Nina Persson is currently both moving on and looking back. The Swedish-born, NYC-dwelling chanteuse is preparing to release her first solo album donning her own name (She has released two albums under the A Camp moniker.) She also recently reunited with Swedish indie poppers The Cardigans, the band for whom she’s perhaps best-known, for a reunion tour, and something she’s also interested in pursuing. In a recent chat she told me that she’s not exactly sure what the future holds for her, but she’s really enjoying having all of the possibilities.
“I guess I haven’t really figured it out. I don’t really have one that I prefer over the other. I really like having finally done a solo album but, also I just did a tour with The Cardigans that I loved and we started to fall back in love again and I’m just as excited about The Cardigans, as well. I feel so fortunate to have it all, although I think the solo recording is going to be the backbone from now on.”
Nina’s solo album, Animal Heart, is due out February 11th on The End Records. And while it’s something that’s sort of been in the works for a while, it’s also something the songstress had been actively avoiding until relatively recently.
“To make a solo record in my own name was a little scary because I was sort of raised in bands, but I’ve been doing this for 22 years and it was just time. I wasn’t scared of it anymore and I just realized it would be easier to be on my own. I mean, I’m in New York now and The Cardigans are in Sweden. The biggest difference is when you are in a band you have group suggestions and you kind of have to take in everyone’s input, but now I turn to my own roots, before I was in bands, and I can be more introspective.”
Animal Heart is a collection of warm, synth-and-keyboard-driven pop songs, equally indebted to classic soul and the playfulness of the 1980s. It’s certainly fun, but also quite sincere. There are elements reminiscent of The Cardigans and A Camp, but at their most pensive and restrained. Persson composed the collection of songs with husband, songwriter, author, and film composer Nathan Larson, along with Eric D. Johnson of the Fruit Bats. While Animal Heart would seem to have Persson more openly embracing pop than any of her previous projects (something she’s not denying), in our recent chat she admits that, when first diving into a solo project, she had little-to-no idea what would come of it.
“As a solo artist, I was like, ‘I don’t have band members and I don’t have a past. I don’t have any role models. I really don’t have a fucking clue what kind of a solo artist I would be. I just knew I needed to make a record that makes sense.’”
The songs of Animal Heart do seem to make sense. They share a relatively common sonic palate, but they also seem to be driven by dualities: consideration of the past, while attempting to move on and the idea of living things existing among the almost entirely artificial… and those who refuse to.
Nina Persson is currently taking Animal Heart on the road. She’s touring Europe as we speak and plans to be in the states in the coming months. She tells me that the show is going to be a bit stripped down, compared to what she’s used to playing but that, in addition to her latest batch of songs, you can expect some revisits to and reinterpretations of her previous work.
“We’re going to be in the US in April and we’re going to be doing at least one round around the states. It’s not gonna be as full-scale as I used to do, but it’ll be really fun. It’s going to be a lot of people playing keyboards. I mean, I’m not a crazy, acrobatic performer. I just focus on singing the songs, but I’m excited for it. As far as the songs, I mean, I only have one solo album, so I’m also going to be playing songs of previous projects, as well.”