By Amanda Nordqvist
With a haunting, electric sound, this 18-year-old from Vestby, Norway has launched a masterful debut with his self-titled EP, Måke. Tim Sørdal creates solemn, heartfelt tracks that feel modern and relatable – add to that a voice that sounds eerily like Harry McVeigh’s from White Lies, and I’m officially hooked.
Along with the release of his EP, Måke has agreed to an interview with P&C, and he begins with explaining where his artist’s name comes from:
“Måke” basically means seagull in Norwegian. We had this summer house near the coast, and every summer I spent there, I would wake up to the sound of seagulls waving their wings and screeching over our house. They have always been a symbol of happiness and good memories for me, so it felt kind of natural to go with that name. I also chose the Norwegian word for it, because I like the structure of the letters, aesthetically, and how it sounds when you pronounce it. I guess it would be pronounced like “moakey” in English.
Have you studied music before?
I’ve actually never studied music, although I’m most likely going to a school next fall where they specialize in producing and, like, just studio tinkering, so I’m really excited for that. I have just been spending hour upon hour isolated in my room, just learning how to play guitar and other instruments, as well as learning how to record and produce, etc.
How did you come to create your own music?
I’ve always loved music, and ever since I was a little kid, my parents played it for me. It was always something on in the CD player at home, so putting on a record when I got home from school and such just became like a daily habit, I guess. So I think my interest in music comes pretty naturally, growing up with it and all and I’ve always loved creating things. Like, the process of an idea or a concept coming to life has just always fascinated me.
Creating has always been an outlet for me. Whether it has been drawing, painting or making a movie or whatever. Visualizing different emotions or situations I’ve experienced. Things I need to get off my mind, things I need to distance myself from.
I guess I’ve always surrounded myself with creative and inspiring people, and that has definitely opened up my mind to a lot of different styles and genres and ways of portraying things. I bought a bass guitar a couple years ago, because one of my friends was like: “Hey, buy a bass and let’s start a band”. I had no knowledge of how to play anything, so I just rolled with it. The band didn’t really work out and I just sat in my room learning some songs, but it didn’t really get me as hooked as I hoped it would. So, I bought a guitar February last year, I think, and I just started playing several hours a day and I started to make some chord progressions and other things.
Being a musician had always been like a vast dream to me, something I thought I’d never really get to be. But I managed to get some recording devices and a microphone, so I just started making shady demos trying to combine what little skills I had in different instruments.
After a while I started to get the hang of it, and I’ve been making music for about a year now.
I have no idea how many hours or days I’ve sat in my room, just twisting knobs, plucking strings and just learned my ways around music and how to create it.
What are some of your biggest inspirations when creating music?
My biggest inspiration is always my emotions, and the way I let it control me in the process – the music I make varies so much from whether I’m having a bad day or a good day. It captivates me how my state of mind can come up with so many different ideas and sounds. Making music has absorbed me to the point where I analyse almost every song that I hear, trying to find out what they’ve used to make that and that sound, and how they’ve produced it, and yeah, I think that definitely inspires me to try out new techniques and combining new styles and whatnot.
I’m also really inspired by my friends. Some of my closest friends are musicians and painters/drawers. Their perceptions and ways of doing what they do for sure influence me in what I do. Like I said, hanging around creative minds really helps you open up to new ways around most things, really.
And of course there are bands and artists that have had a huge influence on me. Artists like Jamie Isaac, Homeshake, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, King Krule and The Style Council. I think you can definitely hear some influences from them on the EP.
How would you describe your EP?
I think the best way to describe my EP is that it’s kind of the album where I search for my true sound and my own identity. Like, the sound and style varies a lot from song to song on this one, and it’s kind of an outcome of every influence I have and every emotion I carry inside of me. Mostly I had no idea what I was doing while recording this. I had no special result in mind, no vision of how this would sound as a whole, as a unit. But I think that’s what makes this interesting, because you can hear a lot of experimentation and different recording techniques and… yeah. It’s my first big project, music-wise, and it shows me exploring the different sides of making music, and all the different paths I can choose to go.
Did you have a particular message to convey with this EP?
I don’t think I had a particular message in mind when I started recording. Everything I write is usually really raw and unprocessed, every lyric is a result of me feeling something really strongly, and then I get a hold of my feelings by writing about it. So it’s all just crude and unrefined emotions, not an artistic image or message or whatever – although I do tend to disguise my lyrics in metaphors and similes a lot.
Every text is really personal, and it feels like I’m being stripped naked when everyone can hear my thoughts and perspectives through my own voice and my own soundscapes. But it doesn’t feel natural to me to write about superficial subjects. It just doesn’t appeal to me.
Can we look forward to seeing and hearing more from you soon?
I’ve already started on a new project, actually! I have a lot of ideas and melodies I want to make something out of. I don’t know what it’s going to be yet, but that’s what I’ll be working on in the near future at least. I’m going to try to get it released via a record company or something. That would be really, really cool.