27 April 2009

An Unpublished Interview With: Lasse Marhaug, the King of Noise from Norway

The interview below was conducted in the beginning of 2008 but was not published till now.

His Top 20 Noise list

PAIN JERK: Gallon Gravy CD
THE NEW BLOCKADERS: History of Nothing CD
THE NEW BLOCKADERS: Gesamtnichtwerk CD-Box
KEVIN DRUMM: Sheer Hellish Miasma CD
ENTRE VIFS: A Scent Of Strength CD
HIJOKAIDAN: The Last Recording Album CD
MASONNA: Spectrum Ripper CD
GEROGERIGEGEGE: Tokyo Anal Dynamite CD
Various Artistes: DEDICATION VOLUME 1 LP
MERZBOW: Noisembyro CD
JUNKO: Sleeping Beauty LP
C.C.C.C.: Loud Sounds Dopa CD
MONDE BRUITS: Selected Noise Works 93-94 CD

About Him:
An underground Noise legend in Norway, Lasse has been a overcasting presence over the underground terrain in the land of the Vikings and Black Metal. His most renown project has been Jazzkammer (or sometimes Jazkamer)and it has gone through several phases from pointilistic improv noise calligraphy to Black as ashen metal bulldozing music in recent years. A well respected musician, Lasse has actually came to Singapore a few times and performed with his fellow Norwegians from the years 2002 to 2006. His record label, Pica Disk is right now one of the most irreverent noise imprints of all time: with his own archival 4 CD box set to Japanese noise gods, Incapacitants' 10 CD box set being released since 2007.

Questions & Answers:

1. What is Noise music to you?

Absolute sound, absolute music, absolute pleasure.

2. How did you kickstart your career as a Noise artiste?

I don't concider what I've done a career. And even if it is now (being that I make a living off my music), it certainly wasn't kickstarted. As a young teenager I was simply fighting boredom by making noise cassettes. I continued making cassettes, then later vinyl, then CDs, then I started playing shows - still I had no ambitions to make any kind of money doing noise. I didn't seek recognition either; I just wanted to make intense music and interact with other people who had similar ideas and interests. Then one day I found myself in the situation of doing it full-time.

3. What are your main musical/non-musical influences?

Probably too many to mention. I'm a rabid record collector and music
listener so pretty much everything I hear influences me in some way. My
early influences were underground extreme metal and noisecore. I'd love to say Merzbow, Whitehouse or LAFMS, but I heard bands like 7 Minutes of Nausea, Autopsy and Fear of God way before that. Cinema and books also was and continues to be a big influence on me.

4. In recent years, Noise music has gained more coverage and hype in the media around the world. What is your take on that and what is your opinion about the current international Noise scene?

When I started out I certainly didn't expect noise music to grow into the monster it is today. But in a way I think "of course noise would be big one day", because it's such a natural way of making music, why wouldn't it be big? Why didn't it happen sooner? I'm curious to see where it goes in the future. It probably will go into a number of sub-genres and styles, like punk and metal did.

5. How and where do you think Norway and other Norwegian artistes fit into the music scene in the 21st century?

Like we fit in the 20th century; some good, some bad. Geography means less and less in todays music scene - being located near the north pole isn't as much a hinder now as it was before.

6. Let us move on to your recently established record label, Pica Disk. What is the main motivation behind the setting up of the label and what you hope to achieve with this label of yours?

I have no big goals with Pica Disk. If I'm able to break-even on a release then I concider it a fincial success. If I'm able to give some people an inspiring listening experience then I concider a release an artistic success. Starting Pica Disk boils down to the basis of my enjoyment of putting together quality releases of good music and presenting it to an audience. Then it doesn't matter so much if it's my own or other people's music I'm presenting. Releasing the Hild Sofie Tafjord CD was more exciting than my own albums of this year, it was incredible music I really wanted people to hear.

7. Who are your current favourite artistes and why?

I just came off a nordic tour with the japanese artist Pain Jerk. Although he has been around for over 15 years this was his first tour ever, so witnessing the excitment of finally touring mixed with the incredible skill built after years of noise-making was completely awe-inspiring. Pain Jerk is probably the best noise performer currently active. Incapacitants would be a very close second. Of the 'new' artists there hasn't been that many that have blown me away.
But I feel that they need time to grow as artists. A lot has been done in the field of noise, and to bring something new or fresh to the game takes a lot more than it did 15 or 20 years ago. But at the same time there is a bigger scene to interact with so I don't feel too sorry for the kids.

8. What are your future plans?

More noise.

9. Last but not least, since it is the end of 2007 very soon, what are your favourite records of the year?

The Dead C: Future Artists CD
Incapacitants: 73 CD
Pain Jerk/Incapacitants: Live at No Fun CD
John Wiese/Pain Jerk: both CDs and the 7"
Anthony Patera: Chasms CD
Death Breath: Let It Stink 10" LP
Repugnant: Epitome of Darkness LP
Oren Ambarchi: In The Pendulums Embrace CD
Lobomyr Melnyk: LMH CD
Damion Romero: Twins 2LP
Kevin Drumm: Purge cassette
Hild Sofie Tafjord: Kama CD
Whitehouse: Racket CD
Birchville Cat Motel: Birds Call Home Their Dead CD

...if I spent a day this list would be four times as long, these are just the ones that came to my mind.

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