Jenny Hval has in recent years made a name for herself as a writer, journalist, recording artist and sound artist both in No rway and abroad. When her third record Viscera was released in 2011, WIRE magazine described the record as: “a stunning achievement both conceptually and musically.” Multidisciplinary and transgressive are words often employed to describe her art, but Jenny Hval’s polyphonic artistry is in fact seamlessly interwoven between musical, literary, visual and performative modes of expression. Her fifth album, Apocalypse, girl (2015), was recorded with producer Lasse Marhaug, and will be released June 9, 2015 by Sacred Bones and Su Tissue (Norway).
1: Feminism isn’t over.
2: Socialism isn’t over.
3: This sentence is true (The previous sentence is false).
What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
Movies and the subconscious.
How and when did you get into making music?
I got a keyboard when I was about six years old. It had 99 sounds. I started playing it, wanting to learn how to sound like Vangelis.
What are your 5 favourite albums of all time?
I’ll do this chronologically, like an autobiography.
1986: Kim Wilde – Another Step
1992: Sophie B. Hawkins – Tongues and Tails
1996: Lush – Split
2001: Sheila Chand ra and the Ganges Orchestra – This Sentence Is True (The Previous Sentence Is False)
2014: Alice Coltrane – Divine Songs
What do you associate with Berlin?
Wide streets, DIY, too many concerts.
What’s your favourite place in your town?
The botanical gardens, my studio, and some secret underground venues.
If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
The same thing I do now, but without recording it and putting it on records.
What was the last record you bought?
Diane Cluck’s new album when I saw her play the other day.
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
If I admire someone’s work, I’m generally terrified of them, so it would have to be someone I knew already and who I wasn’t a fan of. A collaboration should be about equality and fearlessness.
What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
As a spectator: anything I saw at this festival in Oslo called Grønland Kammermusikkfestival a few years ago, which really changed my idea of what “contemporary” music is. As a performer: playing with Lonnie Holley at Big Ears Festival, where I could be a listener and performer at the same time. I didn’t perform very well – most of the time I was feeling embarrassed – but there were some moments of true joy in there, taking part in Holley’s incredible world of music.
How important is technology to your creative process?
Without tape echo and small digital recording devices, I would never have thought of making music the way I do. So I would say it’s more important than anything else. Even if it sounds dumb.
Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career?
I have no siblings. But I’ve grown up playing guitar amongst dogs and birds. Dogs either love it – meaning they want to chew on it – or hate it, meaning they run away as soon as you start playing.