[media stories: 2002: english]

Motorpsycho vs. Jaga Jazzist

Interview on occassion of the Moldejazz show / 2002-07-19
taken from Norwegian newspaper
DAGSAVISEN, 2002-04-28.
English translation provided by Bjørnar Holmem, a tiny wee bit edited by the lighthouse girl.

MOLDE (Dagsavisen): Seven years after the so-called "Motorsource Massacre" in Kongsberg, Motorpsycho is back at a jazz festival. Yesterday they played in Molde with the horns section from Jaga Jazzist. A new full-length record will be released in September.

Yesterday a few hours before the concert the mood was relaxed in Bent Sæter, Snah and Gebhardt's dressing room – despite the fact that far from all the tunes had been rehearsed in advance.

We can't rehearse details repeatedly for days. We just write notes for those who need that kind of stuff, says Bent Sæther, jokingly elbowing Mathias Eick from Jaga Jazzist.

Formidable Potential

The meeting beetween Motorpsycho and the free jazz group The Source at Kongsberg in 1995 was a debated affair. The groups didn't prepare in advance and just set off. The only thing this journalist can remember is that it was incredibly loud, but the group thinks this is a wimpy attitude.

It became what it became. This time we have thought and rehearsed a little more, and then it can become a bit more rigid. With a bit better dramaturgy,, they explain.
Jaga Jazzist once opened for Motorpsycho In the mid-1990s in Tønsberg. The headliners followed the group's development over the years and invited the horn section to guest on their latest records. Lars Horntveth says that Jaga Jazzist have never hid the fact that they have been inspired by Motorpsycho. Last year they decided that they wanted to do more together, and last year's concert at Rockefeller before Christmas gave us a formidable presentation of this collaboration's potential.
Yesterday they performed an entire concert together for the first time. In three weeks, Motorsycho will also bring the Jaga Jazzist horn section to the Øya festival before they embark on a small European tour, which will coincide with a studio session for the In The Fishtank recording project. A record will likely be released to document the event.

With a Clean Conscience

In addition to old Motorpsycho songs and a couple from their next album, they have dug up old material by McCoy Tyner, John Coltrane, Art Ensemble of Chicago and Sun Ra. Not whuzz-jazz, but with plenty of speed in the backing.

If we want something to say after 12 years we have to slide left as often as possible. That is part of our attitude, and how we understand jazz. We have listened to jazz a lot, it is important for how we think, but whether it can be heard in our music, is for others to decide. At least this does not feel artificial. Even if we play rock we have a loose approach to the music, at least on stage. We don't bring so much jazz, that comes from the horns. The main argument against Motorpsycho is that the solos are too long, with "boring transport legs", and "why must they disappear into the jam fog". Here it will probably be the other way around. Now we can do this without a guilty conscience.
And then it will be good, ole' jazzrock? Fusion?
The big poo-poo-word. Miles Davis could do it, but all the others who came after him were bloody awful. We mustn't go there. At least we know how this is not supposed to be.

New Record

In September Motorpsycho will release a new studio record. Even if the production is not as strongly defined by studio work as last year's "Phanerothyme", Jaga Jazzist contributes on one song on the coming album and they played two other songs from the record at the concert yesterday. They won't reveal the album's title, but they try to explain the contents.

As usual, it's a reaction to what we did last time. This record is less thought through in advance than "Phanerothyme", not so thoroughly arranged, and with more energy. 10 songs in 50 minutes, a couple of them are 7-8 minutes long.
With as many retro references as last time?
Many misunderstood "Phanerothyme". Many of the hints were intended references in the lyrics. I think we went a bit over everybody's head. In filmmaking it is very common to borrow shots, but in rock it's a big taboo. Then you are accused of copying.
It's fun to have the freedom to go from "Phanerothyme" to this. As Norwegians we are very lucky, not many others have the same freedom today.
Except Jaga Jazzist, says Lars Horntveth. Their new album will be out one month before Motorpsycho's.
You just sound like Soft Machine all the time, says Bent Sæter. After having played the bands against each other just before they are about to take the stage, Dagsavisen says farewell.

Geir Rakvaag