Catching up with Finnebassen

The last time we conversed with Finnebassen on this blog it had followed a flourishing period of creativity from the recording artist. He’d just finished a remix from Gundelach’s critically acclaimed Spiders EP, going to rack up over a million plays on Spotify; then offered a new dimension to the Finnebassen sound with Rotundo that same year; before Sanguine emboldened that sound as it found it’s way out on Polymath the following year.

These releases interspersed Finnebassen’s unrelenting touring schedule that showed little sign of slowing down, and as he came out of that period there followed something of a hiatus for the studio artist.

His touring schedule only intensified however and he added a live performer to his repertoire, making regular appearances at Jæger in that context. A boiler room session in our basement and various DJ commitments around the world has only gone on to cement his prowess as a DJ, studio artist and now live performer.

The recording hiatus was only ever going to be a temporary one and now he’s returned with a remix for Jos and Eli and the rumour mill is turning again with a new EP of original music right around the corner.

We wanted to hear more about this and what else he’d been up to since we last spoke so we caught up with Finnebassen over email before he makes a return to our booth this Frædag.

It has been a while since we had you on the blog. What have been some of the musical highlights for you since?

I’ve had a fair few good gigs around the world since then. On of my favourites was playing in the Amazon jungle with Gregor Tresher for 4000 people. They lit up the forest surrounding us so the atmosphere was incredible.

What’s inspiring you lately in music and beyond?

 I’m listening to all kinds of music at the mmoment. We just had a trip to Morocco to celebrate a friend’s birthday, and a friend showed me a Jan Garbarek track I hadn’t heard before called “Where the Rivers Meet”. Joe Sample with “Night Flight” has been in heavy rotation. “Grandma” and “Game Winner” by Vulfpeck have been played a lot as well. Not to mention Digable Planets with “Nickel Bags”. AND Kaiwata Tsuki with “The Barren Moon”

Also I have been re-watching the “The Wire” from HBO and there is something about that show that just punches me right in the face. It’s probably my 6th time watching it and it really inspires me aesthetically.

 There’s been a bit of a hiatus for you in the studio. What was the reason behind that?

 I could go on and on about this. Making music can be a lot of fun, but it can also be the most difficult thing in the world. Sometimes you have to get away from it. It’s not that I’m not working or thinking about music. But the actual process can be scary and de-motivating if you don’t have clarity and a sound idea. I think a lot when I make music. I’m not one to just go into to the studio and have muck around and just see what happens. It happens from time to time, that that way of working yields good results, but I don’t like not knowing what I’m getting into. So the reason is basically that I have been forming and developing a new workflow that can take me in a new direction.

 But you’re back now with a remix Jos & Eli. How did this come together and what was it about the original that drew you to it?

 I was drawn to the name. It fits my musical style and taste quite well. Not that I don’t enjoy vocals, but as of late I tend to listen to and play more instrumental pieces. I wanted to tell a story with and instrument. Which ended up being my Juno 60. So I spent a lot of time arranging midi and then I did a one take recording. Working this way allows me to manipulate different parameters on the synth in real time while the notes are triggered by midi and I can really express myself with the instrument. Making it sound unique. The middle part is taken from the original but it’s also just Midi, this time triggering my sub 37. This gives totally different feel to the breakdown of the track. Being a guy that started doing mostly sampling I’m pretty excited that I slowly reaching a new realm of music production.

Deep House Amsterdam called it a “truly chilling atmospheric experience”. How would you describe the remix?

 I don’t know I don’t like to describe to others what my music feels or sounds like. But for me it’s melancholic and there is a sense of longing in it. I guess that is a feeling I have had for a while. There has been a big hole in my life and I guess that track describes and fills that gap.

 You’re also currently working on a new EP, the first in a couple of years. Can you tell us one thing about it?

 Yes! It’s basically ideas I’ve had for a while. But have had trouble connecting them. I have a hard time making 3 tracks fit together and I didn’t think they do at all still. But who cares; maybe some chinstroker over at RA. My goal is just to make music that feels right to me. The EP consists of 2 4/4 120+ bpm “Big tracks” and one more stripped down. Its finished and on its way to be mixed. I’d rather not say more than that at this point.

 You’ve been playing live more at Jæger in recent memory. What do you like about playing live that you can’t do through a DJ set?

 It’s a totally different animal altogether. First of all you prepare in a different way. Me and Martin, my live partner, have a very good connection and we read each other very well. Having that connection with another person is a lot of fun and it makes it more valuable because you share the experience with someone. You also have a totally different level of focus. For the 40 minutes you are up there, you are completely absorbed in what you are doing. I guess I have a similar focus when I DJ, but you can’t stand up there with 4500 knobs and try to read the crowd. You have to have some sort of game plan and use it as a guideline for you live set. That is how we do it anyway. And it’s really weird and scary not being able to turn on a dime if your stuff is not working with the crowd. And when you are finished you feel sooooo good, but you are completely drained for energy. Everything is left in the live set. That focus and dedication is what I like about the live sets.

 Your back with a DJ set this Friday though and your sets are always special here (and we assume you find it special too). What makes playing at Jæger so special for you?

Well I see its members and a lot of the staff as family and friends. Ola has been a key figure in my career, both challenging me to do my first live gig and giving me my first residency at a proper club. I have been listening to Geir (G-Ha), Ola (Olanskii), Håkon (Vinny Villbass) and Joachim (DiskJokke) since Footfood was at Skaugum. And I always imagined myself playing with them one day. And wouldn’t you know it!!! It actually happened. And it’s happening again in Friday.

 Give us three words that would sum up your next set at Jæger.

 Primal, musical and driven.

 Lastly, please play us out with a song.

 It has to be Jan Garbarek – Where the Rivers Meet. God knows there will be enough electronic music on Friday.