The Danish band “Oh Land” entered the music scene with a fresh blend of electronic, pop and experimental tunes, climbing up the charts steadily in only a few years.
Nanna is Oh Land’s lead singer and main creative figure. The name of the band is in fact an adaptation from her middle name. The singer’s full name is Nanna ØLand Fabricius, born in Copenhagen, Denmark on 2nd May 1985. Both her parents are musicians: her father, a composer and organist and her mother, an opera singer.
Raised in a musical family, Nanna found it only natural to express herself in melodies. Her musical education started quite early and she could played the piano by age 10. Looking for her own path, she tried to avoid becoming a musician like her parents and chose ballet dancing instead; for the next 10 years, she formed part of the Royal Ballet School in Denmark and Sweden.
At age 18, she suffered a severe back injury with a fracture of her spine and a slipped disc. The incident was devastating for her as she knew that she could no longer dance professionally. While recovering from her injuries, she discovered her talent for writing music, which she used as a form of therapy to help her overcome the loss of her career. She gradually put together a “bedroom studio” buying toy electronic instruments, experimenting and shaping her style.
At first she published her songs independently on MySpace, where she didn’t go unnoticed for long; just one year later, in 2008, she was signed to the Danish label “Fake Diamond Records” with whom she released her first album “Fauna.” The name of the album could easily be a homage to her great-great-grandfather, the missionary and ethnographer Otto Fabricius, who published “Fauna Groenlandica” in 1780, the first zoological observations of Greenland.
After her first album, her early tours were limited to Denmark and in 2009 she decided to try her luck in the USA, playing at the South By Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas. By the end of the gig she was discovered and signed by Epic Records, a truly epic achievement for any band after just two years of existence. Nanna’s dreams were coming true, she moved to New York in 2010 and joined the vibrant music scene that turned to be an inspiration and a challenge.
One of Nanna’s favourite instruments is the “TC Helicon VoiceLife Touch” vocal processor, which allows her to experiment and create reverbs, delays, looping and harmonies with her own voice instead of using backup vocalists.
Depending on the type or performance, Oh Land uses a different setup: A simplified more beat oriented setup for gigs at night-clubs; the “Picnic” setup, more acoustic with voice loop machines; the “Big” setup with drum-pads connected to visual effects for bigger clubs with proper stage; and lastly, the co-operative setup with the inclusion of symphony orchestra instruments.
Nanna’s second album, released in 2011, called “Oh Land,” defines more clearly her musical style. Influenced by classical opera and romantic Russian ballet-music, and modern electronic bands like Björk, Portishead, Massive Attack, Squarepusher and Tricky, her compositions are adventurous and abstract, with challenging beats and elaborate timing.
Her lyrics are inspired on nature and industrialism, venturing into a world of fantasy like “Alice in Wonderland”, which is described in a poetic style, with a structure of its own. Many of her songs are written in English, a strategy that helped her expand her horizons beyond Scandinavia and Europe.
The album “Oh Land” opened the American market even further. In 2011, the band went on a USA tour supporting other bands, including Katy Perry; they also performed at festivals in the UK and Ireland.
In May 2011, they formed part of the Great Escape Festival in Brighton, playing a gig at "Digital" (see video below). Later in the Summer of the same year they also performed at Glastonbury.
Back at home, in New York, Oh Land is working on new songs for their next album and the group is planning on having even more gigs during the Summer of 2012.
Oh Land on video
“White Nights” and “Sun of a gun” official videos, 2011.
“Audition Day” and “Frostbite” - Live with DR Underholdningsorkestret, 2009. Performance for the Royal family: Princess Mary and Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark.
Interview and gig at "Digital" in Brighton, Oh Land's first in the UK. May 2011.
Live and dance in Denmark: White Nights + Sun of a Gun (Kronprinsparrets Pris) Oct 2011.