“Racing Heart makes music that is both complex and catchy, with lyrics that are not afraid of taking on bigger issues in a personal way. Helped by some of the best and most noteworthy musicians from both Norway and the US, such as Jenny Hval, Hanne Hukkelberg and previously members of The War on Drugs, St. Vincent and Sufjan Steven’s band, these songs aim to mean something to you.”

Racing Heart is the moniker for Oslo, Norway based synth-folk popster Mathias H. Tjønn, who recently released their sophomore album What Comes After via Misra Records. The band will be celebrating the album release in Pittsburgh this Saturday (11/12) with a show at Brillobox on a sweet bill with blog faves Andre Costello and the Cool Minors and William Forrest. I want to thank Mathias for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?

The first record I remember saving up money for and asking my mom to take me to the store to pick up, was The John Lennon Collection on CD.

I must’ve been nine or ten years old, already had the red and blue Beatles compilations albums on cassette given to me for Christmas the year before and desperately needed more Lennon to soothe that fix…

Your last album bought?

Went on a little Bandcamp-splurge last week and bought the latest Junior Boys record Big Black Coat together with Jessy Lanza’s Oh No, produced by Jeremy Greenspan who makes up one half of Junior Boys. I’ve always l loved their crisp, creative, Canadian electronica.

Favorite album of all time?

Astral Weeks by Van Morrison, hands down. So much sadness, frailty and beauty on that one.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?

A recent dime store vinyl-purchase was Elizabeth Barraclough’s Hi from 1979.

Produced by Willie Mitchell and recorded at legendary Hi Studios in Memphis with basically all of Al Green’s extended musical family, I hoped it would be solid soul gold. Not so much.

First concert attended?

One of the first must’ve been going to see the Nutcracker ballet by Tchaikovsky; maybe I was six years old or so? I remember thinking it lasted for ever, but that all the dancers doing their thing onstage was weirdly interesting.

Last concert?

Susanne Sundfør here in Oslo this past Saturday. It was MASSIVE. The venue has a 9000 people-capacity and normally I’m not too big on huge stadium concerts, but I had a couple of friends in the band and Susanne always puts on a good show.

Favorite concert ever?

Recently thought about this, actually. Mercury Rev came through Oslo in ’98 on tour supporting Deserter’s Songs and it completely floored me. They’d recreated the entire album, down to the dude playing musical saw on “Holes”.

Least favorite concert?

The Doors (!) sometime in the early 2000’s. Blame it on my youth.

Any thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?

I came through Steel-town for the first time a year ago or so, to sign with Misra Records and meet esteemed head-honcho Jeff Betten in person. My first evening was spent at The Oyster House on Market Square, getting the local low-down from the bartender. Awesome dude, awesome place. When I’m playing The Brillobox November 12th later this year I plan on doing some serious record shopping around town. Recommendations on where to go are welcomed!

Thanks, Mathias. As for record stores, I am sure Mr. Betten will be more than happy to help you out but I would suggest at least one stop at Eide’s Entertainment.