DPRP’s Gert Hulshof speaks with
Gazpacho’s Jan-Hendrik Ohme & Thomas Andersen
on 27 January 2011 in Hengelo
Today an interview has been scheduled with Gazpacho. Looking at our site it has been a awful long time ago Gazpacho has been interviewed for DPRP. So it is high time we brought things in perspective.
The interview is to take place at “de Metropool” in Hengelo, Netherlands where later that night Gazpacho will perform live. When I arrive Gazpacho is finishing their sound check.
Gazpacho have a steadily growing fan base in Europe and then especially in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and UK. Currently they are on a promotional tour for their recently released album Missa Atropos of which the first songs were brought live at last year’s Night of the Prog festival at Loreley.
The interview will take us back a bit to things that have happened with Gazpacho, in the case of personnel changes and further to that we will briefly talk about the current tour and of course the album Missa Atropos.
Show starts at 21:00h so we have little more than an hour for the interview.
GERT: Jan, Thomas welcome and thank you for giving me the opportunity to do this interview just moments before the show.
JAN/THOMAS: Welcome – no, thank you – it is our pleasure.
GERT: I saw that the last interview with Gazpacho on our site dates from nearly a decade ago. So for my first question – back in 2003 you said that you guys were an unknown band in Norway – how is this today?
THOMAS: (Thomas nods to Jan) You can answer this.
JAN: Well it is about the same still, we are still relatively unknown even in our home country.
GERT: Howcome? I mean it can’t be the music.
JAN: Well we haven’t really tried to get more known. We also like it much better to go abroad, it’s more fun. Like a holiday. Doing what you like the do with your best friends, your mates. We love that. We all have day time jobs you know. So to play concerts in our hometown would be as if we were setting up a gig in our own backyard, put up our gear in the studio play for a while and then stop, only to go to work the next day. Back to that everyday rhythm. This doesn’t make that much sense to us.
THOMAS: Besides Norway is a huge country we would need to travel far to perform for a small number of people. It is more fun to do a tour on the mainland in Europe. We travel the same distance, but get to do more shows meet more people. We really love coming to Europe. The Netherlands, this is where it all started for us.
GERT: Do you have plans to also conquer Norway.
JAN: (very decisive) No. not really. We really like it this way. More fun in it for us. How often do you get to go on the road and have fun with your mates?
GERT: OK, Now to the band, have there been any line-up changes in the band since the last interview, like personnel change?
JAN: No, we have not had many changes, we are still pretty much the same band as we were ten years ago. The only line-up change was our drummer Robert Johanssen, who left the band in 2009. Within two weeks after his departure Lars Erik Asp joined. This was amazingly fast actually, Kristian knew this guy he was playing in another band and asked him if he was willing to join Gazpacho. So Lars told us to give him some music to get the right feel. He auditioned and we were impressed, so there you go Lars was a member of Gazpacho. Both Lars and Kristian knew each other from their education at the conservatory, so we now have a classical trained rhythm section.
GERT: Now for the Missa tour, Hengelo is the fifth concert, how has the tour been developing so far?
THOMAS: It has been great, although the whole thing comes close to being a Spinal Tap tour.
JAN: We had our share of problems up to now but we can’t complain. The first gig we did in Berlin we were excited, It was the first time we performed the songs live in front of an audience. But all went well and we had an excellent show. The sound was perfect on and off stage so yeah, but the ceiling was rather low and we were really burning up there, it was hot. Very hot on stage. We seem to be at our best when we suffer the most, we then want to perform extra good I think. Give just that bit extra above, different than when everything fits well and all things seem to go on a routine basis. No we need to suffer(laughs). Isn’t this true Tom?
THOMAS: Yes we need to be strained to do our best. And usually bring the best in us on top when we are having a difficult time on stage. Berlin was a great show.
JAN: it is not everywhere everything fits like a suit, Like Pratteln this was more like a café and it wasn’t like we expected at all, the gig was fine but we were surprised about where we needed to play. In Stuttgart as well we had great gigs but the whole entourage was not what we are used to kind of. Aschaffenburg is good a great place to be pretty big but everything always works very well there, it’s a great place to be. Great catering and good show. And now here in Hengelo, it’s all very well organized. Great catering and hopefully a good gig later on.
GERT: Tell me when is a gig good, what needs to happen or when do you feel it’s great?
JAN: I personally find it a good gig when I look into an audience and see people closing their eyes, and wander off with our music. I don’t know why but often we have people crying at songs. I believe that is when you bring across your music in good proper fashion. When the audience get the feel of the song. That’s when you do it right. Genuine emotions, even crying, it tells me I am on the right track, I will try harder and do more.
