Q&A SERIES - ANDERS BRØRBY
GZH100 - We Hovered With Short Wings is a compilation album celebrating Gizeh's 100th release. It features 21 exclusive tracks from artists who have been involved with the label over the past 18 years.
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GZH65DP - Anders Brørby - Nihil
Can you remember how you ended up first getting involved with Gizeh
Anders: Yeah, I remember ordering a CD by Aidan Baker back in 2014 I think. When I got the CD it had a little handwritten note in it, saying ”Thanks for your
support”, and I remember thinking that was really nice. It really sums up the
label in many ways. The care and attention to details, both to the listeners
and, as I later learned, to the artists. I sent a track from the album that
eventually would become “Nihil”, and got positive feedback. I was overjoyed
when it became clear that Gizeh wanted to release the album, it felt great, and
still feels great to be part of such an amazing label.
What are you currently finding inspiring?
Tell us a bit about your workspace / studio / the place you create.
It's a mix of many things, both personal life events, the state of the world and the little things in nature. Sounds, smells. the thin lines between the darkness and cruelty of the world, and the beauty that surrounds us within it. It's a thin line between these things, and somewhere on that line, I find lots of inspiration. As for the music I'm currently working on, discovering old tapes I recorded in my childhood was the main catalyst. Those strange old sounds was pure ambient bliss and nonsense. It took me back to my childhood, while at the same time being very alien. I was very inspired to use those old, forgotten sounds and turn them into something new. Recycling dead sounds in a way, while doing a similar process with new acoustic guitar recordings. My old shitty acoustic guitar is a constant inspiration to me. It's been present on most of my stuff, although I
try to process the sounds so it doesn't get too much attention.
Since none of us have been able to tour this year, what have you been occupying yourself with?
I've been doing quite a bit of producing for other artists, mastering a few records and also doing mastering work for a new video-game, made by a small team here in Norway. I've also recorded tracks for various compilations, and continued working on my new album, which has been a on-off project for quite some time. My daughter was born last year, so I recently had three months off, just spending
time with her. Actually, I don't really do touring anyways, so its not been a big difference to me. I prefer working within the creation part of music. To be honest, I've also spent a good portion of the time recording and playing video-games. It's kind of a huge passion for me as well as music. I'm a huge video-game nerd, and follow the industry more than most people I guess.
I have a small home-studio in the top floor in our house. The sound-isolation up there is shitty, so I try to get work done during the day, when no one is sleeping in the house. I quite like the room. It's a small loft, with a roof window and has just enough space for my modest set up. But I do much of the creating in other places, and since I seldom need much hardware to get going, I've had some great experiences recording in other places. Some of my “Nihil” album was recorded in an apartment in Greece, with a beautiful view over the ocean which was just a few meters away. That was incredibly inspiring, watching the waves at night, being lit up by the moon above and just soaking up the atmosphere. I guess I miss moments like that when sitting in my small loft room, but most of the atmosphere and feelings in my music comes from similar moments, although the recordings may not be done there and then.
What does a regular day look like for you? Do you have routines or habitual ways you work?
Lots of coffee, lights off, a couple of beers when possible. When I'm in work-
mode, I want to be as isolated as possible and have no distractions. I often just
press record and start jamming and improvising on my computer or guitar,
and see what happens. And I never delete anything until a few months. I've
discovered lots of cool stuff in recorded sessions that I don't even remember
doing, or that felt like shit at that moment, and vice versa, I've discarded
recordings that was painfully planned. My recordings never go as planned
anyways, and when I try to capture a specific thing, it often turns into a
starting point for something entirely different. I quite like that. I keeps the
recording exciting, and it makes it feel like parts of the creative process is
somewhat out of my control, while at the same time being able to steer it into
the directions I want.
What would be your dream collaboration?
Robert Fripp would be amazing. I would love to make a bed of sound for him to put his amazing guitar onto. Either that, or to make something like “I trawl the megahertz” with Paddy McAloon. That would be insane. That record is pure bliss, and it's been a huge inspiration for me. Lindsey Buckingham would also be amazing. His solo stuff is pretty far out sometimes, and if our collaboration turned
out to be shit, it would still be worth it just to get some juicy stories from the coked-up Fleetwood Mac years..
What was your entry point into playing music?
I come from a family where music has always been a very important thing. Both my parents sings in choirs, and both my grandfathers sang in choirs as well. My great-grandfather was also a composer and, and when I grew up music was all around. I started recording stuff when I was a kid, really weird stuff and myself singing on top of Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson stuff etc. I didn't start writing properly until about the age of 17 or something, and around that time
I started rehearsing and playing with my friends, which eventually turned into my old progressive rock band Radiant Frequency.
How do you know when a record's finished?
Most of the times it just feels right at some point, and I know it's done. I seldom bother doing any more work on a piece when I feel that way, except some very light mixing. But it's also about where it fits. At the moment I have a track that I recorded in the summer 2017, and it's been sitting there unchanged since. A few months ago, I realised it fits perfectly within the stuff I'm now working on, and I
did some very subtle mixing changes and it was done. 90 percent of it was recorded within a couple of hours, and I always knew it was something right about it, but it wasn't really “done” until it found a home alongside these other pieces I'm working on. There's a time and place for most pieces, especially when something feels right about them from the moment they start existing.
How do you balance health and productivity?
These days it's no problem. I used to have these extreme fixations and got totally obsessed with various projects. I could work for days and nights on pieces without any breaks, and I got kinda crazy about it from time to time. Forgot to eat, sleep. It was almost like the music possessed me in a way. I guess that has a lot to do with where you are in life. I was in a dark place when recording a few of my previous records. Now I have a family, a little daughter and the main concern is to get the balance so that I can manage to get any work done at all! I guess that's better in the long run, although the productivity gets a little lower. I've never had any writers block or something like that though. New ideas keep coming all the time, and I always have a few projects done in my head.
Do you have a favourite Gizeh release or one that particularly resonates with you?
That's a tough one. I really love “Mirror Breathing” by Shield Patterns, and also Christine Ott's “Tabu”. I guess “Half Lives” by Aidan Baker will always resonate very much with me, as I listened to it a lot during a very specific and strange time in my life, and also because it was the album that really got me into Gizeh in the first place.
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