2014, Danish synthesist / composer Henrik Hytteballe released
Flow, under the name The Haiku Project. Henriks
music as The Haiku Project is dark and filled with despair
as its only through reaching the bottom that we can begin the
long journey back to the top again. In his 2014 interview, his first
on mwe3.com, Henrik stated It is not by neglecting our feelings
that we improve our lives, but by facing life and dealing with it.
Hytteballes The Haiku Project has been called New Age electronic,
ambient music and healing music and true to form, theres elements
of all three on the CD release of Glimpses, the
2016 album by The Haiku Project. Performing all the electronic keyboards
and writing all the music, Hytteballe receives support from Freddy
Albrektsen, who produced, mixed and mastered Glimpses.
Hytteballe has stated that French composer Erik Satie is among his
big music influences and in the spirit of Satie, the music on Glimpses
is best listened to as ambient, minimalist music, filled with
slowly moving soundscapes that ebb and flow yet leave the listener
in a much better and more relaxed state of well being. Unlike Eno
for example, Hytteballes music is more romantic and subdued
and is filled with a kind of Scandinavian spirit of relaxed etherealness.
Glimpses is a most worthy follow up to the sublime sounding
Flow and will equally enchant electronic music fans and keyboard
fans worldwide. www.RealMusic.com
mwe3.com presents an interview
of The Haiku Project
What kind of album did you want to make following the 2014 release
of the Flow CD? Would you say that Glimpses is very
much in the style of Flow or did you bring in some other ideas
on your approach this time?
Henrik Hytteballe: First I want to thank you, Robert,
for your interest in my music and the time you spend on listening.
I really appreciate that.
I wanted to continue the Flow album, but I wanted to make an
album with more light than Flow. There is a lot of sorrow and
longing on Flow. Glimpses is about the short moments
we get in between, when we are able to be uplifted and see the whole
Another thing I wanted to do on Glimpses was to include shorter
tracks to tell more stories. Each song has its own story. Flow
was one continuing story.
mwe3: Where was the album recorded and who else worked with
you on the making of the Glimpses CD? Tell us about working
with Freddy Albrektsen at Basetrack Studio in Copenhagen.
Henrik Hytteballe: I have worked with Freddy Albrektsen since
I started making music. We recorded an album together back in the
1980s and it was natural for me working with Freddy when I released
my first Haiku album in 2006. Freddy is both a great producer and
a fine technician. He has the sharpest ear I can think of. Freddy
has produced every album for me except my electronic rock album Vagabond,
because we both thought it would be a good idea working with another
producer for that album. Freddy is a master when comes to creating
a perfect sound, but he does not push you in another direction, which
is great for an album like Glimpses, but with Vagabond,
I wanted to explore new territory.
mwe3: What was your keyboard setup like on Glimpses and
have there been any recent developments for you in the gear and keyboard
world? How long have you been playing keyboards and what other instruments
do you play?
Hytteballe: Before recording Glimpses, I bought a new computer
and a bunch of plug-in instruments Native Instruments with
great synthesizers, piano-modules. The recent Cubase - the music platform
I use for recording - also features some great sounds.
I started playing piano when I was 10 years old and later I played
the bassoon at school. With that brass band I learned the pleasure
of playing in a band and playing for an audience.
Since I moved away from home I have always lived in an apartment so
I have not been able to play any brass instrument because it is too
loud for the neighbors, so I stick to the piano and keyboards, which
can be played with earphones.
mwe3: Do you have any favorite tracks on the Glimpses CD
and were all the tracks written around the same time? I think track
8, Scandinavia is a definite high point on the album.
What does Scandinavia mean to you, the song and the term?
Is Scandinavia only comprising, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Iceland?
Why not Finland? Is there a Scandinavian spirit and what do you think
of the other Scandinavian countries?
Henrik Hytteballe: Scandinavia consists of only 3 countries
Norway, Sweden and Denmark. The Nordic countries include Iceland,
the Faroe Islands and Finland. I feel a close relation to Scandinavia
and the North. I have never been to Finland, but am very fascinated
by Finnish architecture and design.
Scandinavia means a lot to me. Scandinavia is simplistic in design
and hand craftsmanship. There is so much great literature and art
from our region. It is the great nature of Norway, the Northern Lights,
the beautiful nights at the sea in summer when it never gets dark,
firesides, riding horseback in the woods or along the extensive beaches,
pure white snowflakes. We stand alongside each other with a way of
living together in trust.
