100% Jimi Somewhere: the soundtrack-ready Norwegian singer
In the run up to his debut LP, the 22-year-old musician is taking a closer look at his upbringing (with the help of Kacy Hill) on a new track, Jesus.
Pretty slick for a 22-year-old who has been described as “Norway’s answer to Kevin Abstract” to get Kacy Hill to lay down vocals on a track. Jimi Somewhere, real name Benjamin Schandy, got in touch with Hill through a mutual friend. The resulting tune, out today, is Jesus, which reckons with Schandy’s frustration growing up Christian. “I grew up Christian, but as I grew older I felt that my faith was more based on routine and tradition than personal belief,” he says.
Schandy grew up going to church in a bucolic town in the south of Norway, an hour outside of Oslo. Armed with the kind of moxie that young people on the outskirts of a big city often have, Schandy and his childhood friend Milo Orchis began recording songs in between watching Spike Jonze movies and jamming out to Blink-182 at boarding school.
His music flits between the choral boom of a Perfume Genius and the melodic freefall of a teenage movie soundtrack. It’s borne out of a Frank Ocean Tumblr era and will likely fill bedrooms all over with an overflow of euphoric noise when his LP drops in November.
10%: Where were you born, where were you raised and where are you now based?
I was born and raised in a small village called Ormåsen, which is an hour outside of Oslo. It’s a very small place, probably like 5000 people max, and mostly woods – not much happening there. Currently I’m based in Oslo, which I really like. There’s so much talent here and I feel lucky to be able to be around it all.
20%: At what point did you realise you’d be able to do what you love for a living?
I’ve always kind of had this delusional hope that it was just a matter of time. When I had my first record deal in front of me I had that feeling of, “Finally”. I’ve had so many shitty day jobs and I left my last one in 2018. Things have worked out so far, which I’m grateful for.
30%: What’s a piece of advice that changed your life?
Just something as simple as “Be patient and work hard.” With the internet it’s easy to be jealous seeing someone as young as Billie Eilish doing it so big and great so early. You gotta remind yourself that Kanye did not release College Dropout until he was 27. Frank [Ocean] didn’t release Channel Orange until he was 25. There’s plenty of time.
40%: What can you tell us about your most recent project? How did you come to collab with Kacy Hill?
It’s called Nothing Gold Can Stay and it’s an album about how nothing lasts forever. It sounds very depressing, but I think there’s beauty in endings. That’s what I was trying to capture. The closure in it all. Looking back at all these experiences, bad or good, and just appreciating them. I’m a very nostalgic person and tend to romanticise the past a lot, so this theme for my debut album only made sense.
I’ve been the biggest Kacy Hill fan since 2015 and we randomly had a mutual friend who was kind enough to ask her to come to the studio [for Jesus]. She’s incredible and did her verse so effortlessly while sounding like a real life angel. I don’t know how she does it. Dreams come true. It’s a very big moment for both 16-year-old me and 22-year-old me.
50%: What kind of emotions and experiences influence your work?
Most of my work is based around memories. Trying to make certain moments or feelings I’ve felt in situations into songs. Like, how can I make the listener feel like they were there in that moment with me? How can I make my memories feel like their memories?
60%: What’s a bad habit you wish you could kick?
My mum would love to see my sleeping schedule get better. When there’s nobody forcing you to get up in the morning, it usually results in sleeping in. I also really like to make music at night but I know it’s not that healthy. Especially during the winter, because it makes me miss out on the sun completely and that affects my mental health.
70%: Break down your typical day at work.
It varies a lot on what needs to be done. Right now, I’m in the process of rolling out this album, so it’s a lot of meetings and answering emails. But then again, just the other day I was shooting a music video, which had me galloping on horseback through these beautiful mountains here in Norway. So it’s mostly fun!
80%: What’s the most pointless fact you can share?
My friend just told me you can survive on apples alone. Actually that might be useful for survival, but still.
90%: Love, Like, Hate?
Love being up until sunrise. Like sleeping in jeans. Hate waking up.
100%: Who would you most like to see on the cover of The Face?
Is this where I should pitch myself? [laughs] If anything, I always love to read whatever Lorde has to say – that’s definitely something that I’d buy.