Mira Aasma isn’t a new face here on NBHAP – we’ve featured a couple of her songs before – but she is a new name, having reinvented herself as Aasma, and recast her musical project as vine-tangled, dreamy, nature-inspired pop. Her latest single Canoes is a fine showcase of the heights she can reach in her new guise. Maybe it’s nominative determinism, but Canoes seems to flow with a river’s rhythm, a cocktail of different musical currents all winding and twisting around each other, from the chirping backing vocals to the wandering guitar lines. It’s a song that manages to be both polished, but also a little wild, and it’s got some kind of strange moonlight flowing through its veins. You can check it, and a Q’n’A with Aasma, out below.
So, since we last spoke, you’ve had a minor name change, dropping the Mira from your name. Just a little bit of rebranding, or do you see Aasma as a distinct different project from Mira Aasma?
I see it as a different project, it’s the same musical intention but in a different setting. After working with story-based projects for a while I felt that I wanted a character – a drag persona – to represent this part of my music world as well. Basically because it’s more fun being able to feel more free and more dramatic, to let everything grow taller and glow up. The character is based on a part of me that’s always been there but maybe mostly as a child, who talks to trees and wants to spend most of her time by the river or among mountains.
And if we see Aasma as something new, what do you think are the new influences that have come into the picture with these new songs?
Definitely more of everything. More feeling, more spirit, more strings and distinct soundscapes, folia arrangements. A guitarist walking out on an empty prairie, playing a lonely melody over the whisper of tumbleweed, a dream of the forest voices singing their hymns, moving around your head while you’re lying down in the moss. The upcoming album is a story built from different chapters revealing a whole landscape, mixed in Dolby Atmos which is a new format that lets our ears experience music in a whole new way.
Canoes is a very built-up, slow-burning song that goes on a long, winding journey. Did it take a long time to put together?
It actually did! I’ve been working with the album tracks over very different periods since I’ve been touring and doing other projects simultaneously. I chose the idea for Canoes from my diary and wanted to put it in a suggestive and kind of psychedelic environment, just wanted the song to feel like you’re repetitively rowing down the river watching the weeping willows passing by. I arranged it, put together the production and at last the string arrangement together with my amazing companions Ellinor Sterner Bonander and Elias Ortiz.
You speak of the project as a retreat from individualism and the internet. Do you see it as an attempt to move beyond those things and find something more meaningful in life?
One thing I’ve realized over the last years is how important it is to always nurture what’s magical about music for yourself, to make things that you just feel in your spirit, let the deeper philosopher through. Another is how important it is to have fun in creating, working collectively with people who you think are inspirational and wonderful. Social media presence is mostly important to music projects nowadays, and on some days it’s fun, but in the long run I’d love to figure out a way to avoid it. I have that little feeling it’s not too good for our psyche..
Finally, what can we expect from Aasma going forward?
Me and my band are so excited to play live again – starting with the album release in Stockholm on August 27 and Berlin on September 8 at Die Neuen Schweden 2021 (see y’all there!)! Otherwise – if you row further into the forest where no human traces can be found, you’ll probably find us there working on something. The rest of this summer I’m going north to run and bike around a couple of lakes. I’ll be spending a lot of time in the studio by myself as well, going away for writing camps, and starting some new collaborations. And developing my character drag skills as of course.
You should definitely also check out the wonderful session version of Canoes which Aasma recorded exclusively for us.
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