Interview: Upsala Nya Tidning, July 16th, 2007.
Text by Lena Köster. Translated and published with permission.
In an apartment in Eriksberg, Uppsala, "Hjorten" creates new music, music that his friends do not always think is music. The genre is called noise. Noise. From monotonous to painful.
- This morning I recorded the vacuum cleaner, he says and clicks up a music image on the computer, an image of a mix where one can follow the recorded piece while he plays it: a muddy mass of sound without variations. One of those pieces his friends would rather not listen to.
- It's like that with many tracks that I make. I think it's music, they don't, he says.
He calls himself Hjorten, and doesn't want to use his full name other than within the family. The Eriksberg apartment door says J. Hjort. He lives and works here, he makes a living on an internet job for a Stockholm based price comparsion company - and here he creates sounds with a microphone, effect pedals and a computer.
- I made this song about a month ago, when I took a course in Växjö that the royal college of music arranged, Hjorten says and lets a buzzing, crackling eat all the silence in the apartment.
It doesn't sound bad. Noise? More like a tight sound description of color shifting from white to grey and intensities from vague to groovy, intense.
To "see" his noise as an image is one way of grasping the music. He also has pictures in his mind in some of the productions.
- I don't have a real videocamera, just my digital camera, but I have done some recording and combined it with noise, he says and adds that it might become one or two video productions, installations, in the future.
But so far the electro acoustic noise genre is a new field for Hjorten.
- I have only been doing it for about a year. While I was growing up, I listened to heavy metal. I still do. And I'm a singer in a band that's been going on since January this year. We're hoping to get a demo out by the end of the year, but we've only got one completed song so far.
He uploads his noise music on his website, myspace, and the sites of the genre on the internet. There are many forums where you can get response on what you do.
- I haven't gotten that many comments yet, but some think the songs are good or interesting, or that it sounds bad.
That it "sounds bad" doesn't mean it's a bad thing in this genre. Really bad can actually be really good.
- The important thing is that you have some kind of intention with what you do, and just not put a microphone in front of the speaker and get feedback, just for the sake of doing it. There should be a thought with it.
On request he plays a piece, that is based on applause that he has recorded. This is rhythmic, a composition where the given association to concert applause after a while stops and the applauds become a sound element completely seperate from the original context. Not a very varied piece, but still far from the "vacuum cleaner track"'s intentional monotony.
- I love sounds, to experiment. When friends shiver about something shrill, unpleasant sound, I now think "oh, cool!". You get used to it when you're doing this.
Hjorten's noise can be from a couple of seconds up to 40 minutes. One project he's working on now is to get people to e-mail him sound files that are exactly two seconds long, not more than two files per person. Of those 450 two second files he will put together a 15 minute long piece. The idea isn't his own, he found it on a noise forum on the internet. But it doesn't matter, he says. The piece will still be completely original. No one has made music with these sounds before.