New Out In The North session in a houseboat at sea

Article by Frederik Kyhn / Video & editing by Matias Tolstrup / Graphics by Lærke Heegaard

1.320.000.000 km2. That’s how much of the clear substance, commonly known as water there is in the oceans on this beautiful planet of ours. On account of this, it may be fair to assume that most people have a smaller or larger amount of receptivity for the feelings that can be related to the wide spans of water that constitutes the oceans. Still, this author claims that there may be a decidedly more affectionate connection to the sea in the small northern country of Denmark. Not too odd a feature of the social awareness, since the country is almost completely surrounded by water, hence a long history filled with accounts of adventures in high seas, accompanied by large amounts of spindrift.

Watch Penny Police play the new EP title-song “Run For Your Life”:

And it is on a small houseboat in one of Copenhagen’s multiple harbors, on a particularly windy day, perfect for daydreaming about these rough sea adventures of the past that we meet the warmth and kindness that is Penny Police. The young woman behind the musical project tells us that the houseboat hasn’t been on many adventures on the seven seas, actually none, though there was a plan for a small trip to Sweden last summer. As a young songstress struggling with the basic ins and outs of the Danish up-and-coming music scene, Penny, who bares the civil name Marie Fjelsted, has already made a respectable name for herself with both an EP and a full length album under her belt. Now, the danish songwriter is ready with her third release, “Sink or Sail” under the Penny Police alias whose origin, Marie herself describes in a most anarchist fashion.

- I didn’t want to represent the music in my own name. It would make it sound too singer/songwriter-ish, which it is, but I wanted it to be something more. So I chose Penny Police, which consist of the female name, Penny which is sweet and innocent, and then police which on the other hand is something harsh and rough.

Conveniently enough, as Marie and her musical partner sets up their sparse gear and begins to play, on this sunny but bitingly cold Sunday in the Danish Spring, the sweet melancholy tones from the instruments and Marie’s voice, sets a perfect contrast to the bristly sounds of the wind blowing and the sea splashing against the sides of the small boat. An amusing analogy for the title of the new six-track EP, on which the song “Run For Your Life” is to be found.

And though the song may have rather frightening connotations beaming from its title and in its musical elements, Marie think of it more as a song about living life to its fullest.

- I think the song is about running for life, not because someone may be at your heels, but because it is necessary to fight for the things you love and do what you feel is right. It’s a saying I repeat for myself sometimes when I have a bad day. So it’s not just positive.

Although only one of Marie’s musical collaborators is present in the video above, the new EP is filled to the brim with a wide range of musical instruments, and despite the references to the hackneyed genre that is singer/songwriter, Marie tends to think of her music as something more.

- On my first recording, I knew what I wanted the songs to sound like. It was my first release, so I sort of needed to be in control. It was very intimate. On the the album though, I discovered new sounds and ideas under the way, so it became a more free sound.

Leaving the houseboat after a remarkably calm and focused afternoon, despite the rough weather, the image of the melancholy tones of Penny Police set to the harsh nature of the danish seas sticks to the inner cinematic screen. A feeling Marie describes very well when she lastly mentions what she feels being a nordic songwriter means.

- There is a lot of melancholy and introversion in the Nordic music. A lot of layers, I think. Well, that is also the case for a lot of other types of music, but I think you have to dig a little deeper with the Nordic artists and their music.

“Sink Or Sail” is out today on iTunes.

See more videos from Out In The North here.