INTERVIEW 2012- BLACKMOON MAGAZINE NR. 2 2012
(Written in norwegian and part 1 of interview in this issue. Part 2 in nr. 3 2012)
ON THE EDGE OF A TANGLE: THE MONSTER HAS EMERGED!
The current Tangle Edge line-up interviewed between recording sessions by Morten Qvam- May/June 2006.
Morten: Your new album "Serpentary Quarters" will be released on Mellow Records on CD and Tangle Edge Production on vinyl. Can you make any commments on the music selected for this album and how it became a reality?
Hasse: I am of the opinion that you got to have a valid reason to put out a record, that is to say some material that you feel is important enough to expose to the public. In this case it was "Transcendental Virtue", which is over 33 minutes long and therefore the centerpiece of the new album. We did that piece in June 2004. It came out of improvisation, when we finished playing it, we knew that it was something special. We did not listen to much to it until last year. Then Jan Inge Somerseth announced that he would be interested in putting up money behind a vinyl version of a new T.E. record. By the end of October all of us agreed on the music`s validity and we then went looking for more material and a record company for the CD version, which is of course the main product on today`s market. I contacted Mellow Records because I had had some contact with Mauro Moroni in the mid 90`s and he said yes right away. The label has been continuously active for fifteen years and I also basically share Mauro`s point of view, I think, on what`s good music in the progressive field. Searching for more material we found "Daidalos` Hunt" from the same day as "Virtue". It must have been something with the placing of the stars that day(laughs).......This track works as hell, and finds Tom and me pushing limits of how far you can go to turn a rhythm pattern upside down and inside out continuously and still keep it going with an uplifting energy. Doing that and still being able to control it so we did not stumble or fall, are skills aquired through the years. We could not with the best of luck have executed that tune in 1983! Ronald plays as all this should have been no effort or problems at all. Don`t ask me how he does that. Don`t ask him either!! We have left both pieces unoverdubbed, save for a small two second reparation on "Hunt", because there is so much going on inside the music and the energy is so great. I am gonna have to warn you, this is in many way unpolished, harsh, brutal sounding music. Early in the process we cleaned up the rough recordings to make them sound nice and found that they didn`t sound like us at at all. We then went back and made it sound more "mean"...... exposed the frequencies that were partly distorted and displayed it for what is really is; some kind of outburst of a live-in-the-studio ambience.
Morten: Do you feel that you have covered some new ground with these two tunes?
Hasse: Definately! I don`t know if most of the people that listens to us recognize or have a specific understanding of how we do our different things. But for us as musicians it is of the greatest importance. The way we play now, and the result it has brought us are what`s intriguing for ourselves. If you could point out three landmark moments for Tangle Edge`s music, I`d say the first half of 1983, spring 1991 and June 2004. These are all periods when something unimaginable for us came out of the closet.
Morten: What about the two remaining tracks on the album?
Hasse: "Emerald Mound" is quite a cute atomspheric piece, where Ronald does some beautiful guitar work and the rest just keep the mood going under him. Sweeter than that we do not get these days. This is from some 2005 sessions. We overdubbed quite a few things here..... Also we have Ronald`s two minute abstract sound-painting "The Seventh Tide" here, which he recorded during the mixing of the whole thing. Ronald has done a lot of interesting music in his home studio. We needed something of a different nature to the devilish "take no prisoners"-energy on "Virtue" and "Hunt". We could not find anything suitable from the sessions with the whole band, so we put this little piece of quiet electronic sounding thing in between the two aforementioned tracks. If we have had more time we would have included another one as well, but the vinyl LP playing time has limitations if you want to ensure good sound quality, so we chose only one of his tracks. Maybe we`re just afraid of him taking over the whole band, really(laughs).
ÃƒËœMorten: Why did you go along with the idea of releasing "Serpentary Quarters" on vinyl as well?
Hasse: (shouting)Vinyl lasts forever!!!!
Ronald: When Jan Inge offered us to finance a vinyl release, we said yes, and left all up to him with the rest. Hasse and me have done a slightly different cover to the vinyl than the CD. Jan Inge, who is a hardcore-vinyl lover, wanted a fold- out sleeve, a booklet with the "History of T.E. part 2" documenting the years from mid-1992 up to present. He also wanted the vinyl itself to be a 180 gram with a heavy sleeve.
Hasse: Jan Inge prefers the vinyl LP-medium, and so do Ronald and me. I don`t know about you Tom (grins at Tom)? The CDs are bound to destroy themselves and if you got a stereo system that`s a bit above the average, I think LPs play better, so I would prefer that at least "Tarka" also would come out on vinyl some day. We`ll see....
ÃƒËœMorten: When and how did you decide to get together with Tom and "free jazz", if I might say?
Tom: We started out with Shango and Yunjan in 2000.
Ronald: Apart from Shango, I came along in 2002, after Tom and Hasse had started their free Yunjan-thing. It's difficult to set an exact date for T.E. since we all think that Shango and Blue Lynx are both another natural directions within the T.E.-concept. It was natural at the time to have some musical progression. This progression was again put into the band as you today know as T.E.
Hasse: Ronald threw the idea of getting together a bluesband in the summer of 1998, which led to Blue Lynx gathering together in 1999. This way we could get Tom up and going again. If I ever had any doubts of what he still was capable of doing, he removed any doubts in the autumn the same year when he demonstrated an old Matching Mole rhythm for us while visiting a rehearsal with Kjell Oluf. Through Blue Lynx, we once again got our chops together with the blues as our playground. It really forced us to learn and expand our instrumental skills. On the early Blue Lynx rehearsals, I noticed that when Tom and I was fooling around between songs, that we really could get into a lot of things quite spontaneously. As Ronald says, Shango was also a main contributor to the new Tangle Edge. While forced to keep things fairly straight......IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not sure how close our idea of "straight" is to most folks.......tight, funky and in 4/4 or 6/8 to fit into the traditional west african folk songs that Abdoulaye Camara put in, the rhythms and guitar work we provided were in many ways heavily rooted in what we did together as Tangle Edge in the first half of the 1980`s. As an example I must mention that the bass and drum work Tom and I laid down for the song "Nono/Koundeyayae" was first composed in 5/4, when I became aware of that, I extended it to become 6/8. When Ronald heard the tape of it, he said it sounded like what we did in 1983 or something. Once we played it live, our former roadie, amongst others, was sure it was a Tangle Edge tune. So there you go.....I personally do get some sense of Ginger Baker and Fela Kuti influence when I listen to it. Another important element in finding a new and fresh platform in addition to the blues has been keeping in touch with Tom increasingly from 1996. I got very into listening to the free-jazz of the 60`s, which became easily available on CD at that time, and I threw all that on to Tom, who enthusiastically consumed it. That led us to the Yunjan-sessions. After that Tangle Edge with Tom on drums just had to come. We only had to trick Ronald to attend the next "Yunjan"-session. I also had to trick him into the first Shango rehearsal, but don`t write that, haha!!
ÃƒËœMorten: It's been said quite a few times that T.E. don't compromise much regarding the gigs, their music or their recording sessions. Any thoughts about this?
Ronald: Yes, that's correct.
Tom: It doesn't matter were I play. A small or large venue..... anywhere or anytime. We always have the same attitude. Our music is based on what each member have listened to and how we've lived our lives over the years. Personally I've played with a lot of various bands over the years. Both famous and lesser knowns. When I've summed up all these experiences, I allways come up with the same conclusion; I've never really felt musically "there", except from with T.E. In a band I'm just one of many elements, and I need to be pushed further, just like I have to push the others further. I only think T.E. is the band where I can experience all that. This is maybe the driving force for T.E.. I guess that's also the reason that the band still exist after all these years. Another thing with T.E. is that you never know what theme will come next in the music. When we play I sometimes get suprised when suddently Ronald, or Hasse changes themes, it doesn`t come out as I was thinking, but always better. This happen all the time. To get all these processes working properly in T.E. we can't go along doing a lot of compromises. Then we just could quit playing in T.E.. We play what we do, that's it. Age also matters, I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have time to fool around with music I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t like.
