Axel Flóvent's debut album 'You Stay By The Sea' is out now
15 January 2021
Icelandic singer-songwriter Axel Flóvent shares full-length debut, 'You Stay By The Sea' and the official music video for latest single 'Still Awake'. The album is a collection of dusky songs that vary from subtle ballads to more electronic-leaning tracks that swell with emotion.
Icelandic singer-songwriter Axel Flóvent calls Reykjavík home, but it’s also the inspiration behind the fourteen songs on his debut album. As if forming aural clouds from the natural elements around him, the music gathers acoustic guitar, piano, and warm electronics into a hypnotic haze that hangs over these fourteen songs.
Axel says, "‘Still Awake’ is the high after the low. It's about the motivation that picks me up after a few dark days. It's a very toxic thinking pattern because this high takes me into a more active state than the anxiety does, and I can work in this state of mind, but I can't easily come back from it. I can't sleep because my OCD kicks in. I need to finish everything before the day is gone because tomorrow might be dark again; I have to use the opportunity while I feel good to doeverything that usually paralyzes me. It's essentially about how everything is great now and wishing every day was like this until the low returns, and I can't fall asleep again."
Directed by Berlin-based film director and creative director Maren Langer, the official music video captures the anxiety of an insomniac.“It’s about someone in bed obsessing about a past relationship,” says Axel. Adding, “it’s a simple story decorated in beautiful lighting and sets the scene in an apartment in Berlin. Maren immediately captured the song’sfeeling and put together the visuals with some amazing people.”
The release of the single ‘Tourist’ marks the first step to the album, followed by ‘Fireworks’, ‘Driving Hours’ and ‘Indefinite’. He delicately strums an acoustic guitar on the verses of ‘Tourist’ -“Maybe you’ll find it”- subsides into a swelling horn section. “That ‘It’ can be anything,” he reveals. “For me, it was home. You’re always on a search. Fittingly, I finished the last bits of the lyrics when I went East to visit my mom and my sister. I was still looking.”
The lyric “You Stay By The Sea” originates from the opener ‘Tonight’. Musically, dreamy keys drape over faint acoustic guitar as the words “draw the picture of the story” and confronts “the anxiety of communication in relationships”. Grand piano underscores a heavy theme on ‘Fireworks’, which details the end of a relationship. Meanwhile, the propulsive ‘Driving Hours’ - produced by Myriot - reminisces on a missed opportunity for love. A trumpet solo pipes through ‘Haunted’ as ‘Sea Creatures’ hinges on lithe and lush finger-picking and soulful delivery. “It’s a song about one my first relationships,” he continues. “There were a lot of fears that became the reasons she ended it with me. I was singing about creatures, because they represent your fears. It’s like a painting for me.”
In the end, Axel finds his place on ‘You Stay By The Sea’ and welcomes everyone to do the same. “I dream of people getting into the world I feel like I’m creating,” he leaves off. “If you connect to that, it would be amazing. I’ve learned there’s nothing like home, friends, and family. These little, small things really give us power in our day-to-day life. They’re my inspiration. The journey never stops, but I feel like I can settle down and I know where I’m going.”
Born and raised in the tiny Northern fishing village of Húsavík, Axel recorded his first EP ‘Forest Fires’, it was here where the songs were under the influence of everything from Bon Iver to Bombay Bicycle Club. It yielded an international phenomenon in the form of the title track, generating over 40 million streams.
With its success, Axel left Húsavík and signed to a major record label in the Netherlands. At 19 years old, he moved into his first apartment and “felt so isolated” He admits, “I was supposed to be in a music mecca, but I never left the apartment.” So, he traded Amsterdam for the British seaside town of Brighton where he recorded his ‘Youthful Hearts’ EP. Living in Brighton gave Axel “the clarity to move to Iceland.” Axel returned to Iceland and chose to plant roots in Reykjavík.
Tapping into the D.I.Y. spirit of his earliest recordings, but with a sense of refinement and newfound wisdom, Axel carefully assembled the album with producer Ian Grimble. He incorporated brass on nearly every tune, adding a robust organic energy to the tracks. Simultaneously, he chronicled his personal and musical growth. “The ultimate goal was to bind together my old way of writing songs with what I’ve learned and make it sound like one collective,” he elaborates. “Some of these ideas go back to my bedroom in Húsavík, but many of them are fresh and new. I pictured myself on a journey.”
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