INTERVIEW GANGA (2006)
What was the first music you remember hearing?
That must have been my father playing the piano…some classical piece. Cant remember what it was, but I have a pretty good idea of what it sounded like. He always played that piece…Maybe it was Sibelius actually.
And how did you first become involved in music?
I started to play classical piano when I was about ten or so. A few years later I started to take guitar lessons. In highschool I played guitar and keyboards in different bands. A few years after highschool I started to study churchorgan at “The Royal Danish Musicacademy”. There I played only classical music, but I specialized in improvising, and that gradually led to composing and writing more and more music. I had always written songs for guitar, but when I graduated from the academy I bought a sampler and later on a computer, and then I just started from scratch to write, record and produce my own things. I hooked up with different people, mostly singers, and then it moved on from there. I come from a classical background.
What was your favourite tracks and artists at that time?
I think right about that time where I started to write my own stuff I was listening a lot to Brian Eno, Orb, Massive Attack,Underworld and that whole new electronic scene that was really taking of there in the mid/ start of the nineties. I listened to a lot of ethnic music at that time – Indian, Balinese. And Mahavishnu Orchestras “Inner Mounting Flame” from 1971 is my fauvourite album and was definitely a great inspiration at that time and still is – one of the main reasons I became so interested in working with the violin.
But ethnic music was a great inspiration for many years, and I actally studied sitar in Varanasi for a few crazy weeks and later on I took “Tingklik” lessons on Bali. Ethnic and ethnic inspired music has definitely been a great inspiration to me – “Transglobal Underground” – that sort of English/ ethnic inspired bands. Actually that first record from Enigma was a great inspiration as well – mostly because of the production I think. Cant really listen to it today though…..
Tell us about your first music experiences and how you discovered the “DOWNBEAT MUSIC” and “CHILL MUSIC” universe.
I think I discovered downbeat and chill more or less when I found out that the thing I wrote at that time, was in that genrel. I was just writing and producing my tracks and was not that interested in how you would categorize it in a certain style. Even today I think this genre is defined by a huge diversity in style – which is great. I must have come across ambient or chill in the start of the nineties at the raveparties and so…Brian Eno, Philip Glass and Steve Reich are some of my oldest and biggest heroes, so in a way it goes even further back..to the eighties.
How is your relationship with other exponents of CHILL OUT and DOWNBEAT music scene? I’m talking of Josè Padilla, Bonobo, Bent, Banzai Republic, Bliss and people like that?
I have good relationship with Banzai Republic, they (Buda) also made additional production on five tracks on “I Dream About Trees”. I feel much more related to their music than f. ex. Bliss. We have a lot in common musically, and I am working with him right now on some new Ganga tracks. DJ Ravin also is a good collaborator and I definitely want to write some tracks with him sometime in the future.
And what about producers from abroad? Who are those you appreciate the most and that you feel “close” to your musical vision?
Murcof is one artist I admire a lot. I think his work is fantastic. Banzai Republic, Cantoma, Luke Vibert, Deadbeat, Swayzak, Thievery Corporation, Trentemoller. All of these I feel conenected to – in very different ways and for different reasons.
Tall me about your work with television and series of film and other documentaries, culminating with the sound track for the movie "Metropolis".
A friend of mine asked me to score a short documentary back in 98, and from there on I started to get more and more into filmwork. I found out that I really enjoyed writing music to accompany visuals. And it just took off from there.
The last couple of years I´ve worked on a project called “Filmogmusiklive” (Film and music live). The concept is to write new frame by frame music for old classics like Fritz Langs “Metroipolis” and perform it live so people get a real experience of musicians performing while watching the film. There is nothing new in this, but the fact that these scores are scored frame by frame makes it a lot more exiting, I think, than all the other live film music projects people are getting into these days.
I performed that score live with 6 musicians on the Danish Roskilde Festival in 2004, and in 2005 I scored Buster Keatons “Steamboat Bill JR” also to be performed on Roskilde Festival. Next year I am scoring “Battleship Potemkin” together with Danish filmcomposer and guitarist Peter Peter. We hope to put out a dvd with the new score and then promote it live on f. ex. Roskilde Festival.
What made you decide to start Ganga, and what would you say defines the sound of this project?
Gangas sound is a mixture of many things. What defines “I Dream About Trees” best, is probably the laid back melodic poppy hooklines both instrumental and vocal. And then ofcourse the Balearic guitars and gypsylike violin. I think there is some Pink Floyd to the sound as well as a dubby feel to some of the tracks.
Let’s talk about your new album, starting from the title: “I Dream about trees…”
What working methods do you use to compose your song?
There is not one method. All songs starts out in different ways. Sometimes they just start out with a little guitarriff and then I take it to my studio and it ends up with a totally different song and the guitarriff is dumped. Sometimes I write a song with lyrics and it ends up an instrumental thing. Some track emerge from things I have written for soundtracks, and other stuff lies around for years, and then I suddenly find it and use it for new inspiration. I write many songs just for the guitar, and then mess it up in the studio and invite musicians to come and jam. The song “Don’t Cry” actually emerged from a guitarpart and vocalline and lyrics I made in India in 1995 – and then suddenly one day – nearly 10 years after – it’s the backbone inspiration for a song.
I mentioned ambient music and balearic sound to describe your album, two styles who seem to have much influenced your new style.
Do you agree with me or do you think other artists inspired “I dream about trees”?
I would say Pink Floyd, Brian Eno and Orb for the spacay parts, Vaya Con Dios for the guitars and “Mahavishnu Orchestra”(My alltime fauvourite band) for the use of violin. Ofcourse Balearic rhythms are a great part of Gangas sound with the guitars and all.
We decided to include one of your songs, “Binna”, in our compilation of this month. What could you tell us about this tracks?
Binna is the most New Age like track on the album, so its no surprise you picked that one out. I wrote it for my son…The name Binna means Benjamin, and it is what my two year old daughter (Luna) called him at that time.
Tell me about your artistic and business relation with “music for dreams”, the label that was able to give you a quite good international fame and visibility, considering that it isn’t a MAJOR.
MFD is the nr. 1 danish label for putting the word out for this type of chilled /semiunderground music, so I am very happy to work with them.
I am working with Buda from Banzai Republic on some tracks for a new ganga album. Then I am scoring “Battleship Potemkin” . I am also going to write tracks for my sideprojects and then there are a few smaller filmprojects in the horizo.