Our new author Elvira got a chance to have a little chat with Ida Gard, before her Berlin show on 6. December 2014 at Crystal Club. The two lovely ladies spent some cozy time talking about Ida’s Germany tour, the recording of her latest album “Doors”, about songwriting and… – find out yourself in the interview below and don’t forget to check where in Germany Ida will play in 2015!
Good because Danish: First of all – Welcome to Berlin! You’re now in the middle of your German tour, how do you like it here?
Ida Gard: Actually, we’ve come to the final part of this leg of the tour, and then we start up next year again. On this tour we’ve been in Berlin two times – but honestly, we haven’t seen anything! Just gone straight to the hotel from the venue. It’s like that when you come to a new city, you want to explore it, but you’re on a schedule the whole time. That’s a bit frustrating.
If you compare buzzing and busy Berlin to the other German cities, do you feel like there’s a different atmosphere here, and can you see a difference in the audience?
This is actually my first time headlining a Berlin show. Last year we were just playing a small café gig, not really a “real” show. So I don’t really know yet! But there are differences from city to city. Sometimes in smaller cities, people tend to be a bit more quiet and holding back a little. And I think also a lot of times if there’s a lot of young people, they understand the lyrics better, they respond different.
Can you see any difference from the Danish audience, compared to the German one?
Yes, definitely. There’s a huge difference. I think first of all, Danish people are hard to get to show up. They say they’re coming and then o0ps – they didn’t! I also think Germans are more open to new music. They read about something in the newspaper and are like, oh that sounds interesting, and then they show up. Maybe it’s because everything is so expensive in Denmark, so you buy a safe ticket for a concert you know you’re gonna like instead of trying something new.
You’ve been on tour for a while now. How do you manage to remain sane while on the road? Do you have a trick to stay focused?
Actually, this tour is the first one with a show every night and also all these interviews. I’ve never tried it before. It’s a compact program! So, I don’t have any tricks yet. I just, you know, try to save the energy for the shows because I think that’s the most important part, and then… honestly, I don’t know. I’m holding up. But I’m also happy we’re not playing tomorrow. This is the fifth show in a row and even though it’s great to do it, I really need a day off. I guess the best way to deal with it in the future is planning, getting a break on the fifth day or whatever it is that you need. Maybe bring someone along, so you have the same sound guy or someone who drives the car. Just someone who would get the workload of the only two of us on stage. One thing is being on stage, doing interviews – but then you have to pack and drive and talk to all the audience after a show. Everything about it is great, but it’s just much!
How do you make every show a new one? Re-gaining the energy, not feeling like this is the fifth day in a row, but like it’s the first time?
I guess I always try to change it a little bit. Change the things I’m saying, or try to sing it different, not allowing myself to sing it exactly the same way two times in a row. Probably the audience doesn’t even hear it, but I think they notice that it’s fresh in a way. Also, I hate it when I hear myself repeating something, so I usually just don’t do that. If something worked really well yesterday, it will never work when you try it again.
Okay, no more touring stuff! I want to know about your music making, your working progress. How do you do when you write songs? Are you this focused and disciplined 9-5 working person when you need material or do you write when inspiration strikes?
I think it’s a good combination actually. Before, I would be waiting for inspiration, and when I had an idea I would be chasing that, almost killing it, because I wanted to finish that song so badly. But recently I’ve discovered that I can sit down and just write a song. And in some ways I think that’s actually a better process and it makes better songs. They are more “Oh, this is me!”, instead of you have to force yourself to finish something. So I do no longer just sit around and wait for inspiration to come. Which is why I have now like, 50 songs for the next album. I’ve never before had to cut out so many songs, deciding which is going to be there or not.
One of the things I like most about your music is the lyrics, and I guess you hear this a lot – that it’s honest, bald and refreshing in that way that it feels very true. Therefore I’m curious if you get inspiration from yourself and the rest is fiction, or if it’s all copy-paste from your real life that turns into music?
