Karin Dreijer, one half of The Knife’s solo recording project.
What would you do if, one decade into your career, you suddenly saw your latest release named album of the year by one of the world’s most influential music websites? If you’re Karin Dreijer Andersson, formerly singer with ‘90s pop hopes Honey Is Cool and now one half of The Knife, the answer is to take a couple of years off and return as a solo artist under a new name.
Fever Ray is the title, of both project and album, an evocation of the music’s sound, intense and anxious, yet luminous. It’s the culmination of work that began in 2007 when Karin and Olof, the brother-sister duo who are The Knife, decided to take time out following a handful of incredible live shows. Their first two albums did well in their Swedish homeland; their third, Silent Shout, went to Number One, won six Swedish Grammys, underlined their reputation as an act capable of the truly extraordinary and was pronounced the best record of 2006 by Pitchfork. Karin needed a break – she was about to have her second child – but couldn’t stop writing.
Small wonder the post-natal period proved so fertile. She composes best in that state any new parent will recognise, awake but exhausted, where reality blurs into imagination and ideas flutter in and out. “Half of what the songs are about is the subconscious,” she says, “ideas of things happening. A lot of it is like daydreaming, dreaming when you’re awake, but tired; a lot of stories come from that world. I try to write when I‘m in that state – I’m very bad at remembering later, so I have to do it right away.”