TRON SYVERSEN
Piano Meditations
(TK Music Production)

 

The Scandinavian country of Norway is renowned for their gifted musicians and you can add the name Tron Syversen to the list. On his 2015 CD, entitled Piano Meditations, Tron has recorded an exquisite instrumental album of music for relaxation, meditation and well being. The CD runs 63 minutes with four tracks, including two expansive tracks running 20 minutes each. Throughout Piano Meditations, Tron’s piano work is very stately and he’s joined by the atmospheric, wordless vocals of singer Helene Edler Lorentzen, the vocalist he’s recorded with since 2009. As far as sonic signposts go, Tron’s music is kind of reminiscent of fellow Scandinavian New Age / jazz musicians such as Stefan Nilsson and Bjorn J:son Lindh, and like those legends, there’s plenty of of original ideas in play in Tron's original music as well. Several other artists join the festivities, adding in a range of strings and horns. The Piano Meditations CD is tastefully packaged and is filled with a lot of information regarding the creation of this album. From his liner notes for the CD, Tron explains, ‘With the music we have released, our greatest hope is that we can create peace in both the bodies and minds of the listeners. We know that a lot of people need help to release stress, so this music is especially intended for that.” With Piano Meditations, Norwegian keyboardist / composer Tron Syversen breathes new life into the artistic, piano-based New Age instrumental music genre. www.TronMusic.com





mwe3.com presents an interview with
TRON SYVERSEN


mwe3: Where are you from and where do you live now and what do you like best about it?

Tron: I am from Norway. I have lived all my life right outside Oslo. I consider Norway a good country to live in even though I would like to go to warmer places quite often. The nature is nice, especially close to the sea and in western and northern Norway.

mwe3: Your most recent album, Piano Meditations is receiving some favorable press here in the US. Is this the first album you’ve actively sought to promote here in the US and how are you approaching the global market for your music? Seems like we’ve all had to reinvent the music business over the past ten years, especially in the US where music sold these days is mainly internet based.

Tron: This is the 4th album I have released to radio stations and reviewers. I have a distribution network for my 11 CDs throughout the world minus South America, Australia and some parts of Europe. In the USA, New Leaf and Allegro distribute the music. As for most artists, physical sales are decreasing. But we sell a lot to therapists, spas, yoga people, hospitals, waiting rooms and so on. Many of these still use CDs. I also sell through Amazon, iTunes, my own web sites (tronmusic.com) and other download sites all over the world.

mwe3: How would you compare it to your other CDs? It’s interesting to note that Piano Meditations is a double CD set and one CD features various edits for radio airplay, as the tracks are very long.

Tron: The double CD set is especially made for promotion so we can send the same package to reviewers and radio-stations. The radio programs also can choose whether to play the long tracks or shorter versions. The normal commercial CDs just have the long tracks.

Most of my CDs have long tracks made especially for therapy, yoga, meditation, visualization, sleep relief and many more situations. There is a lot of stress in the world, so to help people reduce their stress levels, they need more time than standard CD tracks of 4 minutes…


mwe3: Tell us about your singers Helene and Siri. Do they mainly sing in wordless vocals to compliment your keyboard-based melodies? How long have you been working with both singers and who else do you work with on your albums, such as co-producers, engineers, mastering engineers and artwork collaborators?

Tron: I have always thought that a wordless female voice has a lot of healing energy in it and will fit perfectly with my music. The first song I tried to use wordless vocals on was “The Beginning” which also was the start of the collaboration with my first singer, Elin Løkken. She was my singer and also co-producer and mixed seven albums together with me. She has a low alto voice. She worked full-time, but after four years she quit and found another job.

