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Tactile Gemma Interview | <a href="http://canbaskent.net">Can Başkent</a>

Can Başkent

logic and the rest...



Can: Hi. How is it to appear in Sonic Splendour? Did you appear in an underground press with an intie before this?
I haven't done any Tactile Gemma itws before, but I think Rune has answered some in a couple of underground mags... I have however done quite a few Atrox interviews in the underground press. Both Rune and I play in Atrox, maybe you didn't know that...?

Let's start with the details that our readers may need to establish a profile about Tactile Gemma. Infos about your line-up, band history etc. may help us..
Tactile Gemma consists of Ann-Mari Edvardsen (ex-The3rd & the Mortal), Rune Sørgård and me, Monika Edvardsen. Ann-Mari and I write lyrics, make vocal lines and sing and Rune does all the rest (composing, programming, guitars, bass etc), except that Ann-Mari wrote & programmed 2-3 of the themes on the album. We formed Tactile Gemma in 1998. Rune and I had some themes that didn't fit in Atrox that we nevertheless wanted to play and Ann-Mari had just left 3rd so the 3 of us came together to jam and write songs. Rune studied sound engineering at the Conservatory of Music and we recorded some songs at the school's studio. 3 of them became the demo featured on the Tactile Gemma album. We signed a contract with Season of Mist in 2000 (I think!) and instead of money for studio we got equipment that made us able to record the whole album at Rune's home.

What's the secret of signing up with Season of Mist with a 3-track demo?
Atrox was already signed on Season of Mist and the label has option on band members' side projects unless other labels have better deals. The SoM guy was in our town to follow Bloodthorn (who were also on SoM) on tour, he got to hear our material (which was the demo + some extra songs) and he immediately liked it. We planned to send the demo to labels, but we were too lazy so we just accepted the SoM deal.

I really wonder what had those ladies listened to, helping to create thier own vocal stlye. Do the ladies have any education on their voice?
Ann-Mari now studies opera in Stockholm, Sweden after 3 years at music college and 3 years at the Conservatory of Music all the time with the voice as her main instrument. She has also sung gospel and jazz before. I have no formal education in singing except that I went to music college for a little while with the guitar as main instrument and then I had a few singing lessons as well. Later on I have learned singing techniques by listening to Arabian, Indian and Eastern European singers, singing along with them and experimenting on my own, always bearing in mind that a sore throat indicates unsound song techniques, so I have avoided everything that makes a sore throat hehe!

Do you feel comfortable with a so-known black-death metal label, Season of Mist?
No, cause they only have contacts in the metal/goth scene and this means that we mainly reach out to people with only a secondary interest in our kind of music and we don't reach out to those who are really into electronic music. We're not happy with the label in other ways either - there's a serious lack of communication. We didn't get to see the front cover of the album before print.

How are the reactions you got so far?
We've had almost only positive reactions - I have seen only one negative review so far. Those who likes Atrox also likes Tactile Gemma and I hope it works the other way as well hehehe!

How do you manage to come back to the "real world" after writing a song? Does your imagination prevent you doing some daily-life routins?
Oh no, absolutely not, it's rather the contrary! Imagination enrichens daily life enormously so you may rather say our minds are never in the "real world" hehe! I used to work a bit as a "cleaning lady" and many of my vocal lines are made while washing floors! People who lived around where I worked were very happy with " the singing cleaning lady" - I guess that shatters some illusions hehe... Well, we don't care much about image anyway so it doesn't matter. To paraphrase the Sprite advertisement: Image is nothing, imagination is everything!

If it were you, which one would you choose to be: Aranea, Bumblebee, Cicada, Daddy-longlegs or Emmet?
I usually feel like Emmet; a bit lost and forgotten, so I think I want to be Cicada cause then I get to sing "Lulla lullaby the moon is watching over you" for Bumblebee and Daddy-longlegs will sing me "Calm down, sleep spins a coccoon for you". And I get to play the violin hehehe!

