[media stories: english: 1997]
We want to be involved with the bullshit of the business as little as possible
Workaholics got something to hide, said Mart Smeets [dutch sports presenter] a little while ago. If that is true, then the musicians of Motorpsycho have a lot to hide. For there are few bands that have the work moral these Norwegians have. But Bent Sæther says that he has nothing to cover up. He only wants to get the maximum from the one life that has been given to him.
And that has been going well lately for the singer/bassplayer from Trondheim, because Motorpsycho is more popular than ever at the moment. The underground formation is one of the ten best selling bands in Norway. The latest CD, Angels and Daemons at Play, is - in sales figures - the number one in the pluriform, strong Motorpsycho work. Recent messages from the dutch concert-front say no less: "The ultimate trip" and "Concert of the year". Now there's something! And at the latest Lowlands festival the band was called back by the enthusiastic audience to play an 'encore'. But the Motorpsychos had no time to sit back and enjoy afterwards, because Sæther and his men had to pack their own bus to leave in a hurry for the Belgian Pukkelpop festival.
Talking about hard work...
But you don't hear Sæther complaining. In Norwegian terms Hasselt is in the backyard of Dronten. The biggest problem of the Motorpsycho podiumjunks - soon to be seen in the Netherlands again - is a logistic one. Sæther: " It costs a fortune to keep the Motorpsycho- machine running. From Trondheim, for instance, the nearest good club is at an eight-hour driving distance." Motorpsycho brings indie-rock, psychedelics and acoustic lo-fi stuff, but also isn't scared of country or ambient. Because of its musical diversity it would be easy to describe the band as lacking a face of its own. Bullshit. Says Sæther himself as well "A peacock is not less of a peacock, because of its many colours. Such is nature. And we do what we do. If people find that difficult, it only makes us a more rare and exclusive bird.". Heart and Soul, that's what Motorpsycho is about. Sæther is a guy with whom you could talk about music pleasantly for hours in a row. He isn't at all ashamed of his influences. In the beginning, round about 1991, these were pre-grunge bands like Husker Du, Swans, Sonic Youth and Butthole Surfers, as well as Neil Young and seventies heavy metal and prog-rock bands like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Hawkwind and King Crimson.. "Mixing aggressive contemporary rock with cool seventies stuff seemed like a nice challenge to us." Nowadays Bent is kind of into jazz. "John Coltrane and The Sun Ra Arkestra have been of influence on AADAP because of the combination of freedom and discipline they use. I like that."
The music-business is for Motorpsycho a necessary evil, that has to be avoided as much as possible. Unfortunately, you can't always avoid it, because of the youth's naivity. Sæther would wish that he hadn't been so foolish when he signed his first record deal. Then he would have had the rights to his first albums, and would be able to finally release a live-album.
"We want to be involved with the bullshit of the business as little as possible. Every time I read something in a Norwegian newspaper about a Norwegian artist that is going to make it big in the States, I laugh. It's all about marketing."
With Sæther, the music is what counts. For a long time already. At the age of eight, Sæther gets hooked on music. Alive II by Kiss is the first album he buys. His mother hates the record. She thinks it's even worse than the Sex Pistols. Little Bent is angry and Kiss-fan for life. December last year he saw them live for the first time. "I had to wait for it for twenty years but the concert was brilliant. Exactly what a Kiss-concert should be like. What we do with Motorpsycho is the complete opposite. They are a rock 'n' roll circus that depends on spectacle. We are much more laid-back, and have no choreography as well.", says Sæther. Laid-back is a strange adjective for a band that doesn't take it easy when on stage. In the Effenaar in Eindhoven, Motorpsycho held two different gigs in one weekend earlier this year. Total playing time: more than five hours. "Now we are a little bigger, and play in the better clubs, we do these things a bit more often. On friday we played our heavier material in the Effenaar. On sunday we showed or prog-rock or psychedelic side." Expect the unexpected, that is what it is about on stage, according to Sæther. "You got to keep yourself interested en challenge the audience. Each night we take a different approach. Playing new or un-recorded songs is a typical Motorpsycho thing. Sometimes that goes a bit far. When we first played the Lowlands festival in '94 we played new songs only. Save one. That was from Blissard, but that album hadn't yet been released back then."
In Norway, the people that come and see the band behave complety different from the one here
[in the Netherlands] at Motorpsycho gigs. "In Norway we are a mainstream band, a party band,
and the crowd, consisting mainly of students, drinks and drinks. In the Netherlands or the rest
of Europe we are a weird improvising rock group. It's strange playing in Norway, but also a
challenge. Although experimenting is 'not done' back there." The Norwegian music industry is
small, says Sæther. "It's not capable of exporting Norwegian artists to the rest of the
world. In Sweden that's quite different. They have a tradition since ABBA. Norway by the
way has a minority-complex towards Sweden. We are to the Swedes what Belgians are to the
Dutch. Swedish people make lots of jokes about Norwegian people." "We are at least as good
as the Swedish at football, skating and skiing, but we in music we just can't excel. In
Sweden they don't like Norwegian bands. We sold only 200 copy's of AADAP in Sweden. And
that's a mile-stone for us..."