Black noise, white silence

An interview with EIVIND AARSET

Norwegian guitarist Eivind Aarset (1961) is considered as the innovator of electric guitar. He belongs between the most sought after Norwegian musician. Collaborated with such names of experimental and world music scene as Brian Eno, Dhafer Youssef, Bill Laswell, Nana Vasconcelos and many more. Aarset player’s style and sound reminds Nordic jazz, but Eivind personally tends rather to the category of nu-jazz, influenced by cocktail of other genres. In his instrumental soundscapes, which are mostly shaped over relatively regular and symmetric rhythm structure, Aarset handles (sometimes) Gilmour-like sounding guitar, corresponding with other colors and almost 3-D space of whole composition. Meditative sounding passages are charged by dramatic accents and if you listen with open visual imagination, his music in your brain can paint landscapes of the Norwegian scenery. A short time ago Eivind Aarset with his Sonic Codex Orchestra visited Slovakia. Our friend, young guitarist David Kollar, who joined Eivind Aarset and his band as a guest on couple of gigs, helped us to realize this interview with Eivind.


Norway scene is famous because of the sound originality and music style. Music and sound is totaly different then USA or other countries in the world. How can be possible?

For my generation of musicians, it is clear that the influence from Terje Rypdal, Jan Garbarek, Jon Christensen and Arild Andersen have been very important. They were the first jazz musicians in Norway to find their personal sound, and to get international success with it. They showed us that you can develop your own sound and be accepted for that. And I know also that my playing has been heavy influenced by their music... Another thing that helps the norwegian scene is that it is possible to get support to do projects. It is not always, but often it is possible.

How did you start to find your own way to play? Mean everybody started with Jimmi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Pat Metheny... When and how you decide to find your own way and how did you start to work on it?
I still love Hendrix, Beck and Metheny, especially Hendrix, I think I´ll never be finished with listening to him : ) Well it happend gradually, but I think there are three important things that happened in my musical career. 1 Bugge Wesseltoft asked me to join his band, and he told me: I don´t want any guitar solos, and no rhythm guitar...  that started a process with my thinking about my role in the music. Second thing was being a part of Nils Petter Molvaers "Khmer" project. Nils gave me a lot of space to discover and to explore my role in his setting, and we played a lot all over the world. The third event was to make my solo albums, they have been instrumental to develop my vocabulary. To dig deeper in sounds and structures.

What attracted you about David´s music and his way how to play guitar?
I think David has an enormous potential, I mean he is obviously a great guitar player, and have been for a long time, but from the first time I heard his playing, which is maybe a couple of years ago, to what he does now ... he have had a big development musically, much more mature, and he is still growing fast. Being as young as he is, and involved in different interesting projects, I think people can look forward to a lot of great music from his side.

What is his role in your band? Will you record something together in the future?
So far we have two gigs in november, where David will be a guest soloist. I will play a section of the concert with the band, do one duo section with David, and David will join the band for some tunes. I hope we will do some more in the future, maybe I can be a guest in his project, we´ll see what the future brings...

Your last released album was Live extracts. Are you preparing next album? If yes let us know what it will be about.
There is a new album being released in November. It is called "Dream Logic" and will be released on ECM. It is an album which are based on layers of guitar. (no band..) It is produced by Jan Bang who also contributes with some samples here and there. It is a more quiet album than my recent work... beautiful, spooky, sensual, and meditative stuff.

Please tell us something about your equipment. What king of guitar do you use, amp and effects.
Most of the times I use Vox AC 30 or 15. I also have a Fender Princeton I use from time to time. My main guitar is a experimental prototype made by norwegian guitar builder Jan Braahten. He build all the parts except the electronics. The pickups are made by a guy called "gitar doktorn" also a norwegian guy. And I have a piezo inside the body of the guitar. My effects are: Jam compressor, booster, tremolo and fuzz,  Zvex Fuzz Factory, Prescription Electronics Experience fuzz,  Boss OD 2 and DD5, Dunlop Wahwah, Rat Distortion, Alesis Bitrman, Eventide Pitchfactor,  Line 6 Dly,and Morley volume pedal. I use a Motu Traveler sound card, a Mac Book Pro Running Ableton Live.

Thank you and good luck!