[media stories: norwegian: 2000]

The psychedelic allodialboy

Article / Interview with Bent taken from the
Norwegian newspaper
ADRESSEAVISEN, 2000-03-17.
English translation done by Stig Aasheim.

The family farm in Snåsa has been theirs for eleven generations. But soon the baton is Bent Sæther's.

And right now he's sitting in a chair in a restaurant on Bakklandet, twisting and turning. There's nothing wrong with his «veggy» thai-meal. Nothing wrong with the beer either.

But there's so much funny stuff we could talk about. For instance the fact that Motorpsycho after ten years have experienced their biggest album-success, that their big spring-tour visits the hometown tonight and tomorrow night. Such stuff.

And we insist on talking about something that's very close to the top-ten of no-subjects for the 31 years old Bent. He's loyal by nature, has strong and good memories from the family farm with the big milk quota. But he's sort of doing anything else, and has postponed the decision concerning the big choice quite a long time. If it's practically possible, he will postpone it way further.

Personally we have ...

some difficulties picturing Sæther doing the dairy management on the family farm, but we have even bigger difficulties picturing him as an officer in the Norwegian Army. But the fact is that six months before the young Sæther moved to Trondheim he seriously considered joining the Cadet Training Academy and we are somehow starting to suspect that there is quite a few things we didn't know about one of the most prominent and respected persons in norwegian (and european as well) rock the last seven-eight years.

Some facts: Bent Sæther lived in one of the famous Ammerud blocks the first years of his life. Then the family moved to Ski. He was ten years when they moved north to his mothers beautiful farm in Snåsa. 17 years old he started at the sixth-form college in Steinkjer, about two years later it was Trondheim and the university. He finished a subsidiary subject in English, and an unfinished subsidiary subject in social anthropology before Motorpsycho started to demand the most of his time.

Behind this sober litany there lies hidden large traumas. Simply summarized in five letters: SNÅSA.

I can still ...

sense it. When I pass Heggesbekken on the way to Snåsa the anxiety sets in, the distaste in the stommach. I have never come to terms with Snåsa. There is probably nothing wrong with the place, it's just that when I came there as a ten year old I knew of something else. I grew up in urban surroundings, I had gotten used to seeing swedish television, I had big difficulties reconciling to this new life. In a strange way it's still a strong feeling for me.

About life on the farm he has strong, good memories. Being with his great-grandfather out in the fields picking turnips for the cows. A lot like that.

But youth in general was a lot harder. It was a huge freeing moving to Steinkjer. He met Snah there, who totally agreed that Ozzy Osbourne was most important in life. And he met others, who he still have a lot contact with in Trondheim, and who constitutes a Northern Trøndelag mafia in the city. Sanderfinger (all of them), Øyvind Brandtsegg of Krøyt etc.

A couple of years and a few punkbands later it was next stop Trondheim, and among other things work in the student radio.

The key to Bent's worldview and Motorpsycho's music can mostly be found there.

When seeing pictures

of Sæther from Snåsa or Steinkjer you see a person with poodlehair and pubertymoustache. Musically he was about Kiss, Van Halen and Ozzy. Plus some intense rounds with The Cure and that kind of music.

In the student radio he met people at the same age with very different angles of incidence, and with huge competence in their own areas. He claims to have spent the three years in the radio to suck impulses from all the exciting people he got to know. He met for instance modern underground music like Sonic Youth (was very important to Motorpsycho's sound) and also movie directors like Russ Meyer (one of his movies gave Motorpsycho their name). Bent developed this further on his own, and his interest for and knowledge about rock and later also jazz, are only matched by a few.

It's easy to guess that Sæther would move even further. But Trondheim has become his city.

Even Oslo is too big, hip and restless for me to be able to create something credible there. I'm too much of a slow "trønder" for that. This town is perfect. But if I hadn't had my band or something equivalent to concentrate on, I guess I would have gone insane over living in small Trondheim.

But he concentrates here. In quite a few weeks the band has worked hard on creating a credible live-expression of the songs on "Let Them Eat Cake". The tour started Wednesday and hits Trondheim tonight. In all it's 38 shows in 42 days.

