Fever Thomas Dybdahl
- 3On My Way to California03:44
- 4Then There Was You03:12
- 6Call Me by Your Name03:14
- 7Dance the Pain Away02:55
- 9The Last Song03:48
Info for Fever
When 19-year-old Norwegian Thomas Dybdahl released his two first EPs 'Bird' & 'John Wayne' in 2000-2001 he appeared as nothing but a small blip on the musical radar in Norway. Interest was piqued somewhat by the single "Love's Lost", but it wasn't until his debut album '...that great October sound' in 2002 that he got people's attention for real. With a dogmatic one-microphone-only approach, a soulful tenor voice, an intimate acoustic sound and good songs, he soon found his way onto the airwaves in Norway. What followed was a slew of great reviews, awards and a growing fan base all over the world.
In addition to being a solo artist he has made a career composing for film and theatre. For his first score he received the Norwegian 'Amanda' award, the highest honor for a film composer. He has also worked as a producer, songwriter and as a front man in the band The National Bank, as well as guesting with other acts ranging from Morcheeba to French singer Melanie Pain all the way to folk icon Judy Collins.
Having the reputation as a ''musician's musician'', he was quickly discovered by a host of other artist like Elvis Costello, Jamie Cullum and taste makers like LA's indie radio station KCRW and one of his early fans was Grammy Award winning music producer Larry Klein (Joni Mitchell, Herbie Hancock, Tracy Chapman). The two worked together on Thomas' 2013 album 'What's Left Is Forever', which was nominated for a Grammy the following year, as well as 2018's 'All These Things', which was nominated for a Grammy for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical.
The 2020 release Fever was produced, written and recorded by Thomas Dybdahl & Håvard Rosenberg in Thomas' own 1micadventure studio in Stavanger, Norway. During the recording of the album's first single, "45", the two used an old Tandberg 2 track recorder Thomas inherited from his grandfather, on which all guitars were recorded. On this tape recorder, Dybdahl and Rosenberg found old recordings of Thomas' father and uncles discussing their dreams for their future as kids in the 1960s. This conversation inspired the lyrical theme of the new single - a take on the old 'get the hell out of this small town, before it's too late' tale, as well as a contemplation on ambition and goals while getting older. Some things you might not be able to do for yourself, but maybe there's a chance to help someone else achieve their dreams.
In an interview with FrontView Magazine, Dybdahl explained that "Our setup and goal was simple enough: we wanted to make a soulful guitar record that didn't feel like a guitar record and that sounded both old and fresh at the same time. With good writing and a beat that would make you dance, preferably. We would listen to everything that gave us a kick. Anything from classic artists like Nina Simone, Sam Cooke, Bill Withers, Serge Gainsbourgh, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Bobby Gentry and Sly to newer soul artists like D'Angelo, Raphael Saadiq and Michael Kiwanuka was blasted to get the creative juices flowing."
As is often the case with distinctive endeavors, the creative path of Thomas Dybdahl -- the 37-year-old guitarist, singer, songwriter, and native of Sandnes, Norway -- has been, for nearly a decade, all his own.
“I’ve taken an eclectic approach,” Dybdahl says. “I’ve sought to draw influences from the whole spectrum of music -- not only from songwriters and singers but also from contemporary and classical music. I am always trying to infuse my work with all these different influences so that I don’t limit myself, or listeners, to the notion of being just another guy with a guitar.”
As he knows well, several of those strum around, and Dybdahl in one sense is yet another. But on ‘Songs’ -- his U.S. debut, released via Decca Records/Universal on Strange Cargo, an imprint overseen by the renowned musician and producer Larry Klein, whose past close musical associations include Joni Mitchell, Tracey Chapman, Madeleine Peyroux, and others -- Dybdahl distinguishes himself with fire and finesse. The tracks serve as a great introduction for American listeners to the five albums (2002’s ‘...that great October sound’; 2003‘s ‘Stray Dogs’; 2004‘s ‘One Day You’ll Dance for Me, New York City’; 2006’s “Science’; and 2010’s ‘Waiting for that One Clear Moment‘) for which Dybdahl has received steady acclaim internationally and won two Norwegian Grammys.
These are the romantic, introspective, out-going, hum-worthy, adventurous tunes of a guy who once, with characteristic honesty, cited the Mozart Requiem as his favorite piece of music but who laughs off any art-rock ideas of literally trying to reinvent the pop song from a classical music vantage point. For Dybdahl, who grew up playing guitar for hours daily and loved first Metallica and later Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix, it’s all music.
A flexible, carefully detailed melodicism animates Dybdahl songs like “Cecilia” and “B.A. Part,” while other songs, such as “From Grace” and “The Great October Sound,” move that same well-founded sense of melody composition into comparatively more ecstatic and less kinetic states. Dybdahl, whose lustrous tenor behaves with an idiomatic ease, does not believe that only anger is an energy : “I try to find that force,” he says, “that comes from always keeping my calm, from actually holding back. I try to get something out of this implosion -- the opposite of a good rock and roll explosion.”
Dybdahl hails from the land of pop. “I love pop composition,” he says. “What I don’t like is when pop gets used in a reductive manner. Some of the best pop artists and pop records I know come from all kinds of backgrounds and music yet they have firm grips on and understand the pop format. Even though a song may be a pop song and even though it may go on the radio, it can still offer something for the ages; it can happen with the most pop of pop songs. This means something beyond defining the time or trend; it’s accomplished in fusion with history and duration.”
Dbydahl cites an array of inspirations; albums such as Tim Buckley’s ‘Happy Sad’ (1969), Colin Blunstone’s ‘One Year’ (1971), and Serge Gainsbourg’s ‘Histoire de Melody Nelson’ (1971), he believes, stand as examples of music that sacrifices nothing. Dybdahl’s varied sources has meant that his own music can attract equally diverse admirers, from electronica pioneers Morcheeba, who asked him to sing on one of their albums, to designer Philippe Starck, who cites Dybdahl’s music as an inspiration, to photographer Jean-Baptiste Mondino, who shot the cover for ‘Science’, a Starck design.
According to Dybdahl, a chief reason his music turns out as it does is because of his experience with his initial instrument. “I see myself first and foremost as a guitarist,” he says. “That’s where my musicality started. There’s just no getting away from how if one is a guitarist then one thinks musically as a guitarist. As you evolve, you may go on, as I did, to singing as well, however you have started as a guitarist. You’re still approaching music through the guitar, and that has to carry some weight. It makes for some interesting choices along the way, melodically and structurally, because whatever you approach -- singing, other instruments, songwriting -- the work continues to come from the mind of a guitarist. That is controlling.”
A galloping range of influences like Dybdahl’s requires something to pull everything into persuasive wholes. “As a person,” he says, “I’m very focused on balance; everything has to be balanced. It’s all about balance and composition. You might even call it symmetry, even though a good composition doesn’t necessarily need to seem symmetric. As you grow older, though, you see that the need to balance all these things infuses all your choices, and how you want to do things.”
‘Songs’ is an often mesmerizing demonstration of how Thomas Dybdahl does things. It is the sound of how one gifted Norwegian connects with a million other sounds, impulses, colors, and emotions, all assembled with particular sonic poise that always grooves, never overwhelms.
This album contains no booklet.