Conexions: Curator of the Conexions series, Fiona Talkington, talks to Spin Marvel's Terje Evensen about his connections with the UK music scene, his own work as drummer, sound artist, composer and festival director, and his involvement with Spin Marvel.
I wondered how you got involved with the UK music scene? Didn’t the late Graham Collier have something to do with it.
“Yes, very much so. Graham was in Kristiansand for some work at the music college there and I happened to be playing a gig with my trio that Graham came to. After the concert he came straight up to me and asked me to apply to the Royal Academy of Music where he was, at the time, the head of the jazz department. He said he really admired my playing, and basically seemed to think that the Royal Academy would be the right fit for me.”
“By the time I got around to applying, he was no longer working there. Even though he still recommended the Academy, he also suggested I try Trinity College of Music, and that was the only school I ended up applying for. Graham was always so supportive of my playing and my work, which has meant a lot to me. I met him only about five times, but there are not many people in this world who have had such a large and direct influence on my life as Graham.”
How did you first meet Martin France?
“My very first meeting with Martin was during my audition for Trinity, and he later became my drum teacher. We hit it off right away, and soon after we began to work together.”
How did you become involved with Spin Marvel?
“Martin had been listening to some of the music I’d made, and was impressed by my use of electronics. He heard something there that he wanted to utilize in his own project.”
What do you think is special about this band?
“The freedom Martin allows each musician makes for a very interesting collaboration. We can really bring what ever we think is interesting to the palette and then we all work from there. As he said in an interview with Jazz Views about the first album “We were keen to make the music as organic as possible and let it follow its own path.” To me Spin Marvel is an interesting mix of British craziness and a darker Nordic atmosphere, and that’s what makes it, in my mind, unique.”
Can you explain a bit more about Martin’s playing and why you admire it?
“Martin has an impressive flow in his playing, and he’s always perfect. His use of dynamics is epic and has a musicality that really stands out.”
Your own music has expanded to include your work as a drummer, sound artist, producer, composer and festival curator. How has this happened?
“Very organically. One thing has lead to another, and I find that each aspect feeds back into another. I am a bit of a control freak, so I guess that’s why I ended up producing albums as well as making them. Multi-tasking in this way is also an effective strategy for making things happen.”
Norway has a very strong drumming scene? Were you influenced by anyone in particular?
“Definitely. In my opinion, among all the others, Norway has three great drummers: Jon Christensen, Audun Kleive, and Paolo Vinaccia. All three of these musicians are wonderful drummers and I’m sure they have influenced me on many levels.”
Your festival Tape to Zero is establishing itself as a musical force to be reckoned with. When did that start?
“The idea to make a festival came from my colleague Kjetil Husebø. He just asked me one day, about a year ago, if I wanted to help him organise one. From there we began to discuss and work out a concept as we felt, and feel that Oslo needed a platform where all the great underground electronic musicians could perform together with more well-known artists in a supportive and professional environment. We are now finalizing 2012’s program and it looks very exciting.”
Read more on the Conexions concert series here.