It’s definitely not copy-paste I would say. I think sometimes it gets more true than the real truth. You start of somewhere, and whatever situation you’re writing about all of a sudden the words takes over and the line gets more important than the truth. And so the song, story or the rhymes become the important part. And sometimes, when I really like something, it may not be the truth, but it becomes the truth. Because this is the way it’s supposed to be. And I think that is what makes it honest. But for me I never feel like I’m revealing too much. I know that’s not me, that’s just the song.
On behalf of the Good Because Danish team, I’m asking you if you could tell us about the story behind your song “Need A Break”. What made you write that song?
It took a long time to write that song. I had the first lines. It was like, I need to write this song. But I couldn’t! I stopped the whole time, had three different choruses. So I brought it to the producer of that song and we finished it together. To me it’s about the whole being-a-musician thing, but also being the one doing everything. Now I have Mona (the manager) and all the people here, which is great. For the first time I have someone who I trust. I had people who helped before, great people. But I’ve been the one who had to be in every part of the work. So I think ”Need A Break” comes from that. Wanting to have the time to not do anything. It’s not possible to do the financing stuff, arranging a tour and also feel inspired to write a song. I guess that’s what it’s about.
Imagine you would be having a break now, and music wasn’t a part of your life at all – what would you be doing? What did you want to become when you grew up?
I don’t know. I think if I didn’t play music I would want to be a painter, or maybe have some kind of job where I travel a lot. But that’s what I do now – so, I think I can’t imagine a “real” job that I would enjoy.
Has the music path always been natural to you?
I guess I wanted it so bad that I was just really going for it. I was confirmed by the people around me that it did make sense, and not like ”what is she thinking” (laughs). But I definitely had to fight for it. I had to… Was that the question? Was that always the path? I started writing songs a bit late, I didn’t know from the beginning that it was going to be the main thing, which I think it is now. Back then it was just being a singer.
The process of making your new and the second album “Doors”, was it different this time?
I made a decision it had to be easier this time, so it went a lot faster. It was a more focused process, and I think that shows in the music – that it’s not the same fight in it, as in the first album. But definitely there’s a clearer energy and it’s more ”out”, or more aggressive.
Was that the result that you wanted, or did it come along with the process?
It was definitely the process. Recording the first one had been so draining. I wanted… or I needed the album not having to suffer so much. I couldn’t do it again – also being on tour and doing all the other stuff. This one took a year from when I said ”now I’m gonna start writing and working focused on the album”, until it was out. Next time I think I’m gonna do a combo, I don’t want it to take too long of a time, it’s too draining. I need to figure that out.
The music industry has gone through a big change, pretty much since the internet came around and you’re now able to spread your music in a new kind of way. How has that effected your way to get where you are today?
I’m doing what a lot of musicians and songwriters do, I’m releasing myself. I think I was a bit late on that wave, now everyone does it! I’m kind of in the middle of it, so it doesn’t have the same “wow” effect as it had maybe five or ten years ago. But I still think my career is more solid in a way, since I know what is happening. And I’m actually making money doing it. I think it’s both good and bad, but I know if I would be working with a label or the industry that is still around I would know what to go for. Everyone is making money out of something and you have to be aware of if what you actually do is working for you. I hope it will pay off in the end.
Do you have a favorite Danish act at the moment that you would like to enlighten?
Penny Police, and also … I’m naming my friends here: A new singer/song writer, her name is Nina Bø. She’s releasing a new album. You should really look her up!
The interview is coming to an end, so is 2014. What is your plans for next year, 2015?
Recording! I have all these songs and I need to figure out what to do with them. I don’t know if I will release anything in 2015, but Denmark may need something. We released “Doors” in 2013 in there and now re-released it 2014 in Germany. So maybe I’m doing an EP or single. I don’t know more yet than that I’ll be recording and hopefully releasing something. And maybe I’ll also need a break.