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I’ll be the first to say that I hate driving, yet so many of my fondest memories take place in cars. There are the late-night boredom drives to nowhere with your friends, the screaming at the top of your lungs with the windows down drives just to feel alive, the handholding and sideways glance drives of a first romance, and the drives that take you to new chapters of your life. If our lives are roadmaps, cars are where the action happens.

Jimi Somewhere disagrees with me about one thing, he loves driving. Tucked away in Oslo, Norway with freshly dyed black hair and a contagious smile, the 22-year-old recently released a third single off his upcoming, debut album ‘Nothing Gold Can Stay.’ The track titled, ‘IN MY CAR,’ is an ode to the many profound and fond memories he’s made driving around with his friends. Jimi told LADYGUNN, “Being in Norway there’s not a ton to do. My friends and I just end up driving somewhere or sitting in cars together. I wanted to write about that and some of the experiences and moments I’ve had just being in a car.” Alongside his other singles ‘Jesus’ and ‘Bottle Rocket,’ Jimi has shown his aptness for creating diverse sounds and personalized settings based on his own coming of age.  

Moody and nostalgic, ‘IN MY CAR’ paints an intimate portrait of romance and growing up today. Moments are packed with raw and contrasting emotions; laughter met with gaps of sadness filled silence or the endless wish for a world that’s beyond what’s in front of you. Jimi immediately sets the scene singing, “I broke your window with a rock/ We shared a moment in my car.” The opening synth is gradual and filled with movement, immediately invoking the feeling of a flashback. The synth carries and grows throughout the song, met with the steady drop of a drum beat and mixed with sounds like the dinging of an unlocked car. No visuals needed, any listener can find themselves on a late-night drive to who knows where with Jimi. 

A self-described ‘album-lover,’ Jimi has been working on many of the songs on Nothing Gold Can Stay for around three years. If his singles are any indicator of what’s to come, then grab a pen and mark your calendars for his album debut on February 5th, 2021. I recently got the chance to sit down with Jimi and unpack ‘IN MY CAR’, his start in music, and what to expect on Nothing Gold Can Stay. 

How’d you get into music? 

Music has just always been something I’m really passionate about. I’m 22 now, but I started writing songs when I was about 8 years old, so pretty much my whole life has been working towards music, making music, and just figuring it all out. I think the first song I wrote was me trying to copy “Thriller” by Michael Jackson. It was a spooky, Halloween-y song about zombies. I didn’t do a dance or record it, but maybe I’ll bring it back! Now, I live in Oslo with my producer (Milo), and we just work on music every day which is great. 


Did you have a method for picking your stage name?

I grew up on like Odd Future so when the time came to pick a stage name I used their method, like ‘Frank Ocean’ or ‘Earl Sweatshirt.’ So I just really like the name Jimi and I liked the word ‘somewhere’ so it just all came together. It just came to me I guess. I kept it pretty secret at first, I didn’t tell any of my friends. I told my producer and he was like, “Oh, that’s cool.” But he was the only person I consulted with. We ended up just announcing it with the first single I put out in summer 2016. 


You started out just by putting your music on Soundcloud and now you have your first album (Nothing Gold Can Stay) coming out, that must feel pretty surreal? 

Ya, we put my first single “Escape” on Soundcloud in summer 2016. I wasn’t really sure how to get stuff on Spotify at that point and I wasn’t sure if there was really a point in trying to. I wasn’t really sure if anyone would listen. We re-released all the singles and the EP I put on Soundcloud the year after. I really like Soundcloud though because it’s so based in sharing. It’s really convenient when you’re starting out. 


With your new album, do you feel like you’ve developed your sound? 

Definitely, I feel like it has its own sound. I’m very much an album person, I love them. My main drive to do music was to make albums because I’ve always been so invested in them and they were such a big part of what I remember loving growing up. When we started really recording, we realized we didn’t have the ability to make a good album off the jump, so we made some EP’s while continuously working on the album. We kept putting songs aside, especially when they felt like I was touching on something more personal and bigger than what I was fitting into an EP. Eventually, we felt like we had covered everything we wanted to. Surprisingly, it sounds cohesive as well. It’s just about being picky with the songs we use. 

Even though you were piecing together this album, do you feel like you’ve touched on some overarching themes? 

