Before the upcoming tour promoting the new album that will be released in march next year, we have met Bol&Snah and had a friendly chat with them.
by Mario Orefice
Bol&Snah is the project born from the collaboration between Snah, alias for Hans Magnus Ryan, co founder and guitarist of famous Motorpsycho, and Bol, a norwegian musical trio featuring Ståle Storløkken, who have been already playing keyboard in the Motorpsycho’s The Death Defying Unicorn, and known for its experimental sound melting jazz, noise and electronic.
BOL&SNAH are: Tone Åse, vocal&electronics, Ståle Storløkken, keyboards, Tor Haugerud, drums, Hans Magnus “Snah” Ryan, (Motorpsycho) Guitar.
Here the interview the band released for our website:
- How and when did Bol&Snah originally meet? What led to the formation of the band and when would that have been ?
After working with improvised music in various ways as a trio (- with influences from a lot of music, including- different kinds of sympho/progrock-) BOL had already been thinking about inviting in Snah for some time, when Jazzfest in Trondheim wanted them to suggest a ”dream project” for their festival in 2010. They decided to invite both guitarists Hans Magnus ”Snah” Ryan and Stian Westerhus, and had a very happy cooperation for the festival. Continuing this , they recorded the cd ”Numb, number” (Gigafon) as a result in 2012. Wanting to create and develope more music together, BOL&SNAH continued as a more permanent constallationfrom 2013.
- Who are some of your major musical influences? What about influences on the band as a whole rather than just individually?
I think we all strongly relate to the mix of musical influences and the artistic freedom that happened in the 70’s. As individuals we all have strong relations to various bands and artists from that era, we could mention Miles Davies, Cing Crimson, Joni Mitchell, Yes, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Pink Floyd, Genesis, Laurie Anderson- and many more… Though we obviously have a strong common musical history, the expression is not at least, as you indicate in your question, a result of personal influences through each person in the band– and also the fact that improvisation is an important part of the working process.
- What do you consider to be your first real exposure to music?
Ståle: I recall my dad playing christmas songs on the Yamaha electronic organ at home, that was when I decided to become a musician, I think. Tone : I recall ”conducting” and improvising to my older sisters sisters gospel-choir records. Tor : I remember playing (to) the singles of The Beatles….Snah : I lived in a very remote area of Norway for the first 4 years of my life. I remember the droning tones from the riverboats motors in the distance reverberating in the nearby mountain. Me and my older brother used to imitate this deep resonating tones on the family piano in the livingroom.
4. After a first listening to the new songs we have found something more close to traditional and conventional rock as you never did before. Did you all trying anything radically new or different when it came to the songwriting for this upcoming album?
Yes, these songs shows a turn towards a somewhat more structured expression compared to what has been explored before. The rock esthetique is more present than ever in the history of BOL, also in the structures and forms. Improvisation is still an important part of the music, but for this album and this period we do not improvise as much with the structure itself, the song has a planned progression and form, but with open sequenses for improvising being a part of it… Still, within these more conventional song structures , there is room for different, improvised ways of playing and forming the planned material along the way.
5. The lyrics are central to your musical expressions; poems by EE Cummings, as well as and Olav H.Hauge are in your song. “The Sidewalks” e “Reality” are English translations of Rolf Jacobsen, isn’t it? What can our readers expect from the new album regarding the lyrics?
Yes, The Sidewalks and Reality are poems by early norwegian modernist Rolf Jacobsen, translated by Olav Grinde. And yes, there will be more of his poems on the new album. Tone is composing most of the music for BOL&SNAH, and Jacobsen is one of her favourite poets. Her musical ideas almost always derives from a text. Poetry is a great source of inspiration, and through years of reading poetry, she finds it interesting to observe how some poems clearly stand out as musical material to her, and some not. It is almost a physical sensation- and it doesen’ have to do with rhymes or symmetry, but rather how some poems can create immidiate visual and emotional images. The aim is to create a musical room inspired by these images , where the text and the music can coexist on its own terms, and still support each others expression . The dynamic range, the span from outspoken rock to lyrical intimacy is inspired by the various perspectives in the texts- and also the rather extreme dynamical potential in the band.
6 What, if anything do you all have planned as far as touring goes for the rest of the year
For Bol&Snah the next these gigs in Italy are – as far as we know (J) – the last thing we do live before we record the rest of the album in march next year. We are all rather busy with other projects : Ståle will be touring with Supersilent later on, and will also be composing with Motorpsycho again; they are performing a commmisioned work in Oslo in november. ( The 100 year anniversary of the Norwegian Technical Museum… (http://motorpsycho.no/gigs/jubileumskonsert/). Snah will be composing more music , for theater (”The wizard of Oz” in Tromsø, Norway ).Tone will be doing some improvised duo-gigs with drummer Thomas Strønen in Norway, Tor will be touring on festivals in Europe with Trondheim Jazz Orchestra/Joshua Redman as well as recording with this band with Sofia Jernberg as the artistic leader. He will also do some festival gigs with Teater Fot and the improvising group EnEnEn in Norway. . ( And- perhaps not so surprisingly : no traditional ”Christmas – touring” in desember for these guys…) J
Tre sono le date previste per il mese di novembre 2014 in Italia, durante le quali verranno presentati anche i due nuovi brani, The Sidewalks e Reality:
This italian tour will have three gigs in november 2014, in which the band will play their two new songs, The Sidewalks e Reality:
november 6th – IL DEPOSITO (PN)
november 7th – LOCOMOTIV (BO)
november 8th – DRUSO CIRCUS (BG)
Lamusicarock will be at the bergamo show.