Norwegian indie-pop lifer Sondre Lerche has shared an epic new song “Dead Of The Night.” Clocking in at just over 10 minutes, it’s an expansive follow-up to his 2021 EP, King of Letting Go, and 2020’s Patience. Lerche shared an equally wide-ranging statement on “Dead of the Night,” which you can read in full below:
I left LA on March 14th, 2020, just as I was about to start launching the Patience album and tour. That record had been a seven-year-long process, and I was not about to let it fall prey of what I assumed then would be a month or two of global turbulence. My native Norway felt safer and more predictable amidst this unforeseen uncertainty, so I returned home, where I’ve remained ever since.
Less than a year later, this winter, the world was still in a static form of chaos. Nothing seemed a sure thing. But to my endless joy, my creative juices were flowing and I was writing songs and lyrics I never dreamed I’d arrive at.
I had managed to spend most of the summer alone on the road, playing solo shows up and down Norway, wherever they’d have me. Patience had been well-received, despite everything, and amidst all the frantic activities I was setting in motion, I had started writing these expansive new songs. The words led the way, and in November of last year, as Norway shut down for the second time, I started recording with my friends in Bergen. I’d spend two weeks, obsessively, on a song, and immediately record it thereafter. It sometimes felt like I was writing little movies, set to music. Never had I had the feeling of writing with such intensity and clarity.
I already had more songs than I knew what to do with when one day in early February of this year, a friend lent me a tiny acoustic steel-string guitar that I immediately started writing a song on. The grip allowed me to open the chord in a way I hadn’t been able to on other guitars, so I just continued playing the same two chords over and over, like acoustic ambient music. I had long ago scribbled down the title “Dead Of The Night” in my notebook. Every night I’d sit and play these two chords, try to shape melodies, and, more importantly, write down words that in the end would define the melodies. Every morning I’d wake up with new lyric ideas, desperate to get back into the song. Anything beyond my tiny studio apartment was a distraction. February is the coldest, worst month in Norway, and Bergen especially, where it rains A LOT all year round. I had spent fall and winter in my hometown for the first time since I moved to New York 15 years ago. It had felt good to return home, but the cold season was rough. And much darker than I remembered.
I thought the most intense part of this new songwriting process was over, but things were just getting started. This new song was a different beast than any other I had encountered. It kept on growing, and for the first time in my almost 30-years of attempted songwriting I felt like I was writing a song that might not ever end. The scope and perspective of it kept expanding — zooming further out than I’d ever been able to, dissecting the world, and slowly zooming back in, like in an old noir-film that finds the protagonist himself, and the object of his desire, amidst the myriad of everybody else’s equally intense and ordinary lives.
“In the dead of the night / all has been done before”
I got a kick out of peeking into every window, every apartment, looking into every tortured or giddy soul, every couple trying to get away with something. Any one thing that feels completely exhilarating or terrifying, or both, to the individuals at the center of it.
“We think we’ve seen it all / but we’re not at all original”
I was, of course, writing to understand myself. Early in 2020 I had made a big change in my life, a decision to be alone for the first time since I was a teenager. It was perhaps only natural that at this time I simply did not know the answer to the often asked question: where do you live nowadays? I did not know, and I still don’t. I was free, and it was exhilarating and terrifying, just like in the song.
Naturally, I was also prone to moving around a lot, staying active, productive, busy, festive, social. Staying up late, rising early. Frequently I found myself in the dead of the night, trying to stay light on my feet for as long as I could. I guess I wanted the night to never end. I had written a lot of very detailed songs about loss, grief and the life I left behind. But also new experiences I fell into, pleasures I wanted to prolong. Others may find themselves in the dead of the night in scenarios they wish to forget, or worse, escape. In the writing I was now seeing other fates and other souls as vivid as my own, and how the tragic and the euphoric exists side by side. Even in a small town like Bergen. It could be New York, it could be Los Angeles or beyond. But this burst of inspiration and experience happened in the town where I had been born. And two weeks after I started playing those two chords, over and over again, I actually found an end to this song that I didn’t think would end. The camera pans on two lovers in the dark, trying to escape everybody’s, except each other’s, attention. There was my ending. I wanted to freeze the frame and stop time.
But it was already too late. So I did the next best thing; went straight to the studio to record the song you are now about to hear.
On Wednesday February 17th I brought three new songs to my co-producer Kato Ådland, who I’ve worked with since I was a very tender 16-year-old boy. I showed him the other two, considerably shorter songs, and then told him about this 10 minute long one that I was pretty shaken up about. I sat down, played him the whole thing in the studio, thinking he’d find that a too big undertaking, at least to start us off. But he insisted we record “Dead Of The Night” that night. I thought it would be complicated and strenuous. But it was in fact the easiest and most divine-feeling recording I’ve ever taken part in. We played every instrument ourselves. By the end of the night we had arrived at the version that you are now about to hear. We didn’t mix it or tweak it, except for two lines that I rewrote the next morning. Writing and recording this song was the most profound experience of my creative career. Something I never thought I’d experience or reach. So I am deeply hopeful that people have ten minutes to spare, to go on the journey through the “Dead Of The Night” with me.
The cover image is an original piece by acclaimed Norwegian artist Nikolai Torgersen, inspired by the song. We’ve worked closely together the last half year, and more is to come. Love, SL.
What’s more, Lerche has also mapped out a lengthy 2022 tour. Hear “Dead Of The Night” and check out those dates out below.
04/09 Berlin, DE @ Badehaus
04/10 Amsterdam, NL @ Tuinzaal
04/12 London, UK @ The Grace
04/13 Dublin, IE @ Pepper Cannister Church
04/15 Manchester, UK @ Gullivers
04/17 Paris, FR @ 1999
04/18 Zurich, CH @ Photobastei
04/19 Milano, IT @ Biko
04/29 Vancouver, BC @ Fox Cabaret
04/30 Seattle, WA @ Crocodile
05/01 Portland, OR @ Doug Fir
05/03 San Francisco, CA @ The Chapel
05/05 Los Angeles, CA @ Masonic Lodge
05/06 San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar
05/07 Palm Springs, CA @ The Alibi
05/08 Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar
05/10 Santa Fe, NM @ Meow Wolf
05/11 Fort Collins, CO @ Aggie Theatre
05/12 Denver, CO @ Swallow Hill
05/14 Minneapolis, MN @ The Parkway
05/15 Chicago, IL @ City Winery
05/17 Ann Arbor, MI @ The Ark
05/20 Boston, MA @ City Winery
05/21 New York, NY @ LPR
05/22 Pawling, NY @ Daryl’s House
05/24 Philadelphia, PA @ City Winery
05/25 Washington, DC @ City Winery
05/27 Atlanta, GA @ City Winery
05/28 Louisville, NY @ Zanzabar
05/29 Nashville, TN @ City Winery