An espresso with…

Image Credits: Hvalfugl © Hvalfugl

January 15, 2018
Pianist Jonathan Fjord Bredholt, guitarist Jeppe Lavsen and double bassist Anders Juel Bomholt are Hvalfugl, the Scandinavian trio that in 2017 released its self produced debut album By
> Ivano Rossato

Hvalfugl is a relatively young trio; how was the project born?

We actually all knew each other a good while before starting the project. I had both my feet in the jazz and folk camp, studying music from both these genres, same with Anders, and Jeppe mostly practiced jazz and world music by then. Anders and I had a duo in 2014, where we experimented a little bit with this mix of genres, trying to put something from both worlds together. But it was really when Jeppe decided to jump on the Nordic folk music train that the songs really started to come together and get a unique personal sound. From there on, it was mostly a process of writing tunes which we arranged collectively, and selecting the ones we thought worthy of putting on an album.

The reinterpretation of folk melodies with jazz sounds is one of the characteristics of By; how did you elaborate this sound?
It’s really hard to tell what really opened up the sound. Definitely not some thought out elaboration. I think it was something that just sprung out of the mix of melodious folk tradition and Nordic jazz aesthetics. And when we arranged the songs, everything was just kind of headed in one direction, which ended up in being the sound on By. It’s not even surely a definitive sound. Some of the tunes we’ve been writing lately have had a different character, and it’s not that we’re really pursuing something particular, but rather just following what we think the music is telling us to do with it.
When thinking of all the musical genres, which artists of the past have influenced you the most and which musicians of today are particularly interesting for you?
There would probably be three different personal answers to that question, haha! But as for the group sound, obviously Jan Johanson is a big inspiration. Particularly the way he integrated folk and jazz so beautifully. Today there are so many artists to look out for that it’s hard to specify just a few. I think we all appreciate what has come out of the ECM label both early and recently. That sounds and aesthetics are always totally hip and groundbreaking, and have that “Nordic melancholy” that we’re also trying to capture.
What is your opinion about the new streaming and distribution services offered by Internet to professional musicians?
For a small band like us, Spotify is not very helpful, nor are the other streaming services. We make 99% of our money from playing concerts and selling CD’s, and that won’t change until we get millions of monthly listeners. The internet, for sure, has opened a lot of doors for musicians to get discovered in different places in the world, but I don’t think much of that can be attributed to streaming services. I think we’re still in the early stages of developing a music platform, and hopefully we will find a solution which is both fair to artists and listeners as well. That being said, we are on all streaming services and that is mostly for the sake of our listeners that don’t use CD players anymore and just want to hear our music anywhere in the convenient form it is.
What do you think are the biggest challenges in the music business of the 2000s for a professional musician?
Well, I guess I can’t speak for all musicians out there, and it probably depends on what style of music you play, and where your band is located. For us I think the biggest challenge has been to feel appreciated and respected by the music industry in general. We get so much love from fans and supporters, but it’s not unusual to write to the same booker, gatekeeper or media outlet over and over again without ever getting an answer. I just think as a DIY band it takes a lot of time and dedication to prove yourself to some of the people in the industry. 
What are your plans for the future of the Hvalfugl trio?
Well, we are going to keep on playing! We actually just released a single out of a little project of 3 music videos. The next two will be released in January and February. We have a lot of concerts and festivals planned for 2018 already, and we have already started planning our second album a little bit. So yeah… 2018 will definitely be the year of the Hvalfugl!
 Hvalfugl interview jazzespresso jazz espresso rossato
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