Center Of The Universe

Ost & Kjex & Trulz & Robin’s Snick Snack music started out as an outlet for their own work, now the label is shifting and developing into a hub for underground electronic music from Norway. The labels first compilation, “SNICK SNACK VOL. 1 – Sounds from the Norwegian underground” marks the beginning of this transition and features some of the country’s most exciting underground talents. Following the compilations release, we are very pleased to be speaking today with one of the featuring artists; Centre Of The Universe.

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Hello Jørgen! How are you doing and where are you talking to us from right now?

I’m fine thanks! I am home in Norways capital: Oslo!

How have the last 18 months been for you where you are given the effect of the pandemic on the music scene?

Even If I feel bad about saying this, since this has been a disaster for so many people and especially artists; I have had a very productive time since I suddenly got some time on my hands. I have been making several music videos for my latest EP Interabangerz that I released just now (as a shaped picturedisc!). I feel very lucky for living in Norway, where artists were getting at least some compensation for not being able to work. For many musicians the pandemic became a perfect storm: first they lost all the revenue from CD/LP sales to streaming so they had to tour more; and now with the pandemic they couldn’t tour either. Kind of a sad story which I wish we can see the end of – with vaccines and platforms like Bandcamp.

We’re speaking to you ahead of the release of Snick Snack Music’s “Sounds from the Norwegian underground” featuring your track ‘Bellydance With A Stranger’. There is a brilliant range of music on this compilation and we really enjoyed listening through it. Before we get into your track, can you tell us a bit about your links with the label Snick Snack Music?

Tore from Ost & kjex and Robin from Trulz & Robin were the first to throw me on a stage ages ago. These people make things happen in Norwegian electronic music, they set up parties etc, and they are always open to new influences. They are representatives for what I think clubbing should be about: the old-school house-ethos where everyone is welcome and where people get together to enjoy music and have a good time. When they put up a label I was very happy to contribute to this scene with releasing music.  

For our readers that may not be familiar with you yet, how would you describe your sound in your own words?

I started doing music in the Amiga demo-scene and have a DIY-background. The last few years my music has been more and more dance music, influenced by dub, disco and synth-pop. I also collect oriental, greek and balkan music for DJ-ing, and this has shaped my sound a lot. My extensive use of the clarinet is maybe something more close to this sound than what you would expect in a house-track. Being painfully aware of the “DJ with saxophone”-phenomenon, it is interesting to try to use reeds in a less cheesy way than what you would expect from EDM. Not being a schooled clarinet-player helps a lot with this. Some of my tracks also have lyrics, and I try to not be retro and sing about the here and now and also about the future.

‘Bellydance With A Stranger’ makes a great addition to the compilation. How did your track find it’s home on the compilation?

I was asked to contribute with a track and I made this one especially for the comp. It got my sound completely with a snake-charming clarinet and all, but I made it a bit more house-ish since I guessed that would do well on a collection like this. The problem is; I am always 12-15 BPM slower than everyone else (108 BPM for this one)! So when I heard G-HA’s DJ-mix of the tracks from the comp it was A LOT faster to fit it in the mix, which was surprising but cool.

We love the idea of Snick Snack becoming an outlet to represent the talent in Norway right now. What’s your relationship like with the other artists featuring on the compilation? Have you crossed paths with any of them previously?

Having been around for a while I know all of them! They are the cream of the Norwegian electronic underground – no less! I also worked with some of them personally, I am running the musical collective Metronomicon Audio together with Viviana aka WHALESHARKATTACKS that also has a track on the comp.

How do you like to work in the studio? Do you have any favourite pieces of gear?

Well I would say that I just appreciate it when I have the time to work on my own projects, but I have no method! I am always doing things in the wrong order, like doing videos before I make tracks etc. And yes I’ve got some favourite gear; the track in question here is all made (except for the clarinet) with a Synthstrom Audible Deluge (that I got cheap when they started selling them.) It’s a very intuitive sequencer, sampler and synth that I use a lot. I am also very fond of the toy-keyboard-like Yamaha Portasounds. Some of them are gritty FM-synths and they sound great!

We’d love to hear a bit about your label, Metronomicon Audio, can you tell us a bit about that?

It’s a musical collective and label started by yours truly in 2001. First we did CD-R only, then we evolved to do all sorts of formats, LP’s, tapes, the playable circuit-boards of Captain Credible, memory cards etc. Nowadays we are also a studio-collective, where we record, mix and master most of our releases in addition to doing productions for other artists.

Thank you Jørgen, it was a pleasure to speak with you today! To round things off, is there anything else coming up from yourself that you’d like to share with us?

As mentioned earlier I just released an EP called Interabangerz that I would be happy if people check out! Especially the song Track ID could be relevant for a club-goer or DJ. I also want to encourage artists to challenge themselves to make new and interesting music, now we have the chance to reboot-everything. I do not want the future to be boring!

Snick Snack Vol.1: