||[Jun. 22nd, 2006|02:11 pm]
INTERVIEW WITH TERJE SAGEN APRIL 2001
FLUXEUROPA: How did Naervaer start, and who started it?
TERJE SAGEN: I used to play electric guitar back in the early 90s in a band called Innhalator, and I spent most of my time experimenting with music, composing and arranging. Me and the vocalist, Jan K Transeth, used to fool around with a tiny 4-track arranging various rock and metal pieces. After a while I felt a certain stagnation in my way of playing guitar and also a lack of inspiration around the act of composing music. After having left Innhalator, I found myself spending more time on my classical guitar than on my Ibanez, so I sold it, and started to explore the wonderful warm world of nylon strings. Jan had bought an LP from a company called Colours which specialised in prog rock acts. It was a record by a Swedish band called Land berk, with the title Riktigt Akta. He played it for me and I was stunned. I was touch by pure beauty. I didn't know that there was a thing called prog rock, and I started to be acquainted with bands like Anglagard, Thule and King Crimson, and found a new inspiration to create music. From the period of March '93, me and Jan worked on a release. Mood was the key word. Don't force it out - let it come naturally, and the reflection of the mood will be pure. There was no focus on the technical aspect at all. In the late summer of '95 we started the recording of our first outcome Demonstration - 95 which contained 30 minutes of high and low energy. In the studio process there are some additional individuals taking part in the recording.
FLUXEUROPA: How has your music developed since your original demo tape?
TERJE SAGEN: The music on the demo was created in the period of '93 -'95 and mainly focuses on expression from a laid-back state. It also had a foundation on the guitar, more so than on the CD.Skiftninger which contains songs/ideas going back as far as '91, but the main period of composing for it was about '96-'99. I've always been attracted by mood descriptions in music, and around the time Demonstration - 95 was done, I was a sucker for those beautiful warm harmonies. I feel that Skiftninger is a bit sharper in its edges than our first output was, it is colder at times and the music is much more up-beat and groovy than before. At the same time Skiftninger has got stuff that is even more laid-back and suitable for the "coma crowd" than the demo. This is music that goes much deeper in...The choice of instrumentation is also different and more diverse on this recording. In addition to guitars, vocals and percussion, we used contra, cello and flute on the demo. This time around the guitars and vocals are accompanied by piano, drums, accordion, harmonica, trumpet, marimba and a small male choir. There are more vocal parts on this one, and most of it is done in Norwegian - for full effect. The sound of Naervaer has automatically been change by the new line up, but also the style has been developed from a balanced late night companion into an all day - all year - kick me in the face when I'm lying down - lift me up on your golden wings and fly me towards comfort – an undefinable little charmer.
FLUXEUROPA: Skiftninger is hard to categorise: what genre do you see Naervaer belonging to?
TERJE SAGEN: This is mood music. I find it very hard to compare Naervaer with bands categorised as either rock, country, jazz or what ever 'cos the music we play is very diverse. If I had to categorise it into an existing genre, I'd choose "Alternative music" - whatever that means...We have got a metal rock past, and this can be seen especially in the arrangement of the music. There has always been a lot of country and jazz influences to be detected in the songs, but I don't know where they're coming from 'cos I've never listened to either. There is always one thing that I feel can identify a Naervaer song, and that is the reflection of mood. It doesn't matter what kind, but it has to be heartfelt and pure..I don't think any music-maker likes to compare his/her music with a big group as a "genre". Even though it's not, I like to view my work as original and one of a kind, and if you ask me about style, I'll say something like "Pure mood music - for your moving and grooving pleasure"..And we're right back where we started. Hopefully the description is interesting enough to make the listener pick up a copy and find the genre on their own.
FLUXEUROPA: What are your main influences and what sort of music do you listen to yourselves?
TERJE SAGEN: Metal and accoustic stuff has always been close to my heart. AC-DC, Dio, Danzig, Sepultura, Suicidal Tendencies, Crimson Glory and Jimi Hendrix were my heroes when I started out playing the guitar. At that time I already had a foundation on pop and rock acts like Abba, Duran Duran, Elvis, and Simon and Garfunkel. These were the artists I grew up with and loved. Later on, around the age of 20, I got drawn to phenomenona like Nick Cave, Bob Dylan, Landberk and Edvard Grieg. I've always been very fascinated by both the beauty and groove the music can convey, and also vocal performances with genuine feelings, like stuff from Robert Plant, Elvis and Ray Charles - to name but a few. Nowadays I listen to everything. My favourite song at the moment is ‘Since I've been loving you’ by Zeppelin. It is simply indescribable, and actually the only song where I completely lose myself and am forced to bring my old air-guitar into action. No matter what.
FLUXEUROPA: Do I detect a touch of Elvis ard some Red Indian effects?
TERJE SAGEN: My first encounter with Elvis was Christmas Eve 1982. Me and my brother had gotten a present to share. After a little fuzz over the unpacking situation I got a glimpse of a smooth motherfucker on the cover of a cassette. He was cool, no doubt about that! We put it on, and an unknown feeling filled me - for the very first time I felt the groove, and it pounded hard in my little body. "You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog" all night long. Since that time Elvis has had a special place in my heart.
Red Indian? Don't think I've heard that one before...The project Naervaer works this way - I normally take care of the music and the lyrical ideas, and later on work with Jan who gives it his magical input. When the stuff is ready for recording, we get ahold of musicians to take part in the studio and present the material to them alongside ideas for their performance. Improvisation is however a very welcome thing in studio, which not only gives the music an impulsive feeling, but also adds a part of the individual style of the performer to the final outcome.
FLUXEUROPA: How did such a large group of you happen to come together?
TERJE SAGEN: Me and Jan have been friends since around '88 and started out in Innhalator around the same time. Tommy Jackson who play the drums used to rehearse at the same club as we did, and also played with us in Techno Sythe along side Bjørn Harstad who did most of the mastering and some recording on the album. Synne who put that female touch on the vocals, first got my attention when she appeared in In The Woods, and later joined us on the recording of the demo. Runar who handles the guitar is the only hired musician actually. The rest of the guys are friends within the local music scene who lent a helping hand.
FLUXEUROPA: Your approach is often quite 'zaney'. Is this willingness to be a bit quirky something you see as characteristically Norwegian?
TERJE SAGEN: I'm a bit zaney by nature, and some of the other guys may also be a bit unstable at times. We are generally nice guys though. It is definitely not something I see in a lot of Norwegian bands. There are a lot of good serious artists here, but some often tend to get too serious and loose those impulsive thoughts to the commercial straight ones.