It’s been three years since Norwegian singer/songwriter Sondre Lerche gifted us with his critically-acclaimed album, Please. Since then the Brooklyn-based artist’s work has moved on from the life-changing events that inspired that album. Now on his new album, Pleasure, he explores the tempestuous aftershocks of that time.
OUT: So tell me about Pleasure, what did you set out to do with this album?
Sondre Lerche: It overlaps with the end of my last record, Please. There are some songs that I left off Please because I felt they belonged to another phase. Pleasure just feels like the next chapter, and it’s been sort of a turbulent period of a lot of fun, but a lot of confusion, and this feeling that is hard to transition. It’s sort of this feeling of being stuck in Limbo, and it can be a fun place to be, but it’s not a place to live. Pleasure is me sort of tiptoeing around the real issues in a way, and just trying to stay alive in the moment. I think that’s why it’s a record for the dancefloor – because that’s the arena where you can act out and let off steam and turn a lot of your confusion and anxieties into joy.
Let’s talk specifically about the “Serenading in the Trenches” video, directed by Evan Savitt. It seems pretty laden with symbolism.
It’s a song that engages in a lot of patterns that exotic to me. My nature is not aggressive, it’s not violent, and it’s not necessarily even confrontational, although I find a way to employ these qualities in my music sometimes.
I have such a close relationship with my band, and especially my drummer, David Heilman, who performed in the video. We have such a deep relationship in music, as human beings, as artists, and he is such a larger-than-life character unto himself. And I wanted to build a video around him, and around our relationship where we play out and act out all these different relationships that, sometimes, stem from how we are on stage, as colleagues, as artist working together.
There seems to be a lot of intimacy between the two of you in the video—it gets pretty intense at times.
I wanted to play out romantic relationships, sexual relationships, even a father and son type thing – to really have us touch on almost any kind of deep relationship that two men, or even a woman and a man might have. We know each other so well, and we enjoy each other so much, I thought it would be really beautiful for us to take on all these different relations in a video.
I had this idea that something we could do is for him to shave me – to shave my beard. It’s such a dramatic thing to do, it’s such a caring, intimate thing to do, and it also has a bit of violence to it and potentially fatal results. It is such a beautiful motif and has this sensuality I wanted to explore.
I’m really happy with how it turns out, because it celebrates the depth of our relationship. I feel like you don’t see a lot of videos like that, especially from heterosexual male artists. People are often so afraid ot show any kind of admiration or love between two guys, whether its romantic or friendship. We’re so uptight, so I thought it would be a beautiful thing to celebrate in this song.
Once you finish the Norwegian leg of your tour at the end of March you’re headed back to the U.S. to play, what are you looking forward to most about your American shows?
I miss my fans. I’ve developed such a beautiful, loyal fan base in America throughout the years, and I so appreciate the ongoing dialogue. I’ve been doing this long enough that it’s not just about this season, or this hit song, or this album – it’s an ongoing thing where you’re constantly in a conversation with audiences. I feel my American audience is particularly alert, attuned, and open-minded. It’s always a highlight to make the rounds in America, and with this album, now that we’re touring so much abroad, I feel like we’re going to be in tiptop shape by time we get to these shows.
Watch the OUT premiere of “Serenading in the Trenches,” below, and find a tour date near you, here.