Hasse: That`s really good to hear! (grins)
Ronald: We have a lot of material recorded, which probably would be great for the typical T.E. fan, but we want to release a record that WE think it's good. That's also why we've never released a lot of records over the years.
Hasse: Yeah, we do want to feel that we really, at least for ourselves, have brought something new to the table everytime we release something. I have always been throwing myself into the role of the mean guy, who is the first one to say that enough is enough when things seemingly have stagnated. An action often followed by sacking some people and hiring some new. To quote John Sebastian; "it`s not often easy and not often kind". As for Tom who at least is without compromises inside the concept of Tangle Edge; he told me Ronald and me a few years ago that he considered us to be totally without any compromise of any kind, but he did not want us to be any other way, though he himself had experienced that it really could be hard to be left behind by us as he once were. But speaking from my very personal point of view, this kind of attitude is all rooted in some sort of intuitive concept I have myself, that if the music isn`t happening, there is really no point in continuing. I suppose this not very different for Ronald, or what do you say (addressing Ronald)? I always strongly critisize music that I do think is not very good and therefore I consider it a responsibility to do my best not to make inferior or unnecessary music. Of course, I can never be sure that all I make is up to standard, but I can always know if I really did my best and at the time believed in it. Sometimes you make mistakes and that is quite human.......Many people, musicians of various skills, that have crossed my path, have said that they will "always be playing" in some context or another. I am not like that. Today I realize that I to a great extent is bound to playing instruments and learning new things......and don`t know why it is like that, that`s just the way it always turns out. Maybe I even like doing it(laughs). But I strongly believe that if the day comes when I think that I am not learning something significant and on my way to creating new things, I would stop playing. I won`t find any satisfaction in "playing just for fun" locally with some old friends or something. The concepts of stagnation does not apply to me. I would rather stay at home trying to learn something new, than be on a stage throwing all kinds of shit in the face of the audience. If not even that, I can always just listen to good records and find other things to do. There has also been a conscious choice made very early in our history of keeping a steady income through day-jobs to not be depended on making money for a living through our musical activities. This choice has also contributed to keeping us in place, ready to practise and record and maybe also contributing to living fairly healthy lives.
ÃƒËœMorten: Your earlier releases are now difficult to find, and when you do, they do cost a lot of money. Any chance for re- releases?
Hasse: Difficult in relation to what? If people search eBay or Amazon, they will within a month be able to obtain all our former LPs and CDs, as far as I am concerned. On eBay, up to now, there seems to be an average of 40 people viewing T.E. articles on auction or sale.
Ronald: There is always the problems with finding record labels. Since the "In Search" album we've always got accepted with the first label we wanted to be on. We are a bit concered about our releases. The label must have this "atmosphere" or what you'd call it for T.E. kind of music. We do not want to release any albums ourselves anymore. It's too much time waisted on promotion, money transactions and distribution. Regarding our earlier releases it's all a question of legal rights. Even though we've thought about it, we`ve never really have put any time into sorting this out. The future will show. If you ask me, I would prefer that all our albums are available at a normal price. The long, long awaited Avyayah album was sceduled to be relased on Colours in '93 I believe. Since then it's been with another label for years. We do have plans for this album. What we do instead to fullfill the demand for T.E., is to release our CD-R manufactured earlier live-material exclusively through our website. So far they've been a success, so we'll probably continue with this. We have plans for at least 4-5 releases so far.
ÃƒËœMorten: Your new album take a new direction in style once again. T.E. has been compared to and been considered being influenced by bands like Amon Duul 2, King Crimson or even Van Der Graaf Generator. What are your influences now? Do you have any thoughts about the "progressive rock" scene in 2006? ÃƒËœYou saw Amon Duul 2 and Van Der Graaf in November 2005 in the U.K. ÃƒËœHow did this affect you?
Ronald: I'm not familiar with the progscene today. All I know it that a small group of people are enjoying progressive rock music nowadays. It's difficult to get a clear view of the scene, I think. Tons of bands and (web)fanzines. I doubt if there is much new stuff there. Personally I like the norwegian band Motorpsycho, which I think have developed themselves further for each album and they are really good musicians. My personal influences have always been and still are King Crimson, Van Der Graaf Generator, Henry Cow, Amon Duul 2, Jimi Hendrix and Magma. When we saw Amon Duul 2 and Van Der Graaf...I can only conclude with one sentence......"They're still the best".
Tom: What is prog? I find it hard to explain what the term really means. I'm not listening to much bands hyped as prog. When I listen to such bands I find most of them sounding alike. Some bands I listen to for the moment are Mars Volta, Jimbo Jones and Motorpsycho, for the same reason as Ronald mentioned. Some of the norwegian black metal bands I actually also find interesting in a funny kind of way. Even though I'm not much into that scene, I can hear that they are good musicians in their field. They also look a bit funny with their image as well.
Hasse: Well, Tom.....I guess they think you look funny too. At certainly do(laughs).
Tom: My personal influences are all of the old drummers that I have listen to over the years, like Ringo Starr, Elvin Jones, Bobby Colomby of Blood, Sweat & Tears, John Halsey of Patto, Norwegian jazz drummer John Christensen, Fito de la Parra, Ginger Baker, Sunny Murray, Buddy Miles, Rashied Ali, Brian Bennet, the whole rhythmsection of early Santana, Pete York, Robert Wyatt, Tony Williams and Christian Vander of Magma and a whole bunch of other fantastic drummers. You name `em, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been inspired by them. I even liked the drummer in the old Sven Ingvars Band (Swedish dance band).
Hasse: Yeah, I guess you did.......(sighs). But really, in a Tangle Edge context I would say that by listening to it, the most evidently traceable drum-influences are Jaki Liebezeit of Can and Robert Wyatt of Matching Mole, whether it was intentional or not from Tom. In the improvisational work we did in the early 1980`s Tom was an uncontrollable dynamic and constantly driving force -fortunately - and quite experienced, as opposed to me who was eleven years younger, around twenty at the time, though with steel strong opinions, not so experienced and with an intense wish to control things and give directions. Tom could drive me crazy, but the same mechanisms as he described earlier happened; the results were much creative and stronger than it would have been if I - or any of us for that matter - had had our way. When he took the lead, I just had to follow and that forced me to come up with valid things quite different than what I would have constructed myself, and these things were stronger. Of course, there were moments when I laid the base for things, but Tom always kept changing. I of course liked what we did at the time, but it took me years after to realize that we created our own valid "logic" or "concept" of playing while doing this. When you`re touching the edge, you`re bound to doubt the things you`re doing. How Ronald was able to make any sense of all this, only he or nobody knows. But I really do consider a Liebezeit and Wyatt influence were strongly evident in what Tom did here, even if it not was a conscious choice when it was done, it is the closest comparison or description I can deliver.........
Morten: Hasse. You keep on going, but you did not give any real answer to my basic question here......
Hasse: Sorry for that, what was your question? Alright, let me think........
Morten: It was telling about your current influences!
Hasse: Where this line-up originally came from is a basis today, that is to me a fact. Also the development of T.E. in the 1990`s and all of us listening to free-jazz and ethnic music quite a lot the last ten years. I find that the so called progressive or experimental rock music, which was a driving force in the musical landscape in the late 60`s and early 70`s, has been mostly since then. The revival of progressive rock music in the early 90`s did not produce too many new and inventive bands, it grieves me to say. Therefore, in relation to that kind of music, I historically find today`s T.E. line-up place in a similar position to what we were in say, 1982. We`d already consumed Hendrix, Grateful Dead, Amon Duul 2, Magma, Henry Cow, Van Der Graaf Generator, Gong, King Crimson, Ravi Shankar, progressive blues and modern jazz and were faced with the problem of "how the hell are we going to be able to create something valid and original after hearing all this... everything has already been done!!". Only now, twenty-five years later, not so much interesting has happened in the West, so we`ve in addition consumed even more ethnic music instead!
Tom: And 60`s free-jazz!
