[Cover photo credit to Tove Lise Mossestad]
Frederik Saroea is best known as the frontman of the global Disco Punk outfit DATAROCK and he released a solo album, Rona Diaries, in 2021. The Norwegian multi-genre artist has now re-envisioned his solo album as a live piece with string quartet BIT20 Ensemble. The result of their live performances is now coming to release as Rona Diaries: The Chamber Versions Live at The Grieg Hall, Bergen on June 10th, 2022 via YAP Records. Their most recent single from the live collection has been “Heaven Knows Those Songs Weren’t Heaven Sent.”
Saroea comments on the track:
This is the last song on my Rona Diaries solo album, and I guess it’s basically me pardoning the fact that I let myself write, record and release such a sad and depressing collection of lockdown songs that the listener just endured to the… bitter end, so to speak. Musically I suppose the original version – with just me and my guitar – was somewhat inspired by everything from Mark Kozelek’s ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Singer’ or ‘What’s Next to the Moon’ to Neil Young’s ‘Harvest Moon’ or Elliott Smith’s ‘Needle in the Hay’ – but I guess even very different formative artists are partly to blame for this newly revealed side of my songwriting too; like Flying Saucer Attack’s ‘Land Beyond the Sun’ for instance, or The Smiths’ absolute classics like ‘There Is a Light That Never Goes Out’, ‘Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now’ or ‘Asleep.”
BIT20’s string quartet consists of Martin Shultz on violin, Liene Klava on viola, Agnese Rugevica on cello, Johannes Wik on harp with arrangements by Bjørn Morten Christophersen.
Recorded at the infamous Grieg Hall during Norway’s 69th annual Bergen International Festival (which took place on May 28, 2021), “Heaven Knows Those Songs Weren’t Heaven Sent” along with prior singles, “A Matter of Dying,” “Bulletproof Vest,” “Bergheim” and “Understatement Lovesong” as well as all the other tracks from Rona Diaries were premiered to an unsuspecting public who were more familiar with Saroea’s former band’s rhythmic brand of dance music.