Norwegian singer-songwriter, Tellef Raabe, grew up in Ålesund, a picturesque coastal town, where he played in several local punk bands throughout his teens before moving to Wales at the age of 17. There he attended international school, Atlantic College, and really got into writing his own music, ending up composing for film and theatre.

His self-released dark pop compositions caught The 405's attention last year, but it is latest single, 'Flying On The Ground', the harbinger of his debut album, Idiographic, which places the smiling face with heart-shaped eyes emoji at the top of our keyboard recents.

With a voice you'd expect to come out of a throat belonging to a man significantly more advanced in years and, by contrast, boyish good looks and an effortless, contemporary style, we're hoping for - no, predicting big things for Raabe over the coming months.

Hello Tellef. Your first release in 2012 was 'Stranger Than The Rest' which you put out on your own label. The track was originally a quiet, acoustic number but the subsequent version which you've included on the album completely reinvents it. What prompted this update?

The only reason I use my given name as my artist name, is because I started out all alone. I write all the songs myself and I guess I thought that I had to record the song as I would perform it live. As the ambitions for the project grew, so did the music. Over the last four years, I've managed to shape my own distinct sound, with the help of my fantastic backing band and my producer, Njål Paulsberg.

Your recent single, 'Flying On the Ground', is the poppiest of your releases, to date. Did you set out to create a proper pop number or did the end-result surprise you?

I never plan too much when I make music. I always write the lyrics first, so the melodies and arrangements need to fit with the message of the song. I guess what's new is that I wrote brighter lyrics.

And what was the inspiration for the song?

Drugs and being in love.

You come from a very musical family...

Yes, it's fantastic to be able to jam with your family. Music creates very strong bonds between me and my two sisters.

Can you tell us a bit about what you made of your time in Wales?

Those were very important and formative years for me. I wrote my first album (never to be released), fell in love properly for the first time and discovered some of my favourite poets and artists, such as Dylan Thomas and Nick Drake. It was a lot of hard work, but they were two fantastic years.

Based on your two years here, how does the UK music scene compare to the Norwegian one?

I honestly don't know the UK music scene too well. But it seems like the competition is tougher. In Bergen, bands tend to collaborate a lot.

One of the highlights on your debut album is previous single, 'of Smith's friends', where - alongside some of Morrissey's lyrics - you also sing "You told me to never forget the songs that make me smile / but the songs that make me cry are more of my style". Would you say you generally lean towards writing sad songs?

I guess I do. The "You" here is Morrissey, in the song 'Rubber Ring'. I usually write lyrics when I'm melancholic - in a mellow way. That said, it is very rare that songs can make me cry.

Why did you decide to call the album Idiographic?

It's a strange word that popped up in a lecture once. I'd never heard it before, but I liked the "taste" of it. My lyrics try to describe relationships and that's not "nomothetic" - an exact science - but the opposite.

Have you chosen what the next single from the album will be, yet?

Oh, I think there are several strong candidates. I'm hoping to surprise you.

Finally, you recently performed in London, Hamburg and Berlin. Any plans for doing some more live shows in the UK this year?

I sure hope so! I'd love to take my band with me, I feel like we're in really good shape right now.


'Flying On The Ground' is out now on Riot Factory. Tellef Raabe's debut album, Idiographic, is due for release outside Scandinavia this Autumn.