Hasse: Yeah, that`s right. But to go back and take a chronological view of the band`s developments, I must confess that in Tangle Edge after Tom, we were, in spite of being a kind of progressive rock band, very influenced by Amon Duul 2 and late 60`s psychedelic music. But the both the talents and also limitations of what kind of material Rune Forselv could do as a drummer was a part of that direction as well.
Morten: (interrupts)Could you perhaps explain that a bit more in detail, please........if it ain`t too much, of course...
Hasse: No, no.......Rune had his own style, he was very influenced by Keith Moon. He also loved Mike Giles of King Crimson, but did not have the technique to pull of beats in that field. But he really did execute his solid personal style very well and made us able to explore a more hard rockin` fundament for the upcoming material. We still did keep our own style or blend and sound, but now with me working with a drummer to form a rhythm section under Ronald`s very personal guitar style. After all, "In Search Of A new Dawn" remains to this day still our best selling album. In 2001 Rune teamed up with Ronald me at the studio for a jam and we easily slipped into those old grooves. He still had it!! Anyway, this approach continued with the quartet line-up 1988-90. But now we were also able to draw on inspiration from early 70`s UK prog, mainly, while of course keeping both the krautrock and ethnic influences alive within that. "Eulogy" is evidence of this.
Morten: (interrupts)You did some acoustic work with the quartet as well....
Hasse: Yes, we even had an hour long or more, acoustic set which we opened some gigs with. With four people in the band we tried out everything within reach. But when we in 1991 became a trio again, we for the first time since 1983 felt that we were really evolving from the inside, that we brought ourselves to a new level, some place we had never been or even could predict would excist. This was probably because there is a big leap in difficulties between establishing an instrumental quartet and an instrumental trio. You can never use the same kind of ideas twice or just alter the harmonies or ornaments, you will have to find new significantly new fundaments for each new part or song, which also means you have to advance the fundaments of the music. This forced us to stretch ourselves. Our music at that stage left behind VERY many of our former "favourite influences" and left us perhaps only with King Crimson - Ronald especially wouldn`t leave them - now added with Magma and Soft Machine as "newcomers". In addition to this, we also at that time with increased instrumental skills and broadened musical abilities, were able to incorporate elements of modern jazz of all kinds - especially Charlie Mingus - avant-garde music and ethnic music to a significantly greater extent than earlier. I remember looking for all kinds of new approaches. The "rhythm section" expanded it`s significance within the group and we developed a slightly different way of playing our instruments compared to earlier. We did a lot of stuff in odd time signatures; 5/4, 7/4, 9/4, 9/8, 10/4, maybe others...... and the compositions also got more experimental in form. This in my opinion made us capable of laying down our own kind of musical style, a unique blend that hopefully distinguished us from all of the ephigonic retro-progressive bands who were either Genesis-Yes-ELP influenced, or 9th-rate King Crimsons that dominated that period. I think the golden age of "popular" music in the western society was between 1965 and 1975. After that even the jazz and the blues fell by the hand of the growing commercialism.
Morten: Do you consider the increasing money control of the music industry as the sole cause of this? Weren`t there any protest movements in music also.
Hasse: Yes, there were, but not that produced any significant effects, if you ask me. Although punk music was a fresh blow, the lack of skill and tradition in punk, combined with the 80`s introduction of the rhythm-machines has contributed to types of music lacking depth, which to me is a total turn-off. Many western musicians do not come from a solid musical background anymore, like folk, jazz, blues, classic, which they did forty years ago. On the other hand you today have those fast-players who come from jazz-rock-fusion and plays stiffly and without any dept, not to speak of the heavy poodles. The still "uncompromised" ethnic music of today is the current real music in the world, as far as I am concerned. I did spend a month on an island in West Africa in 2001 and experienced mostly locals pounding out music with skills and depth that`s bound to turn most of today`s western popular heroes into a big laugh. But these people wouldn`t be able to sell many records to the western countries` youth, regretably.
Morten: Hasse, you got me off the track for the thirty-fifth time here, could be so kind and state your current favourites and influences...........you`ll only get one more try!!!
Hasse: Well, you helped me a lot, didn`t you? OK, where shall I start.......Guinean masterdrummers Mamady Keita and Famoudou Konate, kora players Ballake Sissoko and M`Bady Kouyate are some of my favourites. But there is a lot of amazing stuff from Asia, North Africa as well that I`ve been listening to. As for surviving western heroes, I still love Keith Tippett, who I consider as Europe`s greatest jazz-related musician since Django Reinhardt. He is still an influence. Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady are still great when they play acoustic. Van Der Graaf Generator`s reformation last year - both album and concerts - was devilish, beyond description. They proved that age or time is not an imperative of any kind when it comes to making real music, not even in that style, which some claim to be outdated. It was also a great personal moment for me to see the mostly original Amon Duul 2 line-up live recently. If there had not been for their music I would never have attemped composing music myself. Lothar Meid`s bass playing has possibly made the fundament for my own thinking in bassplaying. It goes so deep that it isn`t possible to rationalize it any longer. And Larry Taylor!!!!! David Grisman, mandolin virtuouso. Like Tom and Ronald, I must confess lending an ear to Motorpsycho and also Norwegian creative jazz-trio Jupiter currently, and while they are not influences, I eagerly lend my ears to them. But speaking of my influences for today`s T.E., free-jazz drummers Rashied Ali, Milford Graves, Sunny Murray, Beaver Harris and Andrew Cyrille plus japanese percussionist extra-ordinarie Stomu Yamash`ta are what is in my mind. Keith Tippett I did mention, else "free-floaters" Don Cherry, Pharoah Sanders, Ornette Coleman, Fred Frith. I like those free-players, because their way of playing feeds the attitude I need to do my things with our current line-up. I don`t know what bassists to mention, because playing with Tom, I am stuck with what I am able to do there and then to make the "now" work, but Jimmy Garrison, Hugh Hopper and Charlie Mingus are names I have to drop.
Morten: How do all this come together when the three of you are shaping your material?
Hasse: It`s a bit strange, but I am left with the fundaments of a way of playing, which in the early 80`s I was not satified with at first, but really have learned to appreciate as the real thing. Today I can rationalize this playing and use it effectively, mostly without being disturbed by thoughts of wanting to play something else. One of the big changes the new line-up brings, is that for the first time since the mid-80`s every instrument in the band plays a totally equal role in the music, even if Ronald plays the "solos", everythings has an equal weight. The differences from earlier lies in the skills and understandings we have aquired since then. The themes and rhythms we use today are mostly more musically advanced or if you prefer, "not so simple" as what we used 23 years ago. There`s more Ornette Coleman and less Pink Floyd, if I might put it that way. Tom and I know each other so well musically, that we can add or withdraw one 1/4 or 1/8 beat of a bar while playing and still make sense of the rhythm. Likewise we can differ the accent on the beat continuously in fairly straight rhythms. This might confuse or scare some listeners, but to us it creates tension and new energy and maybe demands more from a part of the audience, I will suspect. Some probably don`t give damn....It is not possible to go back, weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re bounf to play with the experience we hold today, even if I still really like alot of the old stuff. As for RonaldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s part, heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll play good on anything, any kind of musicÃ¢â‚¬Â¦he can sometimes even play good on top of a bad rhythm-section. Morten, was my answering good enough? No??? My jaws are exhausted! Why canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t the otherÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s say moreÃ¢â‚¬Â¦.Tom!Ã¢â‚¬Â¦.Ronald!
Ronald: Just let him go on. It`s no use trying to stop him......
Morten: Well, let`s move on here, we`re not so far from finished. Do you have any opinions about Abdoulaye Camara and Shango. Will any of that material be released?
Ronald: It was really fun, but we stopped when we had to. The box became empty. We had nothing new to come up with.
Tom: Yeah, it was fun. The band had a really good groove. It started out as a jam and we ended up doing live concerts. Camara came up with some really fascinating rhythms. He's really good at that. The band drifted musically apart over the years, because Camara suddenly wanted the band to be suitable to dance to for a mainstream audience. That was the end of that.
Hasse: Quite an absurd thought by our standards, though.
Tom: As mentioned before, we don't do this for the mainstream, we do it for ourselves.
