[media stories: english: 1998]

Motorpsycho - Sound Scientists

taken from the Swedish magazine
DARLING #15 / 1998.
English translation done by Lina Sundberg.

Fritz Corner, St. Eriksplan, Stockholm, a night in March:

  We are Motorpsycho and this is gonna take a while.  

Motorpsycho in the Swedish magazine Darling 1998  
FOTO: Camilla Sjödin

The Band:
Bent Sæther - bass, vocals
Snah (Hans Magnus Ryan) - guitar, vocals
Gebhardt (Haakon) - drumming

Three of their records:
Blissard, 1996
Angels and Daemons at Play, 1997
Trust Us, 1998

The band going up on stage is not joking. Their first song lasts for 20 minutes and the people in the audience are, during the following hours, exposed to a heavily grinding, carefully picking, angrily ironed out, and melancholically beautiful kind of music. It feels like Sonic Youth, Black Sabbath, Sun Ra, and Coltrane in a melting pot, and in this tumult Motorpsycho's music is born: clear and peculiar.

Motorpsycho are not big in Norway, but respected. The Norwegians are proud of their trio whose concerts seduce all of the senses as the band also gladly emphasises their music visually. They let a video projector send out declarations of love for exquisitely beautiful women in magic environments, or showing chaotic image collages. All this to increase and raise the musical experience.

Many of our fellow countrymen would like to see us as the next great music export, says the bass player and one of the vocalists Bent Saether. People seem to appreciate what we do and are just waiting for our great breakthrough. Instead, we have chosen to do things our way, and that means to keep distance from almost everything except music.
We live in a town called Trondheim, which, although it is one of the biggest towns in Norway, is far from the music business and those who control it. We are very content with being on the periphery. We rather spend our money on music than on expensive rents.

But don't you have a "rock-star-dream"? To make a great breakthrough?

That depends on what you mean by breakthrough. Of course, we want to sell a lot of records. But we also know that if we would make a great hit, the song would be too obvious and symbolic. That's why we always have to make a 30-minutes long psychedelic improvisation after every 3-minutes pop song we make, Bent laughs.

We are not trying to make a carrier. We devote our time to exploring music. You might call us a kind of sound scientists.

What does your record company think about this artistic thirst for freedom? Couldn't there be a lot of money in it?

We worked out our own contract, which means that we can do almost what ever we want, says Bent.

I think they understand that we don't really work like a normal band. And, we give them a lot of credibility. I guess they also think it's kind of fun not to make us a standard product, says the drummer Gebhart. You know, to pick up someone from the street, record some hits, take a couple of nice photos and shove it into the stores, he continues somewhat ironically.

How come your records and songs becomes so long most of the time?

Because we don't have discipline, Bent says immediately.

And when almost 80% of all bands feel they have to keep to the limit of 3-4 minutes, maybe we could just don't give a damn? When we rehearse a song during a week it sometimes happens that it grows from 4, 5, 7 to 10 or 12 minutes. I guess we do that to make the most out of it, to bring forward everything it has to give. To be fair to the song.

What is the purpose of Motorpsycho? What do you want to achieve for yourselves and for your listeners?

I live within the music, with the music and for the music, says Bent in a solemn voice, as to really emphasise the importance of what they do. We want to share what we discover when playing our music. We want a kind of transcendental experience. We try all the time to push ourselves and our audience. It shouldn't be, you know, too simple. That's why we like throwing a double CD in their face. It would be so boring to everyone if we were predictable.

Gebhart tries to explain:
You search for magic in some way or another. Something that's not achievable. When you don't really know what happens in that very moment when everything suddenly leaves ground.

Jörgen Bang