The Scandinavian society is built on confidence. My perception of
Scandinavia is very positive, but I am aware of the challenges we
are facing today, both culturally and environmentally. I sincerely
hope that we can defend our values and develop all the good things
evolved in Scandinavia. I hope we will emphasize the mentality of
caring for each other, animals and people in need.
The Glimpses track Scandinavia is a very positive
track, where I give thanks to everything this region has given me.
I am very fond of "Gullfoss" myself. It is inspired of the
Icelandic waterfall "Gullfoss." Instead of making a rumble
describing the violence of the water, I try to express the humility
and devoutness that occurs in my mind when facing such great scenery
in nature. And I think it very much describes me as a person.
mwe3: I speak of the Erik Satie comparison in your music in
the CD review of Glimpses. Is that a fair appraisal?
is not Erik Satie in particular, that inspires me. It is French composers
in general - Debussy, Satie, Fauré, Jean Jaques Goldmann, Alexandre
Desplat and more... because the succession of notes and the chords
is different from the Anglo-American way of composing.
The cover art for Glimpses is very wistful. Is that the Danish
side of you keeping the music somber and mysterious?
Henrik Hytteballe: The cover photo is taken by Polish photographer
Ireneusz Cyranek, with whom I have been working together ever since
my first solo album. He captures the beauty of nature with an underlying
melancholy, which is in my music, too. The fairy tales of H. C. Andersen
describes this duplicity so I think the somber and mysterious,
as you describe it, is part of my DNA.
mwe3: Are you doing more painting these days? How was your
exhibition in New York and what other art exhibitions are you planning
in the future? What did you think of NYC? Your show was in Soho right,
what gallery? What is involved in putting on an exhibition like that?
Henrik Hytteballe: Yes, painting has become an important part
of my life. I have had six exhibitions in Denmark this year and am
always trying to improve and make my technique more sophisticated.
It is important for me that when looking at one of my paintings, you
can catch sight of new things. I dont want to proclaim everything
at first sight. In the same way I want this for my music you
can listen to it over and over again and maybe get another story in
mind each time you listen to it.
About the exhibition in NYC
it was a great experience. It was
my first visit to the US and NYC and being in NYC was awesome, seeing
all the buildings, you know from the movies and actually being there.
I could never have made the exhibition if the Agora Gallery in Soho,
in NYC had not made contact with me. I would never even of had the
thought of doing it. But they made it easy for me
all I had
to do, was send my paintings and show up at the reception. The reception
was celebrated with good friends who came along with me all the way
mwe3: Have you done any live concerts in Denmark to promote
the Glimpses album and what are your live concerts like? Do
you like to play at museums and art exhibitions? How about your vocal
music? Are you still active in the pop world or do you focus more
on your instrumentals?
Henrik Hytteballe: I would like to do some solo piano concerts
next year to promote Glimpses. I have not planned any. It is
not that easy to find venues for these kind of concerts. I have been
playing at the opening of art exhibitions and enjoy doing it, because
it is a good combination.
Right now I am focusing on some new electronic music in collaboration
with an Icelandic producer, Brynjar Bjarnfoss. I will publish this
under another artists name as it is very different from the
music I have made til now. It is more radical in sound and I
get a lot of inspiration from Brynjar.
dont think I will be doing any more music with vocal for a long
time. The human voice is great, but it is dominating and I like the
other layers in music to play an important part.
mwe3: I guess youre getting ready for Winter 2016. Tell
us something about Copenhagen in the winter and what youre hoping
to accomplish in 2016 as far as new music, recording and writing.
Even with Glimpses just out, can you envision what your next
album will sound like?
Henrik Hytteballe: I will never really get ready for winter
as I prefer warm weather except for when everything is covered in
pure white snow.
I want to take piano lessons with a classical piano teacher, as I
want to improve my skills. I will continue making music in three directions:
The Haiku Project, where I do music in the ambient and meditative
style, haiku, which is more rock orientated, and the more experimental
electronic style of which I am still considering an artist name. This
gives me the freedom to compose all the kinds of music that I love
to do without confusion.
hope to do some traveling before composing the follow up to Glimpses
as I want to include inspiration from new places. Glimpses
was made and played totally on my own. I am thinking of including
either a cello or a double bass on the next album. Having that in
mind when making new material, it will change my composing as I have
to leave a spare voice for the string instrument. Why I choose a cello
or a double-bass is because these instruments also combine beauty
and melancholy so they fit in so well.
you, Robert, for your interest and for treating me so seriously and
kind, and for your respect in general for musicians and music.
I read your mwe3.com with great interest and thanks to you, I get
to know music I have never heard of.
My best wishes to you and everyone reading this interview.