Hasse: And the MUSIC!!! Abdoulaye, I think, got a little bit scared of Ronald`s free-flowing guitar playing and also about the most adventurous parts of Tom`s drumming. But I really don`t know if anbody really can blame him for that............
Ronald: We only have two recorded studio tracks of Camara and Shango which were used as a demo. We also have some live material recorded. Maybe enough for a web-site only CDR release.
Morten: In an interview in 2002 you said that T.E. probably would never play live again. Now four years later, is this still your opinion?
Hasse: Who`s the damned sucker who said that!!!!!?????(looks around)
Morten: Well, I believe you did, Hasse!
Ronald: I'd like to do some of our material with Tom live. I see no point in doing the Kjell Oluf material live nowadays, since that was a periode of Tangle Edge now long gone. I also think that the material we did with Kjell Oluf was so good in it`s own context and that it should stand by itself, and not let Tom change it.
Tom: It would be great to play this new material live. On the other hand it would take a lot of work getting together a repertoire of material suitable for playing live. That`s a long way. If I am ever going to play live with T.E. in the future, it would not be with Kjell Oluf's material. Because he did such a fantastic job on those tunes, I wouldn`t want to "destroy" his material by forcing owning my playing on to them.
Hasse: If we are going to play concerts, it is imperative that have to present something that is fresh and within the style of what we`ve been doing the last four years. As a fan of music I have nothing against nostalgia, but I can`t imagine us now being able to put the necessary freshness into rehashed compositions from our back catalogue, especially not the ones Kjell and Rune played on. That was a different time and we`re not there anymore.
Morten: You recently lost one of your main collaborators for the last seven years when Steinar Johansen passed away only some weeks ago. How will this affect your activities in times to come?
Hasse: I don`t know if we really have taken in this to the fullest degree yet. We all knew it was going to happen sometime, but not so soon. Only three months before he passed, he attended a three-day rehearsal with us in Blue Lynx, and I am not overstating anything when I say that he sang and played at his best. We had cancelled the rehearsal prior to that because of his health, but there were no traces of any inhibitions to his input at this last rehearsal for him. He even had gotten together a harp-theme, that I had been asking him for earlier. It is really hard to talk about.......we`ve lost a good friend......Tom and Steinar grew up together. Steinar was a very kind and pleasant guy and an important musical partner for us. The only singer we`ve ever had that matched our own understanding of the blues. It was an inspiration for our playing when he sang. We haven`t really discussed or made any decisions about what kind of changes this will bring for our different focuses. I will definately not make any suggestion here and now about this, which I hope you can understand...........
Morten: Is there any other plans for the band that you would like to mention?
Ronald: There is a chance that Kjell Oluf will get back to the recording studio with Hasse and me, for a recording of "The Glorious `No Doubt` Trilogy".
Hasse: Yeah, but before that Ronald and I will finish the embarassingly long awaited album that will contain the studio version of "Cancalam" with Kjell on drums. The rest of that is Ronald`s and my game. But it is so long overdue that it kills my stomach to speak of it. But smile everybody, at least we have "Serpentary Quarters" out now. So buy it or don`t!!!!
Morten: If nothing else, we could feel safe to conclude that Tangle Edge these days are really up and running for the nearest viewable future.
Hasse: It certainly appears so....
Tom: What else could we do.....?
Morten: At least you like to talk about it J
The following interview was originally
printed in a Argentinian website and magazine called Nucleus in 2003. Interview was done with Hasse
Horrigmoe by Sergio Vilar. Check out their link and see
a great design of the interview.
Check out their link and see a great design of the interview.
1. Hasse, how does
the history begin? Which is the past of each one of you?
2. Was Tangle Edge born as a group of progressive rock?
Tom shared RonaldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s and my own interest for progressive and psychedelic music, although Kjartan did not possess any interest or skills in that direction. However, we got a bluesband, heavily inspired by Canned Heat and John Mayall, called Sentralvaskeriet quite quickly on its feet and did two festival gigs, which led to more club and festival gigs and growing reputation for the coming year. Already in the summer of 1980, Ronald and I started to improvise some progressive styled things together with Tom, when Kjartan was not present at rehearsals, or even went down to the rehearsal room without him. The most personally styled music of Tangle Edge really starts here, although we were not aware of that at the time. This direction was talked about when I asked Tom to join us, because although he was a very skilled drummer in the styles of rock and blues with an interest towards jazz, his hart was, and still is, with the more free-form improvised rock-based stuff. Tom was very energetic, and in improvisations he took a lot of initiative and really forced Ronald and me to bring out the maximum of what we could do, often quite other things than we had originally thought of. In early 1981, when Kjartan was away in the military, we put together a long 45-minute piece and played it live twice in our hometown, where most people, who were old enough for it, hardly had heard such music on record, let alone in concert!!! This was, in spite of appearing on the bill as Sentralvaskeriet, the two first Tangle Edge gigs ever, as far as we ourselves are concerned. Tom, who had come to Narvik in late 1979 to start a record shop, moved the shop to another town, so after Sentralvaskeriet disbanded in summer `81, he continued to come regulary to Narvik, to improvise, record and rehearse material in a experimental/psychedelic/progressive- musical style. This went on for a year more.
3. From where does the name come?
In autumn 1982, Ronald and I got pissed off about Tom, who had not shown up to play for the whole of the summer and which seemed to be a continuing matter. We then recruited Rune Forselv on drums, who we had done some improvising with earlier that year. He stayed only for two months, leaving when his old band reformed. But it was during these two months Ronald and I came up with the name Tangle Edge. We had to get rid of Sentralvaskeriet, which was known as a bluesband and also was a Norwegian name. We were already then thinking of having an international name, which was unlikely that anybody else abroad would come up with. One thing is the combination of the two words, both which separately could be viewed as self-ironic, tongue-in-cheeky, descriptions on how most other people in 1982 would look upon our music. Many people thought it meant some kind of fringe-edge, well, for us; whatever you like to put into it. The international musical climate at that time was not exactly favourable for us. You must remember that this happened at the same time as Boy George was about to launch his first single. Anyway, Tom fortunately arrived back in late November, and we started to record improvisations that revealed a most obsessive energy, and which would end up on our first cassette release Ã¢â‚¬Å“Improvised Drop OutsÃ¢â‚¬Â. I must add that an extended double-CD version of this has been ready for release in the UK for quite a while now .
4. How are you taken with the sign of Ã¢â‚¬Å“progressive rockÃ¢â‚¬Â?
If progressive rock means experimental and something
thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s looking foreward in musical development, I like the label. Also,
if people using that term are thinking of bands like King Crimson, Soft Machine,
Matching Mole, Henry Cow, Amon DÃƒÂ¼ÃƒÂ¼l 2, Can, Faust, etc, I like being
labelled as Ã¢â‚¬Å“progressive rockÃ¢â‚¬Â. Then term will include Ã¢â‚¬Å“German
RockÃ¢â‚¬Â, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Psychedelic MusicÃ¢â‚¬Â, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Canterbury RockÃ¢â‚¬Â and
other different forms of experimental music. On the other hand, if people mean
bands like ELP, Genesis and Yes, when they speak of Ã¢â‚¬Å“progressive
rockÃ¢â‚¬Â, I do NOT like the label. Mind you, I really like those bands, or
more precisely their earlier work, but those kind of musical styles which fuses
classical music with rock and do not leave to much room for improvisation,
avantgarde harmonies, experimental structures, is something I which consider had
reached its own dead end about thirty years ago. Symphonic progressive rock was
only Ã¢â‚¬Å“progressiveÃ¢â‚¬Â for a short time, as far as I am concerned, and
gave not direction further for anybody.