I was then looking for another singer or singers and I wanted to find a soprano… I found Siri singing in a band with two other singers and horns. I called her and she has worked with me on several tracks. She just stepped into the vocal booth and sang along with anything I had recorded without listening to it first. I also tried 2 more singers when I was working with the Piano Poems album until I found my new singer Helene Edler Lorentzen in a most strange way… A friend of hers came into my studio to edit music for a dance act for her daughter. Suddenly she said, “My friend should have been here, she is such a marvelous singer”. I gave her some of my albums and my mobile number. A week later Helene called me and we worked on a studio session. I just sent her into the vocal booth and she started to sing, also without having heard anything of the material earlier. After that she has been my main female singer with both alto and soprano range all in one!

Regarding producing, since 2009 I have done it all myself with help from the singer on vocal parts. When I need other instruments, I write the parts and hire the musicians, record them and mix. I have an engineer who used to work here to help me with some settings on the mixes and another to master the CDs I make. I also have some designers who do the artwork for me.


mwe3: Tell us about Norway. It’s a very beautiful, unspoiled country. And what about your recording overlooking the Oslo Fjord? Sounds amazing! What is a fjord, what’s the best way to describe it? I remember landing in Oslo airport in 1981 and it was spring in New York but in Oslo it was freezing and snow everywhere! I miss the snow here in South Florida.

Tron: I have a cabin close to the Oslo-fjord where I also have a studio. From my piano I just look right down to the fjord. All ships going to Oslo have to pass it. I love being out in my boat and also coming to my cabin and just look out on the fjord. Well I guess the best way to describe a fjord is that the ocean goes a long way into the country. The western part of Norway is spectacular with these high mountains and many long fjords in between.

There are large parts of Norway that still are unspoiled. And yes, it is often cold. Some summers are not really hot, but the last years that part of Norway I live in has not had that much snow as it used to have. But farther north there are really cold winters. Also with spectacular northern lights!


mwe3: You were recently in New Orleans for the 2015 ZMR awards. What was the awards show like and tell us some of your experiences at the awards and overall your impressions visiting the US.

Tron: I met a lot of nice people at the ZMR Awards show, many of which I had never seen live - just on charts and Facebook, web sites and mails. Many wonderful musicians and radio hosts… My Facebook friends list has expanded a lot since the awards! I also was invited to a radio station for a early Sunday morning program, and I saw a lot of New Orleans, I had never been there before. Nice and warm place with a lot of music!

We, my singer and I, have been to the USA several times over the last years, both for trade shows and to do concerts. We are planning a tour in early October and Runar Halonen is coming. He did the album we were nominated for, best electronic album of 2014, together with me. The three of us do many concerts in Norway with healing sessions and music so we are looking for places in USA for our concerts. Anyone with suggestions for places for concerts let me know. I love to be in USA but after some 2-3 weeks I am longing for Norway again… I also have had some holidays in USA and my singer and I have done some video shooting in California.


mwe3: You work in the New Age music world and specifically, you mainly record your music to go along with healing and meditation art forms. Where do you draw inspiration from and how do you decide on a new direction of ideas for each album or is it an ongoing process?

Tron: I have two types of CDs. My second and third CDs were made form themes I collected and made in the period - 2003 to 2005. These were arranged and we brought in musicians to do the parts I had improvised while making the arrangements. I hear the different parts and play them on the piano triggering the sound I arrange for flute, cello, violin, English horn etc... The other CDs are made in the “now” while listening to a meditations being read, some made live together with the person making the meditation, some prerecorded.

When we decided to make a “spa album”, such as Gentle Moments, I made 2-3 hours of improvisations and my singer picked the best themes and we put together the arrangements from themes. The rest of the albums are improvised.

I have also made music to pictures, sometimes in the same room as the artist painting the picture, and to prerecorded poems. To this date, I have never done anything twice, all in a first attempt, also the arrangements. On the album Your Healing Hour, I improvised for one hour non-stop, on the first attempt…

I probably have a special gift of being able to produce when I am expected to. I am sure I get a lot of help from some source out there. I could not have made the tracks I have done if I should have made up one and one theme and put together the music on music sheets. It would have been impossible. I do it the other way around. I play the music on piano and make sheet music afterwards to be able to play it at concerts.

