Racing Heart

Racing Heart

 New York City, New York, USA

Racing Heart is a Norwegian/American indie folk band based in Brooklyn. Our debut album To Walk Beside that Ghost is out on Movemountains Records April 20th. The heart child of Mathias Tjønn, his songs are brought to life with the help of Kendall Eddy and Justin Keller. We all sing, we all play.


The short version is that Racing Heart play indie folk, but try instead to imagine the earnest yearnings of American golden era pop music, the earthiness of the English folk revival and the searching spirit of contemporary Scandinavian indie rock, and you’ll have a better idea of what the music sounds like. These are ten songs that set out to accomplish something, finding themselves somewhere in the soundscapes that many of today’s Brooklyn-based bands are busy exploring, with lush vocal harmonies that lead your thoughts (and your ears) to the 1960’s and 70’s.

To Walk Beside that Ghost (out April 20th on Movemountains) was in fact written and recorded by Racing Heart in just Brooklyn, with members from St. Vincent and Sufjan Stevens’ bands joining them in the studio. Centred on the soft acoustics of voice, finger-picked guitar, autoharp, upright bass and drums, but embellished and expanded upon by both analogue synthesizers, a string quartet and brass trio (the stated goal always being that each sound must serve the song and not just act as decoration) this album carries with it inspiration from many different musical decades.

Mostly recorded on what is rumored to be Eddie Van Halen’s old 16-track analog tape machine (adding perhaps the ghosts of blistering guitar solos past to the mix as well), simplicity and sense of purpose was key when recording To Walk Beside that Ghost. The music was committed to tape by living, breathing musicians playing as a group in the same room, or huddled around a single microphone when singing background vocals.

Written after songwriter and prime mover in Racing Heart, Mathias Tjønn relocated to New York from Oslo, Norway (with stops in Rome - to study archaeology - São Paulo and Buenos Aires - to study music and language - and Boston - to study guitar), the songs they recorded together are informed by both the struggles and the stolen moments of joy that come from relocating to this equal parts mythical and maddening city, caught in the midst of an economic downturn and the grey-weather days that followed.

To Walk Beside that Ghost revolves around the difficulties of allowing the past to be the past, as well as the chance encounters that await us on that long and winding road towards mastering the art of letting go. Those ghosts in the album title are the people, the places and the feelings we’ve left behind, yet they still doggedly stick by us on our travels.


To Walk Beside that Ghost (2012)