~ Interview mit Sänger/Gitarrist/Bassist Bent Sæther ~

Sie haben es wieder einmal getan. Sie haben ein neues Album auf die Menschheit losgelassen: MOTORPSYCHO.

Doch anders als zuvor entstanden einige Songs aus den in diesen Tagen bei ihnen angesagten Projekten. Nun liegt uns also in Form von ´Ancient Astronauts´ ein heißes Album der Norweger vor, das die Hitze auf dem Thermometer noch höher steigen lässt.

Ein kleiner Plausch mit Bent Sæther sollte uns darüber hinaus weitere Informationen liefern. Genießt unsere Unterhaltung im englischen Original:

Hello Bent, congratulations on the new album, your new songs are literally on fire!

Thank you! Happy that they work for you too!

´Ancient Astronauts´ is out now, although it was recorded in 2021. How long did you work in the studio on this record?

The basic tracks were done in five days in Oslo last summer, but we did some overdubs in our rehearsal room/studio in Trondheim afterwards, before it was mixed by Andrew Scheps last fall. But if was really focused and quick work, yeah!

However, guitarist Reine Fiske was not able to join the production. How did it feel as a vital trio?

Since the pandemic made travel across borders a bit of a nightmare, Reine (who of course lives in Stockholm in Sweden) was not able to join us for almost anything for those months. Since we knew the „Sacrificing“ project was going to be an on-off type project stretched out over months, we decided it was most practical to try to do it as a trio.

So the rest of us all double and tripled up the work chores and played whatever we had to play to make it happen, it worked surpisingly well as a trio, but it’ll be fun to add Reine and his „thing“ to the material as we start to play it live this fall. Less stressful and probably a little more fun!

He is a bit of a genious in his own way, and his input is always welcome!

Was the live recording in the studio anything special?

Well, that depends on how you look at it I guess? Normally we always try to track at least bass and drums together when we record, but we usually cut between takes and change out playing ‘mistakes’ etc afterwards to present the song as well as possible. This time, there were no edits or fixing done to the basic tracks, so the bass, drums and HMs guitar you hear on the record is the actual instruments as they were played together that day.

We added mellotrons and vocals and other stuff in post production of course, but since it was done this way, there is a certain „death before dishonor“-vibe to the basic tracks that make them feel extra vital to our ears. But that might just be because we know, i don’t know!

Do you feel the difference to the previous recordings?

I recognize the sound and feel of MP live, in full flight, yes. It is a very particular thing and very recognizable to me. It is not this pronounced when you do a record the normal way, so this actually feels different.

We’d never recorded in this studio before, so that is a new aspect to it as well: the sound of the room is very much a part of this record, and in a different room, you get a different feel. Also Deathprod (Helge “Deathprod” Sten, from 1992–1994 in the band; frequent guest and producer – the red.) was very paricular about not wanting to clutter these recordings with too much extra info (sound sources): he wanted to be able to hear everything clearly, and that is not always easy with our music. Often we have had a tendency to layer stuff on our records and make them a bit too dense with information. This one is wide open and as naked as we could make it. So yeah, different!

Did your former band member Helge “Deathprod” Sten have to persuade you to record these songs as an album?

Not really. We invited him to come see the dance performance, and over a beer afterwards asked him if he also thought this could be the core of a new record, like we did. He said so and also agreed to produce it for us when we asked, so we pretty much agreed on what it was supposed to be from the get go.

You had already composed the two songs – ´Mona Lisa/Azrael´ and ´Chariot Of The Sun´ – in the production with choreographer Homan Sharifi and the „Impure Dance Company“, right?

Well, kinda! Those two were more or less written before „Sacrificing“ started, but were developed into the shapes and forms presented here during the project and ended up like this on the album, because it felt like the best way to do them. The show was pretty loosely structured so we didn’t have to relate to time codes or anything like that though: we wrote the music the way we felt it worked best in the setting, and he took it from there and did his thing to the music we presented. But of course: adding the fact that it was „dance music“ made us think about it differently and obviously affected our process.



