Rock Overdose and Zisis Petkanas had the pleasure of having a very interesting conversation with the Norwegian singer of alternative rockers Madrugada - solo artist Sivert Høyem, who talked about his new song 'Run Away', about his upcoming EP, for the future of Madrugada but also reminisced about his highly successful concerts in Greece in 2017.
Rock Overdose: So, hi Sivert how are you?
Sivert Høyem: I am alright, how are you?
Rock Overdose: Welcome to Rock overdose, it's a great pleasure to speak with you today. I suppose you are at Oslo right now, right?
Sivert Høyem: I'm back in Oslo yeah, i've touring a little bit but i am back here now. I was on the road for about a month, but you know some shows were postponed and some were cancelled, you know with this all Corona situation. It's not really the same anymore.
Rock Overdose: Yes everything is different...
Sivert Høyem: Yeah it's different and a lot of unexpected things happening all the time, you know some cities are in lockdown some aren't and you know.
Rock Overdose: So how about the lockdown there, in Oslo...
Sivert Høyem: We kinda have a half of a lockdown, in a way you know none of the bars are open,they don't serve any alcohol and stuff like that. No shows allowed, no big gatherings of people, but the schools and shops are open too.So there's certain things you can do. It's not a full lockdown, it's more sort of a social lockdown.
Rock Overdose: Here we have a total lockdown, except super markets...
Sivert Høyem: Really? Omg!
Rock Overdose: And we wear masks everywhere!
Sivert Høyem: Yeah, people do that here too. I got used to that a lot on the tour, there's was a lot people wearing masks...that's the new thing this year. It's something that took a lot of time to get used to.
Rock Overdose: It should be hard for you because you had to cancel your live concerts at the Rockefeller Music Hall.
Sivert Høyem: Yeah but they are moved to February, so we will see what happens.
Rock Overdose: So the new single is 'Run Away'.What was the inspiration behind these lyrics and music?
Sivert Høyem: It's a song that it's been there for a while, i was trying to say something about grown up life. Life is getting more settle and it's sort of predictable kind of way. Sometimes you find your self wanting to get away from that, you want your life to be a little bit more exciting sometimes, i guess that's what i am talking about. Sometimes you don't appreciate your life so much and other times you think your life is ok. Nothing is just one way, that's what i feel about.
Rock Overdose: So what about Madrugada? Any possible release?
Sivert Høyem: We'll see, it's nothing that we talked about yet. It was very inpsiring being on the road last year, but there are no plans to continue but we will see. The crowd, the atmosphere on these shows, was nothing i've ever experienced before, it was very special...
Rock Overdose: I am sure about it, because you were a long time in hiatus.
Sivert Høyem: Yeah people really appreciate it when we came back and that meant a lot to us.
Rock Overdose: That's why people are expecting a new release, i don't know.
Sivert Høyem: Yeah, we will see what happens, there are no plans for that right now.
Rock Overdose: Ok I see, so of many highlights of your solo carreer came in 2016 when you and your band played two sold out concerts for total of 10,000 Greek fans in the ancient Greek theater Herodeon (Odeon of Herodes Atticus) in Athens. So what do you remember from these moments.
Sivert Høyem: It was very special for me, i knew i had a lot of fans in Greece. I've been coming there for a long time but i didn't knew that was on that level! I never played anything like that, sort of size and place, it just came as a kind of shock actually. I did not expect that to be possible for me to play those concerts.
Those were really special nights absolutely, it was just a plan that my Greek promoter had. He said "we would like you to do these shows" and i was like "are you sure you want me to play to that place?" I mean it was pretty big and we ended up selling it out twice and i didn't think it was possible for me.
Rock Overdose: It was really great nights to remember i suppose. So "Live at Acropolis – Herod Atticus Odeon, Athens" (2017) was a release from your record label company.Would you like to tell us a few words about this release, which is a real diamond for our country and about your marketing worries and plans for your own label.
Sivert Høyem: Yeah i mean that label, it's just a thing i did to have control on my own music and to have a company to distribute my own music. It's not really something i was super interested in, just seemed a good thing to do that my self, to relase my music by my self and not having another record company involved.
The live album to me it just felt obvious to have that event had to be filmed, had to be documented very well. Because it was in such a great place, the Greek audience is so amazing and the surroundings at the Acropolis and everything. It would be stupid not to make a concert movie and a live album from that event really and it just felt that "yes, of course we gonna do that".
