On Friday, April 13, Oslo, Norway native Marte Solbakken will release Maybe This Is All You Can Be, her debut EP as Lilyer. It’s a four-song collection of wistful guitar-pop that collects two earlier singles, “I Was on Your Side” and “Never Getting Closer,” with two dreamier new songs, “Ordinary Love” and “Hall of Fame,” the latter of which is out today. The EP’s closer, “Hall of Fame” tingles with harmonic notes and Solbakken’s haloes of self-harmonizing coos.
A couple years ago, Solbakken needed a producer for her demos, so she reached out to a favorite artist and fellow Scandinavian expat, Sune Rose Wagner of the Raveonettes. Wagner accepted and invited Solbakken to work together at his Los Angeles studio. “I wanted to work with Marte because I heard something quite special and unique in her songs and music,” Wagner said in an email. “There is a certain ethereal beauty in her voice that makes it stand out from the rest.”
It’s a stylistically rewarding match. Solbakken brings a searching emotionality to her world-weary songs of betrayal and good luck that’s just out of reach, and there’s more than a hint of Julee Cruise in the way her voice glides across the top of “Hall of Fame.” Backing her is Wagner’s production, loaded up on sleek shoegazing guitar, gated reverb, and velveteen synthesizer tones reminiscent of the Raveonettes at their most melodic and feel-good. “Sune is an incredible musician, and also incredibly focused,” Solbakken said via email. “He’d sit and work for seven hours straight and not even take a bathroom break. I kept working on the song after we wrapped up our collaboration, but ‘Hall of Fame’ definitely has his fingerprint, I think, more than any other song on the EP.”
As Maybe This Is All You Can Be makes its bow this month, Solbakken says she’s ready to record a second EP with more music to come in the fall. Read her explanation of the meaning of “Hall of Fame” and listen below:
“Hall of Fame” tells the story of a destructive love, one of those wild and epic things that inevitably goes up in flames. In a sense it’s also a song about music. My then-partner was experiencing the downside of pursuing music as a career pretty intensely while I wrote this song, which somehow seeped into my writing. Trying to have the thing you love the most as your career is bound to be painful at times, and in this line of work there are so many highs and lows. Of course no one is entitled to have music as their living, but those disappointments can still be pretty crushing. I think music is a destructive lover for a lot of musicians, so that struggle and this epic love story came together as mirrored experiences in the song.