The English ambient project Talvihorros was one of the few a on this festival that I already knew from his Denovali releases. So after his beautiful performance at the Paradox we asked him if he would be interested in a little interview. Unfortunately our paths didn't cross anymore until I saw him getting on a train the next morning. So when we got home I send him a message on Facebook. One day later we spend quite some time on the social network site. This is the result.
I noticed that some bands didn't really agree with the way the Incubate guide described them. Would you say Talvihorros is a drone and dark ambient project?
Well, I wouldnt personally describe what I do as a dark ambient or a drone project but I can appreciate with experimental music such as this that it's difficult to describe and doesnt fit neatly into a category. I dont mind such descriptions. I'm not making music with any specific intention to sound a certain way or be part of a particular genre, so however people hear it or want to describe it is fine with me.
Are you influenced by dark ambient projects?
I wouldnt say so, definitely no more than other music.
What music do you listen to?
Thats a difficult question to answer briefly, as I consume music with a healthy appetite, so pretty much anything goes. Recently I've become very interested in soundtrack music and how sound design works in films to heighten emotion or tension. The work of Cliff Martinez is a favourite. I like listening to a lot of folk and outsider music. I really love Robbie Basho and guitar work by the likes of John Fahey. I like to follow what's going on with electronic music as much as I can. The new Aphex Twin album is a pretty big deal for me and I cant wait to hear that in full.
Did you enjoy a musical education? I hear a lot of melody and analog instruments.
Yes. I come from a background of learning the guitar when I was a teenager and so I always consider myself a musician. I studied Digital Music at University which covered many elements of theory and composition with the technology side of recording and synthesis. I've always been interested in playing music with my hands but processing the sounds into more unconventional textures and colours. Melody is an important part of what I do, I like music of contadictions so I guess im trying to make something that is a little bit uncomfortable or alienating but also warm and inviting. Many conflicting things at the same time.
Is Talvihorros your first project or did you play in bands before?
I played in bands pretty much since I first picked up a guitar. I found making music with others always difficult and somewhat of a compromise and so after some disillusionment with a band I was playing with in London in 2007, I decided to compose some music just for me. I never intended to release it for anyone to hear it, it was just a nice break making music with no rules and complete freedom to take it where I wanted. Those tracks became my first album called Some Ambulance which was did get released in 2008.
It appears you were picked up by Denovali two years later, a label with a solid reputation. How did that go?
It was great to work with Denovali, who obviously have a great roster of artists and put on a really great festival every year. I also love that they care about how the music is packaged and want to release a high quality product, with many labels moving over to digital they still want to release on heavy weight vinyl which is something I'm really pleased about.
How do you feel about the growing netlabel scene with free releases everywhere?
I think it raises the wider question about the internet in general and how the freedom to share information (or music) impacts on society. I generally think that it's a great thing for people to share and access so much music but it does have a detrimental effect on the people that sell music, and that has a knock on effect on the people that make music. Good has perhaps come out of it with an increasing interest in a high quality physical release and vinyl but it will be interesting to see how it goes over the next decade or so. Ultimately, I want the best music to be released in the highest quality and the people that make the music and products to be compensated adequately for doing so.
How do you create the music? And in what way does it differ from what you do live?
Well the two disciplines have blurred quite a bit as I have a big interest in improvisation. So many of my albums are made from live improvisations that are later edited to form something that works over a record. 'Descent Into Delta' and 'And It Was So', were both made with my live set-up at the time which was guitar through pedals and loopers. My last album Eaten Alive' was different in how I made it and how I perform it live. The pieces are much more composed and focused and were made from lots of time experimenting in the studio with mostly analogue synths and guitar pedals.
When it came to playing live I decided to use a laptop for the first time which allows me to reinterpret the tracks in a live way without straying too far from the original material. Although it's less unpredictable compared to complete improvisation or working with just a guitar it allows me a wider sound palette. I also have sections (usually the periods that connect two pieces together) where I improvise and come up with something completely new. Im excited about the possibilities of what I can do live now and it's something I'm looking forward to exploring further.
The Incubate gig is actually my last scheduled show for this year and I'm heading back into the studio for an extended period over the winter to record a new album so I'm sure that my new live set-up will inform what gets recorded.
Do you have an idea, a concept or a direction for the following album or will you improvise and see what happens?
No, I'm relishing the freedom of just taking it wherever I want once I start. Many of my albums have been conceptual in how I've approached it. My last record was quite an intense experience with it being born out of a meeting with with someone who had battled drug addiction in London. So this time around I'm just going to play some stuff and see what happens. Currently I'm totally torn between picking up the guitar again and seeing where it goes or exploring electronics further and focusing on composition more than improvisation. We shall see.
About the name, what does 'Talvihorris' mean?
The word Talvihorros comes from the Finnish for 'hibernation' . It's usually what I do every winter to make an album.
And when winter is over, do you have an entire album ready or is there music that didn't make the album?
I usually have a few pieces that didn't make it onto albums and several albums that never got finished for various reasons. I've never gone back and finished any of those but I often plan to do so. Maybe one day.
About Incubate. How did you like the festival?
It was my first time there and I only spent the day that I played but I loved it. The show went well and the venue at Paradox was perfect for what I do. Everyone working at the festival and the audiences were great. I really hope to go again and next time stay for the whole time. I managed to catch some stuff after my show too. It's so well organised. I saw quite a lot in what wasn't much time at all.
If you would have the opportunity of hosting a day at one venue at Incubate or so, what bands would you put on stage?
Oh, that's a tough one. Perhaps Swans to headline as I love what they do live, then maybe Demdike Stare who I only saw once a few years ago and would like to catch again and label mates of mine Petrels and Matthew Collings are always great live.
Thanks. See you soon and good luck with the new album