The new album of Sassy 009, released at the end of November, bears the title of Kill Sassy 009. Giving your own album is a threatening title, but for Stockholm-born, Oslo-based Sunniva Lindgaard— who first released music under the moniker along with her two teenage friends from Oslo, Johanna Scheie Orellana and Teodora Georgijevic— it felt like a strong statement given how the project has transformed over the years. The world killing is a very powerful word— I'd say it's the strongest word in our language — and I felt that Kill Sassy 009 was such an epic title. I made the decision about a year ago to continue doing this on my own, and Sassy 009 was nearly killed in a way. At a sports-centered high school in Oslo, where Lindgaard was enrolled in a snowboarding course, Lindgaard started to learn how to produce and write songs on her computer during her final year. From a snowboarding viewpoint, I still answered theoretical questions on each test, but I also did gymnastics, says Lindgaard. Nonetheless, students were allowed to choose a completely different course than what they had previously concentrated on during their last year. Lindgaard switched from sports where she felt burnt out to production of music, with which she quickly became obsessed.
Lindgaard, Orellana, and Georgijevic first explored forming a band in the fall of 2016, when Lindgaard was just twenty years old, releasing their debut EP, Do You Mind, in the spring of 2017. It came out the same year's season. The group's breakthrough hit was Are You Leaving, the breeziest track of the set, and the video portrays the trio in the midst of a flowing stream wearing coordinated garments all in calming blue shades. In the blurred scenes that follow, they swathe themselves on a dusky beach in orange fabric in the sand, then stand as a long stretch of silk flaps in the wind above them on a high cliff matching white bike helmets. "We only played for half a year before things started pretty fast," says Lindgaard of the buzzy months following their debut. I was really amazed. I had never been to a proper studio before, and there was nothing I knew about that environment. All was totally new to me. I was like doing our first gig, how are these stuff going to happen? How are we even getting a gig?
Nonetheless, now that Sassy 009 is a solo project, the visuals and sound of Lindgaard have become more oriented. She insists it's a natural transition for her, as she just started posting songs she made to Soundcloud in her apartment. "I was always in my own room even when we were a band, making music on my own. I'm still in contact with my roots with this project and now I'm just expanding the tree that I'm trying to water and grow — I'm just making it myself now. "Sonically, Lindgaard worked for longer periods of time on each of these tracks than on Sassy 009's debut, and she became much more aware of sound design. It paid off— it's a close collection of cloudy, atmospheric electronic pop songs.
In even bolder ways, Lindgaard has also brought her photos. Lindgaard worked with stylist Alva Brosten to inhabit various characters in an abstract, black box space in the video she released for the pummeling "Trasher." She begins dressed as the heroine of a science fiction film with bleached eyebrows and a thin, matte turtleneck, before reappearing later in a full-skirted, daintily lined dress like a Little Women extra. Moments later, she's disdainfully smoking a cigarette in a leather jacket, and then she's wearing a brown dress in Edwardian style, her silhouette exaggerating with panniers, as she's holding dark orchids around her neck like you'd be a mid-stretch baseball bat. "It's just a way to mix all these different times together in history," adds Lindgaard.
There's a memorable moment in "Thrasher" where she cosplays as a male bodybuilder, thanks to a fitted costume that gives the illusion of sculpted abs and pecs — a subtle gender-bending influence that she fleshes out even more in her following video, for "Maybe in the Summer." Lindgaard is the goalie in an all-girls ice hockey team in that clip that points to her sporty past, changing from a white polo. "It's a very male sport, and it's pretty tough, but also beautiful— you're always floating around as professional hockey players, and I really enjoyed the contrast in the sport itself," says Lindgaard. Lindgaard likes to push her own limits in terms of both her music videos and her taking on fashion more broadly. "In many ways, I like to challenge myself. I was also very aware that I wasn't trying to put myself in the most perfect place. That's a way for me and my work to challenge, not to force myself into being a beautiful girl. I just liked the idea of being a hockey player and being a strong figure with all the other hockey players, all of whom are amazing people. "Lindgaard says it wasn't an arbitrary choice to embody some kind of masculinity, as compared to the more feminine looks she's chosen in the past. "I just liked the idea to do something sweaty and dirty, and the energy in the song represents the music's strength."
Lindgaard also brings in her personal wardrobe this daring spirit. For the most part, she prefers casual streetwear, but lately, for the first time in five years, she has been secretly challenging herself by wearing heels again. "I'm just trying to stay relaxed, and that might be a really basic wardrobe, but then adding something edgy like crazy earrings or a weird hairstyle or something," says Lindgaard. "It was very interesting for me to collaborate with my stylist Alva Brosten to see how others see me in a way. Working with her has been about letting her know what I see like on stage and then proposing something that I didn't really think about and asking me to wear anything that I wouldn't normally associate with myself, "says Lindgaard. "There's a lot of personal growth in trying to wear something you wouldn't normally wear." Lindgaard describes her interest in plain, simple outfits as a result of her Scandinavian background— she says she's got a lot of Gortex in her closet for their harsh winters, and she's been obsessed with her bright red puffer jacket that's kept her warm recently. Nonetheless, her style is at odds with Scandinavian social norms that suggest people shouldn't think of themselves as better than others, which means you shouldn't really stick out or expect too much attention. "To stand up for something different from the common thing in Norway takes some courage. When you stick out in a way, you can easily be judged pretty harshly— you're expected to be careful and put your head down and be part of the mainstream thing, "says Lindgaard. "When it comes to style, if I click my heels down the street wearing a cowboy belt, I have to gather some courage."