This also happens in concert. Much of the stuff we do for meditations and with voice healing is not planned, it just happens in the moment and I never remember what I played if I do not record it. We have done some stunning improvisations with keyboards and two singers at the same time. I seem to know where the singer will go next, or sometimes they follow me.

One album was improvised in a monastery in Italy close to Assisi, Whispers of Assisi. I was there for a week and recorded hours of meditations on my computer. Some live with a meditative painter reading meditations at the same time, some to prerecorded meditations made in my studio before we left. I have a lot of stuff I recorded there that I have not listened to yet, so maybe there will be a volume 2 some time? It was amazingly inspiring to be in that old monastery where there is a lot of history back to St. Frances of Assisi…


mwe3: What pianos and keyboards do you feature on the Piano Mediations CD? Do you play other instruments as well?

Tron: I use ProTools and Mac and a lot happens inside the Mac with a huge library of sounds. But I also use a Yamaha S90 and a Kurzweil PC3x together with several rack units with MIDI connected instruments. I use a Yamaha MU1000 for live piano sounds and the Kurzweil piano to play on and for nice pads on concerts. Then I also use a Novation Supernova and Korg Triton and TR racks and a Korg M3 when I do voice healing concerts. I also play the trumpet in several big bands. On the last track there are some trumpet tones played by me.

mwe3: You have worked with a number of artists, painters, and poetry readers. What is that like and who are some of your favorite painters, poets, philosophers?

Tron: I have only done music for paintings and poems made by people I know who I can relate to. I have not tried to make something to anything I read in books or that sort of thing. I dream about doing music for films. I have actually done that once with a film about John of God in South America, but it has not been released yet. Pictures, nature, listening to a concert, preferably classical or melodic music, can set me in the mood to sit down at the piano for a long time and record what I am playing. I probably have more than 100 hours of music I have recorded on my computer. I remember late one night returning from a fair we had been to for the weekend. I was at home around 4 in the morning, right before the sunrise on the horizon. I sat down at my piano looking at the sunrise and played for at least one hour, even though I should have been dead tired.

mwe3: How important were the early progressive rock bands like YES and specifically, Rick Wakeman on your music? Interesting that Jon Anderson of YES has worked with both Wakeman and Vangelis. What are some of your favorite albums in the jazz, rock and classical and New Age genres?

Tron: I remember the first time I came to London, I might have been 16 or 17. I got out from the subway and up into the street. And there was this record shop. The first record I found was Heaven and Hell by Vangelis. They put it on in the headphones and I was totally blown away. I have bought everything I have found from Vangelis and Rick Wakeman. I guess I admire the technique of Rick, but the music of Vangelis is, most of the time, fantastic. I have several live concerts at my cabin of Vangelis and they are absolutely superb. One was made outside a monastery in Asia, that is my favorite. I like his live concerts better than some of the records but my absolute favorite CD from Vangelis is Voices. My favorite Vangelis song is called “Prelude”. I made my own version of it many years ago and gave it as a Christmas present to a girl I liked very much. I have listened a lot to those keyboard players. I think Vangelis has influenced me the most and my music in reviews has even been compared to Vangelis and Yanni.

In jazz, I tend to listen to big bands like Buddy Rich, Count Basie, Ted Heath... to mention a few. I also admire and listen to jazz piano players like Oscar Peterson and Gil Evans. I love classical music and how the big composers use woodwinds, brass and strings to form their compositions. I don’t know if I have favorites, Beethoven and Haydn maybe, but also more modern composers who use the orchestra to create masterpieces.

I am discovering more and more New Age Music. A lot of those artists I met in New Orleans make wonderful recordings. When I am at my cabin and listen to live concerts I choose Sarah Brightman, Eagles, Elton John and Vangelis first.


mwe3: You also have a background in jazz piano too. Tell us about your jazz background and how you integrate your jazz piano technique with your approach to therapeutic New Age instrumental music.

