PIA ISA logobwShe’s got her fingers in a lot of pies, Norwegian multi talent Pia Isaksen. With her band Superlynx she releases a new album every two years and not so long ago she started a new project called SoftSun. Besides that, Pia is also having a solo career under the name PIA ISA and that is what this interview is about, because on June 28th she will launch a new album called Dissolve.

Interview by: Henk van Nieuwenhoven

Hello again, Pia. This is our third interview already. We did one in 2021 about the Superlynx album “Electric Temple” and in 2023 about “4 10”. This time we’re going to talk about your solo career. You are the connection between Superlynx and PIA ISA, but where lies the difference?
First of all my solo project is much more autonomous in the sense that I am the only one who writes and makes decisions about the music and the lyrics. There is no debate or compromises like there is in a band, and a few years ago I really wanted to explore more music on my own. It also feels more personal and free when it comes to writing about things that I felt were too personal for the band. PIA ISA is my musical cave where I can just be alone and express my ideas however I want. Another difference is that I also play guitar in addition to bass on my solo albums.

Your solo career started in 2022 with two singles and the album “Distorted Chants”. For those who haven’t heard the album, how would you describe it?
I think it is hard to describe my own music, but I guess the album is definitely slow, heavy, meditative and dreamy. Although it is rooted in heavy massive moods, I think it is quite hopeful too.

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In between “Distorted Chants” and your new album “Dissolve” you released an EP “Burning Time” with the Radiohead cover “Burn The Witch”. Is that something you would like to do more often, recording covers? Which one would be #1 on your list?
I think it is more exciting to create and write music than to learn songs that are already made. But it can be an interesting and fun experience to dive into someone else’s music now and then. I don’t have a list, but when I did “Burn The Witch” I also tried doing a cover of Black Sabbath‘s “Black Sabbath” and made a quick demo for it. I definitely think it had potential, but we’ll see if I ever do something with it.

“Dissolve” will not be out on Argonauta Records like  your EP and Superlynx’s “4 10”, but released independently. Why?
Dissolve” is also coming out on Argonauta Records like the other albums you mentioned. But I also have some copies that are for sale on my own Bandcamp store, so maybe that is where the confusion lies.

On the album you do almost everything yourself, except for some guitar parts done by Gary Arce and Ole Teigen did all the drumming. Could you have done the drum work yourself?
No, I haven’t played drums much and I wouldn’t want to have any bad drum work on my albums. It is not something I plan on doing myself.

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When you are composing a song and write the lyrics for it, do you immediately know “this is a Superlynx track” or “this one suits PIA ISA better”?
It definitely became more and more like that with time. Also, Superlynx went more and more into writing and jamming out songs together, so that happened very naturally.

“Dissolve” starts of with a traditional doom metal song, “Transform”, that almost sounds like it was written for bass and drums only. Not much room for some breaking guitar solos there?
I don’t think of my music in genres at all, but it is one of the simpler and heavier songs I guess. It does have a simple guitar melody break in the middle and in the end part, but yeah I like to keep things minimal a lot of the time. I felt like the vocal melodies and harmonies were enough for this song and if I feel like the song doesn’t need anything more I think it is done. I wouldn’t add more stuff just for the sake of it.

The one track that sticks out of the cornfield for me is “One Above Ten Below”. I can’t quite put my finger on it why, but maybe you can explain it through the composition and the lyrics?
I find it a bit hard to see my music from the outside, but maybe the main riff and the vocal melodies are a little more melodic than some of the other songs? And I guess the first half and the second half of the song have quite different moods. When it comes to the lyrics, it also has more direct or naked wording than most of my lyrics which usually are a little more abstract. It was written in a weird time in my life. When I sing “my nerves trembling all over town”, “they tell me to fill a form” and “they tell me that I’m depressed”, these sentences are very real descriptions of things that actually happened and not at all translated into symbolic language. Being this direct and honest about it feels a bit scary, but it also really helped me process what I went through.

On your Bandcamp page it says: “Dissolvement is a recurring theme on the album, but so is the idea of reassembling the pieces back together in new and different ways.” Can you give some examples of what you mean by that using the song titles or some parts of the lyrics?
The album was written during a time in my life where a lot of major things were changing and everything seemed to fall apart. It was scary and I was facing a lot of uncertainties and unknown factors. But as scary as change can be it can also be for the better and I really felt hope in holding on to the good parts, and eventually I was able to put them back together. Not in the exact same way as they were before, but although some parts had been damaged they actually fit together again in new and better ways. Change can really be a good thing too. The title song “Dissolve” is very much about falling apart and the idea that even though you do you can put yourself back together again in time, with new ideas and in new ways. The title song “Dissolve” and the song called “New Light” are very much about this.

Have you already started with writing new songs for the next Superlynx album, perhaps for a 2025 release?
No, we don’t have any plans at the moment. There are too many other things going on right now.

Your new project SoftSun with Gary Arce and Dan Joeright is going to drop their debut album on Ripple Music this year. What can we expect from that?
Yes we are and we are looking so much forward to it. I really love this new band, the people in it and the music we are making together. The music is heavy, mellow, dreamy and haunting combining Gary’s beautiful guitar melodies and sounds with heavy bass, my singing and Dan’s patient, steady drums. We also hope to play live around the time the album comes out.PIA ISA picwtxt