Interview: aname on their new single “Gratitude,” upcoming gigs, and future releases

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aname is the brand-new music making concept from Marcus Schossow and Thomas Sagstad. As artists in their own right, their friendship and music-making prowess has expanded since the Scandinavian, underground house music of the early 2000’s. We had a chance to talk to aname about their latest single “Gratitide,” upcoming shows, music influences, and plans for the feature.

Hey aname! Could you tell us a bit more about yourselves and this new exciting project?

Hey guys, thanks for having us.We have known each other for most of our adult lives. Straight after finishing university, we moved into an apartment together, spending every awake hour on music, philosophy and everything in between. We managed to come a little bit on the way that time as Schössow & Sagstad. We signed a record to our favorite label at that time ‘Global Underground’ and started to tour together but also on our own – we enjoyed life to the fullest.  After a few years of pursuing what seemed to be an escape from adult duties we both went our separate ways in our professional lives but always knew that together we had that special little spark that one day could turn into a gigantic fire if we just did it right and if the paths of adult life would allow and align with it.

So now we are here in 2022, a decade + give or take a few years later. Together we have been through hell and back to have the opportunity to build up a foundation so strong that it can carry our childhood dreams and vision that we so eagerly discussed and dreamed about on the balcony in our shared apartment 15 years ago. 

How do you think aname will differ from the sound of your previous project Marcus, gardenstate? Will you and Thomas as aname explore different sounds and influences?

We have always been very in tune with each other musically and Thomas has been working behind the curtains on the gardenstate project – so it will have some similarities. But most importantly, we as artists always want to push forward and make something uniquely ours.

What has it been like to work together full time?

As mentioned previously, we have more or less been working full-time together for the last 3-4 years already. Also being best friends for so many years we know when to push and when to give space. But obviously we are two ambitious, stubborn guys so it does get intense at points – but at the end of the day, we love what we do and it’s a privilege to be able to do this with your brother.

You are performing alongside Above & Beyond for a show at the renowned Gashouder in Amsterdam in May. Are you looking forward to visiting Amsterdam?

We love Amsterdam, it’s a great city and Gashouder has been a bucket list show for us since the beginning, so launching of the aname project in full alongside A&B is pretty mad, nerve-racking, but at the same time we are so excited to have this platform to fully showcase our project.

So your debut release as aname ‘Gratitude’, a collaboration with Above & Beyond, is out now! Could you tell us what the creative process was like for this track, what was it like to work with Above & Beyond?

The first idea came out of a jam session in Paavo’s studio in Finland, so the first version of the record went fast. After that, it has been sort of a case of playing it out, going back to the studio and tweaking till we were at 98% right – then we met up in Finland again a few months ago and put the final touches on it.

It’s always a pleasure working with the guys whenever we meet, It’s always a positive vibe – you can tell how passionate they are about music. We are extremely fortunate that they have been so welcoming and supportive for the aname project. 

Could you tell us a bit about the title of the track and the themes behind it?

The great thing about music is it can mean different things to different people, that’s really what we love about it.  For us, this record is a small token of appreciation for our family and friends. It’s a thank you to those who believe in us, to the ones who stand in a line in the rain, spending their hard-earned money to share moments with us all over the world. It’s a love letter and thank you to all of them. 

With such a major collaboration for your debut track, you are definitely putting your marker down with this new project. Do you have any more big plans for the rest of the year?

Trust us when we say it’s been a helluva fight, we always had a vision of what and how we wanted aname  to be – and like most new and very ambitious projects, a lot of people would say it wasn’t possible. But we are extremely confident in aname so we knew it was always going to be a matter of timing and having the right team to support that vision. Luckily we found the perfect home in Anjunabeats. They have been 100% behind our vision from day one, Gareth, Neil, Amy, Pete… the whole Anjunafam – couldn’t have done it without them. So we got a bunch of records already lined up for this year. They will showcase the full spectrum of what aname is and what we are all about. We are also getting back on the road, big tour plans which we will announce at some point after Gashouder. 

Do you have any more producers you’d like to collaborate with?

There is a saying, never work with your heroes, as it will never live up to the idea you have in your head… Personally, we haven’t had that experience yet! We love collaborating with other artists, it keeps us inspired and on our toes. There are a lot of artists that we look up to – so if we get to pick a few – Bonobo, Røyksopp & Rufus would all be in the top 5. But at the end of the day, the music is the most important thing, not who you worked with.

You are performing in Poland to 15,000 people in late April. Have you been excited to get back to live touring?

Honestly, the Poland show is extremely nerve-racking. I mean, we have been working so hard in our studios for so long, creating all this music that basically only our label has heard. Usually you would go test these out in smaller venues bit by bit, but here we are – baptizing the songs with fire in front of 15.000 people. But we are so excited to be able to kick off touring again and cannot wait to see what the fans think about the music.

Which are you long term ambitions in the scene? Any targets on your bucket list?

We are ambitious, but we wouldn’t call it a bucket list or targets that we would consider essential for us to hit to feel like we succeeded in the future. But there are definitely a few places you always dreamt about playing – like Coachella, the Gorge, Red Rocks, some spots in South America, Gashouder etc. You know those legendary venues, and amphitheaters that have the capacity and also fully embrace the fan experience we want to bring forward.

But we try not to get ahead of ourselves, we intend to build this brick by brick. First things first, get all the music out there and get back touring so we can connect with the fans again. From there it’s all about finishing the first album and getting that out there by early 2023.