You must be very proud of „Dream Awakening” – It’s a masterpiece.
Thank you very much! It certainly took a long time to finish the album, so it feels good to finally be able to hold it in my hand. It brings a sense of accomplishment, rather than pride. It’s kind of like walking in the mountains. You see what seems like a mountain top, and you want to get up there and conquer that mountain, but when you finally get to the top you realize there is another peak on the horizon. So the journey just keeps going forward. The Japanese have a concept they call Yugen, which signifies something that creates a great longing in you without letting itself be pinned down or defined. This is the artist’s deep longing for the ecstasy, not unlike that of the sufi mystic or the shaman, which is truly a driving force in Oberon. Do we ever get there? Only in the end will we know. But yes, I am happy, and if you think it is a masterpiece it means it brought a smile to your face and a light to your heart, and then I can safely say: mission accomplished!
Dou you have any favorites songs on this album?
I think “I Can Touch The Sun With My Heart” and “Age of the Moon” are very strong tracks that I can still listen to over and over even after having heard them probably a thousand times each. I think the best way to enjoy Dream Awakening is to listen to the whole album in one sitting, with headphones (and maybe some red wine) and your attention tuned inwards. It’s a lyrics driven album, so each song has an ebb and flow according to what the lyrics are trying to get across.
“Phoenix” kills – could you tell us some words about this song?
Something that has become more and more important to me is to understand what it means to be a human being. A great part of the human journey involves great struggles, both within and without. Living means constantly measuring oneself against the forces of the world. We age, our skin wrinkles. As our experiences grow more complex and their consequences more far reaching, we harden and get wiser, and the as we get stronger, so does the storm of life. We just have to clench our fists until they crack so that we can do what we believe we are here to do. Being human is about facing all the miseries and joys of living with a warrior’s attitude. We have to be able to withstand the violence of nature and existence in such a way that we can build a place inside where the heart can still glow with the light of magic and love so we can taste that place where the innocence of children still exists. I think that is a part of what that song is about. People hate each other, because of politics, religion and so on, and while that is quite natural, at the end of the day, it’s really all about how well we live our own lives.
I think Oberon has a very egalitarian message in the sense that we are all in the same boat, basically, and we mostly have the same fundamental needs. We might even – as children of the conscious, living and breathing Mother Earth – share the same destiny. If so, that is significant, and rather than fighting wars and letting our hearts get darkened by hatred, let’s try to understand why we are here and do something to make the world a better place. We are the flickering thought of the cosmos, we cannot break apart!
What did you do during all these years between “Future Whirl” (2002) and „Dream Awakening” (2014)?
I followed my bliss. I settled down with the woman of my dreams, sought out teachers who could help me move forward on my path. I moved to the US and lived in one of the great cities of the world, Chicago, traveled around and met great people who helped me become a better person. In other words, it was a journey of discovery, a 12 year long rite of passage. In our world there are hardly any rites of passage left. Especially in this part of the world where we tend to not believe what can’t be measured by ordinary means, meaning money and material gratification. But even that kind of existential passivity, that impulse driven nothingness, is in itself a rite of passage: From being a human being full of potential, to becoming an empty vessel of what they call The Nothing in that wonderful movie, “The Never Ending Story”. By taking away the rites that allow us to review what we are doing to ourselves and the world, the magic of nature will slowly die. That is something I deal with in the song “Age of The moon”, too. The idea of the fall of Nature’s God’s (who Robert Anton Wilson called the “Magician who makes the grass green”) spell, something that will shatter our world and leave us as true idiots, beings incapable of understanding our Mother’s language and feelings. That leaves us with no hope, no destiny, and we will perish like dogs. So anyway, I want to believe that I spent all those 12 years well, passing through a gate where I could see myself as I was, and understand how I could open my heart to the soundless words of nature that can bring me closer to realizing my destiny. In reality, this is the bottom line of what is being said on “Dream Awakening”. This is IT.
Norwegian bands like Gazpacho or Airbag and Oberon play very atmospheric music. I’m wondering if it is because of the weather or climate?
I am not very familiar with the Norwegian music scene, but I do believe strongly in the power of roots. The Norse sagas are very poetic and share that sensibility towards the elements and forces of nature that I think you are referring to. So yes, I would say it’s in our blood.
What do you think about Gazpacho’s music? They are very popular here in Poland.
I wasn’t familiar with them at all before you mentioned them here, but after listening to some of their material I’d say it sounds pretty cool! For some reason parts of it made me think of Miranda Sex Garden. They got some really beautiful melodies going here and the songwriting is very strong. Great band!
Is it easy to by a musician in Norway? Can you pay your bills playing music?
We have certain institutions that are supposed to endorse and stimulate cultural initiatives, but I don’t know how much that actually benefits artists who are outside of the mainstream or what’s considered “proper art” by the powers that be. Back in the 90s it was quite easy for us to get access to rehearsal rooms as there were a lot of incentives by the local governments and city administrations to make gear, instruments and space available. A lot of bands from my area had their start thanks to this. In general, however, I think most of us are too busy with the daily grind to be able to put in the time and effort it takes to make money enough to live comfortably as professionals in the current landscape. Besides I haven’t been a part of the music scene here since the early 90s, so I don’t really know what it’s like for the bands here now.
Could you recommend any other interesting Norwegian bands?
If you like laid back, lush atmospheres, check out Sleepyard. They recently put out an album called Black Sails, but my favorite album by them, Future Lines, has a lot of great material on it. That being said, I’ll say that some of the most treasured albums in my collection have been by Polish artists such as Księżyc and Schistosoma, both released via Obuh records! Back then I was listening to stuff like Equinox ov the Gods (Sweden), Soulgrind (Finland), Eterne (UK) and more mainstream stuff like Depeche Mode or Fields of the Nephilim, but when I got these cassettes the music on them opened me up to a world of sound and atmosphere altogether different from anything I had been used to. Poland is obviously a country that can be proud of having created some fantastic artists!
Thank you so much – could you write some words to our readers?
First of all, thank you so much for supporting Oberon. This music came from my heart. I didn’t choose to be a musician, but music happened to be the vessel of an inner life that always wanted to manifest itself in the external world. We live in crazy times, and our individual character could be tested at any moment. To be able to reach out to people in Poland, or Serbia, Holland, Germany, USA or even South America or the far East is a privilege and an honor – and to find new friendships in the process is a blessing no matter how modest the scope of that is. Always stay true to who you are and keep going! Abracadabra!