Lindstrøm: Dinner Is Served | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Dinner Is Served

Feb 08, 2013 Web Exclusive
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Most musicians would be considered prolific releasing an album every two years. In 2012, Hans-Peter Lindstrøm released two. The Norwegian producer gave prog rock an electronic twist early in the year with Six Cups of Rebel. Later last year, he went back to his conventionalso to speakelectro-disco roots with Smalhans. Mixed by disco aficionado Todd Terje, the album showcases Lindstrøm’s cosmic disco style to its fullest. While he named the six songs on the album after the traditional Norwegian comfort foods of his childhood, Lindstrøm himself wouldn’t actually eat any of those foods as an adultnor would he feed them to his two sons. He’s a little fuzzy from jetlag upon his return from a trip to Brazil, where he loves the freshness of the food, even down to the bananaswhich, he says, taste like they are plucked right from the tree.

Lily Moayeri (Under the Radar): Your whole album is about food. Why?

Hans-Peter Lindstrøm: After finishing a big album, I need a few days off. I usually stay at home in the kitchen making food, doing something really different. Last time I did it, after Six Cups of Rebel, when I was working with the recent album, I realized that making food is more or less the same as making music. So I thought it could be like a nice way of making Smalhans. With instrumental songs, you can more or less title the songs anything you want. Every time I make an album, it’s not about anything. There’s no message. And I’m not very interesting when I’m talking. But with this food-related theme, I can at least talk about food. It’s kind of silly, I guess, but it makes sense to me.

Are the titles of the songs are they in any way matching the music?

The working titles of those songs weren’t in any way related to food. When I was composing the album, I was envisioning those six songs as side A and side B on a good old-fashioned vinyl album. I was thinking it would be two different menus. On Side A it would be, like, a starter, then a main course, then dessert, and then the same on side B. Most important was to find the right songs and sequence them so everything made sense musically. The titles of the songs are more or less random.

Reading these titles, I’m noticing it’s a lot of meat.

It’s possible to read a lot more into this than I ever did.

I’m a vegetarian. I can eat “Rà-àkõ-st” (raw vegetables), I can eatVā-flę-r” (waffles), but I can’t eat much else on the album.

I don’t think Norway has been the vegetarian capital of the world. All those dishes on the album are foods my mother used to make for me when I was young, so everything is very traditional, not fancy at all, more or less meat, potatoes, and cabbage. The first song is carrots with some onion and some sugar. That’s the salad I grew up on. No fancy pine nuts or baby leaves.

I’d like to try this egg and sugar thing, “Ęg-gęd-ōsis.”

I’m not sure you will like it. It’s a basic mix you do when making a cake. My mother used to make it for me and my sistera really simple and cheap dessert. I haven’t tried it in 30 years. It’s more of a children’s thing. These days in Norway parents are making really fancy, gourmet food for children.

Do you make it for your two sons?

They get it when I’m making a cake, but I’m not making it as a dessert.

Your music tends to be subtler than most of the banging electronic dance music out there.

The dance music I’m making is not only to be played out by DJs in a nightclub. It’s really important for me for it to be listenable on earphones. If I hear a good song on a big system in a nightclub, I try to find it when I come back home and it’s like, ‘Whoa, this is really boring.’ What I like about music is discovering new things in a song, so I really focus on details and different layers and stuff like that. A lot of dance music is boring because it’s not really musically interesting.

The dance music that is mostly for DJs to be played out is very monotone and based on some drums and bass and bleeps and bloops. My music is maybe too focused on melody and chords for a lot of DJs. But that’s how I like it to be. My background is from playing classical piano and listening to a lot of the disco music from the ‘70s, which is very orchestrated and it’s got a funky groove, but there are also a lot of things going on top, like strings, horns, and piano.

You’ve been nominated for a Spellemannsprisen, aka the Norwegian Grammys, four times, and won three times. It’s amazing how that can happen in your home country, but it’s unlikely to happen here.

I believe you have to be Norwegian to be nominated, and preferably on a Norwegian label as well. I think the reason I’ve been nominated that many times and also winning is mainly because I get press from abroad. If you release indie music or weird music in Norway, you get attention after you get attention from outside Norway.


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