Sunday, June 21, 2015

Thomas T Dahl 13 Questions

Photo Koshiba Takaaki

Thomas T Dahl (born September 7, 1973)  is a Norwegian jazz musician (guitar), music educator and composer, known from a series recordings, among others, within bands like Krøyt, Dingobats and Skydive Trio.

Dahl studied at Jazzlinja in Trondheim and stayed there for the period 1993-2000. The main projects during the period was Krøyt (1993-2005), Dingobats (1995-2005) and Erlend Skomsvoll's Skomsork (1996-1902).
In 2000 Dahl moved to Bergen, where he toured and participated in recordings with Ephemera in the period 2003-2007.

SkyDive Trio Photo Käthe Øien
In recent years, Dahl mainly worked with Mats Eilertsen Skydive: the trio has been working extensively together for many years, on Mats Eilertsens two earlier Hubro albums ”Radio Yonder ” (2009) and ”Skydive” (2011) as well as Mats Eilertsens comissioned work for 7 musicians ”Rubicon” at the VossaJazz-festival in 2014. Also in BMX (w/Njål Ølnes-Sax, Øyvind Skarbø-Drums, Per Jørgensen-Trumpet/Voice/Perc). In addition he is a member of "VHO" (w/ Steinar Krokstad-Drums, Harald Dahlstrøm-Keyboards, Ole Marius Sandberg-Bass) that fills Logen Bar in Bergen, every monday nigh.

Photo @Avgarde – Bergen
Dahl also works as a session and backing musician for a lot of significant scandinavian artists. Thomas has released albums with the band BMX with Per Jørgensen, Dingobats with Eirik Hegdal, and has collaborated with Erlend Skomsvoll, Jon Balke, Hilmar Jensson, Nils-Olav Johansen, Jim Beard, John Inderberg and produced Highasakites debut album.

Dahl has written commissioned works for Norwegian Hydro (Nattjazz, 2004), to Finsejazz 2005, with Per Jørgensen and Frank Jakobsen, written "Thumbs Up" (2006).
Dahl has worked as a teacher at Jazzlinja (NTNU), College of Music (2002-05), Rogaland Music Conservatory (2009-10) and the Grieg Academy (2005-).

He has an amazing instrumental capacity, equally at home in various styles and genres, chordal structures, sonic cinematic landscapes and more modern pop/rock-oriented projects really using the full potential of his guitar, the rich full string sound combined with tasty drops of electronic treatments. He writes beautiful, intriguing, melodic and melancholic compositions.

What do you remember about your first approach to sound? was to copy whatever sound i heard, and then try to get as close to it as possible.

Which was the first and the last record you bought with your own money?

First: Kiss Killers (1982). I'm a big Kiss fan. I have the same feelings about Kiss as I have for Star Wars. It's too important to be judged.
Last: Miles Davis Live at the Plugged Nickel Box. I actually bought the box when it came out late 90s, but I loaned some of them out to friends and never got them back. It's sold ridiculously cheap on iTunes, so I just bought it again. I think this recording captures, for me, one of the most interesting interplaying bands ever. I put off time to listen through this recording at least once every year.

Mats Eilertsen - bass, Tore Brunborg - sax, Thomas Dahl - guitar, Olavi Louhivuori - drums

How's your musical routine practice?

It varies. If I have a lot of projects ahead of me, my time is spent trying to build headroom on the material. In off periods I first try to get my technique in good shape. I don't like to feel limited by technique. I also try to create music, and find new ways of looking at music.

Which work of your own are you most surprised by?

I think BMX's album Rozel Point came to be a pleasant surprise. We had such a bad feeling in the studio. We didn't feel we connected and got very self concious. We did 31 open takes. We were thinking about not releasing it at all. But after a while I started to mix it and felt it was possible to make a decent album. So we released it ever though we felt weird about it. I listened to the music recently (2,5 years after we recorded it) and I really like it. So I guess that our feelings about the studio session clouded our judgment. Lesson learned.

What's the relevance of technique in music, in your opinion?

For me technique is a very useful tool, just as all kinds of knowledge are useful tools when you try to define yourself. I never saw limitations as a good thing. Being dogmatic can be tough.

  • Thomas T Dahl : Baritone Guitar, Shahzad Ismaily – Bass, Øyvind Skarbø : Drums
What are the challenges and benefits of today's digital music scene?

The benefit is that it's easily accessible for the listener. It's also much easier to get music released. Anyone can release their own albums on their own labels. This has resulted in an overflow of publications and the quality is broader than ever, from the really amazing to the extremely poor. With the decline of the record labels we have lost some sort of qualitative censorship. So for the time being we are strugling to find new methods to determin quality on a very open platform like internet. People have to try to find new channels to trust in search of their favorite music. Exciting times.

How do you feel listening to your own music?

If the music is recent I think that I'm mostly scrutinizing it. So it might hard to enjoy. But when I get some distance to it I can enjoy it as I do with other music. But it takes time.

Which is the main pleasure of the strings? What are their main limitation?

I like that you have control over vibrato. Vibrato enhaces sustain. The sustain of a piano note is determined by the attack. And after the attack you can only make it shorter, not longer. As for the guitar I really like the possibility to use vibrato on one spesific note in a chord, to make it stand out more.
One thing I miss is the ability to play crescendo like a horn and bow-players can. But we can of course emulate it with volume pedals or by playing tremolo.

