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Take Five With Aage Risnes

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Meet Aage Riisnes:
Harlequins Enigma is a Norwegian based band created in 2008 by synth musician, composer, and video producer Aage Riisnes. Harlequins Enigma is mostly a one-man band but Elin Berge, Katie Leung, and Sara Jensen have served as co-members on several albums over the years. The primary musical creations revolve around chip-tune, electronica, techno, experimental, video game soundtracks, space, ambient, and new-age genres. Riisnes began experimenting with synth-based music in the early 1990s. Throughout the years, collaborations with Tangerine Dream, Jean Michel Jarre, Klaus Schulze, Vangelis, Kitaro, Kate Bush, Dave Weckl, Chick Corea, Jan Garbarek, and others have spawned rich, creative, and mature developmental compositional achievements. The name origin of Harlequins Enigma revolves around a hope for something better, like an eternal flame. It is based upon expectation. Aage Riisnes describes the circumstances around the creation of the name: "I once had lighter with a girl on it, showing a little of her face with a yellow rose and two identical females as guardians at each side of her with a picture depicting a walking creature that looks like a pregnant walking mouse." As a thinker and philantropist, Riisnes wholeheartedly supports Dyresbeskyttelsen Norway and Amnesty International.

Synth and FL Studio.

Teachers and/or influences?
Tangerine Dream, Jean Michel Jarre, Vangelis, Kitaro, Dave Weckl, Anja Garbarek, Jan Garbarek, Kate Bush, Tori Amos, and a lot more.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...
When I was in my 20s, I experimented with trackers on the amiga. The competition was high and I did my best and competed with people like Martin Wall, Istein Johan Eide, and Martin Iveson. Their music inspired me and made me want to become as good as they were.

Your sound and approach to music:
My sound is made from beginner's tracker level without any experience in music. I used to have 15 hour days for a couple of years with equal cups of coffee to match and have made great progress sine that time. I am currently checking up on opportunities on I added the amiga track "'90s Waves Pt. 1" featuring Jean Michel Jarre, Sara Jensen, and Elin Berge as a milestone on my Facebook page; it was recommended by Juno in April 2012 under leftfield.

Your teaching approach:
I guess I could reccomend a tracker software for the total beginner and also the easy midi studio Fl Studio. With its piano roll functions, you don't really need a lot of equiptment to get started. Teaching students is new to me. It is my 10th year in music, maybe in another 10 years I can teach.

Your dream band:
I have worked with several international professionals in the music business and thank them all of teaching me what they did. I have become a better musician because of it. I have no intention in the future to stand on stage. I call myself a composer.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why?
Maybe Fall Fade ( Self Produced, 2011) or Encourage (Self Produced, 2011) because they seem genuine.

The first Jazz album I bought was:
I Took Up The Runes (ECM, 1990), Jan Garbarek.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?
Making genuine music. I was accused of writing fake stuff as a young land. We're talking about copy absed stuff, but true as a genuine emotion. I want my music to make a difference in the end really. If I did depart from this world suddenly, I might wonder if any of my tracks entered the book of history with one that meant something.

Did you know...
Did you know that a grasshopper came through my window while I was hitting a hi-hat in a protracker. The hat caught its attention and it came straight through my window and the hi-hat and the grasshopper's cricket sounded just the same. It was a very special memory where it mistook the hat for a mate.

How would you describe the state of jazz today?
Under maintenance.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?
I'll leave that to Chick Corea and Jan Garbarek to answer.

What is in the near future?
Taking a break.

What's your greatest fear when you perform?
I don't perform on stage.

What song would you like played at your funeral?
My own composition, "Encourage."

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a:
Another type of musician or a bio-engineer ridding the world of another plague.


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