Siv Disa aka Siv Anderson is a Reyjavik, Iceland-based songwriter who released her debut album Dreamhouse through the UK imprint Trapped Animal in November 2021. Anderson had been recording her eclective and evocative experimental dream pop and releasing singles for the past couple of years and demonstrated a knack for delivering a whole concept with her songs and accompanying music videos. From early forays into songwriting and performing while in college in the Boston area to becoming immersed in the underground music world of New York City post-grad and working as a teacher, Anderson’s style of soundscaping and storytelling is riveting in its quality of operating from a place outside standard logical though. Dreamhouse itself follows a bit of a story arc in the way Anderson spent a great deal of time figuring out an order for the songs in terms of themes both subject matter and musical. The album’s free association of ideas with psychedelia/shoegaze, jazz structures, noise, ambient and pop in a way that seems to invoke concepts of non-linear film making has resulted in a set of songs that takes you through a broad range of emotions and a gentle catharsis. We had the opportunity to speak with the songwriter at length through the benefit of speaking over the internet about her roots in becoming an artist rather than something her parents would have approved right away, her development as a musician and film maker as well as the themes of some of her music.
Listen to the interview with Siv Disa on Bandcamp linked below (where you can also order a vinyl edition of Dreamhouse), check out the video for “Whistle” (filmed in Iceland) and connect with her at the links provided.
Siv Disa’s single “Fear” is a soulful contemplation of the way experiences and people in our lives leave a lingering influence and connection that we hold onto in ways that escape our conscious thinking. Yet she sings about wanting to break those connections and associations and move on and not be bogged down by them establishing an unhealthy emotional pattern . She references doors she’d like to leave shut and that she doesn’t “like to think about that too much.” Yet the truth of the consequences of her impact on others and others on her looms large on the edges of her psyche and the fear of being overwhelmed with examining what she’d rather not explore in depth keeps her on the run. And who, that has lived a life worth living, hasn’t had thoughts and feelings like this. Sometimes you need to wait until you’re in the right headspace to adequately and honestly deal with life’s unpleasantness just to survive, so you bury things that affect you deeply or simply leave them out of your focus of your consciousness yet if they’re strong enough they will affect you in ways that seem mysterious except in retrospect of having taken the time to process whatever it is haunting you unbidden. The lush, languid, downtempo R&B production on the track by Sam and the Sea gives what might otherwise be dark personal reflection about more or less being in denial a gentle musical context that suggests an openness to going down that path and doing the hard work required, braving the fear, to make being comfortable with oneself and one’s personal demons a lot more palatable. The music video was shot by Brendan Kiernan and directed and written by Siv Disa is appropriately like a supernatural horror short film but given the warmth and soothing music has a rare dimensionality for similar cinematic work. Watch the video for “Fear” below and connect with Siv Disa on Spotify.
The video for Siv Disa’s “Moths” suits the hazily luminous melodic drone that draws us into the song. Visually it’s reminiscent of late 70s/early 80s psychotronic cinema or of Kate Bush’s 1980s music videos—dreamlike and symbolic. Disa sings in dynamic lines akin to those of Bush but her music is more modern in the processing of sounds. Electric piano and quivering synth drift in space amid minimal guitar work with Disa’s vocals guiding the paces, notes trailing in their wake. The image of the moths in the windows is an interesting detail as moths aren’t long lived and by instinct drawn to the light, distracted from living hinting at the song’s other lyrics wherein Disa sings about the subtly seductive powers of her own instinctive infatuations and how we can all get sidetracked from where we want to be by what we think we want in the moment when the right stimulus hits our nervous system. Watch the video on YouTube and follow Siv Disa at the links provided.
Siv Disa released her Waltzes EP in the fall of 2018 but is now re-releasing it as a visual album. The single “Rooms” is a downtempo, melancholic number that conjures images of the mythical late night jazz lounge. Except that its drones and tonal details like candlelight and twinkling crystal make it sound like a New Wave torch song. One gets the impression that you’re sitting with Siv Disa in an antiquated simulation of that jazz lounge like the Elvis simulation from Bladerunner 2049 that K experiences in post-industrial-collapse-abandoned Vegas—so compelling and yet surreal, haunting yet comforting. That is until the end of the song when the pounding drums and accelerated pace hit and you wake from the reverie in panic at the possibility of missing the last shuttle home from the platform with access to the all but abandoned nostalgia theme park that fell out of vogue in a future when most of humanity has entered into a period of galactic diaspora looking outward with little time for recycling or revisiting past popular culture. “Rooms” has the romance of a classic piano ballad and synthesizes a sense of the past with an ineffably futuristic sensibility and a nod to the fact that good songwriting has a timelessness that transcends trends. It is a perfect blending of sounds and aesthetics that provoke reflection as well as relaxation. Listen to “Rooms” and the rest of Waltzes on Spotify and follow Siv Disa at the links below.