5. Is the responsibility of the composition really distributed in same parts?
Composing in Tangle Edge is something of a long and often slowly evolving process and therefore it can be very frustrating. The tunes that finally get to be looked upon as Ã¢â‚¬Å“finished compositionsÃ¢â‚¬Â and which dominated the period from 1985-1995, can sometimes come from a jam, sometimes from a bass riff or a drum pattern or a chord sequence or just and an odd scale Ronald or me found somewhere. We then take the actual basic idea and work on it, develop it, put it together with other ideas that would finally makes sense in some strange way to form a composition. Being only three persons in the band, there is always a demand that a Ã¢â‚¬Å“newÃ¢â‚¬Â composition should not be in the field of some previous, so we then can avoid the feeling of thinking that we are repeating ourselves too much. This is hard, but it forces us to look further and prevents us from staying in the same musical place too long. So weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re always looking for new themes, new scales, new rhythms and new soundscapes. Most of the main long parts would of course be dominated by a guitar improvisation, though not a completely free one, because that would make all the tunes sound alike. We were very conscious of that Ronald would have some specific directions in every different improvisation, to make some adequate signature to the tune it belonged to. We recorded, especially on Ã¢â‚¬Å“TarkaÃ¢â‚¬Â, the tunes live in the studio with the guitar improvisations Ã¢â‚¬â€œ basically the way they was played live. Then right after came a period of doing overdubs with any instruments available. Some of these would be rehearsed new bits and some quite spontaneous improvisations and could be as follows: doubling guitars, percussion tracks, sound effects, fuzz bass, etc., etc. These overdubs would themselves in the end become subject for editing after finding out what would really suit the tune. So we really had a second stage in making a composition come through with that work. I think it would be fair to say that Tangle EdgeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s music in this period was mostly invented, conducted and guided by Ronald and me, although Kjell Oluf JohansenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s drumming put a quite personal stamp on the music, especially from 1991- 1995. From 1985-87 we had Rune Forselv back in the drum-seat, before Kjell Oluf arrived from Oslo in late 1988.
The early eighties period, when the band consisted of
Ronald, Tom and me, was on the contrary dominated by improvisations that we
recorded. Recording, exploring, pushing borders and ourselves. We then just
edited the best parts, without any more additions and released it. Making this
music was an even share of responsibility within the band. The guitar was still
the lead instrument, but when we played, every single note from every single
instrument had equal value, something which is very unusual in rock music. We
took up this method to some extent in some attempts in 1997 and 1998. But the
last three years work by Ronald, Tom Steinberg and me has produced quite a few
hours of interesting freely improvised material, which has not been released
yet, not even edited. But it will come more of this in the future. We have found
our way back into the equal share way of playing, incredibly enough. Today we
have the technology available to easily do overdubs after editing improvisations
recorded on two-track, something we did not have twenty years ago, so we'll see
what the future will produce. It must be mentioned that our co-operation with
Tom recently, have not done any claim for the Tangle Edge name. The work started
after we formed a progressive blues-band (NOT a Sentralvaskeriet-reunion, I must
emphasize) called Blue Lynx and a ethno-fusion band with a West-African singer
and musician called Abdoulaye Camara & Shango, and this ended up in us
aiming for the spirit of what we were doing 1980-85, though with our recent
packages of experience. No wonder, because the ethno-fusion band can easily be
described as a mix of Fela Kuti and Tangle Edge.
6. Do I imagine that you should already compound new materialÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ Do you have thoughts to publish a new album soon?
We have material recorded and something unrecorded from the late 90's period, much in the way we were doing Ã¢â‚¬Å“TarkaÃ¢â‚¬Â. But Kjell Oluf has been laying low the last few years, so since then Ronald and me have been busy , as earlier mentioned, with other musical adventures, this has not been finished yet. I also have quite new compositions in the can, so we will have to see. Something will come. It has been promished too long, but it will comeÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ There is of course going to be more CD-releases of vintage live-material, like Ã¢â‚¬Å“Sumerian KingsÃ¢â‚¬Â also.
7. In that their current music differs in relation to the previously published material. With which novelties will be?
I am quite certain that a Tangle Edge release of new material these days would be a mixture of the different approaches we have used on all of our former albums. There is something that would have to be written in detail, but also some improvisational things that we have to do just to keep finding new areas that would maintain some surprises for ourselves, adventures we must throw ourselves into. If not, the whole thing would easily stagnate or repeat itself without any adequate energy, something which sadly has happened to so many bands before us. The music we play is an artificial kind of musical-form. It is not a traditional musical form. Therefore it is of the greatest importance to gain to new energy, knowledge and skills from time to time, to be able to squeeze new ideas and substance from. All bands that have played good progressive or experimental rock, has consisted of musicians from different traditions, who finally made a band happen as a result of their skills in different fields. This situation does not last forever I must point out, any magic will only be possible to achieve for a short time. After a while all what you have together is bound to stop, stagnate, run dry or whatever you would prefer to call it. Then it will not happen again, unless you update yourself in some way or another, and that phase is often harder than the beginnings of a project, when everything just seems so easy to achieve. This is of course, the opposite of playing traditional music, where you can produce the goods all the way, if you just put your mind and energy into it, because the fundamentals in the musical material is already there.
8. The way in which you think about the band in relation to your own life, would differ all depending on which period of the band`s development or which day youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re asking yourself the question. Some days at some stages it could be the most important thing in your life and you feel that is has, like you say, given you some kind of spiritual growth, especially when you experience that new levels of creating music have been reached. Other days, when you really struggle to make things come through in rehearsals or are looking for new ideas or directions without finding anyone, you very intensely wonder about if it all this was worth using you time and energy on. But I guess making music, like everything else, is subject to the dynamics in our emotional human life. The last years I have discovered that I really canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t stop practising my instruments or looking for new musical ideas, no matter how my feeling towards life in general might be. It just works it way through my system, whether I like it or not. So I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t now if it is a plague, an obsession, a blessing or a curse, I am just not able to get rid of it. But aside from all this, I must say basically for myself that I do consider music as an emotional and, maybe also some kind of spiritual expression, statement or outlet. Putting these things into words is not so easy.
9. Then which do you believe is the most important quality in the band?
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hard to say, really, but maybe that firstly, Ronald and me have been able to make the best out of our different strengths and substitute for our weaknesses and secondly, looking within ourselves and then have been able to put focus on what is really the music and the adequate statement, and not letting us be influenced by bad quality contemporary movements in the musical environment or business. Tom says that Ronald and I are totally uncompromising. He does not want us any other way, though, even if that could cause some difficulties and unpleasant experiences for many involved, including himself.
10. Which is Tangle Edge future?
I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know. It will not be touring , for that I am quite sure. Touring is much too difficult to make happen with our kind of music these days. It is just not worth the effort. But recording, improvising and exploring new musical areas and release it on CD, that would basically be Tangle EdgeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s future. With our web-site, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s easier to promote the whole thing, than it was earlier. If we should run empty of ideas, we will stop, but I cannot really imagine that will happen in the near future. We have loads of things to work on now, so thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s really no danger. But, weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll see, if the musical journey by some reason suddenly should not feel interesting, there would be no reason to play at all. Tangle Edge is primary about making music.
11. Thanks Hasse, you can leave some final messageÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
Well, I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know, one thing that often strikes me when I find that people respond to Tangle Edge is: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Do not only listen to us, check out not only our progressive influences, I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t mention them all here, but hereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s some: Amon DÃƒÂ¼ÃƒÂ¼l 2, Can, King Crimson, Jefferson Airplane, Magma, Soft Machine, but also: the Indian music of Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan, the blues of Blind Blake, Charley Patton, HowlinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Wolf, John Lee Hooker and Canned Heat, the jazz of Charlie Mingus, Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane and traditional ethnic music from all over the world, Africa, India, Middle-East, your own countryÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ Do not stick to just one thing, be open minded, serve the music, beat the crap! The future of progressive music depends totally on your openmindedness!!!Ã¢â‚¬Â.
The following interview was orginally
printed in Crohinga Well. We are grateful to the author- Scott Heller-,
who kindly let us reprint it.
