Ring Ring: Telephones Talks
There is a certain sense of irony to be found in a musician who produces sun kissed, tropically influenced music yet comes from Norway. Originating from Bergen, Telephones has found a penchant for uplifting, innovative, melodic house and disco music: a sound which is becoming increasingly associated with Norwegian musicians. A surplus of talent has poured from the Scandinavian haven in recent years: Prins Thomas, Todd Terje, Fett Burger, Skatebård, Sotofett and Lindstrøm are to name but only a few. Their influences range from far and wide, from graffiti and skate culture to early house, hip hop and soundsystems. The result is a musical mish mash of cosmic style with elements from each: dancefloor orientated with a nod to those who have come before.
Telephones, who's real name is Henning, sips an obscurely tinted green liquid as we begin our conversation. He laughs as he describes his currently hungover state of affairs. It has been a year or so since we last met in Glasgow and a lot has happened since, his own productions and collaborations with the likes of Jose Padilla have allowed him to travel far and wide.
"Animals Dancing put me on in Australia. I did New Years Eve in Adelaide. The club was run by a guy called Driller who, as far as I know used to be a policeman in New York or somewhere, he changed his life and started this really nice club. All the people there were super nice and they were all friends of friends. They decorated the whole place with a load of old telephones."
Henning has grown to appreciate this sort of attention to detail which has stemmed from his slightly peculiar personna as Telephones.
"It's funny, I think it's cool. It's a cool thing when people put effort in. Whatever puts the party in the mood. Whoever is throwing the party would know the vibe of the place and I trust people to do whatever they want, as long as its good."
When asked about his choice of artist personna he answers jokingly explaining that he "likes the ring of it".
Two years have passed since the last Telephones release on Running Back, the German record label which is nowadays run independently by Gerd Janson. There is a reason for an absence of music.
"I've just finished my album. It's been the main project for quite a long time. It's been nearly ready for a while now but there's been so much travelling and I don't like making music when i'm out of the studio. It's coming out on Running Back, there is no fixed date yet but i'm going to have to call Gerd after I've spoken to you as I forgot to answer his message from like a week ago about that."
Henning seems remarkably relaxed about the concept of releasing a debut LP. Often there is a great deal of fretting, tweaking, 'uhmming' and 'ahhhing'.
"It's definitely a house orientated record. Sometimes when people do albums they suddenly do something totally different. For me I guess I tried to make music the way I remember house, disco and techno from fifteen years ago. I tried to make stuff which has the feeling that I remember from listening to house, disco and techno before I knew what it was. It's nostalgic in a way."
When challenged as to the fear that often accompanies a debut LP he offers an insightful anecdote.
"When you get towards the end of a project or any piece of art your brain often tells you it is either really shit or really cool. It's a reaction, almost physical in a way. These thoughts or feelings are your brains way of preparing to let go because once you say somethings finished you cannot change it anymore."
This Friday Henning will play alongside Skatebård and Bjørn Torske at The Pickle Factory in London. He reflects on the music and influence of his counterparts.
"I'm really looking forward to that party. I've played quite a few times with Skatebård before in Bergen and playing with Bjørn was actually my first ever DJ gig, warming up for him in 2001. They're really lovely people and I respect them and their DJ'ing a lot."
It's interesting to observe the evolution of the music scene in Norway and its cultural impact on the wider world of electronic music. Telephones is just one of a collective of artists who has immersed themselves in the joy of house, disco and everything in between. There is a wonderfully enchanting sense of innocence to much of the music which is being released by crews such as Sex Tags, Full Pupp and more. A passion, love and authenticity. Norway is in safe hands: the music as exciting as ever.