I came across Port Almond’s music when I have received their beautiful Vinyl as a gift from the music label ‘Low Swing Records’ who happens to be the same label my album was recorded and produced in.  I came home that night, turned my recored player on, put my headphones on, and sank into a truthful, dreamy, gentle and wonderfully made piece of music.

‘Port Almond’ is the new alter ego of Norwegian singer-songwriter Rune Simonsen – also known as the lead singer of Washington (Mount Washington) and Lagoonbird.

I feel very lucky to host Port Almond in our upcoming Framed #25 event. 
As usual, I asked Rune some questions I found interesting, and he was kind enough to answer. I encourage you to keep on reading this interview with this very sweet man:

What is music to you?

Music to me is a lifelong passion. Ever since I was 15 years old, I’ve been fascinated by the strange world of music – and all the possibilites it offers. As for songwriting, it’s mostly the joy of exploration that lures me in. It’s a wonderful feeling to start off with something completely simple and expand into combinations of ideas. I think it’s a question of curiosity in my case. Then later the music provides a great social platform – you collaborate with other musicians and get to meet fantastic people that share your interest for music.

What was the moment your musical journey had started? and what or who were your early musical influences? 

My musical journey began in the late 90’s as I was introduced to some great artists: Bill Callahan, Jason Molina, Jeff Buckley, PJ Harvey, Radiohead, Sparklehorse, Emilou Harris, David Bowie and many more. At first I fell in love with alternative rock (and still am!) because of the way this type of music breaks with more ordinary ideas in music. That “offness” just excites me and gets my imagination going. Later I ventured quite a bit through the american country & folk music scene and found lots of inspiration from it. 

How does your songwriting process looks like?

I’m having a lot of fun with songwriting these days! I usually need a week or so to get my creative process going. Then I spend all my time and focus on songwriting for the next 1-3 months. It’s eat, sleep & drink art, non-stop, all day long. I allow myself to head into any kind of song without restrictions. Ideas can develop regardless of where and how they might fit into the world of music. Sometimes I keep in the back of my mind that I need certain song types for the records so you’ll end up with a relatively coherent collection of songs that can be put on a record. Any musician will tell you it’s a lot of work but also very rewarding. Especially if the end product turns out alright and people choose to listen to it.

How would you describe Port Almond’s sound?

The sound of Port Almond feels new to me! I think it’s a mix of jazz, alternative rock, post-rock, afrobeats and folk. The key element so far has been to keep a certain degree of freedom in the music – both in the recording sessions and live. If you allow musicians to use their instinct and creative output, you can sometimes get this feeling that the music comes alive – it’s wonderful! Sometimes it’s also a bit scary because you kind of lose control over what’s going on. But I think it’s a good thing, not being in the center of every decision that is made. I was lucky enough to learn a lot from Guy Sternberg at Lowswing Records from our recording sessions last year and I’m curious as to how our sound will develop in the next few years. Hopefully we’ll find new interesting ways to experiment with sound and ideas!

Tell us about your beautiful Album that you’ve recorder at Low Swing Records? 

Thank you for the complement! I think a lot of credit has to go to Guy and all the great musicians that took part in the recording session. I am personally very happy with it. It’s the first time I record entirely to tape without the luxury of computer production tools. I found it to be a real challenge because of the nature of it all: capture the music as-it-is, make no mistakes, keep the music as vibrant as possible, don’t panic when you hear “tape rolling” in your earphones… Guy even made a tape-loop (actually cut the tape in a very old-fashioned way) and asked me to play along to the tempo of it. It sounded like a seal in the ocean…But we pulled it off and it all became a great learning experience. I’m very grateful for it. 

What can you tell us about the upcoming concert at Framed? What should we expect?

We very much look forward to play at Framed. I’ve always been a big fan of art (though I’m no expert) and I think it’s a fantastic idea to combine music and art like Framed does. Now that I’ve been introduced to the works of Richard Colombel, I can’t wait to see the exhibition. Me and Erik Nilsson (keys) will do our best to interpret the feeling created by Richard and choose a selection of songs that might fit in with the surrounding pieces of work. 

What music do you listen to these days? 

These days I listen to Amen Dunes, Snail Mail, Clairo, Low, Spoon, Frankie Cosmos – and sometimes a nice quiet jazz record. I’m still getting to know the genre but I really like T. Monk and Coltrane!

Tell us about your next musical/spiritual goal/dream

My new dream is an old one, I guess. Having rediscovered the marvels of music, I’m just very happy to be part of the music scene: perform, meet & work with talented musicians, write music…I also look forward to record my next Port Almond album next year. And can’t wait to play more concerts!
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