Straw Family Band Interview by Christian Lamitschka for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show
Lamitschka: Music has many new fans throughout Europe who may be
hearing about you for the first time. How would you describe yourself and the
music you play to someone who has never seen or heard you?
We are a Family full of music – Generations crossover and all songs written
by one of the individuals in the family. The crossover in the generations does
the trick, that you´ll get a lot of different genres, from country, pop, folk,
blues, rock and beautiful ballads. And the lyrics will widen the perspective of
people and different genders.
Lamitschka: How was the last year for you? What were your highlights?
The last year has been marked by the fact that both Denise and Sally both
have each borne their first child. But even though it has filled a lot in
Straw, we have succeeded in keeping to our plan, namely to keep track of
releases of new songs continuously and also to participate in the jobs we
receive. It’s great when we’re lucky and our songs are played in the national
radio in Denmark, but the best part is the reception and recognition we get
from abroad and especially the USA.
One of our highlights has clearly been that we got an album/CD out and a
single plugged on Denmark’s radio and that we have recorded a fantastic concert
on Danish TV. In addition, we have translated a wonderful interview with us all
into German and American and we look forward to sending it out soon.
Lamitschka: What is your latest CD and how’s it doing?
Answer: Our latest CD was released in 2018, “Family Matters”. The
album received many positive reviews around the world, for which we are very
humbled and grateful. In addition, we have made several music videos where we
have been fortunate to be reworded for one of them. So basically, the CD has done
Lamitschka: How did you choose the title for the CD? Is there a
story behind the name?
Answer: We’re a band primarily consisting of blood-related family members.
So, the title “Family Matters” relates to that. But it also relates to some of
the habits we see in our country – many people are stressed because they mainly
focus on work, and not on being with their family. It’s like people think the
money they earn from work will take care of their family, and yes, they have to
work to live. But sometimes it seems like people would rather work, than read a
nighttime story to their children. But to us – family matters, more than money.
Lamitschka: Do you write the songs yourself? If not, how do you go
about finding the songs for your CD?
Answer: Yes, we do write all of the songs our selfe. And the amazing thing
about it is the diversity our band gets, because we’re four individual
songwriters. But if you listen closely you can hear that even though the songs
are different genres and even different singers, the songs still have something
in common. And that could be because all of the songs are written by members of
the same family.
Lamitschka: Please tell us about the songs on your album (influences,
1. Alive: Written by Denise. A
nice and funny way to tell about her life that can be difficult sometimes, and
at the same time, to be grateful for being alive.
1. 1965 (Nineteensixtyfive):
Written by Henriette & Carsten. A song born years ago, when Henriette
suddenly finds herself as an adult after coming from a childhood, with the
naivety that fortunately accompanies being a child. She discovers that life is about
much more than playing and that there is not only good in the world and her
eyes on how her beloved parents, who she perceived as superheroes and with the
surplus to shed, had actually bumped like crazy, to ensure safe frameworks and
love for us children. Henriette was born in 1965.
Hot Sunny Day
1. Hot Sunny Day: Written by
Henriette & Carsten: A Summer song and a song about missing someone.
It’s Cold Outside
1. It´s Cold Outside: Written
by Henriette & Carsten and born an ice cold and snowy winter night in a
cabin in Sweden with ice cubes hanging from the windows. A great inspiration
for a really emotional song, when you lose your true love.
1. Bang Bang: Written by
Henriette & Carsten. A powerful song about a very awkward and unlucky woman
who finaly decides to do something about her unsatisfied life. But again, she
Spider Making New Web
1. Spider Making New Web:
Written by Sally. A really beautiful ballad about the first love, being abused
and deceived but moving on in life by choosing to be as selfish as necessary.
1. I Hope: Written by Henriette
& Carsten. An emotional story about changing unconditionally to
become a better person and to discover and appreciate those who are close to
Family & Friends
I was in the middle of my most-stressed time
ever. Lots of things were going on in my life – I had lots of gigs
singing with different bands besides working and singing with Straw – additionally,
Carsten and I worked with vulnerable youngsters, and then we also had our own five
children and three dogs who needed attention and care. Two of our kids already
were adults, but my time was still full. In the middle of it all, I almost
forgot how important one’s family and friends are.
A few years before we`d bought a dream house in
Sweden where we could spend time – if we could find some spare time. We
desperately needed time to make recordings and songs for Straw. We also needed time to be together with our
family and friends for real.We managed to find time to visit our Swedish dream home, most often in
the Winter. When we reached the house, we could feel the stress disappear.
When we sat there in the cozy armchairs in front of the fireplace, all
the stress disappeared, and it inspired new songs in us. I was reminded of what is most important in
life, Thus, the lyrics almost wrote themselves for “Family and Friends”.
