Interview: Misty Coast on Music, Mental Health and Dreams + Share Their Anxiety-Busting Playlist

The past year or so has been tough on everyone, adding new anxieties, magnifying existing challenges and cutting people off from their support networks, and most of us will have gone through some difficult times. One way that many people have found helpful to cope with the situation that we’ve found ourselves in is through music, whether that be finding the song that resonates with how we’re feeling, providing a moment of escape or catharsis or as a creative outlet for our emotions. Norwegian psych-pop duo Misty Coast took this route when creating new album When I Fall From the Sky, released today via Fysisk Format – drawing from the widely experienced sensation of falling in your sleep, the record explores dreams, loneliness, insomnia and social anxiety.

We caught up with band members Linn Frøkedal and Richard Myklebust to find out more about the record and how music can help in troubled times.

The album has been described as “a survival-guide to the anxieties of today’s society,” was this the plan from the outset or did it just evolve that way during the writing process?

We never planned for the album to be a survival strategy, and we are not sure that it is either. But we hope it can somehow offer an escape from reality or at least make you zone out for 36 minutes. After completing the album, we took a step back and examined it – track by track. For us it became obvious that most songs actually attempt to find solutions or to bring comfort of some sort, even though the road to comfort sometimes can be tough. 

What experience do you have, personal or professional, that assisted you in creating an album that might help people through these issues?

I wouldn’t replace my psychologist with this album – or any album for that matter. But I think music can be elementary for lots of people in different situations. We hope our music can make people feel something – and hopefully different emotions depending on who’s listening.

The album was inspired by the sensation of falling in your sleep, and also touches on the theme of insomnia – what impact do dreams and sleep have on you as an artist?

I think most people find other people talking about their dreams extremely boring – so we’re not gonna go there. But we find it fascinating the way the mind is able to evoke physical reactions. And we also like to play with the perception of reality, and what we experience as our world.  

The past year has affected people’s anxiety levels in a wide variety of ways, from those struggling to cope with the isolation to others benefitting from a reduction in social anxiety through being encouraged to stay at home.  How has it been for you?

These days we are very lucky to be well-functioning, both as a couple and as a band living together. We’ve kept busy jamming in our living room, cooking lots of new dishes and cuisines, hanging with friends around bonfires or while skiing, reading books, nursing plants and watching tv series. 

What are your top tips for staying positive during stressful times such as these?

1) Get up early, and if you have nothing on the agenda, spend the morning on youtube laughing at something stupid an important person has done or said recently – there’s a lot to take from. 

2) Spend as much time as you can outside, and if you aren’t allowed to go out – bring the outside in, and turn your living room into a garden. 

3) Make every dinner the highlight of the day, and create Japanese evenings with sushi and sake, Mexican nights with taco and margaritas or go Italian and order pizza from your favorite pizzeria and open a bottle of Lambrusco. We have a tiny Pizzeria next door (Perugina Pizzeria) run by an Italian mother and son, and we feel like we’re out traveling everytime we eat their Diavola or Tiramisu. 

4) If 1-3 doesn’t work, buy yourself a pair of VR glasses and take a trip to Rome or Tokyo. 

What role does music and art have to play in maintaining people’s mental health?

Art and music offers a form of escapism, and can help you process emotions and set you in different moods. If you listen to music that you cannot stand, I guess it won’t evoke that feel-good chemical in your brain, so you have to dig for a good match for what you want to achieve.   

Check out Misty Coast’s top tracks for coping with stressful times:

The Zombies – Care of Cell 44

We are big Zombies fans, and have particularly listened a lot to Odessey and Oracle, which is one of our favorite albums. “Cell 44” is an Edgar Allan Poe reference, and is the name of the room where somebody is hidden away from the world – and that kind of resembles the situation we’re in right now? At the same time the song is uplifting and looking ahead with optimism and joy.

Big Thief – UFOF

We love everything Adrianne Lenker does, and UFOF is a masterpiece of a weird folk song. The tune is really laid back and at the same time totally out of this world and makes us forget about time and place and covid. 

The Flaming Lips – Waiting For Superman

A beautiful song about hardship from their classic ‘Soft Bulletin’. This is a song that touches the feeling of helplessness and the importance of asking your friends how they are feeling.

Orions Belte – Conversations

Norwegian trio, Orions Belte, released this stunning song earlier this year, which is a collaboration with the also amazing artist Shikoswe. Like a summery daydream, it’s the kind of tune that gets stuck in your head – in a good way.

Vestindien – Meldrøye

Norwegian black metal band Vestindien recently released “Meldrøye” – which is the name of a disease growing on certain plants, leading to hallucinations and cold sores. Whenever you feel pissed off at the world, this is the perfect tune to put on. 

When I Fall From The Sky is out now via Fysisk Format on vinyl, CD and digital download – order your copy here.

Find out more about Misty Coast on their official website.

Interview by Paul Maps

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