Neoprog : Hello, we thank you very much to take the time to answer our questions. First of all, how are you ?
Gazpacho : Hello and thank you for taking an interest in our work it means a lot to us. I am doing ok thanks for asking but like most people here in Norway, shell shocked from the terrible events in Paris on Friday. Our hearts are broken.
Neoprog : Since ‘Night’, all your productions are concept albums. Is concept album something you consider now as part of the group DNA, or can we still imagine that in the future you’ll release other ‘standard’ albums not based on specific ideas or stories ?
Gazpacho : I don't know, we always say that we take whatever comes from wherever music comes from and we never consciously try to make a certain kind of album. We just go with the flow and hope for the best. We have talked about going for a double album next time, one with songs and one with a very long song but only the future knows!
Neoprog : Night is talking of the border between dream and reality, Demon is about evil quest, but what does Molok, the machine which predicts future, talk about ?
Gazpacho : Molok is about the battle between the rational mind and the emotional mind. They can never peacefully co exist in our consciousness and so we are always in a state of tension mentally and that is why the main character in the story decides to build the machine "Molok", to prove or disprove God who stands for the emotional romantic mind.
Neoprog : Why did you choose to tell Molok story in year 1920 ?
Gazpacho : According to my research a group of philosophers united and formed an updated form of the mechanistic worldview around the 1920s. This in addition to the publication of the Theory of Relativity made this time realistic for someone to build a machine like Molok. We wanted the machine to be a mechanical contraption and not a computer so we knew we needed to be some time before the 40s.
Neoprog : How do you find, and what does inspire your concept-album ideas ?
Gazpacho : The concepts seem to come naturally as the albums progress. I spend a lot of time listening to and working with the demos and every once in a while a have an idea that I mull over and then forget on purpose. After a few months the subconscious usually spits it back at me fully formed and ready for further work. The inspiration is always a deep felt sense of wonder and awe at being alive on earth in a working body, which speaking of machine is a fantastic one. I also read a lot and as I have grown older I've started to enjoy some of the "real" authors. Like your Marcel Proust or our Ibsen. Those two guys can between them tell us more about human beings than anyone else and their books are a limitless source of ideas.
Neoprog : Demon, your previous album, has included multiple traditional music influences. With Molok, we come back to your musical style fans are more accustomed to hear. Why this new change back ? Is it linked to the story which is told for this new album ?
Gazpacho : There is traditional music on Molok as well but much older than usual as much of the album includes stone age instruments that were added by the music archaeologist GjermundKolltveit who plays reconstructions of ancient lyres, bone flutes and singing stones. All changes are conscious as we try to keep the music true to the ideas being presented on the albums.
Neoprog : To come back to Demon, this is the most baffling - others would say confusing - album you wrote so far. Are you satisfied with the welcome that music world (fans and critics) has reserved to this album ?
Gazpacho : Very satisfied. I have always claimed that people are a hell of a lot smarter than the media gives them credit for. I work in advertising where it is assumed, correctly to a degree, that the simpler you make something the better it will be received. With demon we were worried that we had gone too far in creating something that was art for artssake with no attention being given to how it might or might not be understood. In the following reviews and talks I've had with fans at gigs and in emails it is obvious that they completely understand the album. In some cases even better than us where interpretations that we are presented with feel much truer than our original thoughts and intentions behind the songs. Demon and Molok both have confirmed to us that we appeal to very smart people who can handle anything we throw at them. Only of course if it is true. That is the ultimate test of any music, if it feels true it is good and if it is forced and calculated it will be rejected by the listener.
Neoprog : The ideas included in your albums seem to become darker and darker with time. Does it reflect the way you see the actual world, and your opinions about the way it goes ahead ?
Gazpacho : Probably. We are pretty easy going guys and we have lots of laughs and fun while we make the albums but life has dark sides and we're all going to die in the end so we always keep our eye on those fundamental truths. Even though these times are especially dark with the current tragic events, we are essentially not political in any way and have no interest in politics per se. It is a much more gazpacho situation with the woman who was recently caught sawing off her mother's leg as the mother was frozen and the daughter wanted to bury her in the woods in accordance with her mother's wishes than anything going on politically.
The leg story is sad but also, in a grotesque way beautiful and it shows the alienation between a natural wish to bury someone you love where they want to be buried and the impossibility of freedom to be natural in modern industrial society where millions are squashed into boxes to spend their lives in glorified cells where they work themselves to death to finance living in that very box.
Neoprog : In your whole discography, what was the easiest and the most difficult album to write according to you ?
Gazpacho : The easiest one was believe it it not, Demon, and the most difficult one Molok. With Molok we struggled for a long time to find the correct sound and mix for the album.
Neoprog : We know that Marillion played for you an important role at the beginning of your carrier. Do you still have relationships with the band members ?
Gazpacho : We are great chums with Steve Hogarth who is a darling and a genuinely wonderful person. He is visiting Oslo in December and we'll be meeting him for burgers and beer.
Neoprog : During lives, Gazpacho cannot be really considered as an extroverted group delivering big rock show, like Flying Colors for instance. Jan keeps his glasses on and has a very simple style on stage. The other members concentrate more on playing music rather than performing a big show. Are there reasons for which you have this live behavior, this calm-and-quiet way of being on stage ?
Gazpacho : We don't believe in the rock star ethic and we also believe that the musician/singer should work hard not to get in the way of the music. After the shows we like to go out and chat with the audience and thank them all for coming. It's all common sense and our natural way to behave.
Neoprog : We know that is it most of the time always difficult for progressive bands to find locations for gigs, meet their fans and make their number grow. How is the situation as far as Norway is concerned ? Is it easy for you to play that kind of music and increase its visibility ?
Gazpacho : Norway is close to impossible as the country has a very small population 5 million, that is spread out across a long country. The distance from the top to the bottom of Norway is equal to the distance from Oslo to Rome! The Norwegian press is very small and tend to spend most of its time writing about whatever hipster band is the coolest at the moment and for this reason some of our biggest bands get little press if any.
Neoprog : You have played live at the Night Of TheProg in 2008. Seven years after this special concert and live event, what memories, words, and feelings come first to your mind ?
Gazpacho : I remember it with great pleasure and pride and I still occasionally miss those times. The gig was great fun and Loreley is a very cool and beautiful location. We'll have to do it again soon I think.
Neoprog : You have just made gigs to promote Molok in european countries such as Poland, Germany, Netherlands, UK and Norway. Will we have a chance to see you very soon live on stage in France ?
Gazpacho : We have decided to come to Paris on the next tour. If enough people attend that event, France will be back on the list as one of our regular haunts. My daughter was conceived in Paris and we all have a special love for the city and country.
Neoprog : Thank you once again for your time.
Gazpacho : All the love in the world back.
Rédigé par Neoprog le 24/11/2015