Kristoffer and the Harbour Heads
are a band from Gothenburg Sweden. There sound is fun and experimental; one of those rather inventive, indie pop offerings that's reminiscent of Menomena or Woods.
Recently the band tossed us the keys to their brand new video for "When You Say Stay". It's a song singer Kristoffer Ragnstam describes as being "lyrically inspired by sucky relations and how easy it is to say one thing, but every bone and muscle in the body feels the opposite." The video itself is appropriately a little stark, but surrealism adds a little emotional color as the story of Maja unfolds.
Maja is a girl with a whimsical streak, living in some fantastical forest community on the outskirts of a rather downtrodden community. She ventures to that town, greeted by graffiti reading "Welcome To Hell", but determined to turn the blank faces and condescending eyes she encounters on to her good-natured attitude. Does it work? Have a look.
What's most interesting about this particular piece though is the conditions under which it was created. Yes, it's a song inspired by shitty relationships. But Ragnstam decided to dig a little deeper and make a statement about Europe's ever-worsening refugee crisis. It all stems from one of the song's lyrics: "When you say stay/You mean get out of the way". It's a sentiment that mirrors a lot of people's attitudes towards immigrants on their shores. People say we should take care of the refugees. But when they arrive at the border, many loud, boisterous voices cry, "Get out of my way!"
So director David Campesino decided to create a video that reflects modern Europe; "with very strong characters. To make it awkward and interesting and at the same time very real-time-reflecting". All of the actors are refugees. The video lead - Maja - herself is a refugee from Lebanon who came to Germany with both her brother and her mother. That's him making an appearance in the video, holding a boombox.
It's a beautiful story. And let's face it, we're all still a little choked up from losing a legend yesterday. Put a smile on your face and check out this poignant video from Kristoffer and the Harbour Heads. It's sure to make your day.
Following months of intense rehearsal and demos sessions, Kristoffer and the Harbour Heads have brought to life their vision of a complete album; not just nine songs. The faith and confidence the band had while carving out the tracks for the record extended to their pursuit of producer James Salter who duly accepted their invitation to travel to Gothenburg/Sweden from LA/USA to help put together the songs in Kungsten studios where the likes of Dungen, Hokan Hellstrm and Joel Alme recorded.
Our first taste from that upcoming album is When You Say Stay. Frontman, Kristoffer Ragnstam says 'When You Say Stay is lyrically inspired by sucky relations and how easy it is to say one thing, but every bone and muscle in the body feels the opposite. Musically, I had this idea of Outkast meeting up with The Zombies for a late night for a session. But when you hear the final version it sounds like 3 guys from the little town Kunglv in Sweden.
I guess no matter how hard we try, we will always end up sound like the Kristoffer And The Harbour Heads.
The video for When You Say Stay is inspired by the immigrants in Dresen, Germany and how Maja (the girl) tries in her imaginary world to get the people to smile. Kris sings When you say stay. You mean GET OUT OF MY WAY. Its a powerful sentence to play with, even if he sings it from a relationship point of view. It also mirrors a lot of our immigration problems. People say we should take care of the refugees. But when they actually arrive at our countrys border, many say: Get Out Of My Way.
Together they put down the entire release in just 4 days onto analogue tape. The nature of recording straight to tape only afforded 16 channels and left little room for error but provided a natural limitation to the expansive sound. The album was mixed in Muscle Shoals/Alabama at the Swampers HQ, with the help of Jimmy Johnson they brought all of the elements of the sound have been brought together perfectly here. The months of demos and rehearsals evidently paid off with the recording sessions sounding like their initial vision, and the mix was completed in 3 days.
Long-term collaborator Mr Brix was brought in to create the visuals for the record, and was handed with a brief of Separations and Zebras. Kris used the stories of separation, divorce and mid-life crisis that his friends had gone through as the lyrical backdrop to the album, and such influenced the direction of the artwork. The use of a Zebra as a logo was as an antithesis to this feeling of separation in herds they are known to group together to camouflage themselves from aggressive predators a message that Kris and the band convey throughout the album.