Published Aug 23, 2008Finally dropping his debut album proper, after 2006s Its A Feedelity Affair LP merely collected his singles, Hans-Peter Lindstrøm has upped the ante and set the benchmark in the cosmic disco universe. With Where You Go I Go Too, the Norwegian producer turns his nose up at the single format and channels the unknown, searching long and hard for a killer extended groove within only three tracks. The opening title number, for instance, is a 29-minute doozy that dips in and out of a sublime concentration of layers and progressions. The evolution of the song is more hypnotic than sleepy, integrating the concept of "what if Jackos Thriller was set on the beach? with repeated climaxes that descend gently into cloud-like beds of gushing synths. Where You Go improves with its shorter but still considerably epic other two tracks: "Grand Ideas may not push the envelope as much but it reaches the most electric zenith on the album, while the Balearic kosmische of "The Long Way Home delightfully abuses Jan Hammers glockenspiel fixation and morphs into the sound of bees pollinating a disco club. Understandably, Lindstrøm didnt intend for this album to agree with every listener but his genius is on full display for those able to digest such a dizzying dish of delectable cosmic slop.
So how did you find performing at Øya this year?
Well, I've played at the festival two times before - 2004 and 2006 - and both of the times had been alright, not that many people. But this year I was surprised because there were loads of people, so that was nice.
Do you have a big audience in Norway?
I don't think so, but it might be changing now because of this album. Before I started working with Joakim and Smalltown Supersound I did everything alone and I was focusing on everywhere but Norway. Now that I have people working for me here in Norway, maybe they can do a better job.
Why were you focusing on everywhere else rather than Norway?
Because... it's Norway [laughs].
Is there not a strong club scene in the city of Oslo?
There used to be, but it's not like London or Berlin. Compared to the size of the city, I guess it's alright.
Sunkissed does pretty well. They're really building a reputation internationally?
Yeah, they're doing quite good. They're one of the only few clubs that still invites international DJs to play. Not many clubs do that anymore.
Do you often perform or do you DJ?
I always perform live.
When I saw you play the other night, I was trying to figure out just what you were doing and how you perform. What exactly are you doing up there?
[Laughs] It doesn't look very impressive, but I've got a mini keyboard and I'm controlling the fade out drums. It's like I'm dividing all of my tracks into separate parts, so I've got separate drums, bass, guitars, synths... And then I can do my own way of turning an EQ like a DJ, to get effects and remove everything. I kind of put everything together. Normally I'm not just performing the [new album's] three tracks - that was special for the festival - but usually I think like a DJ because I play those types of venues, and adapt to that kind of way of doing it. So basically I'm just controlling the different parts of the music, and I only have two hands, but I'm also playing keyboards on top of the music, adding stuff. It's not very exciting, but I don't want to put together a band because there are too many human aspects, and it seems too hard to take one on the road. I could adapt to a band playing my music, but I don't really see much of an interest in doing that.
You mention not being a DJ. There are some obvious parts in your music that suggest you're not necessarily interested in being limited to dance music. I hear a lot of older prog sounds in the new album, especially. I mean, your new album is three songs, and over 50 minutes long...
When I started putting out music, I was definitely part of the DJ scene. But over the years I grew tired of working with the DJ format. After a while you kind of see through everything; you learn how to make people ecstatic, then you break it down and build it back up again. I just lost interest in that. If you listen to music in clubs, you miss so many aspects of the music; many times you only hear the bass drum. What's the use of doing anything interesting with the music when all people hear are the basic elements? So I've been concentrating on making music that has a bit of both: something you can listen to, and I guess dance to as well.
Why make a three-song album without any singles?
I was tired of working on music that was compressed into a few minutes, so it kind of made sense to start working on something really, really long, like the complete opposite. The funny thing is on iTunes, because all of the tracks are more than ten minutes long, you have to buy the album. You cant just buy one track; you have to buy everything. And I kind of like that because I enjoy listening to an album from start to end, and these days it seems like its all about single tracks than albums. At least for the kids, it seems. But maybe my music isnt for the kids but more for the mom or dad generation [laughs].
Was it any easier to work on something like the 29-minute title track than a single?
When Im making music I always have to listen from the start and get into the track and decide what I have to change. I didnt really think of that with this song. It has something like 70 different layers, with all kinds of instruments. So, it was kind of annoying and frustrating in the end process. To finish it was very hard for me.
Are you and Prins Thomas going to be working together in the future?
Yeah, in fact we've actually been working together lots. After we put out the first album, we started making new tracks right away and just finished recording our new album, which we're planning to release either autumn 2008 or winter 2009.
How does working with him differ from working on your own?
When we are working together we develop and share responsibilities. I take care of all of the keyboards, he does the drums and we both play some guitar. We have separate instruments, and usually he finishes all of the tracks. I think it started like that because I invited him to play, because I was really tired of working alone and I thought it'd be nice to play a second role in a way. So, I guess we still stick to that working method. But when I do everything alone, I have to do everything alone, and force myself to finish everything. So with him, I'm always getting Thomas to do it. Plus sometimes I feel like I'm straighter than Thomas, 'cause he goes in all different directions, an eclectic DJ. I know more of where I'm going and won't let anything distract me. Sometimes I think it's more predictable when it's just me making the music. That's what I think. (Smalltown Supersound)