Q&A: Fanny Andersen on The Prodigy, writing with Jamie Reynolds from Klaxons + her comeback

"My new music has loads of influence from The Prodigy."

Norwegian alt-pop star Fanny Andersen is back with her most honest single yet, 'Wake Up', which is released today (14.05.20), after a two-year break.

The 20-something singer describes the candid track as "upbeat and feel-good mixed with depression".

During her time away from music, Fanny went through a mental breakdown, but working with children gave her life a new meaning, whilst channelling the bleakest period in her life into the new song was like therapy for her.

The 'Kids' singer has been working with a phenomenal team of songwriters and producers in Jamie Reynolds of Klaxons, Olly Burden, who has played guitars for The Prodigy, and producer-and-engineer Steve Weston, best known for his work with Rudimental.

Here, Franny tells us how working with Olly and exploring The Prodigy's back catalogue has influenced her new music, how the title track off her upcoming EP was penned about a beer-fuelled studio session with Jamie and why "the future" of the music industry is "100 per cent female"...

'Wake Up' marks a new chapter for you.

Bring us up to date with what you'd been up to during your two years away?

I have been writing a lot of music, so a lot of hours have been spent in a dark studio somewhere in either London or Oslo.

I’ve been partying a lot, that can be read in a positive or negative way, both ways work [laughs].

I’ve been working with children, which has given my life so much meaning and grounded me so much.

I’ve moved flats I think three times, which has been a headache - it's my least favourite thing in the WORLD.

Other then that, I have this amazing new team around me, and I’m so ready to be back again! 

The new song was born out of one of the most challenging and difficult times for you mentally.

Was music like therapy for you during this period?  Absolutely.

I didn’t know at the time, because I was in the middle of it all and was just expressing how I was feeling, but looking back, I can see it was key.

It kinda opened the gate for me to be able to talk about it openly to my close ones as well.

It made it less scary, and when it’s less scary, it’s easier to go seek help.  Tell us about 'Wake Up'? It’s one of the easiest song I’ve written about some of the hardest stuff I’ve gone through.

I think I wrote the lyrics in an hour because it was there from before, in my head, I just needed the right production to get it out.

It’s upbeat and feel-good mixed with depression.

Just for that special sweet spot when you’re really not feeling too good - but still want to have a good time.

Was it difficult to document such a tough time in your music or was it like a big release? What's strange, is, it wasn’t difficult at all.

I always write music from my point of view, or at least 99.9% of the time, so if I’m at a shitty place mentally, the song is going to be about just that, you know?

It’s always a thing for me, being as honest and real as I can in my lyrics.

So yeah, more of a big release than it being difficult. 

Are you a believer that sad times make the best music? No.

That would be really depressing because then I would have to be sad all the time to make my best work and I hope it’s not like that.

I believe the best music is written from an honest place and that can be from either a sad place, a happy place or a place in-between.

Just as long as it’s true to who you are and how you’re feeling.  You are working with a new management and team with Olly Burden (guitarist for The Prodigy), Steve Weston (Skrillex and Rudimental) and Klaxons' Jamie Reynolds.

How did you meet Jamie and what have you been working on together? We met in a session, I think, maybe a year ago.

It was such a fun session.

We started drinking beer at 12am, I think, and wrote a song about how it’s never too early to drink beer.

I got pretty drunk and ended up almost missing my flight back home to Oslo!

We wrote the title track off the EP together a couple of months later, and it’s one of my favourite songs I’ve ever been a part of writing with him and Steve.

He’s amazing, such a sweet soul, so caring, and just a really good person. 

And working with Olly, who has played guitar with The Prodigy on the road, are you a fan? Does your new music take any influence from them at all? I hadn’t really listened to them that much before I worked with Olly.

I grew up in a more pop and rap influenced world.

But I’ve listened to it loads recently and I think their music is really f***ing good.

I take inspiration from all the stuff I’m listening to, so yeah, definitely.

And with having Olly as a producer on a lot of my new stuff, I think it has loads of influence from The Prodigy.  Are you still managing to write and do bits and pieces during the pandemic? Yes!

It’s working surprisingly well doing sessions over Skype, so I’ve been keeping as busy as I can during these crazy times; writing as much as possible. What can fans expect from your new era? NEW MUSIC, REALLY COOL VIDEOS and a more honest me.

You know, all the good stuff. I'm soooo exited!!!

"I want to be able to express whatever I want, however I want, without being put down because of my gender...

"F*** that outdated bullshit, the future is 100% female."

Did you feel any pressure to live up to expectations after 'Kids' went crazy? I haven’t really thought about it at all.

'Kids' was quite a while ago and was what I wanted to express at that time and this is what I want to express now.

I think what is most important to me is that I’m proud of what I’m releasing and can stand by it a 100%.

And I can do that with ‘Wake Up’, so no, I didn’t really feel any pressure. 

The music industry has come on somewhat since when you started out.

We are now post MeToo and now women have stood up to ensure the next generation don’t have to put up with that anymore.

It’s important that young women know that they can do anything isn’t it? THE MOST IMPORTANT.

We are strong, beautiful, intelligent and will not be f***ed with.

I feel so strongly about this.

I want to be able to express whatever I want, however I want, without being put down because of my gender. F*** that outdated bullshit, the future is 100% female.

We’ve started to see a gradual increase in the number of female artists added to festival line-ups, artists like Dua Lipa are standing up and calling out big events like the Grammys on the lack of inclusion of women being nominated.

What else would you like to see shift in terms of equality in the industry? The music industry has always been so male-dominated.

I want to not feel like there's any difference between male and female artists, in any channels.

That’s the dream.

Not on radio, award shows, how you’re being treated.

You know, being female in this industry is harder.

You’re always being compared to other female acts, but at the same time there is a 100 different variations of “lil” rappers with the same mumble rap and the same aesthetic.

And I always think to myself, did they have someone saying that exists?, or are they being compared to all of those rappers that are doing the same thing.

I want to feel like I never have to prove myself just because I’m female, and I don’t want any female ever to feel like they have to, as a female working in the business or in any scenario ever.

But the reality is that we kinda have to in the world we live in now, so yeah, that’s what I would like to see shift.

That we never have to prove anyone anything just because of our gender - because we are f***ing phenomenal! Who are some of your favourite female pop stars of now? OMG SO MANY!!!

Billie Eilish is just going offffff, she’s so incredible.

Dua Lipa, Sigrid, Astid S, Jhene Aiko, SZA, Kali Uchis, Tove Lo, Tove Styrke, Zara Larsson, BEYONCE (queen), RIHANNA (legend), Jessie Reyez, FKA twigs … I could go on forever. There is soooo much amazing music coming from female acts - it’s like a dream! Are you open to collaborations with other artists? Yes, that’s one of my goals for my next project. Are you working towards a new EP and can we expect more new music soon? My EP is nearly done, so yeah, lots of new music coming really soon.

'Wake Up' is out now.