Tore Tranah is hitting us with his second album Likström. This instrumental and entirely electronic album can be seen as a modern take on Krautrock or simply retro futuristic synths. Regardless of the classification, the album is a journey with an electronic path that you can easily trod down. We sat down with Tore Tranah to talk about the new album, his creative process, music and much more!
OSR: What first drew you to making music?
Tore Tranah: My will to make music came before my ability to make music so to speak. It definitely came from listening to music I liked, but also from other sounds I heard. I never played any instruments as a child, so I started pretty late. First I did experimental music with a mix of machines and more ordinary rock, then I picked up the saxophone and decided to learn music for real.
The problem is that that journey never ends, and you never think you are good enough. After 30 years of practising, studying, and playing traditional music with rock and jazz groups I decided to get back into experimental rock and make a Tore Tranah album. Then after that, I wanted to make another one!
OSR: Your album Likström is entirely electronic and instrumental, what prompted you to go in this direction?
Tore Tranah: The first album I made in 2018 contains a myriad of different styles. That is because I wanted it to follow in the steps of the old cassette I released in 1984. I kind of like that it has a mix of styles, but I thought that this time I should focus more on a homogenous style and sound. Also, I got more into synthesizers during the making of the first album.
Now Likström also has different styles I guess. There is the synthetic rock style and then the soundscapes or “art-music” tracks on the second side, but I still think it is more homogenous than the first. The reason for making it an instrumental album is of course that I am not much of a singer, even though I like to write lyrics. It was a big relief not having to do any vocals.
OSR: Is there a backstory for this album?
Tore Tranah: Not in the sense that I had a theme or a story to tell, but I wanted to make a synthesizer record and I was pretty clear sound wise and stylistically of what I wanted to do. I don´t think that music necessarily has to be beautiful or pleasant to listen to, it can also be uncomfortable and disturbing. I also think it is important, at least in this style, to be unique. I think that one can trace my influences by listening to this album even though I never tried to imitate anything when I made it. It is very much a rock album even though it is electronic music.
OSR: What was your creative process for this album? Did you have an idea for each song or just let the music take you?
Tore Tranah: Mostly the basic songs evolved naturally while I was playing around, but it is very different. Some of them came out very fast, but some took a lot of work. There is at least one of the more experimental ones that was recorded in one take without overdubs, and then there are some that took quite some time to get right. The rock tracks often started with a riff and then develop after that. Since this music is so much about sounds, the sound design and the composition go hand in hand.
OSR: Were there any songs that were particularly easy to write or that you had a hard time creating?
Tore Tranah: ‘Geisterbahnhof’ came out while experimenting, and then I recorded it in one take without overdubs. ‘4-4-4-5’ and ‘Moles’ took some work to get right, even though I had the basic riffs down.
OSR: Is there a song on the album that has a particular place in your heart?
Tore Tranah: There are of course some of the tracks I like more than others, but it has changed during the process. What I thought was the best song when I recorded it is not my favourite any more. If I must pick one favourite it would probably be ‘Röhmer Möglers serum’. I think the sound is gorgeous and I like the brutal riff. I also think it has a nice mix of hard riffing rock and experimental sounds. I also like the first track, ‘4-4-4-5’, very much.
OSR: You handled all the recording on this album, what was the biggest challenge with this?
Tore Tranah: I think the biggest challenge when doing everything yourself, and when everything is overdubbed, is that it is hard to achieve the interplay and dynamics you get when playing with a whole band. Also, you miss the inputs from other people.
On the other hand, this music is so artificial in nature that it is also a part of the sound and feel of it. It is quite easy to record electronic music because it is not dependent on microphones or room acoustics, but the mixing is of course a challenge. It is an art form in itself and I am learning along the way.
OSR: If people could feel only one emotion while listening to Likström, what would you like that to be?
Tore Tranah: I don’t really think like that. I don’t deliberately try to induce a certain emotion in the listener. There is probably a mood of isolation, desolation and obliterated humanity to it, but I think that is mostly caused by the corona pandemic. The music was made before the pandemic, so it was not supposed to about that, but actually, I feel like it is.
Instrumental music is abstract, so I just hope the listener can find it interesting to listen to!
OSR: What is the worst advice you have ever received?
Tore Tranah: That was a difficult one! I think I pass on this question.
OSR: What else can we expect from you in the future?
Tore Tranah: It could go in many directions, but I would like to do film music or music in the style of film music. So far this has only been a recording project, but it is not impossible that I will play live. If so, that would have to be with a slightly different style. I would like to have real drums, bass and guitar to do that. I will certainly stay instrumental, have no fear!
If I can add one thing: I am an old school guy in the sense that I like real (vinyl) records. Both my albums are available on vinyl, so get in touch if you want a copy of the real deal.