T Absalonsen Vocals, Thomas T Dahl Lead guitar, Tarjei A Heggernes Rhythm guitar, Kai K Lie Bass, Nils A Drønen Drums 

Tell me one musical work which has provoked a change in your music.

Björk's Debut album really made a chance in my awareness about music. That an album filled with so many different kinds of elements, sounds and moods could become so whole, amazed me. She punched me in my way of thinking, and a bunch of walls came down. After that, making the obvious choices, felt meaningless.

What is your relationship with other disciplines such as painting, literature, dance, theater ...?

I love to experience other types of art. I've worked with theatre and dance in several different projects and it's always interesting to interact with other ways of communicating. I also love to go to galleries. I have no knowledge about the craft, but I still like to try to translate what i experience to what I do, and see what kind of effect that would have on the music.

Where are your roots? What are your secret influences?

I grew up in a musical family where everyone knew a lot about classical music. I'm really happy about being exposed to so much fantastic music so early. Later I got into hard rock. The first songs I learned on guitar were Kiss, Deep Purple, AC/DC tunes etc. In my mid teens I discovered Stevie Ray Vaughan. That raw energy and groovy guitar playing was my first real guitar kick. I always look for that energy/nerve in music, even though it might take different shapes than SRV's formula did.

What quality do you most empatize with in a musician?


Alexi Tuomarila, piano, Tore Brunborg, sax, Olavi Louhivuori, drums, Thomas T Dahl, guitar, Mats Eilertsen, bass

Which living or dead artist would you like to collaborate with?

Wayne Shorter!

What projects are you working on now and what does the future hold?

The upcoming autumn I will focus on Skydive Trio with Mats Eilertsen and Olavi Louhivuori. The three of us will also be working with Mats Eilertsen's Rubicon.

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2015 Skydive Trio: 
Sun Moee (Hubro) (Vinyl)

2014 BMX
Rozel Point (Øyvind Jazzforum)

2014 Calle Hamre 
Why do they call it dying (Single) (YFM)

2013 VHO
Hem til Jul (Egil Eldøen)

2013 Lise Olden/VHO
Min Skattekiste (Loe Prod.)

2012 Kåre Kalvenes 
Biter av tid (Kåre Kalvenes)

2012 HighasaKite 
All That Floats Will Rain (Riot Factory/Highasakite) 

2011 HighasaKite 
Indian Summer (Single) (Riot Factory/Highasakite)

 2011 Qvales Ensemble 
Bohem (Kirkelig Kulturverksted)

2011 Jan Eggum 
Kjærlighet & Ærlighet 3 (Grappa Records)

2011 Mats Eilertsen 
Skydive (Hubro) 

2010 BMX 
Bergen Open (NorCD)

2010 Erik Moll 
Fram til i dag (EMM Records)

Jan Toft 
Alle e aleina (WEA)

St. Satan 
Horns for Adornment (Grindar)

Storm (Big Box Records)

2009 Mats Eilertsen 
Radio Yonder (Hubro)

2009 Christine Sandtorv 
Stjerneteller – Godnattsanger (Ifemmera Records)
2008 Guttene 
Du e’ i Bergen no (Breiflabb Records)
 2008 Pinocchio
Ai-Ai-Ai Pinocchio er her (Pinocchio)

 2008 Vamp 
St. Mandag (Major Selskapet)  
2007 Elvin Friendly 
Elvin Friendly (Music Buisness Norway AS)

2007 Terje Nilsen 
Portrett (Grammofon)

2007 Kloster 
Big Fish (Kloster)
  2007 Erlend Ropstad 
Bright Late Nights (REC 90)

2006 Kristin Asbjørnsen 
Factotum (Milan Music)

 2006 Heidi Marie Vestrheim 
Beautiful Houses (Bluebox Records)
2006 Christine Sandtorv 
First Last Dance (Ifemmera Records) 

 2006 Siri Gjære 
Survival Kit (Bergland Production)  
2006 Erlend Skomsvoll 
Variasjoner (Grappa Records)

 2005 Linda Fosse Hagen 
Eit Eventyr (Linda Fosse Hagen)

 2004 Dingobats 
Follow (Jazzaway Records)

2004 Christine Guldbrandsen
Moments (EPIC)

2004 Ephemera 
Monolove (Ephemera Records)
2004 Skomsork 
Skomsork (Park Grammofon)   

 2003 Karin Park 
Superworldunknown (Waterfall Records) 
 2002 Ivar Neergaard 
Mulle Miktor Synger og Fantasoferer (Bergen Records)  

 2002 Dingobats 
Pöck (Bergland Production)
2001 KRØYT 
Body Electric (MNW)
2001 Lars Erik Drevvatne 
Keys on and off (Acoustic Records)

 2001 KRØYT
One Heart Is Too Small (MNW)  
1999 Blå – Blå i Molde (w/KRØYT) (BP) 
 1999 KRØYT 
Low (BP) 

 1999 KRØYT 
Shall I Forget? (Single) (BP)
1998 Lina Holt
14736 Tekopper (Teselskapet)  

 1998 Dingobats
The New Dingobats Generation (Turn Left Productions)

 1997 KRØYT 
Sub (Curling Legs Productions)
1997 Bluescreen
Change (Arcade Music/MSO)
1993 SFH ’93