Feature: Meet Cuntrie and Her Achingly Intimate Debut Single “The Singer”

The Singer - Cuntrie
A hopeful embrace of intimacy aching with the pain of lost time, Cuntrie’s debut single “The Singer” finds Sweden’s Ebba Ågren connecting as she does best on a raw, intimate, and stirring level of musicality.
Stream: “The Singer” – Cuntrie




When I came up with it I thought, how isn’t anybody using this already?

Ebba Gustafsson Ågren’s solo artist name is as much a talking point as her actual music, but don’t get too caught up in the guise: Cuntrie is as much a lure as it is a statement of fact. “I like it because it’s cute and a little offensive at the same time,” Ågren reflects. “It’s also a wink at the fact that I’m from the countryside. And I mean the deep countryside – no buses,  no stores, no post office. Just cows and horses.”

A multimodal artist perhaps best known to Atwood Magazine readers as half of Swedish duo Wy (an Editor’s Pick and 2019 Artist to Watch), Ågren has long had an affinity for blending the “deep and dark” with the provocative and the tongue-in-cheek. In premiering Wy’s music video “Softie” earlier this year, I declared it a “top contender for song of the year” (a statement I continue to stand by) while noting how the song itself “connects to our emotional human core, because it comes out of an emotional human core. It’s painful, it’s honest, and it’s real: The kind of song that will break you down, only to build you back up again stronger than ever.”

Ågren’s work as Cuntrie isn’t quite as dark as her music with husband Michel Gustafsson in Wy, but it’s all the same powerful, clever, and incredibly immersive: A hopeful embrace of intimacy aching with the pain of lost time, Cuntrie’s debut single “The Singer” finds the artist connecting as she does best on a raw, intimate, and stirring level of musicality. She sounds more liberated than ever before, and the result is a truly arresting work of art.

The Singer - Cuntrie

The Singer – Cuntrie

Yelling at me “close the door”
Ignoring all my questions
because you were afraid of me
If you only told me that
You were playing in the big-league
You thought that it was necessary
to do what they do

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “The Singer,” Cuntrie’s debut single (released September 27, 2019 by Ågren and Gustafsson’s newly-formed label, Feverish). “It’s nice to have a project which isn’t as heavy as wy, because it can get exhausting even though it’s liberating in other ways,” Ågren says of her solo artistry. “I hope that people maybe piece together the stories of wy and Cuntrie, because that’s a more nuanced picture of a human being. I try to be silly in wy too, and not make it all super heavy, but there is an obvious shift in tone with my solo project. The tongue-in-cheek-ness is more obvious in Cuntrie.”

Cuntrie © 2019

Cuntrie © 2019



Said mixture of light and heavy tonality begins to rear its beautiful head in “The Singer,” a heart-on-sleeve rending of the artist’s relationship with her brother, with whom she shared a rocky relationship for the majority of their childhood. Ågren laments this distance in the song, wishing she and her brother could have shared more quality time and moments of connection together while they lived under the same roof and in largely the same space. Anyone who’s had some rocky ups and downs with a sibling can relate to the strain of sadness that permeates this song; musically, that sadness comes to bear in the chorus, where Ågren’s vocals quiver and break as she showers listeners in her breathtaking falsetto, singing:

I always thought that you were cool
I just wanted to know more about you
But you never told
And now we’re old
So tell me now

This is the kind of dark breath of light that shoots pure shivers downs the spine.

Atwood Magazine spoke with Ågren about “The Singer” and Cuntrie in advance of this special song’s release. Dive into her debut solo single in our interview below, and stream “The Singer” exclusively on Atwood Magazine ahead of its September 27th release!

Stream: “The Singer” – Cuntrie



MEET CUNTRIE

Atwood Magazine: Ebba, what’s on your mind as we near your debut solo release?

Cuntrie: I’m just trying to remind myself that I’m doing this out of passion and not to be liked. I’m always having really high expectations for things, but I’m trying not to. It would be cool if someone liked it though! I of course expect that they will.

Does the beginning of Cuntrie signal the dissolution or disruption of Wy, or are both projects going to be progressing simultaneously?

Cuntrie: Not at all. I will be continuing both projects. I tend to do a lot of stuff at the same time, and that’s exactly how I like it to be. I need to keep myself occupied, otherwise I would go insane.

Wy’s sophomore album only came out a few months ago! What gave rise to such a quick transition for you to this project in the fall?

Cuntrie: A sudden burst of creativity I guess. And since we are used to sharing the things we produce in wy it felt natural to share these songs even though I kind of created them for myself.

On that note, what is the personal significance of going solo? You’ve mentioned that you want to challenge yourself in terms of producing and writing… why?

Cuntrie: I think it was a mix between curiosity and boredom. I tend to rely on Michel a lot for creating the sound and the vibe for the songs, and then I can write from there. When we started our own label (Feverish) we helped some of our artists with recording, mixing and mastering and I felt like I learned a lot of tricks that way. I then realized that it was quite long ago since I tried producing a song myself, so I really wanted to try what happened now that I’ve learned a bit more. It was really fun to not feel as clueless anymore, and I could actually create things that I really liked.

Alongside that, how did you challenge yourself in this solo material? How are these songs, aside from Michel’s absence, a testament to your growth as a songwriter and artist?