Also, how did the dark ambient soundtrack ´The Flower Of Awareness´ and the opening track ´The Ladder´ come about?

´The Flower Of Awareness´ is an improvisation by Tomas and Deathprod on gong and Buchla synth respectively. It just happened one day in the studio while we were bored and waiting for something else, and had this wonderful mood to it that felt so perfect that we just had to include it! We are jazz heads all of us, and appreciate the art of improv as much as the art of songwriting, so for us this is a natural thing to include on the record. Played once, never again, but a moment preserved for eternity. Beautiful!

´The Ladder´ was a song written around the same period as Chariot.. and ML/A, and had the things the rest of the material lacked: brevity, clarity and focus. It felt to all of us like it would be the perfect „slap in the face“-opener for this album, so we included it. To me it feels like it works really well, and it’ll be a fun tune to start playing live!

Was the cooperation with Homan Sharifi and the joint performances part of your distraction from current life since your own live performances were cancelled?

Yes, it was. Since our normal world was put on hold for an unknown length of time, we started looking for other projects to keep ourselves occupied. This was one that was possible, so was the film project with „De Utvalgte“ and so was the record that has become ´Ancient Astronauts´. None of this would have happened like it did if the plague hadn’t happened when, and like, it did. We are musicians and composers and will play and compose no matter what, so it is great to know people like these that operate outside the music business and have other ways of doing things. We learn a lot, and have „more legs to stand on“ as we say in Norway.

You also collected ideas for a film with the Norwegian theater group “De Utvalgte”. What is the connection between the „Theme From An Imagined Movie“, from ´Chariot Of The Sun´ and the theater people?

There are two connections:

– originally we thought about including parts of „Sacrificing“ in the movie, so we agreed to use the same music for both. The music for „Sacrificing“ was ´N.O.X.´ from ´The All Is One´ and the two long ones from ´Ancient Astronauts´, and that is the music we focused on for the film too.

– Parts of both ML/A and Chariot.. were actually written back in 2016 when we worked with „De Utvalgte“ on Begynnelser at Trøndelag Teater in Trondheim. These musical ideas were not used for anything more at the time, but felt absolutely right for this project.

We don’t believe in good or bad music and never throw away stuff we have written. We do however think any musical idea can work in the right setting, so our task is to know what is right and to decide which is the correct one. This way ideas from decades apart can sometimes end up in the same song, it doesn’t matter: it’s only right when it is finished, and a song is only finished when it is right!

The film project is very much an on-off thing, and right now we have no deadline or anything. We are patient and hope that something will eventually come of it though!

So, will there be more to come from working with „De Utvalgte“? A film, new music?

Yes, hopefully! They really feel like soulmates to us and we like them a lot, so there will be more work done I’m sure, even if no concrete projects (except for the film) are being discussed at the moment.

You’re a band that’s always looking ahead and quickly thinks of new music. Where are your thoughts currently circling? About the next album or the one after that? Will you write a heavy metal record or a singer-songwriter album? Or just another howling and roaring jam session?

We recorded a lot of simpler, less hi-fi dependent material during the pandemic that we are currently sorting through and trying to figure out how to finish. Still up in the air that stuff, but … workin on it!

We also have a bunch of heavy metal ideas lying around as well as a lot of more 60-ish sounding stuff, as well as a bunch of singer/songwriter type material and a couple of really big epic proggy pieces, so we’ll see: we haven’t really gotten our heads back from summer holidays yet and I don’t know what the vibe in the band is. But we’ll see!



  • Bent Sæther — lead vocals, bass, guitars, keyboards, drums (since forever)
  • Hans Magnus “Snah” Ryan — lead guitars, vocals, keyboards, mandolin, violin, bass (since forever)
  • Tomas Järmyr – drums, vocals (since 2017)


Pic: Terje Visnes