Rock Impressions

by Giancarlo Bolther

Can you introduce us yourself and give us a bit of history, please?
My father sang Rolling Stones and Led zeppelin tunes instead of the typical children songs for me when I was a kid. The standards where set there I guess. I used to do a lot of sports but quit all that when I decided to focus on the guitar playing at age 15. From there I played in a couple of bands before I started Drawn. I entered the realm of In the woods.. a couple of years later. Learnt a lot from those guys.
I started making music for Stille opprør in 1999. At that time I played in both In the woods… and Drawn which both were metal bands. All other albums that I participated in were also metal so I started feeling the need to expand my creative side. I spent a couple of years learning to play the acoustic guitar, getting the right tone and from that Stille opprör saw the light of the day.

Can you tell us about the songs from So.2 and what does the title mean?
As an opposite to the debut album which had the acoustic guitar as main focus and the whole soundscape stripped down, having themes with a red line rather than straightforward song structures I wanted more details and more dynamics with "S.o2". It still contains quiet themes but there are at the same time parts with huge distortion guitars and noise effects.
Instead of always emphasise the beautiful parts with even more melodies and details I basically just added noise and harsh sounds. These would then make the contrast to the comforting sounds so big that both utter points highlighted each other.
There was a lot of room for improvising and tweaking this time. I knew what feeling I wanted every song and theme to have and instead of planning every little detail there was a lot of improvising, so as long as what was done created the right feeling, dynamics and atmosphere for the song, it didn’t matter what was played. For example there’s some great stuff in there that was done on a saxophone. This guy, Ole Jørgen Bardal, played his sax through a “Rat” distortion pedal and a tube amp on max volume and made some unique and totally uncontrolled distorted sounds that just blended perfectly into the music. It sounds like nothing else (You don’t even hear that it’s a sax) and we never knew what the outcome would be, but it enhanced the feeling of the songs perfectly.

Where do you find inspiration for writing your lyrics and how do you go about the process of composing songs?
I don’t know how to write lyrics that aren’t personal so they all are. I hope people can relate to them in their own way. To be honest I find it a bit strange to write lyrics, knowing that people I don’t know at all will get to know a part of me after listening to the album.. I think it would be great to let other people write all of the lyrics, but as this music very personal for me it’s not an option.

So.2 is a complex album, it has got some psichedelic (Meanwhile), some poetic and dreaming (L Tune), some prog (title track), some mistery (Reconnect), it’s searched and experimental (Reconnect Outro), what kind of music are you shooting for?
I don´t have specific goals genre-wise. I try to give each song what it needs and since I enjoy a lot of different music genres the album is automaticaly a diverse one. Also as I´m making all the deciscions I can basically to whatever I want.

Listening to the album i’ve found some connections (not even influencies, but more like suggestions) with Landberk (Indian Summer), Paatos, Radiohead, the last Marillion... do you like these artists?

I like Landberk and Radiohead a lot, so you´re spot on there. Don´t have any knowledge about Paatos and Marillion. Maybe I should check them out!

Thoughts to represent alive S0.2 or it will remain only a studio project?
We´ve done one gig so far. Got two more gigs booked. One in Norway and one in Romania. I found that the music is very suitable for live gigs so hopefully we´ll do some touring in the future.

In your opinion, which are the differencies between your different projects?
Very different genres. Animal Alpha is metal/punk and S.O is, as you say, more psychedelic, dreamy and experimental.. I guess I´ve covered most of my creative needs with these two bands. There´s no similarities between the two I think.

If you could have the possibility, which are the artists you would like to play with and why?
I would really enjoyed doing a gig with Led zeppelin but would probably just shit in my pants and run off the stage when the first beats where introduced. I highly respect those guys. Would also be great to play at a Tool gig. Come to think of it I guess the guys from Tool also would have liked to play with Zeppelin. Think they are pretty influenced by those guys.

In my opinion the new progressive rock artists of today seem to be divided in two great categories, one is more interested on the technical aspect of music and don’t concentrate enough on the beauty of the songs; the second is too much concentrated in sounding like the great bands from the past. In my opinion your new project is totally different and distant from these artists, what is your opinion about the prog scene of today?
To be honest I don´t know as I´m not very much into the prog scene nowadays. Playing technical music just for the sake of it has never been of any interest for me as the songs and the arrangements are the most important, but if a song needs some technical features or needs to sound old then I´ll try to do that. Whatever suits the song.

According to you what developments will be for progressive music in the next few years to create something really interesting?

I guess for my taste that would be to combine even more genres.

What kind of music do you listen to? What are your favourite bands actually and what are your inspirations from the past?
Favourite bands/inspirations are, amongst others, Led Zeppelin, King Crimson, Tool, Radiohead and Jimi Henrix.

What can you tell me about the musical scene in your country and how culturally connected are you to your native land?
It´s a growing one. The black metal scene has been exporting out of Norway for a long time and it seems other genres are following now. Also the guverment is getting better at supporting with fundings for bands and artists, so touring europe with alternative music is easier and in some cases now possible whereas not doable without support.
I´m not too culturally connected to be honest. There are some bands that integrate folk music with rock that are pretty popular though.

Which is the greatest satisfaction happened to you in your musical carreer?
Difficult to point out. There are a few. The last one would be when Lemmy from Motorhead came to me at a festival (Rock am ring) and told me our (Animal Alpha) show was great. That made me proud.

Can you live from music or do you have other jobs?
I work as a studio engineer/producer when I´m not out playing gigs. It´s a great combination as I can play my own music and at the same time work with other people´s music.

How much important is the family in your musical carreer?
Very important. They support me in whatever I do. They have to be patient as my work takes a lot of time and I´m not taking it for granted that they are.

Which were the happiest years of your life? And the most difficult ones?
I guess the happiest years are the one´s I´m experiencing now. The worst would be between 12 and 17.

Thanks a lot for your time and feel free to end this interview with a salute or a message...
Thanks for a great intie. Good questions. Hopefully we´ll get to play somewhere near you!
Take care.

Reviews (only in italian): S.o2

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