Babylon is the latest single and video to be released by Sweden’s Normandie.
The track is taken from the forthcoming stunning album, Dark & Beautiful Secrets due for release on 19 February on Easy Life Records.
Soon, the wider world will bear witness to something extraordinary in the form of Dark & Beautiful Secrets. It is the third full-length from the Stockholm trio – completed by guitarist Håkan Almbladh and drummer Anton Franzon – but in reality, this will be the first opportunity for fans to hear the band as they truly are.
Normandie singer Philip Strand explains “Babylon wasn’t supposed to happen. With the covid restrictions, it landed us more time to dive into the studio again and play around with new ideas. The song came purely from just having fun and playing around using breaths and coughs as instruments.”
Strand continues “I’ve been searching for my identity my entire life. Going from group to group, crowd to crowd, trying to fit in – finally, I realised that my true identity is something I should form myself. Are you following or falling out – is a line I wanted to use to express the way many of these groups behave. You’re either in or out. To me, identity is what you get when you mix all the things you identify with, bits and pieces that then become you as a whole.”
Buoyed by the thematic seeds instinctively sown into the first single, from the soon released album, Jericho, Strand felt compelled to dig deeper than ever before and poured his heart out, tapping into a wellspring of personal experience to create each of these new tracks. Facing up to the things that he’d kept hidden away for so long made for some uncomfortable and difficult self-analysis, but that reflection was necessary to produce a record that can really resonate and mean something to people.
“This is a really dark album to me,” the frontman admits. “There’s something about writing a new album that gives a freedom to be true to yourself in both sound and lyrics. We decided to be as intimate and personal as possible, sharing true stories from our past for the first time. We called it Dark & Beautiful Secrets. Everyone has secrets, each and every one of us has something buried deep down inside that we desperately keep hidden away from the judging eyes of the world. A secret that comes to light can be a beautiful relief. Proof that you have gone through the healing process and you’re ready to move on. ”
Philip writes with unflinching candour about everything from panic attacks, to his fractious relationship with the internet, and how there is a need to dig deeper into yourself can make you lose track of reality. He writes about love and lust, and how confusing the two can lead to learning harsh lessons about personal worth. He examines who he was as a child and how much his life and his values have changed in adulthood. Underpinning all of these personal revelations, however, is the moment his life changed forever, age 14, when he turned his back on the church he grew up within.
Though it is rooted in the private rites of passage that helped shape Strand as a person, the potency of Dark & Beautiful Secrets lies in that unifying thread about finding the strength and courage to make your own stand in life, and to seek out that which is true for you. It’s about being brave about the person you once were and reconciling that with who you want to be.