TANGLE EDGE are a unique three piece instrumental band who hail from the far reaches of northern Norway in a town three hundred kilometers (200 miles) north of the arctic circle, called Narvik. The band started out as just Ronald NygÃƒÂ¥rd on guitar and Hasse Horrigmoe on bass, jamming in Ronald's house in 1978. The band first released the "Improvised Dropout" tape in 1983 and this was to be followed by the beautiful LP "In Search Of A New Dawn" in 1988. They traveled to England (Wales, actually, L.) and recorded the excellent, mostly acoustic LP "Eulogy" in 1990. The band then released the limited edition three LP live set recorded in Narvik in 1991 called "Entangled Scorpio Entrance". Most recently, 1997, the band has released the excellent "Tarka" on Delerium Records out of England. I recently traveled up to Narvik with my friend Carl and (on 19th August, 1998) we had the pleasure of interviewing Hasse and Ronald and hearing some of the old and new material by the band. Here is an oral history starting from the bands earliest days as told to us by Hasse and Ronald.
The abbreviations of the name sin the interview decode as
follows:CA= Carl Andersen, SH= Scott Heller, HH= Hasse Horrigmoe, RN= Ronald
CA How did you guys start out?
HH Ronald is six years older than me, so we did not meet. I collected records and at that time I knew he had some records and we started to order from a postal company in the UK, Tandy's Records. This must have been 1976. Ronald had just come home from the military and we lived in the same block house, his family and mine. So it started that way. We listened to records and ordered records, and we thought about starting to play instead of only drinking coffee.
SH Were you listening to blues or rock?
HH Can, Amon DÃƒÂ¼ÃƒÂ¼l II, John Lee Hooker, Hendrix, Memphis Slim, Ten Years After, Brian Eno, Tangerine Dream, Grand Funk Railroad, I even had Miles Davis records... Billy Cobham...
CA So this was an unusual hobby for people in Narvik..
HH People had records but we were getting into listening to things other people didn't know about... In these years, the progressive thing faded and people started listening to more lightweight stuff and punk... I pushed it on my friends...
CA So you eventually moved from listening to making your own music.
HH When I started at the gymnasium (high school), the 10th grade, a guy who was in my class could play a few chords, find a solo, etc... I thought maybe we could do something and it just started from there.
RN First thing we did was play blues, for three years.
HH Yes. But we did some some strange stuff before that, before we had the line up.
SH So you started with improvisational material even in the early days..
RN Yes... it started with that.
HH Within 6 or 9 months we had some improvisation between us. We even have a recording from august 1978, I don't think I have it here... (Hasse would go to his grandmother's mom's house and get this and we actually got to hear this!!)
CA 20 years ago today... (laughter all around..)
HH In fact it is, I didn't think about it... We had some blues books, Allman Brothers, but they had very difficult chords, you have all this 7 plus 9 you had to use and with our bad guitars, we nearly cried. We had Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells" and Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here", so we settled for some blues, Hendrix. and CCR songs, but on the tail of one CCR song, this new track appeared because we just kept going, and it became a separate song. "Chew", a song that we first made in March 1979, is on several live tapes. Then in 1980, when we finally got a drummer, on those "Improvised Dropouts", we started as a blues band, me and him and a drummer Tom Steinberg, then we had a slide second guitarist named Kjartan Edvardsen. We also had a singer in the last month who was called Steinar Johanson. But out of this we started jamming with Tom, when Kjartan wasn't present at rehearsals. Tom was very into improvising and making our own material.
SH I really like the material on the "Improvised Dropouts". That was recorded in 1982-1983?
RN Yes. I like that stuff too. I think it is very good.
SH So that material will soon be released again on CD this time. Not all of it though?
HH Most of it plus some extra material that I discovered when I was cleaning up the tapes. It will be about 110 minutes, so in fact it will be more than the original 90 minutes.
SH That is going to be called...
SH You didn't know that?
RN No... (laughs all around..) Okay, he mentioned it once but I forgot.
CA So in these early days, when you had this blues band, did you play in Narvik at all?
RN Yes, we had a few gigs here in Narvik.
HH We built up our reputation as a blues band from about June 1980 until the next half year, playing festivals in TromsÃƒÂ¸, but then Kjarten left for the military. We had a two day little festival here in town and suddenly everyone expected us to play blues but we played a long 45 minute track, which included "Chew" and some other things as well. We played last both of those nights because a third of the audience left. Most of those people had never heard anything like this, it was along the lines of Amon DÃƒÂ¼ÃƒÂ¼l or Pink Floyd or something... and then we did the last blues tour that spring and after that it was only Tangle Edge and experimental stuff. We did not take the name Tangle Edge until the year after (1982).
SH What did you call yourself before that?
HH The blues band called itself the Central Laundry (in Norwegian, Sentralvaskeriet) because that was the building where we rehearsed. So the first Tangle Edge gig, we were billed as the Central Laundry because we needed recognition.
SH So between the time you recorded "Improvised Dropouts" 1982 to 1983, when were the first copies circulated?
HH Right away. The first copies were circulated in May or June 1983.
SH Was there any press? Did any magazines write up anything on it?
HH Yeah... We had a review in one of the Norwegian rock newspapers called Nye Takter. There was a guy who was reviewing strange stuff like Henry Cow or things like that but he wrote very intellectually, he only liked the straight stuff. He wrote "they are trying to find themselves and be like King Crimson" or something. I don't think he really liked it. That was the only review we got.
SH Did you record much material between 1983 and 1989?
RN No, not that much.
HH We started recording "In Search Of A New Dawn" in 1985. It took some years, because we did it in between.
RN We had no drummer after Tom left.
HH We got in touch with Rune Forselv... We did never tell him that our intention was to record him... We would just tell him if he could just fill in for Tom. It was not until quite late in the process that the drums were put on. Rune did do some concerts with us in 1985-86. He played the drums in 85, 86, and in 1987 he filled in the last drum parts. It took a long time before we had actually told him that we had concrete plans to put out an album all the time.... (laughs) because then he would think that it has to be that way and that way and he would care for his drum sound, and we did not want him to feel uptight.
SH How many copies were pressed of "In Search Of A New Dawn"?
HH We pressed 1,000 but they were sold within a few months, so then we did 2,000 more... and then it came out on CD. I don't know if they made more than 1,000. The CD is still for sale.
SH The artwork was very impressive. How did you come up with that idea and design?
HH It was the only thing I could do. I did not really have a good idea. Today I don't really like to look at that but I guess it is alright.
RN I think that it is very good.
SH It is very interesting ... the guitar is like part of a bug body; a beetle...
HH A trilobite.
SH It's sort of an Egyptian but with the face of a bird. Who did the artwork?
HH I did. Ronald did the green background which you can see inside, but I did the other things.
SH Do you have the original?
RN The bird is on our home page.
SH This is the new homepage...
RN Yes. It's in progress, a friend of ours, Morten, is working on it.
HH But I don't like to look at it that much.
RN The first 1000 copies we glued by hand.
HH We wanted to have control over the printing process. We got a local firm, very famous at that time, but they did not have machines to glue it. I was present at the printing of every sleeve. We glued the first 1000 by hand. I have touched ever single sleeve of the first pressing.
SH So those are quite rare now..
HH Yes, but we got quite tired of that so the next ones we just sent them away to be glued. But... I was putting so much work into that and it was our first record and it mustn't go wrong.
CA Selling a similar number of records for a band like you today would be incredible, I think. Was that a good success for you at the time?
HH Yes. Since I was a collector and bought Record Collector, I knew about all the fanzines, so I immediately sent it out and we got good reviews on the European underground and people spoke. I remember one magazine simply wrote at the end of 1989, "This is the hottest record around". People wrote us and started calling me from everywhere, Italy... We sold 2,500 from my home and the last 500 Dave Anderson of Demi Monde bought from me.
SH So did most of those sell outside of Norway?
RN Yes... there are not very many in Norway..
HH We got three reviews in Norway. The same paper that reviewed "Improvised Dropouts", they slammed it and another big rock newspaper, PULS, slammed it. Beat didn't review it. We also had a daily newspaper, very radical, intellectual, we got slammed there also, because the guy could not stand it. They collected us, Smokie and Kings X and saying something... they thought we were outdated, just repeating old things. One magazine wrote: " aimless bachelor flat jamming"...
CA I can see that, almost, as being said as a compliment!
(I am holding up "Eulogy" and looking at that)
HH I painted them... I used about 6 weeks. I had the
time from 11 in the evening until 5 in the morning. We were under a bit of
SH Well, to paint all of these individual hieroglyphics...
