Comprised of the Gjøvik, Norway-born and-based singer/songwriter and musician Anna Lotterud and New Zealand-born, Melbourne-based producer Brady Daniell-Smith, the Norwegian/New Zealand-Australian indie electro pop duo Anna of the North can trace its origin back to 2012. As the story goes, Lotterud was working in a shop in her small town near Oslo, and was settling down with her first love, anticipating a life of routine, normality and banality when a customer came in and changed her life. Polite and well groomed, this stranger began making daily visits, browsing for hours but never buy-in anything. One afternoon, the woman suddenly approached Lotterud and implored her to abandoned the traditional life she had planned out, and go and expand her horizons. The plea jolted something in Lotterud and in an act of rather uncharacteristic spontaneity, she booked a flight to Australia, leaving her life and her partner behind.
The time Lotterud spent in Australia was personally fulfilling but also incredibly turbulent. She fell in love again, only to have her heart broken as suddenly and inexplicably as her decision to leave Norway in the first place. Around that time, she met her future producer and collaborator Brady Daniell-Smith. At the time, Smith who was also struggling with his own complicated relationships, was performing as an acoustic singer/songwriter in Melbourne, and in a serendipitous moment, Lotterud had caught Smith performing while she was friends. Interestingly, Lotterud and Smith then quickly became friends, with Smith encouraging his new friend to find solace in songwriting — and that by making music they could exorcise the ghosts of their past love lives. The project’s name actually came from a joke — Smith jokingly referred to Lotterud as “Anna of the North” and the name stuck.
The release of their debut single “Sway” three years ago began an incredible run of attention grabbing singles that have received over 60 million streams across every streaming service, multiple number 1 spots on Hype Machine‘s charts and rotation on BBC Radio 1, Triple J and Beats 1 — and in many ways that shouldn’t be surprising as the duo’s sound pairs brooding, icy minimalism with bright, buoyant and radio friendly/dance floor friendly production.
The duo’s highly-anticipated full length effort Lovers is slated for release on September 8, 2017 and reportedly the album’s material focuses on a subject familiar to the duo and to countless others — heartbreak. And through the album’s ten tracks, the album goes through the various emotional stages people typically feel after a relationship ends, including turmoil, grief, confusion, and the tentative joy in letting yourself start moving forward. Of course, along with that there’s the recognition that knowing love, including its inevitable heartbreak is necessary and wonderful because it opens up the possibility to know love once more.
Interestingly, the album’s latest single, album title track “Lovers” pairs a production featuring layers of shimmering synths, buoyant almost rubbery beats and a soaring hook with Lotterud’s tender and aching vocals, expressing a desperate an urgent longing that’s frustrated and can’t be fulfilled.
The recently released visuals for “Lovers” features Lotterud at a party by herself surrounded by couples — and in some way she’s haunted by the fact her relationship has fallen apart. As the duo explains “On a literal level, the video is about being lost at a house party and surrounded by couples when your own relationship has fallen apart. Digging deeper, it’s set in the same place as the song, that point when you feel so alone and you’re reaching out but they’re not reaching back. It’s desperate“