NME has already dubbed him “Norway’s answer to Nick Drake”. Singer/songwriter Thomas Dybdahl releases his worldwide full-length debut Songs on 6th June.

Former guitarist with Norwegian band Quadraphonics, Dybdahl released his debut solo EP, Bird, in 2000, followed by EP John Wayne in 2001. Both achieved little commercial success, however Dybdahl’s debut solo album, …That Great October Sound marked his arrival upon its release in 2002. Follow ups Stray Dogs (2003) and One Day You’ll Dance For Me, New York City (2004), earned him comparisons to fellow singer/songwriters Damien Rice and the late Jeff Buckley.

Thomas Dybdahl took time out to chat exclusively to Gutter about flying solo, the Norwegian music scene, and his career highlights so far.

Is it more daunting being a solo artist than being in a band?

Not really. I was fed up with the whole “band democracy” where everybody supposedly had a say in creative input. Going solo, I could just go 100% for my own vision, it was very refreshing to be honest.

Both your debut EP, Bird and follow-up John Wayne met little commercial success. Did this discourage you from continuing your solo career?

No, I wasn’t really hoping for much, anyway. I was just doing my thing really. The EPs I released did what they had to do, really – create interest in me as an artist, and function as a creative stepping stone for myself to build my own musical identity.

You have drawn comparisons to Jeff Buckley and Nick Drake, but who inspires you?

Basically, anybody or anything that gets to me. Good music, a great film, a great book, a play, a good story, or photos.

In what ways does the UK music scene vary from Norway’s?

The sheer size [of the UK scene] is pretty daunting. So many bands and artists. Penetrating the cultural sphere of another country is always hard anyway. I think a certain amount of good timing and luck is needed. In addition to a lot of hard work, obviously. When there are so many bands competing, you have to have that hunger and fire in your belly.

What do you hope Songs will achieve for you?

I just hope to find an audience in the UK that will appreciate my music, and get a kick out of it. Easier said than done, but they are out there.

What do you strive to bring to a live gig?

Something different from the records. Playing live is all about being in the moment, totally consumed by the music. Needless to say, this doesn’t always happen, but that is where routine and enough rehearsal comes into the picture. It can save a bad night if it has to.

What has been you solo career highlight, so far?

Doing my first movie score [for 2009 Norwegian drama Rottenetter] was a big kick. It was something different for me, and I loved every minute of it.

Thomas Dybdahl plays  London’s XOYO on Monday 30th May.

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