‘When it feels right, we continue’: Fever Ray’s otherworldly opus lands in Melbourne

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‘When it feels right, we continue’: Fever Ray’s otherworldly opus lands in Melbourne

Fever Ray
Words by Juliette Salom

Every now and again, the stars align and galaxies converge and Melburnians get the first chance in forever to see intergalactic artists play their own home city.

As part of RISING, the spaceship will be touching down in June and unleashing the other-worldly phenomenon that is Fever Ray to the streets of Melbourne. Playing at Hamer Hall on June 9 and 10 (an extra show added because of astronomical demand), Fever Ray will be bringing their alien experience of electronic music and performance to Australian audiences for the very first time. 

“We’ve been talking about going to play Australia with The Knife and Fever Ray for many years,” Karin Dreijer, AKA Fever Ray, says over video call from their home in Stockholm, Sweden, “but now it’s happening.”

Fever Ray at Rising

  • Sunday, June 9 and Monday, June 10
  • Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne
  • You can buy tickets here

Keep up with the latest music news, festivals, interviews and reviews here.

Now, indeed, fans of Dreijer’s current expedition as Fever Ray can catch them in Australia for their debut down under, as well as long-time loyalists to Dreijer’s work in experimental electronic band The Knife, which Dreijer worked with on alongside their brother Olof Dreijer until their disbandment in 2014.

“I’m super grateful,” Dreijer says about being able to travel Fever Ray as far as the other side of the world. “This show that we are doing now and that we’ve been touring with the last year, I think it’s very beautiful.” 

Beautiful is an understatement for the Fever Ray live experience. Filled with light, colour, dancing, performance, and, of course, music, the show exists not just as a way to experience Fever Ray’s catalogue in an atmospheric expanse, but a way to transport you out of this world. Describing the show as “theatrical”, Dreijer says that planning for the tour has involved light composition and choreography and things changing until they’re perfect. “When it feels right, we continue.”

Martin Falck, creative director and, as described by Dreijer, “one of my best friends”, works with Dreijer to create the visual elements of the album and the show. “We’ve been working together to find out what kind of show we wanted to make, what we feel is fun and what we can live with for now.”


As for the inspiration for this interstellar visual feast, Dreijer says it comes from everything and anything, in whatever form it so chooses to appear.

“Martin and I, we’re always collecting clips and films and sending each other images, and I’m always saving images of things that I find interesting. We talk a lot about stuff that we want to explore and dig into and see what comes out of it,” Dreijer says.

“Before going on tour, we’ve had months and months of preparation and trying out things. I mean, we try out a lot of things that do not [make] the final package.”

Also a part of the team that brings the final package to life is light designer Sarah Landau, who Dreijer has been working with for over a decade and says is the one who makes it all “look magical”. With visionaries in all departments, Fever Ray’s performances become multi-media constellations of creativity.

“It’s something I’ve always been interested in,” Dreijer says about building up a world of visual exploration. While the music always comes first – Dreijer tends to finish albums before they even start on the visual accompaniments – they describe being able to play around with aesthetic experimentation in tandem to their music as “a blessing.”

“I think [making the music] is the hard part and the visuals are sort of the dessert that comes afterwards,” Dreijer laughs.

Especially so when it comes to the Fever Ray character, Dreijer presses – it’s important for them to build up the persona and the accompanying visuals once the music is fully completed. The cherry on top, if you will. “If I set the character to the music while making the music, it’s not as free. It can be set in traits [or] feelings and I know what kind of feelings this character has when I make the music, but I don’t want to nail it down to certain aesthetics.” 

Fever Ray’s latest album, Radical Romantics, was made under circumstances that allowed this time and space and exploration of sonic universes to exist without the pressure of performance in any near future.

Created in lockdown, in a “sort of vacuum situation,” Dreijer says the restrictions of the pandemic gave them “a lot of time to think about things and do research.” “I mean, it was a strange time because you didn’t know – when will this end or will it end? Do I have a deadline for this work?” Dreijer says. “It was a practice of a lot of uncertainty.”

Something that combatted this uncertainty for Dreijer and in its place opened up an opportunity for familiarity, was working alongside their brother and ex-bandmate Olof. Quite literally, working alongside – both Dreijer and Olof built their own studios in Stockholm next to each other just as the pandemic was closing down cities and countries.

It was a happenstance of place and time – and pandemic – that brought the sibling duo back into making music together, with Olof appearing on four of Radical Romantics’ tracks, including the opening What They Call Us. “I just asked if we wanted to try out a few things [together], and he said, yeah, sure,” Dreijer says. Because, simply, they add, “it was easy and it was fun.” Exactly what a Fever Ray show is all about.

Ticket holders to Fever Ray’s shows at Rising better be prepared to be swept up into Dreijer’s orbit because what they have planned is truly out of this world. An exciting show that is made even more so by its first galactical journey to Australian atmospheres, the spaceship will only be hovering in Melbourne for the nights of June 9 and 10, so, grab a ticket now and get ready for take off. 

You can keep up to date with Fever Ray here.