Straight from a run of phenomenally-successful European shows, genre-defying band Fever Ray are heading over to North America for the next leg of their highly-anticipated headline tour. Made up of The Knife’s Swedish vocalist Karin Dreijer and five female musicians, the newly-formed ‘girl band’ promises to deliver an emotional and unnerving (yet thought-provoking) experience showcasing the deeply-personal lyrics and weird sounds from the new album Plunge.
The creative force and self-confessed ‘conductor’ of the band, Dreijer is best known for her work with previous musical project The Knife. Teaming up with brother Olof to lend her haunting vocals to their particular brand of electro synth-pop, Dreijer enjoyed 15 years of cumulative success with The Knife up until 2014. Famously shy of the limelight, the brother/sister pair refused to perform live for 6 years after forming the band and thereafter would only appear in press releases wearing masks to obscure their faces. This journey culminated with the release of the experimental—but critically-acclaimed—album ‘Shaking the Habitual’, which was inspired by feminist and queer theory, hinting at a future enduring theme in Dreijer’s work.
Dreijer continues The Knife’s tradition of anonymity and playful shifting of identity with the most recent incarnation of her alias “Fever Ray”. She began releasing music under the Fever Ray moniker in connection with a solo project during The Knife’s 2009 hiatus, and now it has transformed into a multi-faceted expression of Dreijer’s different personas. The second album made under “Fever Ray” was released at the end of last year, and it is the experimental, and sometimes explicit, themes of this work that are highlighted in Fever Ray’s current performances.
Dreijer has clear and unabashed opinions on women in the art and music worlds, and this clearly feeds into her most recent creative output. In addition to touring with an all-female band and speaking openly about her relationships with women as lovers, friends, collaborators and loved ones, she is also curating the Irish Body & Soul Festival 2018. Taking place during this year’s summer solstice, the festival is already an event with a high level of female involvement, so it therefore attracted the singer’s attention.
Dreijer obviously exemplifies the current upward trend of women supporting other women using the unique platforms afforded them by their career successes. Other examples include the poker world’s Fatima Moreira de Melo, tennis champion Serena Williams and journalist Gloria Steinem. Dreijer has even spoken out about her support for women-only spaces (like the Statement Festival in Sweden), as well as her own positive experiences with queer spaces (like certain nightclubs in Stockholm). She describes them as a ‘safe cocoon’, hinting at her knowledge of the less-than-fair experiences that some women have outside of these arenas.
Fever Ray’s North American tour promises to be a shake-up of the established music industry’s trusted value system. Challenging the status quo through music, costume, image and outspoken opinion, Dreijer and her troupe of indefinable performance artists are sure to sear themselves into the consciousness of anybody fortunate enough to catch them live. After touring the U.S. throughout the month of May, they will return to Europe for the summer festival season, so make sure to catch them when you can, wherever you are in the world!