Rock Overdose: So Sivert, how do you explain the love of the Greek public towards you, also how much do you know about any Greek music or artists?
Sivert Høyem: I Think from the very beggining when we came to Greece with Madrugada in the year of 2000, from the first time people took us very seriously then and it was a very special atmosphere at the shows even then. It's like any other love affair, if someone's likes you, you know you gonna like them back. so it started building from there and i am very glad also that the band did not exist for many years and people kept listening to my solo work and i am extremely grateful for that as well.
Greek artists...uhm i like Vangelis, i like him especially as a soundtrack for the Blade Runner movie, such a classic and that inspires me a lot actually. And there's a Greek-American artist now, who's kinda of electronic, kind of very theatrical electronic music called Ioanna Gkika but i think she is based in L.A. She is amazing, really amazing and i don't if she is well known in Greece but she should be.She is really really good.
Rock Overdose: So how would you describe your personal concert experience here. Is there specific memmories, something moving or intense that comes to your mind when you hear the word 'Greece'?
Sivert Høyem: Greece is always a kind of a highlight on every tour! It was very special last year with Madrugada, because people have been waiting for that for a long time and we have been waiting for that, for a long time. There was a certain atmosphere in that room, when we played at the Faliro's Sports Arena. So we played two shows there and also the Herodeion shows. Those are probably my biggest sort of memmories from Greece, they are also the biggest shows and they just felt like 'Wow' (laughs) u know, there's something certainly happening here!
Rock Overdose: Many times we find some influences from Black Metal such as in "Red on Maroon" for example and we remember as well your excellent guest vocals along with Satyricon. Would you like to tell us about your relationship with Metal and Black Metal in general.
Sivert Høyem: Well, i am not really a metal fan. I did grow up like when i started listening to music, it was a bit or Iron Maiden and stuff like that and more of progressive rock like early Genesis, but i didn't really keep listening to that but what i found in Black Metal is the atmosphere, the moods are so strong. It's not nesseseraly like super fast or so much techical and that was appealing to me.
Of course metal music has a different aesthetic from sort of the thing i do my self, but i really can relate to some of the moods in that music. The atmosphere is very strong and some of that early Norwegian black metal. So that's what attracts me i suppose. Also if you are honest about it, there's a certain sense of danger to that early first wave of Norwegian black metal, you know all the Mayhem stuff, it has a certain thing about it which is exciting of course.
So i guess that's my angle on it, i am not a metal guy but everybody i meet, from my work with Satyricon, i've got to meet a lot of metal fans and a lot of artists as well, like every people you meet are very serious about music and they are very open minded about music. It's not like they listen only to black metal or only Metallica or Slayer and all of that stuff, they listen to any kind of music.
Rock Overdose: Sivert are you planning anything online for the fans, any live streaming maybe?
Sivert Høyem: I haven't been thinking about that actually. We did record one of the shows of the tour we might release songs from that show, but i don't really know about these streaming events actually, it's not the same. Maybe i'll just wait until i can play for people in person, that's what i really missed and i think that's what everybody really missing now to get together in a room when the world is open again and sharing that thing, because that's what we need.
Rock Overdose: Do you plan to release your next solo album soon?
Sivert Høyem: We will see, it's first tha new EP for now "Roses of Neurosis", that's gonna come out in February and i guess it's gonna be sometime until the world gets back to normal and then i might get start working on new material, maybe recording a little bit in the spring, yeah it might be.I am not in a hurry (laughs).
Rock Overdose: So, do you have any other news to reveal though this interview?
Sivert Høyem: No, i don't really have a lot of news, i just wanna say that as soon as this thing is over i'll come and play for people in Greece, that's a promise!
Rock Overdose: So this would be my next question, i wanted to ask you to give a message to your Greek fans
Sivert Høyem: I want you people to stay focused, stay strong, stay safe and we will meet again very soon, i hope!
Rock Overdose: Sivert, thank you very much for your time and for this very unique conversation and hope meeting you here in Greece soon.
Sivert Høyem: Yeah thank you, i hope meeting you too man, take care!
For Rock Overdose
Interview: Zisis Petkanas
Questions: Zisis Petkanas- Christos Doukas
Transcription: : George Markogiannakis
Translation: Christos Doukas