Q&A: Norwegian Producer Sonny Alven Talks Festivals, Collabs & “Cool With You”

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Photo: Mohammed Sarmadawy

Sonny Alven is steadily becoming known worldwide for his dance-inducing yet chilled-out beats and signature electronic style. The Norwegian producer’s most recent single, the steamy “Cool With You,” dropped Oct. 27 and features the flirtatious vocals of co-writer GOLDENS.

This is the second single from the Universal Music signee since releasing his Girls-EP (its three tracks are fast-approaching a collective ten million Spotify streams). Fresh off the heels of “Awake,” a Dragonette collaboration, “Cool With You” unapologetically gets inside the mind of a woman unafraid to steer the ship and keep things strictly casual with her fling.

Sonny has performed alongside huge electronic acts like Kygo and Galantis throughout Europe and the U.S. Always connecting with fellow artists, his standout 2016 hit “California Girls” with NoMBe helped bring in even more loyal fans, building off the hype from his early remixes for big-time artists like Tove Lo and Alesso.

We recently had the chance to not only have Sonny DJ at OTW’s November Baño Flaco showcase, but to also ask him a bit about his favorite festival performances, songwriting process, and more.

Vibe out to Sonny Alven’s latest single “Cool With You” and read on to hear from the breakout Norwegian producer himself:

OTW: How did you come across GOLDENS, and what about her made you want to collab with her for the vocals on your new track “Cool With You”?

“Cool With You” was actually made during a songwriting camp in my hometown Bergen. Luckily enough, I ended up in a group with GOLDENS and two other writers. We wrote “Cool With You,” and I’m really happy with how it all turned out! It was such a fun experience.

OTW: Have you ever considered using your own vocals? And do you play any live instruments or do you prefer staying strictly to electronic production?

I’m not a great singer myself, but it would be cool to sample my own voice and use it in a song in some way. I’m not a big keys player either, but I know my way around it. I do have a goal of doing more live shows in the future. That’s a bit more exciting and challenging than DJ’ing.

OTW: What kind of training did you go through, or how have you honed your electronic production skills over the years?

I started out just by myself, trying to learn as much as possible by watching Youtube videos and stuff. But after a couple of years I started studying electronic music at a university in Norway. That’s when I really decided to go all in, and only focus on the music.

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OTW: You’ve said that this new song is about the woman character taking control over her lover - do you think it’s important in relationships, casual or serious, to have that kind of back and forth between power dynamics?

Yes, definitely! In my opinion it should never be just the one way or the other. A relationship is about giving and taking, and I think it’s important that both partners take control.

OTW: What have been some of the most fun festivals you’ve DJ’d at or fellow artists you’ve toured with around the world?

Touring around Europe supporting Kygo is definitely still a big moment for me. I learned so much and got to see how a big tour/production like that works. Playing festivals myself is always fun as well. Stavern Festival in Norway was fantastic this summer, having my best friends there and just having fun!

OTW: How long did you live in Norway/do you still live there? We’ve been noticing a lot of rising artists from there - how would you describe the music scene?

I still live in Norway and have been living here my whole life. Earlier this year I moved from Bergen to Oslo which is the capital. There is a lot of great talent coming from Norway right now, and that is super inspiring to watch. I think there will be more and more coming in the next years.

OTW: Do you think you’ve developed a strong artistic identity by now or is your sound still changing and evolving?

I feel like I’m finally starting to close in on my own identity, which I’m really excited about! But at the same time it’s always evolving a bit. I’m excited to see how my new music will be received in 2018.

OTW: What’s coming up next after this latest single? And what are some of your dreams or goals for the future with your music?

More music! I will be releasing my next single early 2018, so watch out for that! I definitely dream about playing big festivals and traveling all around the world sharing my music. That would be a dream come true.

OTW: Did you feel that you gained a lot of exposure quickly with your music or was it a gradual process to build up your growing fanbase?

I’m definitely still slowly building a fanbase. It’s a long road, and I feel like I’ve just started. Hopefully things will just get bigger in the next years - I’ll do my best at least!

OTW: Who are some “ones to watch” we should all know about?

This Norwegian guy ‘DePresno’ makes amazing music! My buddy NoMBe delivers beautiful music as well. I also recently discovered an act called Drama Duo, which I really like.

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