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MORPHEUS MUSIC INTERVIEW - AMETHYSTIUM

01.12.06

     

Q: Would you tell us a bit about your musical origins – what started you into making music, what were your early influences?  

We had music and instruments around a lot when I grew up, so I started playing quite early and got into music school as a kid for instrument lessons. I can’t really remember not loving music, so it was pretty much a basic thing right from the beginning. And as a kid I also starting making little tunes on the piano, two of which I can still remember actually. But then I stopped doing that for some reason and didn’t pick it up again until I was 13 or 14 and started playing in bands and recording my songs on a cassette player, etc. The latter is pretty much what Amethystium grew from, when I moved from writing guitar-type songs to synthesizer-based instrumentals.

My early influences for this type of music were Vangelis, Deep Forest and Enigma. I think Deep Forest was the first electronic-based music I got really enthusiastic about, and they were certainly an influence. I also remember listening a lot to Vangelis’ 1492 score and Voices album.

  Q :  Back in the days of mp3.com your music seemed to strike a chord with listeners right from the start – how did this affect your musical progress?

 

Honestly I don’t think it affected my musical progress in any way really, except maybe giving me a bit of extra confidence in what I was doing. And also it made me able to afford some more equipment through the money that came from it. But it didn’t change what I wanted to do in any way. I’ve always worked kind of slowly, so I probably didn’t write a whole lot of new music during that period anyway.

Artist Statement
      Artist Statement
             
Q : Your sound has clearly developed since Odonata and the early material – what influenced the changes?   I can’t think of anything specific, it just developed naturally. Some of it probably came from listening to new music, learning new things technically, and all sorts of minor things. The general idea behind the music has been the same throughout the first three albums though.   Q : How did you go about selecting tracks for Emblem?   Partly it was an elimination process where I basically took all my favourite songs - which turned out to be most of them - and tried to decide which ones had to go. And at the same time it was an attempt to make it a new and coherent musical journey.
             
Q : Having completed what has become known as ‘the dragonfly trilogy’ and summed everything up via Emblem – what changes are in store? Is there a new vision now?   My ideas for this 4th album has gone through so many incarnations by now that I’m almost not sure what to say, but yes I have a different approach to it and I guess you could say it’s a new vision. My mental imagery for the music is quite different, and the songs tend to be more inspired by personal experiences and the “real world” so to speak – it has less of the nature-inspired Tolkienesque imagery, though it’s still very much an otherworldly type of mood. It’s difficult to say exactly how much my ideas and feelings shines through to people in the actual music though, cause I’m not totally changing the sound. We’ll see – it’s still in the making.   Q : How do you go about creating your music – what is your method of writing/recording?
  It varies somewhat, but the starting point is usually a short melody, chord progression or rhythm, and then I build on it from there. You know the old painting metaphor of putting on layer after layer. Sometimes I will work on details in the arrangement or production at the beginning of the song before having any idea of how the song will continue after that, and other times I compose the “big picture” from start to finish and then go back over it and do the detail work. I often tend to compose different sections of a song sort of on their own though, like it’s moving through different chapters.
             
 Artist Statement
      Artist Statement
Q : Amethystium’s loops and beats are always interesting – how do you construct these?  

Oh, a lot of it, at least on the earlier songs, is based around sampled loops where I just add elements, layers, and edit things. More and more I’ve programmed things from scratch though, often by a combination of initial finger-playing percussion sets on the keyboard and pure programming. It’s a bit like the “painting a picture” thing again. I have a pastime as a drummer and I’ve always enjoyed the rhythmic side of things. Some Amethystium songs have original rhythm tracks that I’m a bit proud of, and on some others the rhythms are so sample-based that I can hardly take any credit for them at all.

  Q : What is the hardest thing in making your music?
 

I don’t know, the whole process of getting the music from my head and realized as a presentable recording can often be quite hard, i.e. the whole technical side of things really. That’s where 80% of the time goes for me, and I’m not particularly good at it I think, it’s still usually a bit of a struggle. I sometimes wish I could just compose the melodies, cause that’s the part that happens easily and spontaneously for me.

             
Q :   Your graphics have always had a magical quality to them - how important is the overall Amethystium image to you?  

I think the visuals are important for setting the tone and mood of the music, and I think it serves a purpose as a sort of framework in that way. It’s something I’d really like to take that a step further, with videos for instance.

   Q :   How much input do you have on the graphic side of things?  

 

Quite a bit, for better or worse. In the beginning I did all the graphics and covers myself, and I still do the website designs. The album covers on the officially released CD’s have all been done by others though, different designers on every album actually. There I’ve just had some initial ideas, and then I follow the process and say what I like and don’t like, and so on – not always for the better I’m sure. I’m really happy with how Brian Son designed the Emblem package though. There I made a contribution by providing the source photos he worked with, which where all taken through the windows and right outside of my previous studio in the countryside.

 

           
    Artist Statement       Artist Statement
 Q :  What do you think the fans would like from Amethystium in the future? Do the demands of your fans have much influence on what you produce?   I don't think there is much consensus about that really. People seem to be attracted to different aspects of the music, so I’m sure some would want it more relaxing, some want it darker, some more upbeat, some want it to stay the same, etc. I must admit that I don’t really think much about that, so the influence is little or nothing, but the feedback is very rewarding and encouraging, and contributes to make me want to go on and create more music.        

Thanks to Øystein and Neurodisc for allowing us that interview.