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Terje Eide: From On The Rise to a Solo Adventure

Terje Eide: From On The Rise to a Solo Adventure

Terje Eide: From On The Rise to a Solo Adventure

Terje Eide is a vocalist, guitarist, composer, recording artist and producer from Bergen, Norway.  Best known for his band On The Rise who released two albums via the Frontiers Music Srl stronghold, Terje is now completely independent – and has recently released this first solo magnum opus entitled Recalibrate.  A glorious melodic rock adventure, Recalibrate is sure to inspire all types of music fans.  Highwire Daze recently caught up with Terje to discuss the creation of Recalibrate, thoughts on his On The Rise/Frontiers days, working with Los Angeles based keyboardist Eric Ragno, and other topics of intrigue.  Read on…

Where are you based out of and what is your local music scene like there?
I grew up in the seventies and eighties in Bergen, on the west coast of Norway. Bergen is one of the main music hubs in Norway. It’s the country’s second biggest city, yet it feels very fresh, intimate, welcoming, collaborative and experimental. New artists and bands are constantly emerging, and I enjoy observing the development of new and talented generations. The rock scene that I grew up with has changed a lot of course, catering to a more mature audience as we all grow older, but there are still a few places that keep our culture live and alive.

Is there any overall story or concept behind the album title Recalibrate?
The title came up while discussing concepts for the album and co-writing lyrics with my partner and artist Ellen Ringstad. She dived head-first into her massive research archive, and suddenly retrieved an old post-it note with the word RECALIBRATE written on it. It was a title for a future exhibition of hers, but we felt it would perfectly sum up what I wanted to convey. Every relationship is a potential rebirth, and when I met her, I felt a surge of hope and resourcefulness. I had a long period prior when I didn’t feel like making or playing music. Plus, I was disillusioned with some of the things that were happening in the music business. Destruction, chaos, disappointment, anger, grief is part of life, and it adds depth to art of course. I wanted this album to acknowledge all those aspects, but to have in sum an uplifting message. I’m a positive person, and that is my strength that I wish to pay forward. The turnaround for me was when my partner invited me to visit her Portuguese family who lives on the subtropical island of Madeira, introducing me to these warm people (and climate, coming from one of the rainiest cities in the world). I felt instantly rejuvenated and things simply untangled. There are a lot of ‘Re’s on this album: a prefix that implies trying something anew, with the potential for a better outcome. Haven’t we all reflected on going back in time and changing something? We can’t do that… but maybe we can reprogram ourselves, finding the right tools, and recalibrate. Putting on our own oxygen mask before helping others.

Select two songs from Recalibrate and what inspired the lyrics?
ON FIRE‘ is partly inspired by my time serving as a UN-soldier in the South of Lebanon in the 80s. Working for peace and helping the civilians was a game changer for me; observing the media’s impact, the discrepancies in facts and reporting, and how we’re all indoctrinated through decades of interpretation and misrepresentation of the truth. ‘On Fire‘ has a certain nostalgic 80s feel to it with a modern sound and futuristic dystopian sci-fi soundscapes. Considering the environmental impact of rising temperatures, not to mention the rise in world conflicts, there’s a contemporary message as well. If only we could learn from history.

PLAY IT LOUD‘ is a reflection on the evolution of rock music and the music industry in general; how technology has changed our lives for better or for worse. If you don’t have an online presence, you’re practically invisible. We’re all pretty much engulfed in our phones, including how we purchase, experience and listen to music. As the lyrics of the song goes: ‘Are we blindly caved by the digital magic / the physical touch lost in a battle of tragic‘.

Who produced Recalibrate and what was it like working with them?
Recalibrate is written, arranged and produced by me. It was a liberating process without deadlines or pressures, trying to let it float in the midst of dreams and observations. I forwarded the songs, one by one, to drummer Zsolt Meszaros, included a few guest performances by Fritz Arild Aga on bass, and then Eric Ragno sprinkled his magic on additional piano, B3 and keyboards. Sound engineer Eirik Grønner at Demningen Studio did the mixing, and finally Bruno Gruel at French Audio Village/Elektra Mastering did the final polishing.

Who did the cover art for Recalibrate and how much input did you have on it?
The album cover depicts a reimagined Janus figure – the two headed Roman god simultaneously looking towards the past and future, representing beginnings, transitions and endings.

