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Arve Henriksen: The Trumpet is My Pen

By Published: May 20, 2013
AAJ: How do you see the band's output?

AH: Along the way, we did a lot of CDs with different timbres, different colors to them. The first one was a triple box. The fourth one consists of short abstract electronic pieces while the fifth one consists of live recordings in churches. To me, the sixth is a very strong album. It is very precise and it sounds very contemporary. The seventh album was a DVD, which was very interesting to do, as it was a one-off event for us. The eight album was the last one we did with Jarle and it was a very interesting collaboration. The ninth consisted of playing organs with electronics and the tenth album was recorded in Rainbow Studio and it sounds like improvised chamber music. The eleventh was a vinyl release consisting of studio sessions of earlier works and the twelfth will be released this year. It will be a studio based album done by the trio. That is a long, long journey that has produced all kinds of material that is based on free attitude towards music. We still want to be able to challenge ourselves because Supersilent has been with us for so many years and we still hope we can challenge ourselves with interesting music because over the years we toured a lot while some years we just played 3 shows but it was always important to us to check out interesting things.

AAJ: Why has the band collaborated with so few people during its existence?

AH: We have been collaborating with very few people because we are very restricted in inviting other people into the concept. We did a concert with Christian Wallumrod, who played one concert with us. We have done quite a few gigs with guitarist Stian Westerhus. He is a fantastic guitarist and is very compatible with Supersilent's concept. He will be playing a lot of gigs this year and he will be an equal band member for some gigs. We have also been collaborating with John Paul Jones. This collaboration happened by coincidence. He was at the Punkt festival in Norway and we just asked him if he would like to join us. He played with us and we felt it was great fun and we did several concerts and in November we did a tour in England and probably we will be doing some shows together later this year. But that is also based on this free improvised or free attitude toward music. He has brought a system of using electronics, something that he bought long time ago and is called "Kyma." It's a very advanced electronic program which can do anything that you can possibly think of. So he has been working with this electronic device with Supersilent and this has led Helge, Stale and myself to buy this advanced electronic system. Every once in awhile we have a workshop within the band and we try to go further with electronics. That is why I see the band as a sound laboratorium, a rehearsal in a test laboratory for various musical ideas. This is the concept of Supersilent—inviting special musicians which we feel are bringing new elements for us to chew choose from and we bring people to challenge us. I think we will continue as long as we have that special type of attitude and collaborational environment.

AAJ: Will the concerts with John Paul Jones be released as a recording at some point in the future?

AH: We haven't discussed that yet. The material from the tour in November was not that well recorded. The idea to go into the studio with him is very interesting. It is too early to say. We will see. Maybe it is a good idea. There are some bootlegs from the tour but I haven't checked them. If the recordings are good, it will be fun to hear them. It was great fun touring in UK. It was a pity Helge was sick for the first three shows and he couldn't play, but he played on the last two concerts.

AAJ: How has playing with Supersilent influenced your attitude towards music and sound?

AH: Ever since we started in Trondheim as a trio many years ago, for me, this has become a natural way to work with music. This is the preferred way for me to work with music. I've been working with many different concepts along the way. The more conventional way of having some written music, rehearsing, and then going on a tour, going back to the studio to record—that's a very nice of doing it. I won't say it is old-fashioned, but it is a typical way of doing music and I think Supersilent has kept me fresh, alert and curious. Very often one can get stuck in concepts or in one genre like jazz. Now, jazz as music is fantastic, but the basis of this music is improvisation, and if we look at the fashions, or the music of the 30s, 40s and 50s, there have been constant changes of styles coming up.

All of that, I think, is based on fashion and technology, which has gradually made things happen. In the 70s, when the electric piano came along, it made things more interesting. The appearance of synthesizers has created new possibilities. And now musicians use laptops on stage. All these elements of technology, styles and musicians, like Miles Davis and Coltrane, and the old guys which have influenced countless of other musicians like myself and the younger generations. For me, Supersilent has been my school. It has kept me very alert. The musicians in this band are very eager and very upfront musically as well upfront in many other bands. Ståle is playing with different bands with different concepts and he is one of Norwegian musicians that are really sort of searching for new sounds. The same with Helge or Stian Westerhus, who is also great. You may know him with his band Puma and we last year played together in Holland with Jan Bang. He showed a new side that I have never seen before—some sort of chamber music, a delicate way of playing. You know, all of these musicians around us are influenced by our way of making music. I think the attitude which is one of the basics of Supersilent is very important to me when I make music. But Supersilent is the way I really enjoy making music and I want to do my own concepts. I want to have that childish approach to making sounds. I have twins (beside my older children) and they run around and they improvise when they play. They run around the house, do various things and they are improvising all day long. They are having fun just by exploring. Curiosity is very inspiring for me as a musician so I learn a lot from children. I also worked in a kinder garden for one year I was really astonished just by watching the kids play because they run around and find interesting things to do.

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Download jazz mp3 “Plume of Ash” by Arve Henriksen