HH It is lifted from Egyptian graves. It's the original signs but in my combination. I don't know what they would say.
SH You also have the bird appearing again. So at this time, after "In Search of a New Dawn", you had Sven Hugo Bergvik jamming on the flute...
HH He came in ... they (he and Kjell Oluf) moved here in 1988 from Oslo - we had just finished "In Search of a New Dawn" - but they are from Narvik originally. They grew up in the street parallel to us but we did not know them then.
RN We were just kids...
SH This album took you in a more acoustic direction..
RN We played more acoustic because there was suddenly more of an opening for it, flute and a drummer who could play acoustic.
SH This album was recorded in 1990 but did not come out until 1992.
HH Yeah. we recorded in the summer of 1990, in Wales. We recorded it in July but we did not mix it until November. It did not in fact come out until October 1993, it was quite a frustration at the time, because we wanted to have our new album out.
SH What were the excuses that Dave Anderson gave for not putting it out?
HH He smokes a lot of dope you know... He lives off running his recording studio and wants a record label, but he can't get it together.
CA So by this point had you built your studio or was that in the future?
HH No. We were building the studio in spring 1989. We moved in late January 1991. It was a few months after we had been mixing the album "Eulogy".
SH In summer 1990, when you recorded "Eulogy", how many weeks did you live in England?
HH We were only there for two weeks. One week we were playing gigs and one week we recorded in Wales. We came on a Monday at noon and we went to sleep and checked the sound on Monday night and we recorded for three days. On the 5th day we tried to do another track but we were not successful. We mixed it as well...
SH I have a tape of one of these gigs from Sheffield and it is really great. You mentioned that you had fond memories of this show as well...
SH Fabulous show, even though there is the barking dog during the acoustic set.
CA I think it should be claimed that that is a special effect thing.
SH The barking dog pedal. (laughs all around)
CA Yes. Very rare. So you had the studio after "Eulogy". Did you immediately start using that to record?
RN No. we started rehearsing for the Italian tour in September 1991.
HH We were now a trio, Sven was sacked in early February 1991, just after we moved into the studio. We had to become a trio and we spent a half year and then we composed "Cancalam" and "Beyond the Hills of Inhibition", which were new songs, and we restored the old ones for a trio, which you can hear on "Entangled Scorpio Entrance". So we worked very hard. In those days we rehearsed about four 8-hour days in the week. It was quite tough.
CA You said that it was difficult working up the band as a trio..
RN Yeah. We had to work hard on that.
HH I think therefore, we wrote new material. Very little material from the 4 piece time had survived in its form. We don't do so much of it.
CA Well, you said that your songs sort of constantly evolve over the years as you play them...
HH In fact, we did not play "Inhibition" in Italy because we were a bit uncertain. We did them at a few soundchecks. That album was recorded a month or so after the Italian tour and we... It was the first time we played "Inhibition" and "Cancalam" live. It came off fairly well, I guess...
SH How did you arrange to put this album out on this label (Colours) after the Demi Monde deal?
HH Jan Inge Sommerseth, a friend of ours, he lived also on the same street, just a few houses away. he did a lot for us. drove the car, etc. He knew JÃƒÂ¸rn Andersen from Colours. He recorded the gig on DAT and one time he asked me to listen to it. I didn't want to but he just played it and it sounded alright and then he contacted JÃƒÂ¸rn Andersen of Colours and JÃƒÂ¸rn released the triple vinyl. Jan Inge paid for the release of the double CD.
SH The triple lp was limited edition of 753...
HH Ya, and he did 1000 CD's. It happened that way. It kept our name alive while we waited for "Eulogy". I don't know if I would have released the whole concert today. I don't know. many people like it.
CA Did you do the artwork as well?
HH Yes. I did the artwork.
SH So this concert (Narvik 11/1/91) followed the concerts in Italy.
HH 1.5 months after...
SH How did the Italian concerts go? Were you happy with the way you played and the audience response?
RN Yes. it was really nice in Italy.
HH The last gig up in the north, I think we played for two hours. They had some problems with the fuses. We played the encore for like 30 minutes and then the fuses went out 4 times and we started again. The audience didn't leave you know, so we just kept playing. So after 4 breaks we just stopped... and the people didn't leave. I had to tell them several times that we were finished. They didn't seem to understand that...
CA So the England and Italian concerts were the first concerts you did outside of Norway.
RN We also had a Scandinavian tour in 1994...
HH Yeah, but we went to Russia before that...
SH Not many people have had the experience of playing in Russia!
CA How did you get the Russian date in Murmansk?
HH There is a guy in town who plays cello, saxophone and even drums. We were planning on, thinking about using a 4th instrument, we don' t have that thought anymore, but we tried him on cello. He knew a musician from Murmansk and this musician knows people and he makes deals... he's a Russian. He wanted this guy Hans Urban, he wanted him to come to do something, so he asked if we could go and this guy would be satisfied and he could just stay away from it. So we said alright...
SH Did you know before hand that you would be put on the TV..
HH Yes... We knew it because I got in phone contact with the guy who organized the thing. I don't think he cared to much what kind of music it was, he only cared about bringing people together or getting some Russian girls married. I don't know. He is a nice guy. We were mainly interested in playing...
CA Was it difficult traveling across to Russia...
RN Terrible roads! It was in the spring and it was all in solution. ohh...
HH There was no asphalt on the roads. I don't know how long it was from the Finnish border to Murmansk. At times we were wondering if the car was going to get through...
SH It must be like 20 hours from here.
HH We started in the evening and we arrived in the night. yes. I think it was like 24 hours perhaps. More than 24 hours...
CA You said that the TV show was mimed..
HH We had been warned about the TV people. There was a jazz band from this town who had been there and they had told us that the sound wasn't any good. So we went into this 8 track studio with our own microphones because his equipment was horrible. So we did the tape of "Inhibition" and "Cancalam", and we mimed them on TV.
CA Seems pretty unusual to make a special recording to mime to...
HH ... And that kind of music.. Imagine Grateful Dead miming to "Dark Star"...
CA Do you know if it was ever broadcast?
RN No. We have a copy on video.
HH The guy from the TV show liked us very much. I don't know...
CA So who knows: you might be big in Russia now..
HH It was quite hectic... I think we started playing nearly everyday. I think we recorded 1 and 1/2 day and at the end of the other day we did a gig at a youth club and then I think we mimed the TV and then we had two gigs the next day, one at the factory with only ladies. We played a kind of.....
RN ... I think they were ordered there to listen to us... I'm sure they were. There were old ladies and girls. We were happy to play our stuff.
HH We played "Slow Essence" and "Beyond the Hills of Inhibition" and they set up a picture of Lenin behind us, a big relief... and there were these ladies... wondering if we were married or not...
CA Well, there have been a lot of interesting on the road stories from progressive and psychedelic bands over the years but that has to rank up there... (laughs)......
HH But. later in the afternoon, we went to a kind of Pedagogical college, here we find 17 year old boys and girls listening to King Crimson. We had a kind of press conference. It was quite alright.
SH So all of this was in Murmansk..
HH We had one final gig at the musical college. We recorded all of the gigs and we have the master tapes from the studio as well, but the sound quality is... fairly well, for what it was.
SH So, 1993 was pretty quiet for you guys...
HH No. We did a southern Norwegian tour in 1993, in Spring. In Autumn of 1992, we only rehearsed and developed material, we didn't play any gigs. There was talk about a festival in TromsÃƒÂ¸, but.... We played in June 1993 in Oslo, Bergen, Arendal, Skien, Haugesund. It was the first time in Bergen, 300 people were there. Also in Arendal, it's not a big place but we have our little following there. It was one of the guys from this town ... A friend of his went to school here and then he moved to Arendal. And then we got word that there were people with Tangle Edge posters on the wall down there. So they turn up at the gig. Quite a good gig.
SH In 1994 you did the small tour of Norway and Denmark and Sweden..
HH We started in Oslo, then went to GÃƒÂ¶teborg, Copenhagen, Odense and then to Bergen.
