Fri, March 11, 2022
Doors: 6:00 pm
Show: 6:00 pm
Any tickets suspected of being purchased for the sole purpose of reselling can be cancelled at the discretion of 9:30 Club. Opening acts, door times, and set times are always subject to change. There is a 72 hour delivery delay on mobile tickets. Tickets will be available March 08, 2022 at 6:00pm.
Had everything gone according to plan, Marie Ulven — a.k.a. intimate rock/pop sensation girl in
red — would’ve spent the vast majority of 2020 playing for new crowds, in new venues, and
taking in new landscapes as she drove from city to city on tour. But the COVID-19 pandemic
upended all of that, and so she found herself grounded, at home in Oslo, and revisiting the
familiar skeletons of songs she’d begun to sketch out the year before.
She wrote and demoed 11 songs at home, and soon she was borrowing her father’s car to
make the eight-hour trek from the Norwegian capital city to Bergen, a city nestled between
majestic fjords in an inlet off the North Sea, to record if i could make it go quiet, her debut album
out April 30th, 2021. Consider if i could make it go quiet the musical distillation of Ulven’s
solitary conversations on the road: it’s an album brimming with the things we wish we could say
to others, but tell ourselves instead.
“Every time I left the studio from Bergen, I would listen to hours and hours of my own tracks, and
just be like, what can I do better? What can I refine?” she says, recalling her cross-country
drives through the Norwegian wilderness to the studio. “Driving is a cathartic thing; it gives this
amazing feeling of freedom. I love to talk to myself, so most of the time, if I didn’t listen to my
songs, I would just reflect in the car. I read that talking out loud to yourself is healthy, so I’m
going to keep doing that. But the drives, they take you out of all the other distractions because
you just gotta pay attention to the road. It allows you some headspace.”
After 2018’s breakout single “i wanna be your girlfriend” established Ulven as a talent to watch,
she amassed a worldwide following that heard themselves in her poetic lyrics, at times
hopelessly romantic and painfully direct, that meshed beautifully with the sparse yet captivating
arrangements she wrote and produced herself. Instead of nursing the emotional wounds of a
break-up or the aches of unrequited love in private, Ulven, then a teenager on the cusp of
adulthood, opted to process and heal before her growing audience with a series of EPs and
Betrayal, lust, longing, pulling herself out of a depressive spell — nothing is off-limits on if i could
make it go quiet, and Ulven lays bare her ruminations on all of the above while distorting and
reimagining the sounds coming out of her piano and guitar. She explores the limits of the human
condition and her radical acceptance of it on “Body And Mind,” which ebbs and flows over a
moody, electronic groove; she proudly tackles sexual liberation with sunny chords on
“hornylovesickmess,” and reveals she wants more from an unavailable partner on “midnight
Love, in all its messiness, is a constant muse on if i could make it go quiet, and Ulven
delighted in challenging the mere concept of a love song, and what it can do, in her own way.
“When you [hear] ‘love song,’ I have very bad connotations immediately; I’m like, that’s some
sappy shit!” she says, laughing. “But love is so big, and there are so many sides to love. I feel
like I’m exploring a little bit more of the hate side of love with this album. I also feel like I’m
exploring a little bit more of being vulnerable and letting someone in. I haven’t talked about that
before… [The album] is a big, boiling pot of thoughts and things I haven’t said.”
There are lessons to be drawn from these self-examinations, and Ulven has eagerly embraced
the opportunity to write her way through them, even when it hurts or she’s left with more
questions than answers. It’s easy to picture her behind the wheel, somewhere between Oslo
and Bergen, listening through “Rue” while recalling the dark mental place she was in when she
wrote the song, or the friendship she hoped would turn into something more that inspired “You
if i could make it go quiet is girl in red in its purest, elevated form: Ulven has never
been braver, and the music follows suit.
“I really poured my heart into a lot of these lyrics, fully,” she says. “I just feel like I emptied
myself in this album.”
“This EP represents a feeling of being lost. It’s the kind of lost that makes you question who you are and where you belong. So lost that someone might need to find you again because you can’t find yourself. That’s how it felt to move to Liverpool, then London, and be in transit between cities and never settling”.
Writing her second EP – which opens with ‘Haunted House’ – helped her to come to terms with the shifts that were happening in her life. It first began to take shape in the pre-pandemic days when Holly would visit her friends and sisters in Manchester, revel in big nights out and then get the train back to wherever she was living at the time, feeling worse for wear.
The record not only processed the changes that were happening around her but helped her find her way out of situations. ‘The Walls Are Way Too Thin’ details her experience of moving to London and taking a room in a flat with people she’d never met before. Far from the sanctuary of her family home, she found it to be an uncomfortable situation, living in “a really dodgy, really small” space with no privacy. “How come it rains inside?/ The house is full but I’m alone,” she sighs over creeping electronics and bright guitars.
‘Scarlett’ is named after Holly’s best friend and looks back at the musician helping her through a break-up. On ‘Please Don’t Leave’, meanwhile, she teamed up with The 1975’s Matty Healy to create a song built for sleepless nights playing over the highs and lows and what went wrongs of a relationship. Working with Matty, she says, was not only inspiring but helped her dispel some of her self-doubts. “I have imposter syndrome and I don’t feel like I should be doing this job sometimes,” she explains. “Working with someone I admire like Matty is reassuring and affirming. I must be alright at what I’m doing, I can trust myself.”
Storytelling is indeed an important part of Holly’s craft. She wants all her lyrics to be ones people could tattoo on themselves and she writes lines that are specific to her life, from her sister’s struggles with mental health to growing apart from her friends. “People can connect to a song more if it’s just me and my unfiltered thoughts,” she explains. “That’s what I look for in music that I listen to – a personal connection. Everything I’m going through is universal stuff. Everyone’s been through these situations, it’s not just me.”
Beyond music, Holly has already created the Fifth Sister Swap initiative as a way for her and her fans to get new clothes without relying on fast fashion. It’s an idea that stemmed from her and her three sisters constantly borrowing from and swapping their own wardrobes.
“I think growing up in a house full of females has made me really passionate about the stuff that’s important,” she explains. “Being sustainable and caring about climate change are going to be really important in my career.” She also cites women’s rights issues as making her realise the importance of using her platform to help make a difference.
With her inimitable brand of songwriting and visionary creativity, as evidenced on her stunning second EP, Holly Humberstone’s star will continue to rise long after the family home that raised her crumbles to the ground.
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