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Interviews

Stian Westerhus: The Existential Dimension of Music

By Published: July 5, 2012
AAJ: Is your music provocative?

SW: I see myself as pretty straight, actually. For me, the important thing is to keep my music as pure and honest as I can, and to make the people listen to what I have to say without trying to provoke, or counting on a certain reaction. If people feel provoked by my music, that's their business.

AAJ: When do you feel that you have reached your aim?

SW: That's a good question. When I feel that the audience is listening to the fullest extent, and you can hear that people are holding their breaths. Then it gets super-quiet, and you know that they have been with you for the whole concert. For me, that is a great feeling, because it is as if the audience were embracing me. That's when I know that I have reached my aim.

AAJ: Your new album together with Sidsel, Didymoi Dreams, has just been released. Please talk a little about it, and working with Sidsel.

SW: Didymoi is a notion connected with the dynamic suggested by the duality of the Twins. The whole record—which I am actually very excited and scared about—is an unedited concert from a festival in Norway. We recorded five or six concerts; we did a lot of listening and I wrote down certain ideas during the auditions. When I came to this one, I just wrote one sentence and then did nothing else but listen. When the recording was over we knew that it was what we wanted. So, we both agreed to publish it as an album. There are moments on it when you can hear that we are transcending from one idea to the other, and I think that is the beauty of it, because it describes this duality extremely well.

I still remember that, after that concert, I had a sense of accomplishment. We both felt that it was OK, because the whole thing was so focused. We didn't plan anything; it was just a release, and the audience really liked it. I have no idea why. Now, when I look back I can see there is instant communication throughout the whole album. That makes it very gentle too. What I really like about this album is that every time I listen to it I still get surprised about what each of us is doing there, about the communication and what it brings out. There is so much happening in that music. Suddenly things take a left turn and then something completely different happens. Sidsel also sings in a way I have never heard before. That's one of the things I am most happy about.

AAJ: What are you working on?

SW: My new solo album will be out end of August beginning of September. I don't have a name for it yet. That is taking a lot of headspace at the moment. I have started writing more music again and I have some plans there running too. I will do the Trondheim Orchestra concert again, so I am writing for that too. In autumn I am going on tour with the solo thing, and will have some more gigs with Sidsel. My main intention actually is to put more energy into fewer projects.

Selected Discography

Sidsel Endresen/Stian Westerhus, Didymoi Dreams (Rune Grammofon, 2012)

Nils Petter Molvaer, Baboon Moon (Sula, 2011)

Stian Westerhus, Pitch Black Star Spangled (Rune Grammofon, 2010)

Puma, Half Nelson Courtship (Rune Grammofon, 2010)

Stian Westerhus, Galore (The Last Record Company, 2009)

Puma Marhaug, Fist Full of Knuckles (Knuckleman Records, 2009)

Monolithic, Black Science (RoggBif/Vendlus, 2009)

Terje Isungset, Laden With Rain (FMR Records, 2008)

Photo Credits

Pages 1, 2: John Kelman

Page 3: Madli-Liis Parts


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