In 2007, singer Mattis Myrland travelled to India – New Delhi, to live and study with a master of Indian Classical Singing – Madhumita Ray. The discipline and daily vocal training inspired Mattis to create a host of stories and gave him a rucksack full of new sounds to accompany them.
Back in Norway, Mattis reworked the sketches he had scribbled and recorded during his eight months stay. He gathered together some of his favourite performers on the Norwegian music scene, and named the band after one of South Asia’s oldest roads that has linked the Eastern and Western regions of the Indian subcontinent for centuries.
Mattis & The Grand Trunk Road played at several festivals in the last few years with Mattis meticulously rewriting and recording his compositions along the way, trying out various phrases live and finishing them in his studio in downtown Oslo.
Now, the album ‘Imperial Splendor‘ is finally ready. A collection of songs linking Mattis’ Western singer/songwriter background with the influence of the East. The blend is a soundscape, hard to frame into any specific genre. Its direct, yet poetic story-telling leads the way and the music varies from the spare and ethereal, to the dense and edgy. ‘These stories have their own pace and attitudes and I didn’t want the standard popsong-formula to limit how they unfold. It’s a state of mind that needs constant exercise, letting the words show you the way and letting the music follow the flow of the words’, Mattis explains.
Mattis was educated in vocal improvisation and composition from the Norwegian Academy of Music. He is also active with other artists on the Norwegian music scene, such as singer/songwriter Ingrid Olava, the electronic duo mattisogjonas and the bluegrass-quartet Lucky Four.