Norwegian sound artiste Kaada has carved out a niche for himself as a composer who can straddle the fine line between lush compositions and relevant pop music. As evidenced by his third release for Ipecac Recordings, Music for Moviebikers, Kaada provides listeners with serene single-song soundtracks that evoke the emotion of film where none is there to find. There are very little vocals – the main focus remains calm melodies played on exotic instruments. “I’ve made some of the instruments myself,” explains Kaada. “One of them is made of springs and piano strings, which I’m actually hoping to get into production one day. Also I like to personalize devices and make adjustments in my sets of musical tools.”
For his latest, Kaada decided to not go at it alone, but instead, he assembled quite a supporting cast. “The ensemble consists of 22 musicians. There are traditional instruments, like strings, electric guitars, and of course, vocalists. But there are also many strange instruments involved. To get the sounds I wanted, I also had to hire folk musicians from different parts of Europe.” It also turns out that Kaada resisted the temptation to take the easy way out during the recording. “At these times of digital music productions and great software samplers, I find it even more important to actually play the instruments live, instead of programming them. It brings a life, uniqueness and soul to the songs, and it feels so much better to do it the organic way.”
It also turns out that the entirely self-produced Music for Moviebikers was recorded over a relatively short period of time. “I got together a great gang of musicians, and went to a large hall outside of Oslo to record the album. We had over a ton of equipment rigged up, and the recording sessions lasted for three weeks. I had everything written down on notes before we started, so it was just a question of getting a good performance.”
As with all of Kaada’s releases, a cinematic quality is brought to the table once more, but even more so this time. “This is music that is inspired by films, but I don’t want to make a big issue out of this. It’s not me who should tell the listeners what it is, in which category they should put it. Music that must be explained by the artist – this is absolutely not my cup of tea. Just look around what kind of music needs plenty of explanation. General rule – the more words, the more unpleasant the music. The music is there, as an offer. The listener can listen and decide. Not me. The lyrics are mostly just fantasy-language or non-verbal.
“With this record, I hope to bring the two worlds together – the recording artist and the film music. Throughout my work as a film music composer, there has been a certain pressure from the media and the public about that I should release my film music on CD. I’ve been having some troubles doing this, and despite the fact that I probably could have sold a lot of records, and earned some dough, I haven’t gotten myself to it. I feel that my film music belongs with the pictures that they are composed to. Even though people try to convince me otherwise, I don’t feel that it can stand on its own feet.”
With the music possessing such a grand scope, finding a proper title proved to be a bit tricky. “I wanted to find a title that described the fact that this was cinematic music. The alternatives were Music for an Imaginary Film, which was too cliché, Accompaniment to a Cinematographic Scene sounded too pompous and another idea was Fake Film, Real Music, which sounded stupid. Music for Moviebikers was a good fit.”
Despite writing and recording his own albums on a regular basis, Kaada has also found the time to work on other projects. “One of the bands that I play in is called Cloroform. We released an album in April 2005 [Cracked Wide Open] and have been touring all over Europe doing 40 gigs. We also did some touring with the Kaada band and with the Kaada/Patton band. I’ve also done some film music. I feel privileged to have the opportunity to work on films. It broadens my scope and I learn so much by doing it. Films force me in directions that I would never go into elsewhere. Not only do I learn how to write for those ensembles, but I also learn about how to record them, and I get to know a lot of skilled musicians.”
Notwithstanding all the accolades that are sure to come his way for his latest release, Kaada warns to not read too much into it. “These are just 13 connected calm songs that I like.”