Hot off the back of his recent album, Islander, Jarle Bernhoft, better known as Bern / Hoft, is back in the UK for gigs in Manchester & London. Check out the dates and buy tickets here. We caught up with him to find out his thoughts on gigging in England, the Norwegian music scene, Spotify and plenty more.
Gigslutz: You are getting great reception in the UK at the moment, Do you like playing in England?
Jarle: Yeah! I generally like playing anywhere, good music is a unifier, it tends to turn a lot of people into cool people. England has this rich tradition that a lot of other countries don’t have, so it’s something special fosho.
Gigslutz: You’ve played here a number of times; how do English audiences differ from other audiences?
Jarle: The bar is somewhat higher, since so much great music has poured out of your islands over the years. And compared to, let’s say, Norway, more people tend to get the lyrics, haha.
Gigslutz: There’s always been interesting music coming from Norway; how is the current Norwegian music scene? Is it supportive of your music?
Jarle: I think there is lots of good music in Norway, and it has been for many many years. The music journalism in Norway tend to favour country and indie rock tho, if you look at the ‘top 100 albums of the last 50 years’-type lists, black music is really absent. I’m one of very few doing soul music, but I’d say that most people are positive to what I do.
Gigslutz: You’ve previously been in bands, but you are a multi-instrumentalist and your live shows you do some clever things with loops & effects to create a full sound; do you prefer working alone or collaborating as part of a group?
Jarle: I would like to do more with a band, so I’m going to. But I like both, if I could have it 50/50 it’d be great.
Gigslutz: What can people expect from your live shows this time round?
Jarle: I don’t know what to expect myself. It’s been a long time, so I might mess up, but then I have to play along with the fuckups, and that creates new music. Hard to say, but I’d definitely aim to shake yer hips.
Gigslutz: Your last album Islander has been well received with many people citing the soul influences on your sound. Do you have any more surprising inspirations?
Jarle: I’ll put on a playlist of old Crosby, Stills and Nash, and Aphex Twin, and find it a sublime match, both in itself, and for my creative processes.
Gigslutz: What do you think about the streaming / download debate, especially in light of Taylor Swift’s recent decision to remove her music from Spotify?
Jarle: It seems clear to me that the distribution of wealth from these services has effectively set the music industry back a couple of decades. So it ain’t perfect, but then again, nothing ever was. I worry more for artists just starting up, than Taylor Swift. She’ll be alright methinks.
Gigslutz: Do you have anyone you’ve always wanted to do a remix of one of your songs and do you have an artist that you would like to remix or cover?
Jarle: Aphex Twin. For both.
Gigslutz: Who are your current “ones to watch”?
Jarle: Emilie Nicolas. She’ll be huge.