A powerful artist. A kind soul. A cosmic woman.
Let me introduce you Christine Hoberg, composer and vocal artist from New York.
She’s back with her fourth upcoming self-released LP, World Within (Winter 2014). Followin-up her 2011 Moonlight Never Shined So Bright, this album was recorded in Christine’s Brooklyn home with an analog forefront.
We had the honor to interview her, after we noticed her cool performance inside Kaffibarinn in Iceland. Plus, we have an exclusive editorial on our digital magazine, so have a look and see what she revealed us!
Iʼll begin from the end: how was to be part of the Iceland Airwaves? Do you like this kind of festivals? What do you love most about live performances?
Iceland Airwaves was incredible.
I loved it because compared to some festivals which get really big and branded all over the place, this one truly seemed to be about the music and music lovers.
I think it was super manageable because everything is centered around Reykjavik’s downtown and people can hop from place to place on foot very easily.
I loved this festival in particular because there was such a wide range of music and people at the festival are open to all kinds of music.
I really loved that. That’s how I am too, like, how can I only like one genre? No, I like psychedelic, vocal and experimental stuff, rap. Very cool.
Do you have a favorite spot where you like to perform? Why?
NYC is an interesting place to play because there is so much going on, in all different kinds of fields, not just music.
So, I think you really have to sharpen your chops. People have seen talent before and experimentation before. It helps you open your eyes. Seeing how other people think music should sound is interesting and it helps to play to people that have seen so much talent because if you don’t really put out your best stuff, they won’t care.
My favorite thing about performing is just the aliveness.
Like, before I perform a lot of the time I am just sick to my stomach all day. It is something that will take so much of my life spirit out, almost like I am giving my spirit to the audience while I’m performing and afterwards I feel like I gave birth (okay, I don’t mean to downplay how incredible and wild that experience is but you know!).
I am tired and can barely think, but I feel so happy and calm and connected.
I love performing. It’s all I would ever do everyday if I could.
How have you changed during these years -both better and worse aspects-, thanks to your last trips and gigs?
I have definitely seen how this tour affected and changed me.
I played in so many different kinds of spaces and sometimes was running the sound myself, sometimes communicating what I needed soundwise to someone in a totally different language. It makes you learn things and become much more involved and knowledgeable in the technicality and vision of your art and sharpen your words for communicating with other musicians and people.
It also was super interesting for me to be, for example, playing in all these countries that, you don’t know how much they even understand of what you’re saying, but people seemed to feel what I was saying and doing still… That was cool.
You are quite fascinated by dreams, are they an inspiration for your day by day life and work?
I think they really are and always have been an inspiration to me.
I’ve always been fascinated by the stars and that though I’m talking to you right now, and when I’m brushing my teeth, and when I’m playing with my nephews, I’m spinning on a tiny piece of earth in space. That will never stop being something that I am obsessed with and fascinated by. We just keep doing our own thing, but like… stop, isn’t this so intense?
I don’t get it. And dreams tie into this because they are also this other world that we don’t understand. Like, that we allow ourselves to shut down and move around in this different world for at least a third of our lives.
I feel very resolved and very active in my dreams. I mean, I have had times when I have resolved issues or forgiven someone in a dream and then never felt that anger or guilt again. And we move to different imaginary worlds. Those images never leave me.
After Iceland I kept having dreams of being in water and the northern lights and puffins. Life is beautiful. And fucking hard sometimes, like why are we on this roller coaster? But in general, I’m a fighter and I love it.
I watched this beautiful one-act of Mike Tyson the other day, that’s weird to say because I never would have watched it on my own, but I did, and this initial line he gave was talking about where he grew up, Brownsville, Brooklyn, NY.
And the motto for Brownsville is, ‘Never Ran, Never Will’. Hearing that… I was like, shit, I needed that. I’m keeping that with me. That is for me. That gotta keep on moving, gotta make your happiness, gotta manifest your dreams, gotta find that peace and fulfillment… That’s the drive of life, for me.
How did you decide you want to be a singer and composer? I mean, was there a precise moment in your life that brought you to this decision or was something that happened step by step during the years?
So, I was also singing and dancing and drawing and doing things like that from a small child. Maybe we all do? I don’t know.
I was a ham, I loved dressing up and loved performing.