I literally only shared the album title with designer Nello Dell’Omo, and he responded with this beautiful futuristic cover art, with much depth and detail visually and conceptually, combining ancient symbolism with imagery from industrial mechanics and new technology. It was as if he had heard the album already. It instantaneously resonated with myself and my partner, whose keen observations and knowledge I appreciate and trust. Coincidentally she had previously made various sculptural interpretations of the Janus figure, and those were in fact linked to the mentioned post-it note, so we felt that the synchronicities had come full circle. It is amazing how these ancient symbols and concepts transcend time, still capturing the universal core of being human.

How did keyboardist Eric Ragno become involved with Recalibrate and what was it like working with a Los Angeles-based keyboardist?
We’ve collaborated before and it’s always a pleasure! I reached out to Eric when it was time for some evaluations and to give the keyboard parts a final touch of Eric-ness wizardry. He’s enthusiastic and accurate and delivers quickly. Like the great keyboard chef that he is, he adds just the right combination of spices. He sent me so many tasteful keyboard parts to choose from, but unfortunately there is only room for a selection of courses from the meny, and it was both hard and a privilege to pick and choose. The challenge when making an album is withholding; oftentimes less is more. But that also means we have an arsenal of variations when playing live someday! One of the positives with new technology is that whether you live across town or half way around the globe, it practically takes the same amount of time to receive a Cubase-file.

Would you like to tour or do some shows in support of Recalibrate?
I would definitely love to play live and to tour in the US! For the time being I’m still promoting Recalibrate. There are interviews and distribution stuff etc, and I’m doing it all by myself, by choice. Why the urgency to do it all at once? My ethos is the same as it was making the album: to enjoy the ride, stress free. I’ve taken this opportunity to explore and educate myself on the ins and outs of how the whole industry is interconnected, what the record and marketing companies do that justify their cuts, which hardly remunerate creators. It’s a way to regain control of what feels lost. And no, you don’t necessarily need to release via record company anymore, ’cause musicians have more platforms to stand on, and it’s all about taking risks and just doing it. Plus I am pleased to have the mindspace for meaningful conversations with fans of the music, instead of short meet and greets.

When you look back on your work with On The Rise, what do you think of it now in retrospect?
On The Rise was a child of its time, and I am very grateful for that experience. It was challenging and interesting, which resulted in two albums that I am proud of. I am honored that there are fans out there who, to this day, still have a connection to the music, and on a regular basis request a third album. Although OTR is unlikely to resurrect in its past form, I have stayed in touch with everyone involved, and even included some on this album, such as drummer Zsolt Meszaros, keyboardist Eric Ragno and sound engineer Eirik Grønner. With the first album ‘On The Rise‘ I was working day and night to meet the deadline, hardly getting any sleep. And maybe now is the time to tell a story, which I have shared with almost no one: I was actually so exhausted during the making of, that I fell asleep behind the wheel. Fortunately the car was hardly moving when it hit a road sign, which bruised my pride more than my car. I was literally in the Dream Zone so to speak, which was the title of the second OTR album. On some level, constraint can be an enabler of creativity (Dream Zone was mostly recorded in my living room). My priorities have shifted, and I am hopefully wiser, which reflects in my new album. So, in retrospect: acknowledge your limits and enjoy the present moment. That car bruise thing probably set a premise for my no stress attitude nowadays.

What was it like working with Frontiers Music Srl?
Dream Zone was released 15 years ago, and the debut album 21 years ago. It’s been a while! In my experience, the Frontiers team that I worked with was dedicated, professional and supportive to both releases. It was a constructive collaboration. This time around though I wanted to challenge myself and have full control of all aspects of the production, release, etc. As an independent, I only have my own integrity to rely on. It’s been very educational and rewarding in its own right.

Any new solo or On The Rise music on the horizon?
The response to Recalibrate has been amazing, and I hope more people can discover and enjoy it. For now that is my focus, but I’m open for opportunities. I always carry melodies in my system that need an outlet. But, as many movie directors working back to back on films have reflected on, they don’t have time to really appreciate it. I think the key to life is keeping a healthy pace, living in the present and not lingering in past achievements. I don’t want to burn my candle on both ends.

Are you involved with any other bands or projects at this time?
Not at the moment, but I help and support other projects in between, whenever I can.

Messages for Terje fans here in the States?
Thanks for rooting for me all these years and for patiently impatiently awaiting RECALIBRATE. US fans rock!

(Interview by Ken Morton)

Terje Eide Official Home Page
Terje Eide on Spotify

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