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seid flag Norway - Full Moon 72 - 08/22/02

Seid hits the road
- an interview with Seid
 

Seid did receive some well-deserved space here at Luna after releasing their debut single and album a few moons ago. Also three years ago we brought a chat with them. Since they're about to start their Far Out Space Virgin Tour as soon as the moon of August is full, in true Gong tradition, we thought the somewhat more mature (what?) boys deserved a short and snappy e-mail interview. After consulting guitarist, singer, fishfinder etc. Jürgen Kosmos everything was soon set except the questions and answers weren't that short and some of the answers deserved even more questions. So there you go! And here we go:

Luna (L): Congrats with that great debut album of yours, Among The Monster Flowers Again. It was recorded at Sonic Electronic in Oslo by Micke Moog (keyboardist of Velvet Belly, The Smell Of Incense etc.) whereas you are living in Trondheim, 500 kilometres further to the north. Can you tell about the recording process?

Jürgen of Seid (S): Thanx! Well, obviously there was a bit of travelling involved in this, and being that we're not exactly the wealthiest band on the face of the earth, things progressed rather slowly for a while... But it was no alternative for us but to keep working with Micke. He is, you see, a true kosmonaute and possibly the one man on this planet that best grabs the wicked ideology of Seidmanship :-). Fortunately, by the way, on our live shows (and possibly also future recordings alongside Mr. Moog?) we're now also working with sound engineer Jonas Skarmark (from Trondheim dubster/ambient duo Nopia) to make sure our live sound isn't bastardised by dull local sound engineers with no sense of space... But anyway, we kept going back and forth for about a year and a half before we were finally finished with all overdubs, mixing and synth sound making. And in the end we had something close to a finished CD. Next time around we'll do it somewhat differently, perhaps invite Micke to stay in Trondheim and do the recording here. We're not quite sure about that yet... but we'll definitely think of something that'll save us some time in the process. It was extremely frustrating to hang around waiting for the album to be finished, with no-one to blame but ourselves and our empty wallets ...

L: Looking/listening back, is there anything you would've done differently if you should record the album now? In other words, are you satisfied?

S: Yes, very satisfied. But, of course, if it could be done over (something we wouldn't) perhaps we could have been a little bit bolder in the mixing process, gone even further out there in space... I don't know. It's a very good debut, that's for sure, but things can always be done in a better way. In the end, we're more than happy about the way it sounds!

L: And how are you satisfied with publicity and sales so far?

S: Both could have been better by now, but we're working on it, and I know for sure that Luftwaffel Recs are working very hard on it. So, eventually we'll sell the amount that the record deserves, which is a LOT more than what's been sold so far. But as one dead man once said (before he died): Time takes time. The reviews, however, have been great. Both Norwegian and foreign critics (from e-zines and magazines) have been overwhelmingly positive. It seems they, unlike mayor Norwegian broadcasting and media, have grasped the point...

L: "Among The Monster Flowers ...Again", the track and also the album title; how did you come up with that one?

S: The beat of the track is a sample from Norwegian superstar Wenche Myhre [she used to be a star in Germany too, in the 70s ...], from one of her late 60s recordings ("Sussebass"). It's actually taken from the b side and then slowed down from 45 rpm to 33. That way it actually started sounding cool (which it definitely didn't in the first place), with a sort of dopey, smooth feel to it. We did, of course, plan a video with a bunch of animated elephant-alike monsters with long trumpet shaped trunks, but for some reason this has yet to see the light of day! And after laying down the beat, all hell broke loose. Everybody wanted to play every instrument available in the studio (and there were plenty: sitars, lap steel guitars, banjos, wine glasses w/water, tons of organs and psynths and of course some horn blowing magic from our good friends of the Lazarus Bros. Brass Section). There was a bit of stealing from our mentors and friends of The Smell of Incense, as far as some of the melodies are concerned, but first and foremost it was just pure fun and improvisation. [Actually the Smelly Vincent adapted the melody from The Kinks - JP's note.]

The name of the album is from a friend of ours, Brt, who once wrote a poem dedicated to us. The poem was extremely straight to the core of our confused space hearts, and the line "Among the monster flowers again", which we instantly felt was the best name ever for a Seid album, struck us like lightning. I hope he's not angry with us using it, but I don't imagine that he will be. [No way! This is not the first time a part of a Brt poem ended as an album title, I should know. JP's second note.]

L: The album has an intermission halfway through. Did you want the CD to sound like a good old-fashioned LP album?

S: Precisely! There's gotta be some breathing time, or commercial break or whatever, and there was a very nice, impossible to recreate, sound coming out of that particular synth at that exact moment. But yes, we did think about some sort of LP format.

L: The debut single of yours was also released earlier this year. To me it sounds like it was recorded in less luxurious surroundings than the album. Correct? Tell us about the production and the release by 35 g Records.

S: The 7" was a result of the long period of waiting for the album to be finished. We wanted to make a release, just for the fun of it, with fewer hassles involved in every step of the process. Just do it, as they say. So everyone involved worked for free. Studio time was given to us from our gay liberation friends at the Nautilus Studios (The Reilly Express, another great Trondheim band releasing an album later this fall) and from my employer and the engineers gave us some of their time. Of course it doesn't sound like a multibillion $ production, but I think it gives you a good clue of what we're on about, musically, these days. It definitely sounds a lot cooler than a lot of what I hear on the radio these days... We're happy!

L: "Silver Messenger", the A-side of the single, is credited to Indian Pudding & Pipe. Who are they, your alter egos?