My mom, I was born in North Dakota but all my family is in Minnesota/Wisconsin, so my Mom would call my grandma long-distance just because I wanted to sing to her. And she’d sit and listen to me sing over and over again, ‘ABCDEFG…’ and ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ like for who knows how long and she’d just listen and love and encourage me, ‘That was beautiful, thank you sweetie’.
My grandma was one of my best friends growing up. She was a magical woman.
Your last album is dedicated to your dad. Can I ask you why? How did your family pull for your career?
It’s my upcoming album that is dedicated to my Dad, ‘World Within’.
This album to me is the culmination of my musical efforts these last number of years. I used to have some vocal only, experimental stuff up on Myspace years ago and I just have always liked writing all kinds of stuff.
So, I guess I didn’t always know how to make that experimental stuff technically happen live and I could perform these other styles with a band in NYC and people seemed to like them and I enjoyed doing that at the time, but this new stuff to me is getting in to the stuff that I wrote from like a super soul part of myself and I hope that what I have to say and express will be with someone else and help them and heal them or make a light bulb go off for them, just something. I hope whatever I do puts a little ripple of positivity into the world.
It’s dedicated to my Dad because I am so proud of this album. And my Dad passed away when I was a little girl and I think how proud and excited I am for this album, I want him to be honored in knowing, like, I carried you with me, this album, this feeling of pride or accomplishment or starting to get somewhere right with my art is like, ‘Dad, this is for you, too’.
Is there any message you want to spread with your music?
Yes, I think it’s really important for me personally to send out some kind of message.
I mean, we take in so many messages all the time, why not have my message mean something or be honest about the human experience.
I guess I want to do a lot of things but ones I think of right away are to comfort and inspire others, two things a lot of world needs.
I used to find it really funny and fun to say the things that are crazy and running around in our minds that people maybe are embarrassed of or pretend aren’t there. But I like to let my crazy out. I have this feeling that if you scream and dance and let your crazy out, you don’t keep it in.
Now some of the stuff I sing or put out there is kind of like inside-ing out myself or exposing my vulnerableness to others and that feels liberating too. Like, this is the truth.
I don’t need to hide or protect it. I can live with the uncomfortableness of that feeling sometimes and that feels really good and alive.
Where do you live now? Whatʼs your relationship with this place and its environment? Does it inspire you somehow?
I live in Brooklyn.
My relationship with it is a really… Hm, homey one. I like that we all have to see each other. There are no forgotten others because we all walk amongst each other and take the train with each other. I do know that homelessness exists and I do know what wealthy brats act like and single moms and happy couples and an old lady or man taking care of themselves. And there are so many people around you all the time, at least, me personally, I can’t deny the feelings and can’t not at least see or sympathize with how others live their lives.
It feels good and humbling and makes me feel like we’re all struggling and surviving and finding joy and laughter together. Like we’re all in this together.
Which is one of the best memories of your childhood?
Hm… that’s so funny. I had a lot of great memories.
I would wake up in the Summer and just ride my bike all day with the kids in the neighborhood and we had all kinds of rivers we’d jump off bridges into and natural waterfalls and Lake Superior which was like the ocean. And in the Winter the snow was like a magical dream world that was above our heads and we could build cool forts and we’d make chairs and houses in our yards out of the snow and make tiny snow fridges, haha I remember one time my friend and I ran in our houses and put two cokes in our snow fridge and the next day we came out to find them exploded from the cold ahaha.
A lot of my nice memories were in the lakes around my house and on Lake Superior, and picking apples in the Fall.
What is for you ʻhappinessʼ? Are you happy now?
What is happiness? Hm. Happiness to me is getting closer and easier to maintain as I get older.
I think part of happiness to me, is creating, having my loved ones around me, being able to travel, helping others and letting them know, like, I’ve been there, too, or I don’t judge and I understand, learning new things.
To me, ah, this is so weird and hard.
Happiness is being with loved ones, when I’m creating, seeing the world and being exposed to new things, and is making a habit of good things, and not wallowing in bad times anymore.
You can say, ‘I have felt this before, I will allow myself to feel and recognize this, but I will again let this go and move forward again’.
And it’s enjoying the joy and laughter in the present moment. Being present and not planning out the future or yearning for the past while I’m in a beautiful moment.
Text by Andra Munteanu // Pics by Julie Peel © All rights reserved