Cuntrie: It feels very liberating. I try things and go in directions I would never go in with wy, and that’s very fun. This project feels more like my personal photography projects, where I can do whatever I feel like and experiment a lot. I really love what we have created with wy, and this project feels like a fun extension of that.

I held a speech about you in class
and people thought you killed yourself
I’m sorry that I phrased it like that
I didn’t mean to
You told me about a girl you hurt
I saw you smoking outside of your car
You didn’t want me to tell mom
and I didn’t
I always thought that you were cool
I just wanted to know more about you
So tell me now

 



What is the significance of your artist name, Cuntrie? I must say I’m almost surprised no one has thought to use it before - it’s really something, and feels very empowering - like a “reclamation” of sorts.

Cuntrie: That’s why I had to use it. When I came up with it I thought, how isn’t anybody using this already? I like it because it’s cute and a little offensive at the same time. It’s also a wink at the fact that I’m from the countryside. And I mean the deep countryside – no buses,  no stores, no post office. Just cows and horses.

This brings us to “The Singer,” your debut solo single. Why is this song the first song you are releasing as Cuntrie?

Cuntrie: When I realized I could write about anything I immediately thought to write a song about my brother. He means a lot to me and we’ve had quite an interesting relationship growing up with only a thin wall between us. This story didn’t feel like it fit into wy, it felt like it was leaving Michel out a bit, and that’s not what I want for wy.

I love the intimate, one-on-one nature of this song. Who are you speaking to, for all intents and purposes? Can you set the scene for the room we, the listeners, walk in on when we press play on “The Singer”?

Cuntrie: The “you” in The Singer is my brother. He’s two years older than me and we weren’t exactly the best of friends growing up. Sometime around when he got his driving license something changed though, it was like a turning point. I guess we both grew up a bit and started not taking each other for granted anymore. I really cherish the relationship we have now.

Cuntrie © 2019

Cuntrie © 2019



I always thought that you were cool, just wanted to know more about you… but you never told, and now we’re old.” Is this a post-mortem on a bygone relationship in the chorus? How does this line reflect your feelings?

Cuntrie: You never told, and now we’re old. It makes me a little sad to think about how many years we missed where we could have been hanging out and supporting each other, but instead just ignored each other or screamed at one another. I guess we thought we were really different, but we’re actually a lot alike. I’m glad that we can see that now. Shouldn’t be crying over spilled milk. I’m blessed to have a sibling who cares about me as much as he does.

I will say that I love how melodic and oddly light this song is, despite its lingering darkness. It has the “you” we’ve come to love from Wy, written all over it. There’s also a softness about the music that feels endearing; what do you hope your audience takes away from this song? How do you hope it makes someone else feel the first time they hear it?

Cuntrie: I like that you find it endearing, that’s a vibe I like to strive for with this project. It’s nice to have a project which isn’t as heavy as wy, because it can get exhausting even though it’s liberating in other ways. I hope that people maybe piece together the stories of wy and Cuntrie, because that’s a more nuanced picture of a human being. I try to be silly in wy too, and not make it all super heavy, but there is an obvious shift in tone with my solo project. The tongue-in-cheek-ness is more obvious in Cuntrie.

How did the song inspire the music video?

Cuntrie: When me and my brother started to become friends in our late teens I used to ride with him in his car and we would have these long talks. Like we made up for all the things we haven’t talked about in the years before. I really cherished those moments and I wanted to kind of recreate it in the music video.

Clowning Around with Wy’s Intimate, Stunning Anthem “Softie”

:: REVIEW ::



What’s in store for Cuntrie? Is this set to become a full-fledged singles and albums project totally apart from Wy? What are your hopes and dreams for this musical entity you’ve brought to life?

Cuntrie: I haven’t thought so much about it. I’ve made an EP, but I haven’t started thinking about an album yet. I kind of just want to see where it goes and do whatever I feel like. Not have a plan, like I usually do.

Lastly, I’ve been asking everyone who they’re listening to right now, and who we should have our ears and eyes on. Who do you recommend?

Cuntrie: A lot of Christine and the Queens, she’s my current idol. Caroline Polachek’s new solo stuff is incredible, also her album drops on my birthday. I just discovered Norwegian Otha who makes music I would like to call “bedroom trance”. She’s very cool and refreshing, I would really like to collab with her sometime.

— —

:: pre-order/stream Scrapbooking EP here ::
Stream: “The Singer” – Cuntrie



— — — —

The Singer - Cuntrie

Connect to Cuntrie on
Facebook, Bandcamp, Instagram
Discover new music on Atwood Magazine
📸 © 2019


:: Stream Wy ::

Clowning Around with Wy’s Intimate, Stunning Anthem “Softie”

:: REVIEW ::

Mitch Mosk

Mitch is the Editor-in-Chief of Atwood Magazine and a 2014 graduate from Tufts University, where he pursued his passions of music and psychology. He currently works at Universal Music Group in New York City. In his off hours, Mitch may be found songwriting, wandering about one of New York's many neighborhoods, or writing an article on your next favorite artist for Atwood. Mitch's words of wisdom to fellow musicians and music lovers are thus: Keep your eyes open and never stop exploring. No matter where you go, what you do or who you are with, you can always learn something new and inspire something amazing. Say hi here: mitch[at]atwoodmagazine[dot]com