S: That's a band from some time back in the merry 60s. Of course, this is a result of the constant day to day obscure musical deep diving performed to excellence by Mr. Burt Rocket. So it's nothing more or less than a cover song. A great one, I might add.

L: Speaking of cover versions, in your live shows you've played songs, most of which were recorded long before you were born, I guess. Like "Epitaph" (King Crimson), "I Want You" (Beatles), "Magic Potion" (The Open Mind, I sure would've liked to hear that one!), "Dead Babies" (Alice Cooper), "Silver Machine" (Hawkwind) and recently also "25 O'Clock" (Dukes Of Stratosphear, dear old XTC, the youngest of this lot, in psychedelic disguise). Are they all included due to Mr. Burt's diving? How do the rest of you find them?

S: The rest of us really like them, they're great songs, or else we wouldn't bother playing them. But, except "Silver Machine" and "Epitaph", I think all the cover songs come from Burt. He is, as I said, the main diver, so it's only natural that he brings some ghosts out of the closet from time to time. Actually our drummer, Jan Spaice, is also quite familiar with most kinds and styles of music. He even plays guitars and piano, AND he's got shitloads of music, AND he's a songwriter. So he might give Burt some competition in the cover song diving contest over the coming years!

L: You played your first gig abroad in May, in Hamburg. It sounds wise to me to follow the footsteps of some other great bands before you and head directly for Germany when going abroad. But why skip the other Scandinavian countries?

S: Well, it's a matter of organisation. We're at the moment doing every bit of the booking ourselves, with great help from one friend, so clearly there's a limit to what we can reach. Therefore, Germany is priority numero uno. We are, however, playing the Kartago in Sölvesborg, Sweden, on our way home from Spermany. So we wanna do Scandinavia as well. But everything has to come at the right time.

L: That gig in Hamburg must've been a success. Now you're going back for three more gigs in Hamburg and Bremen later this moonth. Though not at the Star Club or Beat Club, I guess... It seems to be financial risky to travel that far for a few gigs. Is the trips a combination of tour and holiday or do you plan further ahead?

seid S: Of course it's nice to be in Germany, and I'm sure we'll be having great fun, but we don't do it just for the partying. If we only wanted a vacation, we'd book a week in fucking Tunis or something. That way we wouldn't have to spend half a year writing letters, making phone calls, sending promo CDs and e-mails, sending more promos, making more phone calls, etc...:-) We're already planning a spring tour next year in Germany, and we'll go there as often as we can, doing great shows. Eventually we'll be connected with some professional booking agency that will help us get to the next level. So it's definitely a part of a plan. We wanna be doing Europe on a regular basis. And, it feels SO right to be in a van in Germany, playing a concert in a town where we know nobody and everything is exciting!

L: You've now been established in Trondheim for the last three years and have recruited some local boys in the band. How do you fit in along with Motorpsycho and the other local groups?

S: Well, as far as Motorpsycho's concerned, I'd definitely consider them more an international group, rather than a local. They're naturally not very visible around and about what's new in Trondheim. However, they've added their share of help to the Seidship travelling. At least their manager Cecilie and nice drummer Gebhardt, by letting us sneak a peak at their earlier tour dates, contact info and so on from smaller clubs they used to play, and the places where the Geb goes with his trash-grass band HGH (Haugen-Gebhardt- Hagfors). That's very helpful, and it's always a help to call some German guy and say "Gebhardt gave me your phone number...". But in the end, our main source of help has been a) ourselves, and equally or more important: b) friends, more or less at the same level as ourselves (or sometimes a bit higher), such as The Reilly Express, -phy, Pistolero, Oscillate, Thrush, No Life Orchestra, Bomber, Zetored, Gåte, Supervixen, Tugboat, Askil Holm, Trondheim Underground Radio, Cadillac, RIFU-Thomas and, you know... a bunch of other bands that are friends and drinking partners. From time to time we try to help each other if we can. Like always, we're something else in our town, just like when we grew up, nobody sounds like Seid, for better or worse, but we've definitely found our little spot up here, and Trondheim is a very good place to be for those about to rock. I don't really see why bands stick around in Oslo too long. Pretty soon they all end up sounding the same, boring Oslo latte-rock. You may call it "rawk" or "Scan-rock" or "stoner" or whatever the fuck you like, it all sounds the same to me... Boring Oslo Music for Oslo People. I'm sure there are heaps of exceptions, I might even know of a few myself (like Stonegard and Astroburger and you know... plenty more), but in general that's at least how I personally feel about the "official" Oslo rock, the bands that I read about in the papers and magazines. So, to my conclusion: Trondheim: Rock City!

L: Last year several of you Seid-men seemed more occupied wearing Hawaiian shirts and playing surf music in The Tremolo Wankers. This year seems to belong to Seid. Are the Wankers still alive and kicking?

S: The shirts have just been hung out to dry, we'll be wanking our way back into them soon! This has been a Seid year, but don't you worry, in October (I think) the fabulous Wankers are releasing our first full album, also on Luftwaffel Recs, and its a great piece of surf/garage/psychedelic wonderland.

Enuff said (Seid). Thanks to Jürgen for his time, answers and typing, making it very convenient for the interviewer. All opinions due to him and not necessarily the entire band, I guess. And best of luck with the Wankers' album and Seid-gigs in Trondheim, dreaded Oslo, Arendal, Kristiansand and Halden in Norway, Hamburg and Bremen (Germany), Deventer (Holland, just confirmed) and Sölvesborg (Sweden). You might check out Seid's homepage for further news etc. etc.

Copyright © 2002 JP (top photo © Kent Ivan Hovelsen) e-mail address (top photo © Kent Ivan Hovelsen)

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