SH Then Uppsala was later in the year...
HH Yes,that was in August.
SH How did you like the 1994 shows... Did you enjoy the material you were playing?
HH I think we were playing very well. We recorded some of it. Also, some of the gigs in 1993. We played well in Odense and Copenhagen.
RN Yes. Denmark was good. and then Bergen.
HH We played very well in Sweden but we did not record it because we had to use our own recording microphones to get a good sound. Like I told you: they were very unprofessional.
CA So did you then start recording "Tarka?
HH Yes... After Uppsala we did a gig out in LÃƒÂ¸futen, at the little club out there. It was very good...and this was in late September. We started recording, late 1994. I think we started recording "The Sumerian King", the studio version and then we found out we didn't want to play it or at least I didn't want to. And when we came to January we started on the whole "Tarka" thing. and then we did a festival in Narvik in March 1995 at the youth club. High school gymnasium. more recordings and then the MÃƒÂ¸lda international jazz festival and then more recordings...
CA So by this point, using the new studio, had that changed the way you work?
HH Yes, because we recorded the whole thing as we did live. When it came to overdubs it came to another form of composition because we did not know what kind of overdubs we were going to have. So he sat at home to figure out his new things and me mine and Kjell his... so we just recorded it, edited, did a test mix and then in January 1996 we started mixing.
SH Having your new studio did not change the basic way you worked as a band, you still basically recorded everything live to tape.
HH Yes, because that is the form where we create music. That is the way we do it. It would be impossible to record a backing track and overdub.
CA Does most of your composition come out of improvisational jamming?
HH Yes, we come up with a bass line and we play on it and see what happens and then it changes, maybe a bass line, some drums...
SH You rehearse much more than most bands...
HH Yes, otherwise we would not be able to play what we do.
SH Two sessions of 8 hours each a week is a lot..
HH It's not much compared to some years back. But that is the benefit... It's a pity we can't play live more... but the music, we won't be able to do this, the music won't turn out this way if we could play more live. I don't think it would be so special, because we now have the ability to develop it freely and take chances.
RN We can work at our own tempo, we don't have to rush it.
CA Do you find that new compositions come out of live performances, also. Do you improvise a lot live?
HH No. We probably will now, but we have only 1 song, we haven't recorded it yet. One part came out in Bergen 1994, it just happened. Suddenly, in the middle of a song we were into a new part which we had never played, or never heard before. So, we adopted it and changed it a bit.
SH Sounds like if you played more live concerts...
HH Yes, we might take more chances..but not so far. I guess when you finally play you want to do what you can do the best.
RN Whenever we get that live experience, we have to savor a little bit.
SH But maybe when you tour next year, you will maybe do more improvisational material.
HH Yes, if the trend that has come out this spring with very much improvisation, we will probably do that..
SH Do you think that this improvisation has come out because you have been listening to all of these jazz remasters?
HH Yes. I have been listening to a lot of free jazz the last two years.. But there might be some connection to loosening it up a bit. I don't know... What's your point of view?
RN It is sort of getting back to the "Dropouts" era.
HH We have thought a lot about "Improvisational Dropouts" lately... also...
SH We listened to part of it today and I really think that it is great..
HH I enjoy it more than most of our stuff... It is easier to listen to because we don't do it. I have a distance, I can listen to it as music not as myself.
SH Was this review in Chrohinga Well (#14), the first you had read on "Tarka"?
HH No no... We had gotten quite good reviews, even in Norway. For the first time in Norway... but there have been reviews from Italy, USA, Greece. One magazine in Greece used one track on a compilation called "Audio Video" or something...
RN The Delerium homepage, they have lots of reviews.
CA How did you get the connection with Delerium...?
HH It is from our release of "In Search of a New Dawn". Richard Allen was one of the first persons to answer me. I sent out the album to a magazine called Encyclopedia Psychedelica and he was the musical reviewer. I did not know he was involved with Freakbeat. He got it first from there. And then he wrote me and he thought it was good, and at the end of the letter he said maybe we can arrange some UK gigs and I said. WOW, lets follow that. He didn't remember it himself when I reminded him some years ago. I did some phone calls to check it out and see if he was serious and then he got us the gigs and the Demi Monde studio session. If it was not for the Demi Monde thing. we would have been on Delerium much earlier. We should have been on the first Delerium compilation ("Psychedelic Psauna"). Richard took us off because he thought the other bands wouldn't suit us so he held us off for the more special strange bands for the release of "Fun with Mushrooms".
SH I also agree that I don't think that track ("Half-Moon Flower") did not fit in with the other bands at all on "Psychedelic Psauna".
HH So I can see his point of view. We were one of the first people to be in touch with him. We even had a contract, he was planning on putting out the live in Narvik from 1986 as a live album. But when we came out with the triple, he cancelled us. because the sound quality would compete with two live albums at the same time. So that didn't happen. but we have been in touch with him all the time. I was even at his wedding a few years ago. He is an honest guy, you can trust him.
Hasse leaves the room for a break.......( we are looking at a book I had with me called "Between Dreams and Drive- 25 years of the Roskilde Festival" by the time he comes back).
HH I contacted them a few years back, 1993 or 1994. but we
didn't get the gig.
SH If the future for 1999.. the "Avyaya" ("Improvised Dropouts") CD, that will come out in the spring, and then you will play some live concerts..
HH (laughs) I don't think that release would be a good way to get concerts.
SH Yes, but you might finish the new one by then potentially..
HH I don't think it will be out until the autumn, speaking from experience.
SH Well, if it takes 5-6 months to mix again..
RN No no, we learn...
HH You never know: you finish, you write the contract... It could take 6 or even 12 months before it comes out if you are unlucky. And I hear that the music business is not going very well at the moment, few people are buying records now. A few years ago it was very easy to sell things but now things are not good.
CA The "Improvised Dropouts" will come out on Delerium and possibly the other CD?
HH Yes. I guess they will.
CA Maybe they will be able to arrange some concerts for you outside of Norway.
HH Yes. we hope so, in Britain. We have to connect them with other gigs in Scandinavia to get money.
RN They never pay us much in Britain.
HH They never pay good in Britain.
CA What exactly are you working on right now?
HH We have been rehearsing for the two main compositions on the new album. but in between we have been doing the cleaning up of the "Improvised Dropouts", so we haven't put down the actual tracks. We just rehearsed them. I guess it will just come together.
CA Do you have an particular ideas about what you are trying to do on the LP?
SH How will it progress from "Tarka"...
CA Change. Or not change..
HH I don't know... It is the same thought. we have two fixed compositions like on "Tarka" but maybe put some extra stuff like on "Improvised Dropouts", it could also be older tracks or what pops out spontaneously.
HH It will be basically the same...
CA You will be creating the future at the same time the future creates you....
SH Will the band come to Europe for any shows in the year 2000? It has been a longtime!
HH No concrete pkans at the moment. We would of course very much like to do it. We'll have to see what specific plans turn out. Driving from Narvik is expensive, so we need well-paid gigs jobs or a lot of them!
SH Do you have a working title for the next studio LP? Will Delerium release it in 2000?
HH Not for the moment. Eventually, something will come up. Probably Delerium have option for it. I guess they will. "Cancalam" and "Pieces of a Dream Box" will be included.
SH Do you have atitle for this side project blues band?
HH No, but I've a lot of suggestions for names, but since even the band don't know of them, I won't go public with them. I'm very pleased with this project. Ronald and I have always enjoyed blues.
SH Do you want to add anything?
HH I think there has been increasing interest for the band through the Internet. This will hopefully lead to some interesting activities. We have got in touch with new people and established new contacts with promoters. "Turn City Turn" turned out well, and it seems like "Dxui" got a lot of airplay in the States and on the net.
Well, that was the end of our chat which lasted for more than
one hour. If you can't tell by now that these guys are true musical adventures,
playing and playing in search of the unknown, seeking to see what can come from
music, rather than writing songs for a specific market or about love, etc. ...
Just going for it and letting the music flow out of their instruments and seeing
what happens... This is where really exciting music will be found. I hope you
will follow on the trip. It will be a long one...