Hello Christer, Greetings from Northern Germany! I hope you are well and maybe enjoying the same wonderful weather as I’m doing (sunny, 23°C). I’m just now listening to “S.o2” and I must say that it’s an even more adorable record when listened to in the right mood/ atmosphere. How important is the “right” atmosphere for you when you are 1. writing songs and 2. recording them?
I am enjoying the weather here in Norway. Been touring a lot the last months and have seen many nice sights in both Norway and outside of Norway. It’s a good life nowadays.
1. Very important. Especially with this project. The music and the lyrics are a way for me to express certain moods and thoughts that I don’t get to canalize any other way. So I make music for this project whenever I need to rather than whenever I want to. But the setting has to be right. All in all there’s several elements that has to be there for me to sit down with S.O material.
2. When recording songs it’s just as important. A lot of the guitar stuff that’s on the album is improvised, so having the right atmosphere is vital. Also I need to be focused and need to be able to reflect the lyrics well not just when I’m singing but also when playing.
I’ve already read some reviews of your new album and a few writers said that concerning the mood “S.o2” is an ideal album for the fall and not really fit for a release in spring/summer. Would you agree with this? Why would you agree/disagree?
Don’t know. I might agree but at the same time there’s so little music of this type released in this time of the year and some people are still mellow, sad or whatever in the summer season so I think the need for music that are different from the typical summer hits is there still.
So let me please ask you about the title of the record: What does “S.o2” mean and how did you get to this title? I assume that because of the “2” it’s somehow referring to the fact that it’s your second solo-album?
It is. My other band, Animal Alpha, and my work as a studio engineer/producer has taken up all my time for many years, so the recording of S.o2 was delayed for a long, long time. At some point it felt like I might not ever be able to record the album, but it was still stuck in my head. I actually thought about it everyday for all those years and realized that it was a necessity for me to do. So therefore the title S.o2 is written as a chemical formula. (same as C.o2) and reflects that this album and this music is as important for me as C.o2 is.
As we are just talking about titles and names: Unfortunately my Norwegian is limited to just some words, so what does “Stille Opprør” mean in English? Am I totally wrong when assuming that it’s meaning is something like “Silent Uproar”? Why did you choose the name “Stille Opprør” and what does your musical project mean to you personally?
It actually means silent riot in English, which kinda sounds like a metal band ; )
The thought behind it was that even if the music was very mellow, calm and minimalistic on the debut album (Prosjekt 2 13), the emotions where powerful and had a strong expression. Therefore the name.
This project means everything to me. I will continue making songs for this project for as long as I am involved in music. It takes time and there might be years between the releases but it is a necessity for me to be able to express what I do here as I really don’t get to develop these sides of my creativity in any other bands or projects. This is deeply personal.
I have to admit that I didn’t know your solo project until I got the promotional CD for “S.o2”. Seems like I will have to buy you debut very soon, hehe! I read that “Prosjekt 2 13” was released back in 2001, so why did the release of a follow-up take seven years? Was it maybe just lack of time as you are also active in some other bands?
You should try to get a hold of it ; ) It’s hard to get a copy as it was sold out many years ago. I might re-release it some time as there’s still a demand for it but I don’t know how that will turn out yet.
As mentioned, my other band and the work in my studio has taken up most of my time the last years so the album was delayed for quite some time.
You once stated that the music you create with “Stille Opprør” comes from your very inner self. Bearing this in mind, is it unnecessary to ask you about musical influences? How did you get to the form of musical expression “Stille Opprør” represents?
I don’t have any specific bands in mind when making music, but I am inspired by bands such as Tool and Radiohead when it comes to arrangements. I didn’t want to make any compromises with this project so if it took 10 minutes to tell the whole story, the song had to be 10 minutes long. I think this is something I have from these bands and bands such as Led Zeppelin, King Crimson etc. Some concert experiences can be inspiring as well. Saw Blonde redhead yesterday and that made me wanna go home and make some songs.
Although I think “S.o2” is a very relaxed and quite silent record, there is also much dynamics and a nice variation of styles – I think you can find influences from intelligent Pop and Jazz as also from minimal electronica, avantgardistic, progressive and post rock music. Can records from all these different styles be found in your CD- (or LP-) rack at home?
Yes they can. I listen to a lot of different genres. I grew up with rock music, but have found myself exploring more and more music and expanding my horizon over the years. I think it’s important not to be stuck within genres. Rock music by itself, at least for me, can’t satisfy all needs.
Especially some of your guitar play and the last song “Instrumental” reminds me very much of instrumental post rock in the vein of “Explosions in the Sky” or “This will destroy you”. Are you familiar with these bands? What do you think about the so-called post rock genre (if you are familiar with it)?
Haven’t heard of them to be honest, but will check them out! Never quite understood what post rock is and what bands that are in that genre…
In my review of “S.o2” I compared the mood of the album to the work of e.g. Green Carnation and StarofAsh and wrote about some kind of typical northern (maybe even Norwegian) bittersweet melancholy and paradoxically light gloominess that inhabits this kind of music from Scandinavia. Would you agree with this? If yes: Where do you see the origin of this atmosphere? If no: Why do you think that this idea is absolute nonsense?
I don’t know. You might be right. If so, maybe it’s because of the weather? We have a long winter and it’s cold up here. You really see the difference on people around when it’s spring/summer or even just a day with sun and some warmth. Maybe we’re all a bit melancholic.
As I’m already coming to the end, I’d just like to ask you the typical last interview question: Will there ever be any chance to witness a “Stille Opprør” live performance? I’ve seen a live picture on your myspace-page, so I hope it’s from a “Stille Opprør” gig! I know that you are working with a lot of guest musicians, but maybe there’s the possibility of a small tour just with some of them? Or maybe you don’t even want to present “Stille Opprør” live?
I recently did a gig and have booked one in Oslo and one in Romania. At the first gig I was exited to see that this music really works well live. We are 6 people on stage and I have some great musicians with me.. Hopefully we’ll be able to tour some in the future.
So that’s it. Thanks a lot for taking the time and patience to answer my questions. I hope there wasn’t any misunderstanding due to language mistakes from my side! All the best to you and for your future work!
I really liked your questions. Thanx for supporting this project!