does every country in the world share as a method to connect past
borders and languages? Why the good old guitar of course! The guitar
is truly the international method for communication. Every country
in the world has their own guitar heroes and virtuosos seeking fame
and fortune outside their nations borders. Case in point is
the 2011 CD from Norway-based guitar ace Steinar Karlsen. Steinars
CD, Ulydium is receiving great press from the guitar
mags and web sites over in Europe and for good reason. Combining a
love of The Ventures, Link Wray, a touch of The Shadows and much more,
Steinars ten track Ulydium CD rocks up a storm. Plus,
being all instrumental, you can really focus on the music and theres
even a hint of Scandinavian folk-jazz music that permeates the surf-flavored
rock sounds. Steinar gets amazing support from his band mates Morton
Skage (bass) and Kåre Opheim, while a number of guest
artists add various sonic embellishments. The CD sound and the CD
packaging is also first rate, adding the finishing touches on an album
that will definitely put smiles on the faces of serious instro rock
mwe3.com presents an interview with
Steinar, can you give the readers some insights into your early exposure
to music and the guitar? Who were your most important musical influences
while growing up in Norway, both Scandinavian and world wide?
SK: My first expoure to music as I can remember was the Beatles
"Michelle" and "Girl"these songs have always
been my favourite Beatles songs. I also listened a lot to my Dads
collection of 7" records, primarily country and western style.
I started playing guitar when I was nine, inspired by country and
early rock music. In my later teens I started listening to blues guitar
records by B.B. King, Stevie Ray Vaughan and The Fabulous Thunderbirds.
The Norwegian blues guitar players Knut Reiersrud and Vidar Busk have
also been important to me.
mwe3: You cite influences like Link Wray and Marc Ribot. I know the
Ulydium CD is popular with the rock instrumental listeners
but I also hear some Led Zeppelin style Jimmy Page riffing in your
playing. How about surf and jazz guitar styles compared with rock
and metal influences and how do you balance all the guitar styles
on your CD and can you also say something about your band on the CD?
SK: I listened a lot to Led Zeppelin when I was younger, especially
the riffs and acoustic stuff has inspired me. Balancing different
styles on Ulydium was to me an important experience. As long
as the band and the melody player has the same basic sound for most
of the songs there is a lot of play room for doing different styles
like jazz, rock and twang inspired music on the same record. I think
this variety of styles makes the album stronger and more interesting.
My bandMorten Skage on bass and Kaare Opheim on drums are both
musicians with a lot of experience from styles like pop, rock, country
and jazz. They helped me a lot keeping this thing together.
mwe3: Can you say something about the guitars youre playing
on the CD? What are your favorite guitars and what amps do you prefer
and how about the various effects that help you obtain that definite
1960s style echo and twang?
My main guitar on Ulydium is a modified Squier Telecaster with
a Telecaster P-90 bridge pickup made by Klein Pickups. My blues guitar,
a Korean made Epiphone Sorento, is also used on a few songs. The baritone
parts are done with a Gretsch Electromatic Jet Baritone. In addition
to these I have used a Holiday (Harmony) Bobkat from the 60s
at some live shows now. The Bobkat suits my music very well. A great
I prefer 15-20w tube amps. The amazing Swart Amps Atomic Space Tone
is used on almost every song on the record. It has the huge 60s
reverb and tube tremolo. On stage I also use a Fender Blues Junior
together with the Space Tone. The echo sound is the Ibanez Analog
Delay (AD9) from the early 1980s. And sometimes I bring my Voodoo
Labs Tremolo, it is a bit faster than the built in Space Tone tremolo.
mwe3: How is the current music scene in Norway for your music? What
musicians and bands are your contemporaries in Scandinavia and Finland,
on the guitar side and the rock side? Do you also play in other bands?
SK: My kind of music is far from mainstream. I have noticed that at
some festivals and venues they seem to be skeptical to music without
vocals. But this record is me, and it was important for me to get
it out there. Besides my own concerts I have done a few split gigs
together with my other band Good Time Charlie, which has been a good
way to get gigs. Los Plantronics, The Beat Tornadoes and Fatboy are
some of my contemporaries in Scandinavia. And there is a lot of good
blues and rock n roll bands in Norway. Amund Maarud made
one of my favourite records in 2011.
mwe3: Are you planning to feature more recordings in the future? Is
there a story behind the title, Ulydium for the CD? What about
your other upcoming plans?
The whole idea behind Ulydium was to keep the melody and riffs
in focus and not let the guitar solos take over the world. The album
contains solos, but I have made them so short you hopefully want to
hear them again. When I started to record the album I wanted to keep
much of the simplicity from the instrumental twang music of the 1960s,
but with a modern touch. Explaining the word "Ulydium" is
hard to do, because it is a Norwegian word play. Though I´m
not sure I can explain it in Norwegian either!
I´ve just finished the songwriting for an Ulydium follow
up. We will start recording in May, and hopefully release the new
album later this year or early 2013. I´m also gonna do some
more gigs with both the instrumental project and Good Time Charlie
Thanks to Steinar Karlsen @ www.SteinarKarlsen.no