Thursday, April 3, 2008

Two and a Half Questions with Ólafur Arnalds

Your music is saturated with emotion. Can you share your thoughts on inspiration, in terms of feelings, events, as well as artists, both contemporary, and obviously classical.
Inspiration is always a complicated thing to talk about. Everything inspires me on some level and it is very hard to tell which things have the most effect. It is very hard to realize for yourself what makes you do what you do, you just do it, you know? Sometimes i dont even think about it, i just do it and it comes automatically. I think that is one kind of inspiration, the one you dont notice, something that is more just hidden inside you, and it comes from everything around you; your friends, the music you listen to and whatever you experience. It doesnt even have to come from the outside.. it can just be some impulses in my body that tell my hands to move in a certain direction on the piano.The other kind of inspiration is the more obvious one. When I can actually feel this really big inspiration inside me. I have maybe experienced something and I feel like you just have to write some music right now, and before I even start, I know how it will end. I know completely how it is going to be. For me, that inspiration usually comes from movies. I love the art form that is films and some films are just like music. So beautiful, and i just want to turn them into music.As for artists i can mention Arvo Part, Max Richter and Javier Navarrette in contemporary artists for example, but of course there are many others. As for classical, my favorites are Dmitri Shostacovich, Bella Bartók, Messian, Bach and countless others!

There is a lot of cross over these days between modern classical, post-rock, shoegaze, ambient, and of course electronic. What are your thoughts on the evolution of music, and how would you classify your own?
I guess mine could be classified as some sort of cross-over between contemporary classical, post rock and ambient electronica.. But i don’t like putting names like that on my music, it usually gives people the wrong picture.. I think there is a lot of very interesting music today. I like how we always invent new types of music but always keep playing the old styles, so instead of it being a direct evolution where one thing takes over from the last one, it’s just getting more and more.. which is very convenient for a nerd like me who likes almost every possible type of music.

I’ve heard a lot of amazing music come from Iceland, and know of some artists who dream of "moving to Iceland, locking the doors, and composing for days on..." What role, do you think, your hometown, and geography in general play in musical composition?
To be 100% honest.. not much.. Of course Iceland plays a big part but i think it’s much more the community and the people around me than the view from my window.. I wrote a lot of Eulogy for Evolution on an electric keyboard in my parents’ dark, dirty garage. Not much nature there. |

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