Geschrieben von Mittwoch, 27 Februar 2008 12:43

Starofash - Interview mit Mastermind Heidi Solberg Tveitan

STAROFASH veröffentlichen am 24. März ihr Album "The Thread". Hinter dem Projekt steht Heidi Solberg Tveitan, bekannt als Ihriel vom experimentellen Metal-Act PECCATUM.
Lest vorab ein Interview mit der Musikerin / Songwriterin, das wir von der Promo-Agentur bereit gestellt bekommen haben:

It’s been seven years since the release of ’Iter.Viator’, the first album from Starofash, the solo project of Peccatum/Hardingrock contributor Heidi ’Ihriel’ Solberg Tveitan.
A dark but diverse collection of atmospheric soundscapes and sublime, melodic ambience, ’The Thread’ is the gorgeously unsettling follow-up to that debut, and it looks certain to be regarded as one 2008’s most original and intriguing releases. We spoke to Heidi via the magic of email, and this is what she had to say about the new album and her ongoing musical evolution.

Why has it taken you so long to make a new Starofash album, and what have you been doing during those years?

"After doing the first Starofash album, I was not sure whether to continue the project or not. I only had the confidence to make one solo album in the first place because I was directly requested to do so by Jester Records owner and friend, Kristoffer Rygg. ’Iter.Viator’ was very well received when it came out, including outside the metal community. I have made many new friends and musical partners through this particular project, so its continuation came naturally in the end. Has it really been seven years since the first release? That really is a long time between albums. Let’s see what I have done since then.I have been busy running Mnemosyne Productions together with Ihsahn, doing the last releases of Peccatum, the Hardingrock project with the folk musician Knut Buen and a couple of small projects here and there. Last but not least we have brought two small rockers into the world!"

How do you feel about the album now it’s finished? What kind of responses have you received so far?

"I can honestly say that I am more or less very happy with how ’The Thread’ turned out. I have been fortunate to work with some wonderful musicians on these songs, which has in turn enabled me to get the most out of my material. It is early days for responses from media and such alike yet, as the promos have only just about been shipped. The response from my musical partners, record labels and partners have been great, so judging from that, I am positive as to how ’The Thread’ will be received. ’Great Expectations’ by Charles Dickens is a brilliant book anyway. He is one of my favourite authors."

Can you tell me about the recording process for ’The Thread’? How long did it take to put together? Do you have a particular composing routine?

"I have been writing this material sporadically in 2007. All songs were written on piano, and when I felt that it worked there, I took it further in the studio. It was important to me having the compositions work in their basic forms before I started layering, as it is so easy to get lost in the arrangements during the writing process. This way I was also more confident and had a clear vision on the songs’ expression before I brought in additional musicians. I also feel that this form of writing has allowed the material to be very melody driven."

This seems to be a much more cohesive and complete album than the previous one. What lessons did you learn from ’Iter.Viator’, and how did they affect the making of ’The Thread’?

"It definitely is. The reason for this is probably because I have gained much more experience and confidence as a song-writer since ’Iter.Viator’. That album was in fact some of the first material I wrote on my own accord, so it was just as much a learning process in song-writing and arranging as anything else. The musicians I have on board on this album has also contributed greatly to what you describe as the more cohesive and complete feel of ’The Thread’."

Have your other musical endeavours Peccatum, Hardingrock, your work as an arranger had an influence on Starofash?

"Yes, my work in different projects has surely contributed to my development as an artist in general. In particular I would like to mention our work with the fabulous Norwegian fiddle player and traditionalist Knut Buen. It was very interesting to break down this folk music to parts and see how it was built. I came to like some of those old composition techniques and sounds, and have in fact based a couple of my new songs on that knowledge. Knut was also kind enough to play on one of these songs for me."

You’ve collaborated with a lot of people on this album. How do you choose the people you work with? Do you fit the idea to the musician or is it the other way around?

"It all depends really. Some of them have gotten in touch with me and some I chose for particular parts. For the songs I did with Markus Reuter, I recorded the basic skeleton of the songs and sent him the files. He would then interpret this material and arrange and record his parts in his studio in Austria. I really enjoyed this file-swapping way of working, as the element of surprise would keep the material fresh for me too. This was also the procedure with Kristoffer G. Rygg and Halvor Strand, whereas the other musicians would come here to Symphonique and record their parts. Some were pre-arranged and some improvised."

Tell me about how you came to work with Kenji Siratori? And Markus Reuter?

"The Japanese cyber punk writer Kenji Siratori approached me regarding a possible cooperation, where he would supply the lyrics and I the music. I found the idea compelling, and from that we created ’Neo Drugismo’. He actually sent me a recording of him reading the lyrics in Japanese (needless to say I did not understand a word of it!) and with an English translation on paper, and from that I made the music. He then made a video installation for the song. Both music and installation are included as bonus material on ’The Thread’. I was going to make another song with him as well, but did not manage to get that done in time for this album. I have some clear ideas for it, and hopefully this can be something I can follow up this spring. I met Markus Reuter through our work with Mnemosyne Productions, and when he offered to participate on my next Starofash album, I more than gladly accepted it, as he is one of my favourite musicians! His work with Pat Mastelotto in Tuner is nothing short of amazing. I hope to work more with Markus in the near future."

The album artwork makes ’The Thread’ appear to be the soundtrack to a film. Do you have specific visuals in mind when you’re composing? Can you describe what you see in your mind’s eye when you hear ’The Thread’?

"The main theme of ’The Thread’ can be summed up as a love story gone bad. It portrays the carrier and the one being carried and how these characters in different ways find their trials and tribulations to be futile. To Him and Her love simply fails, not fades. It is impossible to live with and live by. I read the whole Master of Hestviken saga by the Norwegian writer Sigrid Undset during the writing process of this album, and was very touched and inspired by it. I spent quite some time thinking about this particular quote: "If thou hast been the loser in every conflict thou hast essayed, be yet assured that not even the most hapless man has lost the fight that has not yet been fought." Master of Hestviken, In the wilderness, p. 552 (Alfred a. Knoph 1962).
I hope that can be heard in my music. Further on, I have used two lovely poems by Emily Dickinson as text, and filled in with my own writings throughout the album. ’The Thread’ does not have much text or vocals, and that was a very deliberate choice, as I wanted the album to be more of a soundtrack. I am in these days in dialogue with an Irish film maker about doing the soundtrack to his newest film, and I hope to use parts from this album as a basis for that work."

Are you influenced by particular soundtracks and films? What are some of your favourites?

"It is difficult to pinpoint particular soundtracks and films as influences, but in general Danny Elfman is a great favourite. I love the naïve touch he often adds to his music. Of late I have also been greatly impressed by Jonny Greenwood from Radiohead. We’ve just bought his soundtrack to "There will be blood", and I am very much looking forward to familiarize myself further with it."

Finally, what are your plans for the future? Do you already have ideas for the next Starofash album, or will we have to wait another seven years? ;)

"He he.hopefully I should be able to throw together something in less than seven years this time! This spring I have some smaller projects to follow up, like doing some guest vocals, another Kenji track and I’ll be starting on the movie project mentioned earlier."

Darren Toms / Press & Marketing
Candlelight Records, Abstract Sounds, Golf Records