Berlin-based Adna is still exploring lush and layered pop on her fourth album Black Water, and shining more light into her atmospheric sound this time.
The Bosnian/Swedish artist creates haunting, ethereal soundcapes with her versatile voice, guitar and electronics, music that has seen her tour through Europe and gain millions of plays online. We wanted to introduce Adna to new listeners, and also talk to her about Black Water and the musical gear she used to create its songs.
How would you describe your sound to a new listener?
"I’d probably say it’s melancholic or dark dream/indie pop."
Which of your songs best represents you and why?
"From my older songs I’d pick a song called Beautiful Hell. It has a sound that I think one can find bits of in all the songs I’ve written. Also, in terms of melodies, it’s a music world I feel very comfortable in. From the new album I’d pick a song called You Are. In terms of production, it sounds a bit different, but it’s a good example of where I picture myself next."
What has inspired the creative process for your album?
"The main thing has been to find a way to turn the very dramatic sound and obvious sorrow, that my old songs have, into something playful instead. I’ve always loved sad songs and the dark but at some point, it started having the opposite effect on me, so I've felt the need to explore the light as well and see whether I could find a way to take all of this and turn it into something playful instead of expressing it through obvious sorrow."
What is your favourite musical experience/memory so far?
"Earlier this year I was invited to be part of a very beautiful and filmed concert on the Swedish television. I was singing a couple of cover songs and performing them together with the choir from my old high school. It was on this small but beautiful little island just outside my hometown Gothenburg, and the whole experience was just really special.
"It felt surreal to have these students with me as the choir I was once part of, and to have my old teacher leading them and me, except I was there as an artist this time. So, I think this experience will stay with me for a long time."
Is there a particular album that had a big impact on you growing up and how?
"The first album of Bon Iver. I guess it’s quite obvious by now I’m obsessed with this band, but I was in my mid-teens when it first came out, so I guess that plays a part in why it got stuck with me like this. But I remember thinking it sounded like nothing I had ever heard before and I really fell in love with this very specific music world. And it inspired me to try writing music on my own and to just write/create whatever I feel like."
If you could steal the production off one album/track, which would you take and why?
"What’s on repeat at my place lately is the Big Red Machine album and the song Headache by Grouper. Pretty different productions, but I love them in their own ways, so I would probably do a mix up between those two.
“Headache has this beautiful dreamy soundscape and the playfulness in the Big Red Machine album, especially when it comes to the drums and the percussion, is just amazing."
Do you have any go-to gear for songwriting and demoing ideas and why is it important to you?
"My Hagström Viking electric guitar and my Boss Reverb pedal, that I’ve had since I was 16 years old, are my main go-to gear for songwriting. I guess it’s mainly because it’s the gear I feel the most comfortable with and know very well, and it always puts me in a mood that I think I need to be in to be able to write something. When I need a bit of change, an acoustic upright piano is really nice too because it’s so simple."
What instrument or piece of gear would you like to get next and why?
"Speaking of upright pianos, I’m actually looking into getting myself an older one. I just never had one, and as much as I love going to friends to borrow theirs, I think it would be cool to have my own piano."
Where would you like to take your sound next?
I’d really like to keep on building on the sound of You Are but experiment even more with different acoustic sounds.
Black Water is release on 17 September.