One long party then?

Not much of that ...

no. People in Europe have learned that by now. When we first came they expected the worst acid-bunch according to our music, and there we are; young and focused. It's just that the psychedelic music we play is impossible to do without being sober. Not our tour-program either!

Two port wines at night, that's my sleeping medicine. And happiness is waking up in the band bus sober and fit in a city where I know there's a good record store.

Bent lived his first years in Eastern Norway, that's so. But he sees himself as a "trønder". Northern "trønder". And he believes his focus on what he does is typical for the northern "trønder".

If you say you will do anything, you do it. Pride of his work and thoroughness is something that's typical for the northern "trønder". That's the way I see it.

How about hooch (heimbrent...?) and barn parties (?)?

Yeah, we have days off while touring. And sometimes there's a total blowout. But I'm more into testing all sorts in an Italian bar than "karsk" on Møllenberg, Bent says. (While the night is still young and concentrated. I guess it all ends in a blowout closer to Møllenberg than to Italy. But shit happens.)

Motorpsycho has during the last ten years managed to stay unestablished and counter-cultural, despite the growing success. That's much thanks to the band who never have lapsed to a lifestyle that requires higher income, and the fact that they've never stopped burning for what they do.

If I was wearing tight striped jeans and played the same on stage every night, I guess I would have started drinking too, Bent says. - The point is to always have goals, always seek for challenges. Now this tour, for instance, we'll be playing in France for the first time. That's a challenge and all the kick we need.

Bent is still ...

the one who writes most of the songs and most of the lyrics in Motorpsycho. He writes and listens a lot to music, writes a lot of lyrics and reads a lot, for instance the favourite for the time being James Ellroy, Phillip K Dick, Jeff Moon and his one norwegian favourite, Gert Nygårdshaug.

It's hard to imagine Bent engaged in anything besides this, but I have noticed that he is just as falsely uninterested as myself in the noise coming from a nearby stadium a champions league-wednesday in March.

There's a lot of passion here. I just got hold of a tape with the Manchester United - Liverpool game in 1977. I can see it time and time again. I have also started playing again, for the local club, Inter Buran. When you have turned thirty it's ok with some "male bonding" which not necessarily means beer and late nights out, says Bent who actually made his debut in the media as a footballer. He was a little league player in 1981 and scored two goals when Snåsa sensationally beat Steinkjer's first team in a cup arranged by Trønder-Avisa. A nice picture of a celebrating Sæther accompanied the article in the arranging newspaper, and this picture was the vignette for youth-football in the paper for many years.

Now the soccer-talent

has grown up, but is still focused on boys stuff. What about the more established life, with kids and all that. Your colleague Snah manages the combination?

The subject has been brought up. But I think it would be hard for me at the time being. I am too total. If I have been to a movie I am so into it that I get really angry if anyone starts talking about soccer on the way out. If I had a child I don't think I could do anything else, like writing music.

I guess you're not the easiest boyfriend then?

Fortunately we work with the same things. (Cecilie Lykke is Motorpsycho's manager.)

Says Bent Sæther. Who when he started in Motorpsycho emerged as a rock monster, always in focus of pictures. Pierced nose, dreads and the toughest in town. - Well, it wasn't easy coming from Snåsa, I had to compensate a little, he says today. Even then anyone with interests for the rock rebel sensed a limpid, strong glimpse in his eyes and a warm smile. Now he's obviously a more harmonic person.

I had saved 200.000 kroner, and could grant myself a long holiday or anything I could possibly want. But my life has never been better, I don't need anything. I ended up using it as a deposit for my first house loan.

So now he has his own apartment. He has no longer the ring in his noise, and he has also spent some money on fixing the tooth that has been broken since he did a hazardous stagedive in Germany many years ago. So it's not like it used to be, but most of the ideals are still intact.

His father helped Bent installing a shower cabinet in the apartment recently. He then asked Bent if it was wrong of them moving to Snåsa back then.

Off course it was wrong. It was terrible. But then again: It has marked me enormously, made me who I am. And I can't see any reason for wanting it any different today.

Ole Jacob Hoel