Ya, we just tried to touch on a lot of the important moments of my life and a lot of the memories that have meant a lot to me. These songs represent times in my life that have made me. It’s more personal than my past EP’s. 


You lifted “IN MY CAR” off your upcoming album Nothing Gold Can Stay, can you tell us a bit about the album? How has it been working on it during the pandemic?

We were in LA until February and we got home just in time, right before everything kicked off. We were just like holy shit. Norway is a pretty small country, but of course, we had a little lockdown. I live with my two best friends though and one of them I make most of my music with. So, we just locked down and made music and got to be here. It’s kinda what we usually do anyway. It’s really fun living with your best friends and making music. It’s nice to have someone to share your passions with. I can’t imagine sitting there alone and not having anyone around to be like, “Yo, come check what I did!” It would be a lot less fun. It’s a blessing to live and work with them. But the album’s been a long process. We’ve been mostly doing final adjustments like mixing and mastering this year. Most of the songs we made in 2018-2019 and we took a few things from 2017. We re-did quite a few things and just tried to give everything a new life. 


Let’s unpack “IN MY CAR” a bit. To me, it had this almost nostalgic feel to it of holding on to a moment but not knowing what that moment means to you or the other person at the time. A bit coming of age-esque. What are your thoughts? What was the process behind this?

“IN MY CAR” came kind of randomly. Milo just showed me an opening synth he made and I just sat down and went off what I felt. I bounced it back to him after and he added like the drop with the drums and we were like, “Okay, now we’ve got something.” It was cool because I felt like we didn’t have anything like it on the album yet. I love driving and I spend so much time driving. Being in Norway there’s not a ton to do. My friends and I just end up driving somewhere or just sitting in cars together. I just wanted to write about that and some of the experiences and moments I’ve had just being in a car. We sampled a lot of car sounds in there. It’s really important to me that all the songs feel like these small journeys and moments. I want people to have this album as a soundtrack to the memories they make. I have so many songs where I look back and I’m like that’s the moment when this happened or I was here when this was playing. I love looking back and going, ‘oh that moment meant so much to me which is why this song means so much to me’. I want my music to be that for someone else. 


You’ve talked about how your love films, can we expect any cool visuals with your album? What albums did you take inspiration from? What are some of your must-watch films? 

An album that’s definitely important to this one is Childish Gamino’s ‘Because the Internet.’ The ending is very Childish Gambino inspired where you get this crazy switch in energy and vibe. He does that a lot where he gets these extremes into songs which is really cool and something I gravitate towards. That one was definitely a big one. I can’t remember any specific film inspirations for this song, but my favorite films are Her by Spike Jones, Pan’s Labyrinth, and Y Tu Mama Tambien. I think about those a lot. I want to have a lot of visuals with this album, but they’re so expensive. I would make a video for every single song on the album if I could. I’m going to try to make as many as I can though. Norway’s really good at allowing people to apply for support for music videos, so we are doing what we can. I have a lot of ideas spinning around for every song. I’m going to do my best to make it all come alive. 


This is the third single you’ve released off the album, is there any reason why you picked this order? 

I just wanted to show the variation in how the music sounds because all of the singles sound differently and there are different vibes for each. I think we honestly might drop more. It’s like a fun bang before the album drops. 


Do you have any collabs on the album?

There are three people on the album besides me. There’s Kacy Hill, who’s one of my favorite singers, on “Jesus.” I haven’t really announced it yet but Milo, my producer, is singing on one of the songs. His voice is really good as well, so I’m happy to have him on the project singing too because he adds so much. I also have a song with a really good singer/rapper friend of mine, Jon Waltz. He’s so talented and really underrated. I was obsessing over him when I was 16 and now we’re friends, which is really cool. It’s cool to have those moments and have him on the album. 


What’s your hope for Nothing Gold Can Stay

Once it’s out it’s out of my control, there’s not much I can do other than promote it and make videos and continue to push the universe. I hope it takes me to a place where I can really start touring once that’s possible again. But overall I just want it to be heard. I want people to hear it, resonate with it, and find something in it of value. I’m just going to keep working.


Do you plan on doing any virtual performances? 

Ya, I want to do a live performance video, I’m just trying to figure out how. I think it’d be cool to do it on a frozen lake. I’m testing ideas and running them by my video producers. I think it’s cool to just be able to turn on performances like that in your living room.



Photos / Tom Schandy, Martin Kopperud

Story / Kinsley Cuen

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