GERT: Music is emotion. Let’s talk about creating your music. How do you go about.
THOMAS: I withdraw myself from my daily routines, Drink some wine and just jam mostly with Mikael and Jon, to let our creativity run free. Right now we already made a demo for our new album, the follow-up to Missa, it is about an hour worth of music already. One of the songs is about 20 minutes long. It will end up on the new album no doubt. But it may sound different become even longer or about the same.
GERT: Do you listen to the music a lot?
THOMAS: during the creation process I always listen back to what we have created so far, to develop further, make it even better sounding.
JAN: You know all of Missa is about letting yourself go, becoming a whole person. It is about solitude. Withdrawing yourself from the world to totally relax. Let your creativity run free.
THOMAS: during the development process of Missa, I rode my bike daily along the shores of the river up the mountain. That’s how I came up with the idea for the song river.
GERT: When I heard River, It was probably the first song I heard of Missa. After a few listens it was as if I was moving along on a river.
THOMAS: Well thank you, that was the general idea of the creation to have the feeling that the music would take you along on a river, and let your mind and imagination run freely.
JAN: These days we feel so much pressure, you need to be available all the time, be sure to you update your facebook, myspace, twitter and please do not leave your phone. Most people are not aware anymore of who and what they are. We are all living in this daily rush. Just withdraw yourselves to a far of place a lighthouse or a mountain and think about life and what you really want. Not just become the picture perfect, living the life people want to see, but take control of your own life and enjoy, you will become a happier person in the end. Take some time to become you, become one with yourself. To be able and create you need solitude a time away from the daily routines. Like the music these days you need a catchy song otherwise it does not count. A good review also counts, People live by the rule of the moment. You only have one shot and if it is missed. Though luck.
GERT: Music in the prog rock scene is normally not like the AOR an instant like or dislike.
JAN: True but tell me is Gazpacho prog rock?
GERT: Yes, I like to believe so. Don’t you?
GERT: But then what is prog rock to you guys?
JAN/THOMAS: Prog rock is about the dungeons and dragons and the theatrical stuff. Storytelling, fantasy. We don’t believe our music is prog rock.
GERT: OK, but isn’t it true that you guys do nothing less than this. It’s not dungeons and dragons but it is storytelling big time. Highly moving music, full of emotion and is not that easy to grab, you need to listen more than once. It’s not instant liking.
We get a little discussion about what is prog rock and what isn’t. After a while we end up talking about composing music.
GERT: Missa Atropos is a very high quality album. So how to create the new even better album?
JAN: We know we already have a better album in the making. We feel the demo we have for the new album is already better than Missa. We would probably stop making music if we had our “OK Computer”. People often compare us to Radiohead and Coldplay or even Marillion. Do you think we sound like Marillion?
GERT: No I don’t. Perhaps on the albums before “Night” there are pointers but these days, no. But I don’t think you can be compared to Radiohead or Coldplay either. Totally different style in music.
Your music is one of a kind. What were the first albums you ever bought? My first album was “Paranoid” by Black Sabbath I thought that was pretty awesome back then. Totally different and progressive even.
JAN: I took off with “Exile on Mainstreet” and after that I bought “Arrival” by ABBA. Ulvaeus/Andersen were a composer duo they knew how to create great songs.
THOMAS: my first album was “Thriller”. Lennon and Mccartney were another great duo. What people like them have created is outstanding music.
GERT: I turned from Black Sabbath to Queen, this was for me another eye-opener. Not one song sounds like the other. I get that with all the people we just mentioned.
JAN: Oh yes, Freddie Mercury and Brian May were excellent composers. Not one song was the same. Like with the Beatles and ABBA.
GERT: When I listen to your singing Jan I need the lyrics because I cannot understand what your singing.
JAN: I do that on purpose, I do not pronounce the words completely. I think it sounds good, completes the song.
GERT: True, it really suits the music. You mentioned earlier a good review is of the utmost essence for a band like Gazpacho. So what should a good review contain in your opinion. I mean we do write reviews as objective as possible but we still are a little subjective. After all we are humans and have our own idea’s.
JAN: The reviewers at DPRP always seem of knowledgeable in the area what they are reviewing and give an honest opinion. What I like to read in a review is how the reviewer stands to the music. Not the complete technical stuff like the production needs more of this or that. Or the singer has a nasal voice. No I like to read if the music has struck the emotions of the reviewer. When I get that back I think it is a good review. Do you feel and believe the music that is presented to you.
GERT: Thanks for the interview guys, have a great gig. See you soon.
JAN/THOMAS: Thanks it was our pleasure. Enjoy the show.
Interview by Gert Hulshof & Live photos by Shirin Kasraeian