Hailing from Finland, Knife Girl is a burgeoning talent and a name to get familiar with. The 22-year-old Knife Girl has been releasing music under several different monikers since 2013, including her two highly praised EPs ‘Metro’ and ‘OONA’, both which showcased her natural flair for innovative production and deft songwriting abilities. In September, Knife Girl released her astounding debut album ‘Uniform’, an explosive foray into the life of a young trans woman, grappling with her identity, mental health and falling in love amongst it all. DMC World sits down with Knife Girl to get to know this rising star and the journey that made ‘Uniform’.
Knife Girl, nice to meet you. How are things going? Whereabouts are you chatting from
Hey hi! I’m at home on the living room couch with my laptop. I’m a little stressed cause I’ve got lots of stuff to do today.
So, you’re a musician and producer based in Helsinki, Finland. Can you tell us a bit more about yourself?
I like to do whatever music I like, regardless of style. I like to make happy love songs, but often my pessimism and mental health gets in the way and my songs don’t end up super happy or Lovey-dovey.
You’ve been releasing music under different guises since 2013. Between then and now, how have your processes changed?
I used to just be a producer, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve gotten more and more into writing and singing songs too. My songs used to be somewhere around 1 minute long with minimal song-structure, but I try to do actual structure and verses and stuff now!
Your debut LP ‘Uniform’ is due for release later this month. Could you go into more detail about the upcoming release?
The album is a pretty big departure in the way it features a whole backing band instead of just being played by me. It was recorded at a proper studio instead of my bedroom, where I usually make my stuff. Playing with a band helped me go for a more rock sound, I think.
What kind of inspirations have you drawn upon when making the album?
When I was writing the songs for this album I was really inspired by 80s new wave and the classic CBGB-bands like Television and Talking Heads. I think David Byrne’s attitude towards creating art is something that really inspired me. Thematically the album deals with love, identity and mental health.
You’ve mentioned your experience when living abroad in Japan for a year and the strict gender roles unlocking a gender dysphoria that you had to come up against. How did this influence Uniform?
Even though gender roles influence everyone everywhere, I don’t think I’d really struggled until I went to do a year abroad in Japan. I love Japan, but the gender roles are so strict there. I felt a huge need to conform and prove to everyone that I’m a boy, ‘cause I hadn’t realised my dysphoria yet. Not all trans people feel dysphoria but it was definitely there for me, eating away at my mental well-being. I’d struggled with depression before, but my worsened dysphoria fuelled that fire and made me struggle with my will to live. I started transitioning during the recording of this album, but that didn’t suddenly make everything better. I was having the worst time of my life while making this album, so it’s hard to look back at all of this now. I’m really happy it’s finally coming out, but it’s bittersweet.
When making the album, did this allow you to work through the gender dysphoric issues you found yourself faced with — was it a release for you?
I don’t think I explored gender that much on Uniform, it’s more about conformity and identity when you’re young. Still, It’s definitely first and foremost a release for me. It’s songs I wanted to hear, so I made them happen!
‘The Good Times Are Coming Your Way’ and ‘Never Let Go’ are a preview of the album, what can we expect from the rest of Uniform’s tracklist?
Those were picked as singles since they’re the most approachable of the album tracks. The rest of the tracks follow a similar style of songwriting and production, but the songs are a little bit more dense and slow paced. I think as a complete package, the track-list works really nicely.
Do you have a favourite track on the album? Why is that?
‘On the Line’, I think. It has my favourite lyrics from any of the songs, and I think the structure of the song is really wild and fun. I think it touches on all the themes of the album, too.
Great to chat with you today and wishing you all the best with the album release! To finish, is there anything else upcoming from yourself that you can let us in on?
Thanks! I think next up I’m gonna be a pop star. Watch out for the Knife Girl worldwide takeover!