Inicio English Normandie: “Put on a smile and act like nothing is wrong”

[Interview] Normandie: “Put on a smile and act like nothing is wrong”

Normandie is back after their third album ‘Dark & Beautiful Secrets [Easy Life Records, 2021]. Stockholm trio are going to release ‘Dopamine’ for a February 9th 2024 on London Discography Easy Life Records.

Recovery Magazine talked with Philip Strand, Normandie vocalist.

Hello! First of all, we really appreacite this interview. We hope that you’re well. Your fourth album ‘Dopamine’ is really close and we are sure that is great!

‘Dark & Beautiful Secrets’ was out three years ago! Have you seen a big evolution in these three years?

Yes, in many ways! Not only has it outstreamed our previous albums drastically and brought new fans to our music, but mainly it has deepened our relationship with our core fans. Because it was such a personal album, our fans could really feel the emotion and connect with us in a more honest way. 

You have followed a structure: the first day of the month you dropped a new single and you called this “Dopamine Clinic”. Why did you come up with this idea?

First off, we had no idea how to pick singles for this album! We love every single song so much and think every song represents the album in different ways, and with a “normal” album campaign you usually release 3 or maybe 4 singles but we wanted more. I came up with an idea to release a song on the 1st of every month, because then fans would instantly know that we had dropped a new song, without us having to announce a release date for people to try and remember – it’s so hard to stay relevant and top of mind. Having the 1st of every month was a way to help our fans, and first time listeners, to remember us every month. It has been very interesting to see the reactions!

When the album was going to be called ‘Dopamine’ and the story is that dopamine could be prescribed as a drug in the future, we thought it would be meta if we then called our singles “treatments” and that people could come every month to get their dopamine treatment in the dopamine clinic. 

Dopamine is really different from your last album. How was the creation process?

We’ve always strived to broaden our perspectives and genre, so we usually start by writing lots and lots of 20-30 second instrumental demos in all different genres and weird sounds and then we zoom out to see what the common thread is and if there’s a vibe somewhere there.

The first single is Blood in the Water. Why did you choose this song as the first single? Who or what inspired you when making the album?

Blood in the water was the very first song we did for the album, and we wrote it on the release day of our 3rd album Dark & Beautiful Secrets! Picking a first single is hard, because it has to represent us but still push the limits a little and be exciting and we think that song ticks both those boxes. 

You have collaborated with Dani Winter-Bates, singer of the metalcore british group Bury Tomorrow in your song Hourglass. How did this collaboration come up?

When we wrote Hourglass and came to realize that we wanted a heavy breakdown we immediately started thinking about features. And since our roots are metal core we thought it would be sick to be able to get a legend on the feature, rather than someone new and upcoming. Bury Tomorrow are Normandie fans and have come to our shows in the UK before, so we knew there was a chance to get it done and when we asked Dani he was really excited for it!

Regarding the style of the album, you decided to create a logo with a happy face. Is it intended to represent the “dopamine”?

Yes, it’s sort of a sarcastic logo. We never wanted it to be in the center of our campaign because it has been used before in different ways, but the more we saw it the more it felt right. It’s a little not to the expression “fake happy”. Put on a smile and act like nothing is wrong and “take your pills”.

In relation with the last question, you created a balloon with a smile that flies around the world. Why a balloon instead of another object?

Balloons are one of the most joy-connected objects, something that usually comes together with a form of celebration or happiness. So we thought that what if the people that joined the Dopamine Clinic would get a balloon as a kind of gift, a piece of happiness to bring home and in to the world. It is almost childish, but at the same time dark cause it’s so fragile.

In February you are going to present the album in Europe, UK and some months later in the USA. Do you have any surprises for the summer?

This summer will be a lot of resting for us and trying to figure out what to do next! It will be a very intense spring, and I have a kid at home that I want to spend time with so yeah it will be mostly chilling. 

In October 2019 you supported The Faim with Hot Milk. How did the Spanish fans react?

The Spanish fans where awesome! I think a lot of the reason why we haven’t gotten back here since is that it’s so hard to know if we could fill a room or not, we’re scared I guess. If you’re spanish and want to see us come – let us know! Demand it! Because we love Spain!

To finish, is there any band that you have been listening on repeat lately? What is your dream collaboration?

I’ve listened to a lot of Cloudy June, a German singer doing very cool and dark pop! As for collaboration I’m not sure actually! Perhaps a female vocalist, like Hayley Williams of Paramore!

Thank you so much for this interview. We hope that you come to Spain someday. You’re welcome here! and… congratulations for such a great album!