"When I started writing songs, it was just me and my piano"
Tulle is a 23 year old artist based in Oslo, Norway, and is currently preparing to release her fourth single. She is an artist and songwriter and has coined the term 'Death-Pop' to explain her genre of music. Writing from a young age, Tulle has explored many styles of songwriting and takes inspiration from other artists such as Lorde, Phoebe Bridgers and Glass Animals. She is currently working on her debut EP, which explores themes of loss, grief, suffering and rebirth, and aims to ask the big questions; what happens after death, and what do we become after grief? TULLE recently spoke with Indie Boulevard about her new single 'One Trick Pony', the inspiration behind the sad clown image, and her upcoming live show.
IB: Hello TULLE, it's a pleasure to talk to you. As a 23-year-old artist and songwriter, you have already made waves with your introspective lyrics and unique sound. I have been impressed by your work and especially the new single 'One Trick Pony'. This song tackles heavy themes of self-doubt and identity. Can you tell us more about the inspiration behind the song and how it came to be?
TULLE: Hi, pleasure speaking with you as well. Thank you so much! I'm very proud of One Trick Pony and excited to finally be able to share it. The song came about really quickly actually; I was in a session with my producer, Jens, just after my third single Godforsaken City released. I was feeling a bit tired and burnt out, and as I'm sure a lot of other musicians have felt before, I was struggling with a lot of self doubt and questioning my every move. I kept having the phrase 'one trick pony' in my head because that's how I felt; I can only really do this one thing, and am I even good enough at it? Jens and I wrote the entire song, with guitars and production, in a couple of hours. The version of One trick Pony that you're hearing now is almost the same version we wrote that day, in January.
IB: Could you share with us how you approach songwriting and what kind of themes you often explore in your music?
TULLE: I approach songwriting the same way I approach journalling, usually it just feels like I'm writing in a diary, and that's really cathartic. Lately I've been writing a lot about personal experience and the way certain feelings sit in my body. When I started writing songs, it was just me and my piano, but now I usually go into the studio with one of my producers and we talk things through a little bit, how we're feeling and what we want to write about. That's usually how I begin writing now, but I do like to mess around with ideas on the piano when I have some time to myself.
IB: How do you strike a balance between sharing your emotions and experiences through your music while also maintaining your privacy and boundaries as an artist?
TULLE: I definitely like to keep identities and details to a minimum in my music. As much as I want the song to be personal, I also want it to connect to an audience, so sometimes it's a little better if you don't paint a precise picture. As for maintaining my boundaries, I've found so far that people have been really respectful of them and I haven't got a lot of really personal questions about my music. I'm glad people can enjoy my writing without picking it apart too much, at least for now haha!
IB: You've described your music as "Death-Pop." While many genres explore themes of love, happiness, and positivity, your music dives into darker topics like loss, grief, and mortality. Can you share what inspired you to explore this genre, and how you approach writing music that deals with such heavy themes?
TULLE: I think I've always been a very morbidly curious person, but I never really explored that in my music until recently. I think what makes music and songwriting so interesting is that it can make heavy themes feel a lot lighter and a lot easier to take in. loss, grief and mortality is something that everyone has dealt with in some sort of way, and considering it's such a universal thing, it's still a taboo and people don't like to address it. I think that's very interesting becauseI view grief as growth, and I really like bringing it into light in my music. It's definitely been very healing for me.
IB: Are there any particular artists or genres that have influenced your "Death-Pop" sound? And finally, how do you hope your music resonates with listeners who may be experiencing their own struggles with loss and grief?
TULLE: Absolutely. I think Lorde is my main musical influence, especially lyrically. Her album Melodrama completely changed the way I viewed music and how it can be a tool to paint an image of a part of someone's life. I take a lot of my inspiration from her, as well as Phoebe Bridgers and Glass Animals. To me, these are artists who have totally built their universes and connected with their audiences. I really do hope my music resonates with people who have experienced their own struggles. Music makes people feel less alone, and that's a lot of the reason I got into making my own music. I really want to be able to connect with people who have felt the same way, and I hope my music can do that.
IB: 'One Trick Pony' has a very intimate and personal feel to it. As an artist based in Oslo, Norway, can you speak to how your surroundings and experiences in Norway have influenced your music?
TULLE: One Trick Pony is a very personal and intimate song to me because it reflects a lot of my deep fears and doubts, and that's something I don't really like to share a lot, so I consider releasing this song a big step. My experiences in Norway have absolutely influenced my music, as I write a lot about how I feel living here. I never grew up in Norway and although I'm half Norwegian, I feel very detached from it, which has led me to an identity crisis after moving here. I do feel like a lot of the time I'm just doing my tricks to try and impress people, but it doesn't really fulfill me. Having said that, I love living in Oslo and have met my two best friends and producers, Jens and Truls. I have a lot to be thankful for here.
IB: As you prepare for your upcoming live show on May 10, I'm sure your fans are excited to hear more about what they can expect from the concert experience. Can you give us an idea of what your setlist will look like? Will you be primarily performing songs from your upcoming EP, or can we expect to hear a mix of your new and older material?
TULLE: I am so excited about May 10th!!! This concert experience is going to be the most fun, and the longest set I've done yet. There will be a mix of older and newer material, and you can definitely expect to hear One trick pony, as well as some other surprises. And I don't want to spoil it, but there just might be some special edition merch there too. So come along. I can't wait.
IB: I'd love to know more about how you approach performing live. Are there any particular rituals or routines that you follow before going on stage? How do you connect with your audience and create an immersive and memorable concert experience for them?
TULLE: I love performing live. I have a bachelor's degree in musical theatre, so I'm used to performing, but it feels a lot more vulnerable performing your own material. As for rituals and routines, I always like to have a glass of red wine in the afternoon. Just one, no more. And I always video chat my mum after getting dressed to show her my outfit. That's really it. I like to arm up before I get to the venue and usually just try to chill out and not think about it too much. I love creating atmosphere in my concerts using props and sets. In my last concert, I brought along my lifesize skeleton, Vinny, to join the show. People really love him! I want my audience to enter my universe and enjoy the ride, so I hope to create that on May 10th as well.
IB: What can your fans expect from your upcoming EP, both musically and thematically? Are there any particular songs that you are particularly excited for people to hear?
TULLE: So the EP follows One Trick Pony thematically, and it's about experiences involving loss and grief. I am really excited for one song in particular, which is a song I wrote two years ago and have kept on hold. I won't say too much more about it, but I can't wait for everyone to hear that one. It's been a really beautiful journey writing this EP and I'm really happy to see it all coming together.
IB: Your musical image of sad clown is striking, with a melancholic and sad undertone that is present in both your music and visual aesthetics. Can you tell us about any specific experiences or events in your life that have influenced this aesthetic?
TULLE: I've been waiting for this question! So the Sad Clown was something I knew I wanted to do after writing Godforsaken City. That song was really difficult to write, and I wrote it after I got my heart pretty badly broken. I sort of felt like a joke, and decided that if I ever released Godforsaken City, I'd have to become a clown. The clown I chose was a French Pierrot, because it's known as the 'sad jokester', and I really liked the idea of a minimalist black and white outfit, instead of a fun, bright colored jumpsuit like you'd see traditional clowns wear. I also wanted minimal makeup, because I didn't want to turn into someone else, I still wanted to be recognisable. The Sad Clown was only supposed to stick around for Godforsaken City, but she's kind of grown on me a little, so she's back for One Trick Pony too.
IB: And the final question. If you had to describe your music using only emojis, which ones would you choose?
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