The song so nicely describes the proximity we experienced when we went to the
house in Sweden. Laugh and play, good talks and walks and cozy moments with
your family and friends. There was room for everyone. The song means a lot to
me and reminds me of giving priority to time to the nearest wherever you are.Most of Straw’s songs have
been created on our holidays as described above. Carsten composes the music on
his guitar, and there are many days or weeks where I hear him play all sorts of
places and quietly reaches something that is nice to the ears. I live in the
mood he produces, and thus the lyrics come almost by themselves. I am always
hugely inspired in that process. This also happened with “Family and Friends”
We usually keep track of the songs that influence the way it reflects the
feelings and moods of our lives.Similarly, our lives also work. We have a unique collaboration; our
daughters, Denise and Sally, play a good part in this collaboration. On “Family
and Friends,” all three girls sing. Denise and Sally add their voices to the
song the same way as when I write the lyrics of Carsten’s tones. Each has their
very own unique style of singing, which makes it all fit together in a natural
way. This is how Straw became the Straw Family.
To A Higher Place
1. To A Higher Place: Written
by Henriette & Carsten. About the little things that can make one happy and
to live with one that makes life even more worth living and lifting one to
1. Dreaming: Written by
Henriette & Carsten. One of the first songs in Straw’s history. A moodful
song where you return to a hard period of your life. From where you are now, it
feels like a dream.
Lamitschka: What is the difference between your last CD and your
Answer: We have two new fantastic musicians on the latest CD, and where
most of the songs previously were written by Henriette and Carsten, Sally and
Denise are now writing more and more songs themselves, which helps to develop
both sound and genre.
Lamitschka: Your current single is being played by radio. What do you
feel is special about this song that makes people want to hear it?
Answer: It is a really difficult question. If we knew it would be a lot
easier to write a hit 🙂
We write the songs because we can’t let it be. It’s necessary to write the
songs, write the story – just as it is necessary to breathe. And if somebody
like the song, It’s worth it all.
Lamitschka: What will your next single be?
Answer: Right now we are working on a song from Sally called
“Perfectly Fine” A super wonderful song about getting rid of
uncertainty and stop aiming for perfection but just enjoying the feeling of
being perfectly fine.
Lamitschka: What kind of songs do you like to record the most?
We like to record all varieties of songs. That’s the exciting thing about
being a family band, because we have three singers that write individual songs,
but also writes duets with each other. So we kind of have three lead singers,
taking turns on being the lead singer or doing backing vocals. Every time we’re
in the studio it’s a new exciting experience, because the girls write music in
very different ways.
Lamitschka: What is your favorite song among all the songs you have
recorded and what’s the story behind it?
Answer: I think each one of us has a song as our favorite. And it’s
probably not the same. Because even though we’re family, we’re still very
Lamitschka: How much creative control do you have over your music?
Answer: We all have something to say, and we often discuss how the songs
should sound, from beat to harmonies and the sound of the guitars. An important
part of the process, is to make each other sound as good as possible.We have each
other’s backs in that way.
Lamitschka: There’s a lot of work that goes into a number one hit.
What did it take to make it in your case?
Answer: Well….unfortunately, we haven’t made a number one hit yet. Of
course, it would be amazing to make one. But I don’t think that any of us have
it as our top priority. The most important thing is to make music that we all
enjoy and love. And I don’t think the audience can feel the music anyway if we
don’t feel it ourselves when making and performing it. We can only hope that
the next single is going to be a great hit. Because we do love it ourselves!
Lamitschka: Who inspires you musically and how deep do your musical
Answer: Is it to corny to say my mom and dad?? This is Sally answering
here… us sisters grew up with a lot of music and singing. I can’t help but
being inspired of my parent’s way of handling their emotions and deepest
thoughts with music. And after the birth of my own son I am now singing a very
special lullaby for him every time he has to go to sleep. That lullaby is
special because it is written by my mom and she used to sing it for us while we
Lamitschka: What do you think about today’s music scene versus its
post and where do you see it going in the future?
Answer: I´m so sorry that music is more or less “for free” – It’s not the
musicians that gets the money when the radio stations and Spotify are selling the music. Very little
goes back to the composers etc. We become poorer and poorer.
Lamitschka: What do you think about today’s music industry?
Answer: In Denmark it’s a very closed industry. It’s mostly the same names
you hear on the radio over and over again, Even if their songs aren’t that
good. They often get played basically because of their name. And we all agree
that it’s a shame, because that means we miss a lot of good new music and
artists. But it looks like the USA is much more interested in hearing and
supporting real music made by all kinds of musicians.
Lamitschka: If you had the chance to change something about the music
industry, what would it be?
Answer: Everybody loves music – nobody pays the musicians via the streaming
services – I´d like to change the way music is distributed, so that a track was
something valuable and something that was not just used as musac – background noise. That one had to choose his favorites and
was proud to present the music – and share it with friends.
