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  • Andy Wors

An Interview with new Norwegian project... 'Husmo HAV'!


So to (almost) wrap things up before our annual May Vacation, we're delighted to introduce you to a brand new project from Norway that play cinematic instrumental music - or possibly instrumental cinematic music. Called 'Husmo Hav' they contain members of 'Highasakite' and indie band 'The Switch', and they've intrigued us so much with their debut single called 'East in North'. that we've decided to speak to the 4 members, Thomas, Marte, Tore and Stian, to find out more about them. Actually we technically only spoke to 3, but who's counting...:

NMR: So.... can you explain how you guys got together making music?

Thomas: Well, I’ve played with Tore and Stian for years in other bands. We all studied at the jazz department of the Norwegian Academy of Music some years ago, and have released four records together with different bands. Initially we wanted to play with a new pianist, and Tore and Stian suggested Marte Eberson – it so happens they’ve played in a trio together some years back. So we got together and played a bit, and it was a lot of fun. After a while, Marte suggested that we should record something. We managed to get together for a rehearsal before the studio session, and Marte brought some synths with her. We realised then and there that this was the way to go forward, and I started playing around with guitar effect boxes on my trumpet and Stian played electric bass instead of the double bass on some tunes. The process has been electrifying, so to speak.

NMR: And where does the name ‘Husmo HAV’ come from?

Thomas: ''It comes from me desperately wanting to find a fitting and particular name for this project! I didn’t want it to be just ''Thomas Husmo'' or ''Thomas Litleskare'' - which is my last name, and it’s not very easily pronounced… needless to say, not the best artist name. Both because I wanted the band to have a name that underlines its musical identity, and also due to the fact that this music is not just me or my creativity. Marte, Tore and Stian are just as important in the process of shaping the music from what it initially is – a written idea – into the finished result, i.e. what you can hear. That process is a long and winding road, paved with lots of trial and error from all of us.

I landed on Husmo HAV – pronounced with a 'long' A, as in the English word 'father' – because I really like the sound of the word itself, the visual look of it, and the associations I get from it. HAV means 'ocean' in Norwegian. The ocean is vast and dark and an ecosystem of its own, much like the vibe and sound of our band. It has a lot of details if you look/listen closely – consisting both of organic and synthetic elements.''

NMR: I've been listening to the debut release ‘East in North’ and I’m intrigued about how you guys write your music. for example, Is it based around a carefully scored idea from one musician, or does it come from hours of experimental improvisation? Where does it all start?

Marte: ''It’s very often a mix of everything. All of us are composing music, and we put a lot of our musical identity in our compositions. But one of the best things about playing in a band is that everyone is allowed to be a part of the composition. Often one of us have an idea and we work together around that idea and structure. But at the same time we always have respect for the composer’s main idea. It’s all about trying to get the idea as good as possible, working in a team''

Thomas: ''Yeah. It varies a bit from composition to composition as well; some tunes are quite thoroughly composed with a lot of details, while others are loosely based around a melody, leaving additional space for improvisation.''

NMR: I guess cinematic Instrumental music like this often conjures different images and visions in people’s minds, so what visions does ‘East in North’ conjure up for each of you?

Thomas: ''East in North'' is the kind of music I’d listen to on a train ride; sitting back, watching the landscape and listening to this music, I think it’s a great fit. Funny enough, we’ve had a lot of feedback from fans saying the same thing, so I guess there’s something in it!''

Marte: ''I composed this song and showed it to the band, and of course we worked it out together. When I made it, I was thinking about a train ride I had from Oslo to my new home just outside of Oslo. The mystical forest and the light shining out from beneath the trees, and suddenly everything opens up and is very clear. A small lake where the sunlight emerges. I often get inspired by the mystical nature, forest and the dynamics between light and darkness.'' Stian: ''To me this tune sounds like driving through the most northern part of Norway at night.''

''I often get inspired by the mystical nature, forest and the dynamics between light and darkness.''

NMR: Asking about influences is really obvious I guess, but I am interested because you probably come from really different musical backgrounds and I hear minimalist composition, world music influences and other sounds in your music - so what inspires and influences each of you musically?

Marte: ''For me it’s mostly nature, books, people and pictures. I can get inspired by a tune that a taxi driver is listening to, or church bells or someone’s clothing. I’m trying to be as open minded as possible and open for my surroundings. I don’t go so often to concerts because I’m afraid I will get to influenced by others music. If I do, I have to listen to another genre than the one I’m usually playing. Like country, opera, metal, hip hop or classical music.''

Thomas: ''Having a jazz education background allows me to really be open to a lot of different music, using my inner ear to seek out things that I think are cool rather than thinking strictly about genres. That being said, I’ve been quite influenced by two of my favourite trumpet players when it comes to composition: Kenny Wheeler and Tomasz Stanko. They’re quite different from each other, but both have that melancholic, thoughtful sense of harmony with elements of surprising tonal gravitation mixed into it in subtle, genius ways. Also: Radiohead.''

Stian: ''Working with a more electric sound, I think my brain goes back to 2007, when I was mostly listening to indie, emo and alternative pop music.''

NMR: East in North was released a couple of weeks ago, what’s next for ‘Husmo HAV’? And do you have any other projects you’re each working on individually?

Thomas: ''As I’m writing, the next event coming up is our very first gig together! It’s going down at BLÅ, a quite legendary club in Oslo, on May 10. We’re sharing the stage with the South-African indie sensations Diamond Thug, so we’re really looking forward to that one. Just last week we got booked to play at The Club Day of the renowned Øya Festival here in Oslo. That’s a highlight for sure, and a great way to play for a large and diverse crowd. We’ll combine that with another single release, and then finally, our debut album surfaces in October. It’ll be released digitally and on vinyl. The release gig is at Ingensteds in Oslo on October 18, but we're working with other exciting venues as well.''

As musicians, we’re all quite busy. All four of us have other releases coming up this year with other bands. I play cool jazz with Norwegian lyrics with Tore and Stian in a band called ''Baker Hansen – Chet på norsk''. We’re dropping an album in October that was recorded live in Oslo in February. Quite a different recording process, but very rewarding to be able to work both ways!

Stian: ''I’ve been working with the Zanzibarian musician Mohamed Issa Matona and his band ''Matona’s Afdhal Group'' lately. Zanzibarian music is very different to what we normally think of as ''African'', and extremely beautiful''.

Thanks for your time guys, we'll be looking out for the album when it comes out! And for more information please visit them on Facebook.

#norway #instrumental