Track By Track: ‘Shelter’ by Sycamore Tree - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Track By Track: ‘Shelter’ by Sycamore Tree

Track By Track: ‘Shelter’ by Sycamore Tree

Published October 19, 2017

Hannah Jane Cohen
Photos by
Saga Sig

New duo Sycamore Tree recently dropped their debut release ‘Shelter’. With a smooth ethereal and romantic sound, the piece quickly secured the band’s place as a newcomer to watch. To learn more, we sat down with Gunnar Hilmarssonto discuss the new album.

1. My Heart Beats For You
The song is about lovers who are falling deeply in love but don’t knowwhen they will see each other again. It was the first song I sent to Águsta Eva to convince her to be my better half in this duo. When she came to the studio and sang it, there was some magic in the room. The weather was beautiful, calm, and sunny—just like the song.

2. Shelter
Love is a strong phenomenon and when people fall in love they want to protect and give their partner a shelter from all things bad—so ‘Shelter’ The song is also about the fear of being rejected. It was the last song we recorded and almost didn’t end up on the album. It was just a coincidence it was chosen and then used as the title track.

3. Trouble
‘Trouble’ has more attitude and a darker sound than most other songs on the album. For upcoming pieces, we want to stay within this sound world. The lyrics talk about falling for the wrong people over and over—being attracted to someone you both love and hate at the same time. Some people go from one such relationship to another all their lives.

4. Full of Love
Normally I’m quick at composing songs and lyrics but this song actually caused me a lot of headaches. Between recording the first verse and the second, there was a one year interval, which was unusual for us.

5. Bright New Day
‘Bright New Day’ is both the shortest and most upbeat track on the album. Quick intro, short verse, then straight to the chorus with a big hook. Ómar, the producer, and I are both massive Beatles fans and wanted to take the song into that direction. However, Ágústa Eva is not a big Beatles fan so it took us boys some time to convince her about the excellence of this track. Months after it was ready though, she listened to it and suddenly said, “Guys, let’s send this one
out now!“

6. Home
I hardly remember writing ‘Home’ It was one of those songs that was literally written the first time I played it and hasn’t changed much since. It’s a simple, clean and beautiful piece about how songs and love can make the world a better place. Ágústa Eva had a bad cold when it was recorded, which gave colour to the song. We both have a soft spot for it.

7. Don’t Let Go
In all honesty, I was not sure about ‘Don’t Let Go’ at first, but Ómar and Ágústa Eva were convinced we should continue working on it. It was good I trusted their judgement. I wrote the song one night in my underwear on my way to bed. Sitting in a small wooden chair in front of the TV, it just came to me. This song is about lovers who need to say goodbye but don’t know if or when they will meet again.

8. Come Back To Me
When Ágústa Eva and I began this song, it had very raw guitar and vocals which worked but in the studio it took a complete -turn. It’s harder, bitter, and maybe even colder than the other songs but still has a gentle undertone. With cold synthesizers, distorted vocals, and ghost-like keyboards from the wonderful mind of Ómar, there’s a mysterious atmosphere that definitely closes the ‘Shelter’ story. The song is about lovers who both love and hate each other—a flammable relationship that occasionally bursts yet always comes back together. Yes, a bit off the classic modern love story. The last words of Ágústa Eva on this track are, “…like you’ll need me again.” It’s the perfect way to end the album: we will be giving you more soon.

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