Sol Heilo from the celebrated band Katzenjammer, has brought a bunch of her instruments with her into her new musical world. Her solo material is consisting of hidden gems that she wrote while on tour world wide with her band Katzenjammer. The songs were of a different calibre and didn't feel natural to bring into the band and when they announced a break, Sol immediately started to create her new world. All her videos are self made on her Iphone and all the artwork and designs that follow her project are her own work. She even paints large pictures and sometimes she brings them with her to a show and signs them after the concert.
Sol was touring Europe with her debut album Skinhorse Playground in 2018. Heilo appears on the Norwegian TV screens these days in a very popular music show called "Hver Gang Vi Møtes" (Every Time We Meet) where she talks about her musical life both in and outside Katzenjammer and interpret the other artist's songs. On "her day" the 16th of February, the other artists will do their own versions of her solo -and Katzenjammer songs.
Sol Heilo will be touring throughout 2019. Tourdates are constantly updated on this page under the menu LIVE.
SOL HEILO - SKINHORSE PLAYGROUND
There’s comfort in company, but it’s the strength in solitude that saw Sol Heilo truly find her voice. Following a successful career in Norwegian folktet Katzenjammer, Sol found freedom in the fall. She sought resolve, not reinvention, approaching her solo debut with the same wide-eyed wonderment that saw her pick up a guitar (and trumpet, and banjo, and harp, and flute, and accordion, and drums, among others) in the first place.
Lone roads led to ‘Skinhorse Playground’ – a fantasy land first envisioned in Sol’s childhood dreams. Perhaps it represents more of a journey than destination, with Sol drifting out and zoning in on her most contemplative cognition.
A recurring dream – since about age three – details characters ‘Dyn Dyn’ and album namesake ‘Skinhorse’. Dyn Dyn was an excavator with no driver, but took many different shapes. She quickly found that it represented her own fear.
Skinhorse, on the other hand, represented the fear of others – an external force, though no less consuming. The creature had a possessive and destructive power. It appeared often in her dreams, maybe from the age of ten, and again while she was writing lyrics that shaped the album. Her life was its playground, and everybody around her was involved.
The album was penned during a time of personal unrest that, rather ironically, paralleled the peak of Katzenjammer’s career – a twelve-year pursuit culminating in three albums, hundreds of thousands of sales, tours spanning Austin to Australia, and praise from the likes of The Guardian, The Quietus and BBC Radio 6Music, alongside personal plaudits from David Byrne and Steve Lamacq.
Lead single and album opener ‘America’ sets the tone for what is to come – an ode to the unknown, and the promise of new places and faces. It’s indicative of not only the project, but overall process. Rich in wanderlust, the track sees Bærum-born Sol displaced and disoriented on a balmy New Orleans morning, during the peak of a Norwegian winter.
On the flipside, ‘London Is Trouble’ trails the downside of life on the road. It took shape at London’s iconic, but now defunct, 12 Bar Club, following a bout of retail therapy on Denmark Street. The result was a 1961 Gibson LG-0 and a song. She found herself writing songs when she was down, almost as to channel out her guts.
Then you have the one-two punch of ‘The Dream Escapers’ and ‘Killing Karma’ – the former, a scornful “showed-you” to those who dared to doubt, and the latter, a proverbial “stuff-you” to those best not trusted. ‘Closer To The Sky’ contemplates a life cut short, while ‘Walk A Little Further’ urges life among the living.
‘Skinhorse Playground’ owes much of its sound to producer Hasse Rosbach (Moddi, Turbonegro, Team Me), who called in an eclectic mix of jazz composers, punk purists and LA-based session legends – not least of which, Jeff Babko (Neil Young, Beck, Frank Ocean, Jimmy Kimmel Live) – to push Sol even further from her Katzenjammer comforts.
Together with Rosbach, Sol experimented with a wide variety of sounds, recording hundreds of samples from scratch – including Celtic harp, accordion, dulcimer, flutes, fiddles and trumpets – which were later tweaked, combined and programmed into a DIY digital mellotron.
Vocals were meticulously layered and sampled throughout the process, with Sol recording her voice in different pitches, tones and qualities to create a fifty-part “gospel choir” on ‘Killing Karma’.
The album concludes in ‘Happy Song’ – a sonically sparse little ditty, at just over two minutes, that is no less weighted on Sol’s heart. If ever there was a silver lining, this is it.
“In the beginning, there are no consequences. You’re unaware of the boundaries, and you have nothing to lose.” In many ways, the album is a chance at just that – a new start, and a renaissance made all the richer for the experiences that shaped a brighter, braver Sol Heilo.