"Creepy crawlies" has some kinda mystic influences in it as E.A.Poe did in his stories.. How is your tendency towards the literature? What about Lovecraft and Tolkien who are quiet famous here in Turkey and, of course, in the (middle) earth?
I haven't read Tolkien, only seen "Lord of the Rings", but I have read some Poe and Lovecraft and been inspired by them. I don't read much books though. I mostly read poems and shortstories as well as comics and school books of course. I really like Don Domanski's poetry which is full of animals and oddities. Both Ann-Mari and I like to use animals as images and we both have loads of toy animals to play with hehe! They are food for imagination. We also love animated movies like "Wallace and Grommit" and cartoons, especially "Oggy and the Cockroaches". We made a video for "Blackberry Jam" with lots of animation of a beetle, an octopus (but with only 7 arms hehe!), two dolls and more. Ann-Mari was the brain behind the video and she has also participated in making an animated short film as an ad for an opera she sang in.

Electronic music is commonly known as an easy-to-do style. It seems tuning the synth and pushing the buttons is far much easier than creating it with real instruments? So, what are your experiences on electronix?
I don't mind if the music I listen to was difficult or easy to make as long as the listening experience is cool. To me it doesn't make sense to like music because it's impressive and dislike music because it was easy to do. Just imagine: for a musical genius like Mozart any music piece would be easy to do, but that doesn't mean anything except that his talent is impressive, and that's something you can't experience from listening to the actual music. To someone who can't play an instrument any simple music piece is difficult to play, but that doesn't lift the emotional aspects of the listening experience. To me music must appeal to my emotions much much more than to the intellect. I enjoy both strictly computerized music and completely "organic" music and Tactile Gemma consists of both, so I'm happy!

Where do you live? As I guess from the tunes of your music, it is somewhere with big baroc churches and castles? :))
Hehe, we live in normal apartments. Rune lives in Gothenburg, Sweden, Ann-Mari lives in Stockholm, Sweden and I live in Trondheim, Norway. I live right next to Nidarosdomen (the Nidaros Cathedral), which was built around 1000-1100 and where it's said to be a ghost - a monk :) You can see Nidarosdomen on the cover of Mayhem: "Mysteriis... whatever it's called... dom Sataniis...(?)" I can't see the cathedral from my window though, because of a big ugly building in between. It sucks...

How is your situation in Norway. I guess you're rather popular there..
No, we are after all on a small metal label, so only metal people knows we exist and metal is not big in Norway. Our album is distributed in Norway by some metal dude who doesn't like our music, so we're completely unknown and I have only seen one Tactile Gemma CD in one shop so far. Sad but true.

Baltic and Scandinavian stories and tales are famous in literature. Most of the tale writers such as Grimm bros., Andersen came from the cold countries.. Besides, Scandinavian myths (especially Kalevela of Fins) are quite known among the others of Europe. Your lyrics seems the contination of this tradition. Your ideas??
Hmmm, you might say that about some of the lyrics, yes... "Blackberry Jam", "Whizz" and "Creepy-crawlies" are little tales for the sake of being tales and to stimulate imagination. I don't know the Kalevala, but I know lots of the old Norwegian tales collected by Asbjørnsen & Moe as well as those collected by the Grimm bros and of course H.C. Andersen, who created his own tales. I'm also a fan of "Thousand and one night" - I read all of them twice when I was 10 years old. If my parents knew how much sex and violence there were in those tales I would never have been allowed hehehe!

This is the end. Any words...
Since you are from Turkey I'd like to mention that I'm very interested in finding albums by Turkish folk singers, so if someone could recommend anything for me I'd be happy. I have some records with the medieval ensemble Sarband where Mustafa Dogan Dikmen from Turkey sings and I'd like to hear more of his style. I also have a record of the Bosphorous Orchestra with the singers: Hani Karaca, Melda Kurt and Sibel Sezal which I really like. I don't know if these are famous names in Turkey, but if anyone could recommend some singers in this style, please write to me: marika_no@hotmail.com Do also check out Atrox, we have a new album called "Terrestrials" out now. Avant garde metal with prog and folk elements. Thank you, Monika.