she had to view her music differently as “being your own producer enables you to convey entirely different emotions as you are in charge of how others hear your music.”

Post-Isolation depicts how it feels to come out of any kind of isolation period, but obviously, its meaning has shifted following the recent pandemic. The lyrics of “I feared for my close ones/ I felt death was near that’s why I keep my distance/ to avoid my biggest fear,” have multiple semantics. There is the immediate sentiment of self-isolating for the safety of vulnerable loved ones, but this is also paired with the mental struggle of isolation and pushing people away in fear of losing them. These darker lyrical sentiments weave throughout much of Tuvaband’s music and are at the centre of her hellish soundscapes. Though alongside this, she manages to craft something that is incredibly ethereal and strikes a beautiful balance between raw lyrical depth and the audibly heavy distortion which almost acts as a distraction from the pain. Tuva has found a space to turn her pain into beauty through the art of music.

Recent experimentation with a viola has meant that Tuvaband was able to engage with “even darker” sounds. The small-stringed instrument is often neglected from popular music; the violin and cello are often more popular choices for solo instrumentation due to their range and possibly because they are more commonly played. The viola, however, captures the darker tones and deeper range that the cello possesses whilst sharing the physical dexterity of the violin. “The viola gave the option of having darker melodies without it sounding too folky by default, something which the violin can often do,” the singer explains thoughtfully. This added instrumentation definitely undeniably elevates her music into capturing an ethereal atmosphere.

Tuva goes on to discuss how she deals with the internal anxiety that comes from being compared to others in the field: “For me, I judge my growth and development based on where I was, for example, five years ago. I learnt to compare myself to myself and that way, I can never be deflated by what I’ve achieved. I’m always progressing and that’s what matters the most.” An important message for all of us to remember: comparison to other people is something we all are guilty of, and it can really impact one’s mental health. Tuva expresses thoughtfully that “if we had the ability to shut this off, everyone would really explore all of their creative limits much more and push their boundaries.”

‘For the time being, Tuva is exploring her own creative boundaries in anticipation of her debut album.’

In regard to the future of Tuvaband, the singer hints at the possibility of a tour in 2022. “I really want to play tours and festivals instead of just one show. Being based in both Germany and Norway means that travel is something that I have to consider a lot, and I want to be able to travel for longer rather than coming back and forth… but still, being able to play a live show again is an experience I can’t wait to have again.” This perfectly summarizes perhaps what every musician is feeling right now – the longing to just be able to perform – but unfortunately, there are more health, safety and logistical procedures to consider. For the time being, Tuva is exploring her own creative boundaries in anticipation of her debut album which can be enjoyed from May 21st.

Written by: Amber Frost

Edited by: Olivia Stock

Featured and in-article image courtesy of Tuvaband via Facebook.