Insignificance of human existence – Interview with Pjusk

interview by stark

Pjusk’s “Tele” is certainly one of this year’s ambient highlights. We decided to contact this Norwegian project and ask Jostein Dahl Gjelsvik few questions not only about “Tele”. And here’s the result of our conversation. Enjoy.

First of all, I’d like to know what does “pjusk” mean? Is it Norwegian word?

Yes, Pjusk is a Norwegian word. It has several meanings. One of them, meaning to be “pjusk” – being a bit off – not up to your usual standards. It is also possible to “pjusk” someone – being cuddly and cosy.

How did you guys team up? Did you know since the beginning of your acquaintance that you share the same feelings about music and want to work together, or was it a rather long-term process?

We hooked up through a popular web forum in Norway aimed at creative people. A track Rune [Sagevik – przyp. Stark] had made ended up on the radio and thinking the track was great, I suggested a collaboration.

Before “Tele” you released two albums for 12k label. Honestly speaking I don’t know them – was the music different on these albums than on “Tele” or is your latest release a continuation of ideas started on “Sart” and “Sval”?

The 12k album Sval is probably the closest one to Tele (or perhaps it should be the other way around). Sart – or debut – is more versatile in style – a bit more varied and also not that focused on nature.

How did you got in touch with Glacial Movements?

Glacial Movements contacted us – asking us to release an album on the label. And it seemed like a good idea, really. We had just explored similar themes when creating Sval (12k) – and it felt quite natural to just continue along this vein of music. Properly explored now .. I would say. Time to venture a bit back to the landscapes of our debut “Sart”.

Did you know this label before? Perhaps you have any releases from its rooster you particularily like?

No, to be honest we didn´t know this label. But we of course knew several of the artists already associated with the label – so we felt we were in good hands.

Was it hard to “adjust” your music to this “glacial” concept required by Alessandro Tedeschi’s label?

No, not really. We had already been investigating sounds and music inspired by the Norwegian countryside. But we did a deliberate choice that meant going into more abstract or dark territories as well as trying to be a bit more musical (or accessible). I think “Gneis” and “Polar” are on the opposite sites of the spectrum and demonstrates what we tried to achieve.

The titles of the track on “Tele” seem to me like geological terms not only related to ice. Am I right? What’s the concept of “Tele”?

Yes, it is no denying that we tried to create music (or sound design) that corresponds to the unforgiving ways of mother nature. The inhuman ways .. so to speak. So geological terms came quite naturally. A natural parallell to machines?

The music on “Tele” is rather calm and minimal – what kind of images did you want to catch with “Tele”? Any particular emotions you’d like to bring to the listener with your music?

A tough question. What emotions do we want to convey? Especially the relationship man vs nature. Man vs time. But also some kind of beauty within. Cold. How we are just tiny fragments of time and space. Our insignificance.

How important were field recordings for you during creating “Tele”?

We used field recordings that Joe Scarffe gave us. He had done some proper recordings of glaciers (breaking ice) that we felt was very fitting. Rune also had a lot of different sounds he had recorded that we used. One special sound was his baby son snoring that we used as a percussion sample (check out Granitt)

A very special contributor was Frodebeats. I contacted him prior to this album and asked him if we wanted to contribute with some analog (modular) samples. He agreed to and he supplied us with a lot of great samples that we used throughout the album. For instance the “fog horn” sound was a type of sound he created for us. Working great!

I’d like to ask you guys about your musical inspirations. Which artists convinced you that it’s the electronic music you want to realise yourself in?

We get inspiration from diverse sources. For Tele, I had the Norwegian artist “Deathprod” in mind several times. But, generally, we have been really into the works of Biosphere since the very beginning. I think he has influenced us the most.

What’s more important for you in music: the perfection of sounds, technical brilliance or rather the feelings and emotions it brings?

We always put the emphasis on emotional content, rather than on technical quality. But – we have been doing this for a long time now, so I guess we have picked up some production skills as well along the way. We also get a lot of help from Andreas Nordenstam when mastering.

You have some good dark ambient projects in Norway. Are you interested in that music or scene?

If you are referring to Deaf Center or Svarte Greiner, we have had the pleasure of meeting him (Erik Skodvin). But we are not into that kind of music.

Do you feel you did everything in “glacial” concept with “Tele” and your next album will go in completely different direction or do you still have to say something about snow, ice and all these related subjects?

For the time being, I think we have emptied our cup of dark and desolate sounds. We will probably circle around similar themes and motifs, but I guess our direction at the moment is quite in the opposite. Only natural – and we would also like to explore other directions.

Do you guys play live or is your music to home use only? 

We have had some live gigs – and would like to do more of them.

Any musical plans for the rest of this year?

A remix for Richard Chartier is in the works. And some kind of new collaborative album that should be finished by October (one track only from us). Also we have started our next album that should be out on 12k next year (if all goes well)

Thank you for the interview! Last words are yours.

Live long and prosper!

Pjusk official website
Pjusk Facebook

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