The trio that makes up State of Sea, two girls and one guy, are creating music with a unique “Nordic sound.” The Danish-American trio have recently released their debut EP, Illusions, on April 5. James Craft, Anna Roemer and Anna Scharling comprise the trio, and each one brings their own musicality to the group. Craft is a composer, teacher and songwriter in Los Angeles, Anna Roemer is a guitarist, composer and producer based in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Anna Scharling is a Danish singer and songwriter.
We chatted with the trio about their signature sound, their group name, Edward Snowden, and much more.
I love that you guys have taken the “Nordic sound” with traditional American songwriting to create the music for your debut EP Illusions…was this a collective decision or was there inspiration behind it?
State of Sea: Our Sound was never a conscious decision but more a natural outcome of our respective musical roots. When James flew over Iceland and landed in Denmark to write with the band, he was completely warmed to the Nordic sound – embodied in Anna Roemer’s beautiful and mysterious guitar playing, and Anna Scharling’s rich singing and songwriting. James is of course closer to the American songwriting tradition, but all three of us have a soft spot for the grand old singer-songwriters of America; we find inspiration in this genuine way of expressing music. Both Annas have a natural attachment to the nordic sound, which comes through as a bittersweet, melancholic feeling perhaps due to the constant change of weather in Scandinavia.
State of Sea is symbolic for the sea, since it’s referenced as the most secretive place on earth; why do you all think it’s so secretive?
State of Sea: Ninety-five percent of the ocean is unexplored; we know more about the surface of the Moon or Mars than the ocean floor; and more than seventy percent of the earth is covered by water. We are inspired by that vastness, and that unknown. The choice of our band name is also a symbol of our collaboration overseas. We have met, put our hearts into this album, and have a deep respect for each other. The distance between us inspires us; the album Illusions itself has a mystery that draws from the space between us, and vastness of the earth.
It’s very interesting that you all were inspired by Edward Snowden’s experience in Russia for the new EP…can you all elaborate on that?
James and Anna: Snowden’s sudden travel, his longing, his leaving everything he knew behind, and his love still living home in the US. The album is about letting one’s illusions go, and diving into the unknown. And that feeling took over when we wrote the music in Copenhagen. We could all relate to that. Anna R.’s expressive and powerful guitar playing was the bed for anything else we wanted to do. By itself, it evoked songs and the deep feeling with which we wanted to work.
How did you all meet, and why did you all decide to collaborate with each other?
State of Sea: Both Annas originally went to Los Angeles to write songs for their former band. They had an amazing time and met James through a mutual friend. For fun, we wrote a song together one day, and all liked the collaboration so much we decided to start a project. For songwriters, it isn’t always easy finding a creative collaboration that really clicks – especially with three people in the room. But it worked, and we were excited! It was the perfect collaboration for three people who love to travel, and are very fond of each other’s work.
How did each of you delve into music originally?
Anna S: I grew up in a home full of music and I guess it was inevitable that I would be led down this path, although it took me several years to realize that there was no turning back.
Anna R: Pretty much the same thing. I started playing piano when I was four for some years. Then I picked up the guitar by the age of 9 and never stopped. During high school I thought I should go to university, have a full time job, house, and dog – a normal life. But, luckily life changed and now there is not anything else I want to!
James: I grew up playing piano, and hearing my Dad sing along to Mozart operas in the kitchen. Music was special to me young, and I started writing in High School. It’s been the best way of expressing myself every since.
Anna R and Anna S: Haven’t honestly thought about it! I’ve worked with Anna for several years now and when we were introduced to James. It was the perfect match. We liked the similar music, and had a common love for sharing and learning about each others traditions.
James, do you ever feel like the odd man out, or is the creative process a strong bond to connect you all and feel inclusive?
James: We are all different, thankfully, and bring our own unique aesthetic and opinions to the table. We are all looking for the same thing – great music and a meaningful collaboration. The process and bond have been strong.