Lamitschka: As an artist, you have so many tasks such as recording,
touring, interviews. What do you like best, what’s your favorite activity?
Answer: My guess would be, that we all can agree that our favorite activity
is to perform onstage. Hopefully we will be able to do that a lot more in the
future. Recording is also amazing because sometimes the music develops in a
completely different but brilliant and unexpected way while recording in the
Lamitschka: Are you doing anything to take music beyond its current
borders or are you happy where it is?
Answer: The short answer is no. As answered in one of the previous
questions the most important thing for us is that we can feel the music
ourselves while making it. If it ends up taking us beyond, it would just be a
Lamitschka: Before you became a star, were your friends and family
supportive or was it a struggle?
Answer: Our Family and friends always has been supportive about our music. Without
their support i believe that we all would be dead right now.
Lamitschka: What inspired you to become an artist?
Answer: Peace, Love and nice guitars, beautiful clothes. And the fantastic
atmosphere for concerts and the audience’s wonderful response.
Lamitschka: What inspired you to become a songwriter?
Answer: All of us in the band write songs, and I think what inspires us to
do that, are that we all have a lot on our minds. I think the key word is
passion, not only in music, but also in life. To share feelings are very
important in this family and we want to show the world that it’s a good thing.
Lamitschka: What drives you?
Answer: Music is my meditation; the sound of the strings makes me feel myself.
Lamitschka: What does it take to be a music icon?
Answer: Hahaha. none of us are icons – we try to be skilled, honest role
models in everything we do.
Lamitschka: What’s unique about you that will differentiate you from
Answer: We are a family of flesh and blood. And our ex-guitar player
Frederik, and I (Denise) have a little son together, so now Frederik is a real
part of the family too in that kind of way. Also, our look on stage stands out
because of our family bond. Because we look a lot like each other. The same
comes to our voices. There is a lot of similarities about them, too. So that
gives us a special sound.
What has been your greatest challenge in music business?
Answer: To keep up the good spirits – there are a lot of folks that talk
and talk without getting anywhere. It’s easy to be disappointed. That’s why
we´re still looking for good management. Until then we´re doing it all our self
in the Family – Family Matters 🙂
What moments in your career stand out in your memory as highlights and
achievements which you are proud of?
Answer: Standing onstage with my daughters and feeling the audience’s love
and fascination with the girls’ voices.
Who is your biggest critic, yourself or others?
Answer: I think it´s a combination, but if it´s relevant we all have to
listen.Nobody can manage everything by themselves.
When you get time off, how do you like to relax?
Answer:Well that’s obvious – with our family 🙂
Is there anything in your life that you would change if you could?
Answer: Nope – except to awaken some of our close relatives from the dead
and see their eyes when they could hear our music again. Some of them were too
young when they passed away.
Many European fans travel to the United States to attend the several of
the music festivals for the opportunity to see so many of their favorite
artists, bands and celebrities. Will you be participating and how will the fans
be able to find you?
Answer: There are a lot of festivals in Europe too, and all of us love to
listen to live music. Right now, we´re looking for a booking agency in the US,
who can see the the potential of Straw Family in their portfolio and maybe put
us in between. All of us would love performing the US. It looks like we’d fit
right in there.
Is there any place you haven’t played that you would like to?
Answer: The simple answer is – USA
What can your fans expect to see when they see you in concert?
Answer: They will see a family, that loves music, telling relevant stories
about life that are both good and bad, and the songs will be an intense vocalizing/melodic
When you’re on tour, do you have time to play tourist?
Answer: We haven’t really been touring away from Denmark, so we wouldn’t
know. Hopefully we’ll find out soon enough!
Do fans mob you everywhere you go or do they respect your privacy?
Answer: We’re not that known, so that’s really not an issue. But we have a
place in Hungary where we usually go for Summer holidays. People come back to
the same place every year, so a lot of them know us and our music. They like
when we play a song or two… or ten! And when the folks that we meet ask us
about things after a gig – we always take the time to talk with our fans. Some
of them travel long distances to see us play.
Many music fans today get their information about artists online. Do you
have your own website and what will fans find there?
What’s the best compliment a fan has ever given you?
Answer: “Thank you for the music – it tells my story.” Or “oh no – don’t
stop playing – it can´t be the end of the concert”:)
What message would you like to send your European fans?
Answer: Take care of yourself and your family and others. Be good at each
other, listen to each other and talk together, also about the difficult things.
Do what you can to make it a good day for yourself and for others. Be positive.
Describe what a perfect day is like for you.
Answer: Together with the Family playing our songs to a live audience.
Most careers don’t last as long as yours. What’s given your career
the staying power?
Answer: We have been in the business since the late 1970´s and we´ll be
there until we die. Never give up what you love and your dreams.