Tron: I was so fortunate to take jazz trumpet lessons many years ago and I learned a lot from it. It's like a new world of chords and progressions opened something in me and opened a world of possibilities. I also use what I learned on the piano in my compositions. I have used much of it without knowing why it worked so well… now, voila! For those familiar with harmony, one of the things I discovered was that the use of the lowered and raised 9th note in a dominant chord works very well in the melody line and 2-5-1 progressions for modulations. I have also studied the music of ABBA, Beatles and Elton John among others to find out how they make their music so exiting and how they use modulations and chords. I love to do the old jazz tunes often referred to as evergreens. We do sessions like this with my singer together with drums, bass and guitar. I have recorded the background with bass, guitar and drums played by professional musicians in the studio so Helene and I do sessions at elderly homes and events and other places.

It is not probably so much technique that is in my mind, more like chord progressions, modulations and things like that that influence my music.


mwe3: Coming from Norway, how important was Norwegian music on your music? Classicists like Edvard Grieg, and also many of the early ECM albums were made in Norway. Is there a Norwegian influence in your music?

Tron: I have played a lot of Grieg when I took piano lessons as a child/youth, but I do not think I have been influenced by it. It was part of my music education and reading music. When I discovered the world of chords and started to play to chords rather than written notes, my musical journey took a different direction. I think it is important for all trying to master the piano to learn chords.

mwe3: How many albums have you made so far and how do you feel your music has evolved over the past decade? What albums of yours are you most proud of?

Tron: I have made 11 albums with music and some 20 where my music is background to meditations by others, most of these being in Norwegian. We are working on 3 more albums and I have recorded a lot that is not yet released.

I think I learn something with every album I release. It has been a long journey trying to make a pleasant and smooth piano sound. I have also experimented a lot with synthesizers and keyboards to shape new backgrounds. My music reached new heights when I found my new singer, Helene. With both high notes and low notes that she can do and also her (and Siri) improvising to make countermelodies, it adds a new dimension to my piano playing.

I was very pleased with Piano Poems when that came out. I could not believe I had made those improvisations and that they were so different from track to track. Especially “Stars At Night”, which describes a mother holding her child to her breast to make it sleep.

But my absolutely number one is the track “Inner Journey” on Piano Meditations. I sat down and played the piano part on a Saturday morning in December 2008. I know I got a lot of help, I could not have made those modulations and everything that happened during the 13 minutes it lasts by myself. This is the only improvised piece I have made where a theme repeats several times. I never remember the themes I improvise and have never done this in other improvisations. Half a year after that Helene turns up and her voice is perfect for the piece with her reaching the highest soprano parts topping the composition so perfectly! Later, I made parts for violin, cello, English horn, French horn, oboe, flute, strings, trumpet and trombone to make it a symphonic work.


mwe3: What plans do you have for 2015 and 2016? What other musical goals do you have and what kind of directions would you like to take your music in next?

Tron: I hope to be able to do more concerts in USA and Europe. I will also work on having worldwide distribution and finish the albums already in process. I will also try to get into the film arena and hope to make music for more films.

My specialty at the moment is therapy music and to get my music into as many hospitals, therapy, yoga, spa places etc. as possible. It’s a goal. I will also give out a series of music for spas, yoga, mediations, massage etc. with one hour non-stop music, both released and unreleased music put together. This will probably be released digitally first.

As a closer, I would like to thank my parents for making it possible for me to have a studio and make music full time. Without them this would not have been possible. My late father listened to my music every day, especially Peaceful Journey. Every time we had done a fair we had to call him on the way home and tell him how many CDs we had sold. He also had a CD copy of demos for our next release A New Spring, and often asked if it was finished. This album will be dedicated to him.

 

Thanks to Tron Syversen at www.TronMusic.com




 

 
   
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