EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW – TORGEIR WALDEMAR
Norway’s Torgeir Waldemar took the world by surprise with the release of his debut solo album in 2014, earning himself a Grammy nomination as a result. Known as a guitar hero previously, the black clad, long haired bearded rocker was expected to stick to his roots, but his soft acoustic album shook the world.
Torgeir releases his follow up on the 17th March and RUSHONROCK’s co-editor Adam Keys caught up with him to discuss what fans can expect from the album entitled No Offending Borders.
RUSHONROCK – Hi Torgeir, thanks for joining us at RUSHONROCK. How is everything in your camp now the album is complete?
Torgeir Waldemar – Hi there. It’s great – so many good reviews that are beyond expectations. We’re now spending most of the time rehearsing before hitting the road.
RUSHONROCK – What can fans expect to hear from your second album?
TW – Well, more of everything, I guess. More guitars, more band, more sadness and loneliness, desperation, more anger, more symphonic and more politics.
RUSHONROCK – Were hooked on the eclectic sounds, the harmonies and the electric sounds. What made you move from your acoustic debut to this heavier style?
TW – That was a totally natural thing for me to do. The electric guitar has been a part of my life since I started to play in bands. So it was just a matter of time when it would be incorporated in the Waldemar sound. Harmonies have been a huge part of how I’ve heard my songs since day one, and I think both albums wouldn’t sound as they do without that amount of harmonies.
But I think it was a bit frightening to think of use of a whole band in a traditional way, when the first record was as specific as it was. Chains, saw, a lot of reed organ and how we used the room for the recording had a huge impact on that record. But I wanted to try it, and I think it came out pretty good.
RUSHONROCK – You’ve built a reputation as a guitar hero with previous bands. In what ways does the style of the album allow you to express your talents as a guitarist compared to the acoustic restrictions of your debut?
TW – First of all I think Keith Richards put it the right way when he said that the most important thing for a guitar player is to master the acoustic. I have worked a lot to develop a style of playing the acoustic that has its own voice. Of course it`s up to the listener to decide if I succeeded. For me it’s the same way I use my ears either it`s electric or acoustic, it`s all about listening to the instrument how it sings, and try to use that as a catalyst for the music that I’ve got inside me. That is where the foundation of the songs come from.
RUSHONROCK – After taking the music world by surprise and being nominated for a Norwegian Grammy, the world is now aware of your talents. What pressures has this exposure brought?
TW – Hmmmm….. With the first album was there no pressure at all, and the songs were collected for 10-15 years. With this one it was hard because I didn’t have that many songs, and I really wanted to do something that was different from the first one. And when we started to see the picture of how it turned out, I didn’t think of either the pressure or anything else. Then it was only about getting the songs as good as possible.
RUSHONROCK – No Offending Borders challenges us to ‘point back and be conscious of our past.’ Can you tell us a bit more about that?
TW – Western civilisation has been pretty successful since WWII. We have had a massive rise in the way our societies are build, with more and more equally rights for genders, less and less poverty and all that – specially here in Norway with all the wealth because of the oil and stuff. But at the same time we see a pattern that the government has lost its trust in the people, and they are getting angry. Everyone wants to be taken care of by the system, but when that fails, the system will collapse and people will turn against the government. And when you then use foreigners as an enemy in that picture, it`s really dramatic. But it has happened before, and if we`re not careful it will happen again.
RUSHONROCK – World War 1 plays a big part in this album, most notably in the album’s carrier pigeon artwork. Can you tell more about your interest and the reasons for channelling it into music?
TW – Well, as I said, I use WWI as parallel to what seems to be going on in the world right now. And those little known stories are a way of make it even more interesting to look back on what happened back then.
RUSHONROCK – Finally, when can our readers expect to see you in the U.K.?
TW – Well, hopefully some times during 2017, and most realistically during the fall. I hope!
Northumbria University Journalism graduate, rock and roll enthusiast and co-editor of RUSHONROCK.com.