You first became
known across Europe with your graphic work. Was it how
things started for you, and how did you come to graphic
It was by accident more than anything else. I was studying
fine art at the academy in Trondheim, the city where
I grew up, and began making small art-fanzines there.
After a while I got asked to do record sleeves for a
local rock band, and then things went on from there.
You declared once in an interview that 'it
is easier to do something if you are an amateur [..]
because you don’t have to prove yourself'. What
did you mean by this and is it something that is behind
everything you do?
I don't know if it is behind everything I do, but I
definitely believe in working with an attitude of knowing
as little as possible about what you are about to do
in order to not be constrained by efforts to 'prove'
anything and also to be as open as possible to whatever
it is you are about to do. To approach things without
the limitations of professionalism.
Do you find inspiration in the same things
whether you work on music project or on graphic design
or film? What does inspire you?
I have no idea where inspiration comes from. I'm don't
really know what it means.
How did you get involved with doing the artwork
for Rune Grammofon, and whose idea was it to create
a strong visual for the label and develop it with each
Rune, who runs the label, contacted me and asked me
if I wanted to be involved. The idea was a mutual one.
You were asked to interview Rune Kristoffersen
for the book accompanying the double CD compilation
released to celebrate the label’s fifth anniversary.
Did you learn anything about the label or Rune that
you didn’t know before?
I already knew Rune quite well by then from us working
together for that long, so no. The interview wasn't
for me, it was for the readers of the book.
How did you come to music? Is it something
that you have always been doing?
This was also at the art academy where I studied; they
had a sound studio with some gear in it. When I left
there I got my own sampler and worked with that at home.
Then different collaborations and accidents lead to
Joakim at Smalltown Supersound hearing a couple of tracks
and asking if I would be interested in doing something
for the label. The idea of actually releasing music
hadn't occurred to me before that.
Your first album, Hei, was very well
received. Were you surprised by this, and were you worried
by how people who knew you for your graphic work were
going to received your music?
I was extremely surprised. I wasn't so much worried
about the reception; I never thought there would be
much of one anyway. I think perhaps some people were
sceptical because there is the idea that you should
stick with what you know. Again, that is the good thing
about not thinking you know anything.
On Melke, you compiled a series of
tracks that were either previously, or were said to
be rejects. How did you make the choice of tracks?
We just compiled whatever was there and which we though
was good enough.
For The Ladies is a rather daring
record. How did the idea for it come up, and what have
the reactions to it been like?
I don't remember now how the idea actually surfaced,
I thought about it for a very long time before I actually
made it. I think at some point I just thought it would
be fun to make a strictly field-recordings only record.
I haven't gotten so many reactions. There have been
a couple of butcherings by journalists, but that's about
The two mini-album you have released this year,
For The Ladies and Live Shet, and
the EP that came out earlier this summer, Hopeness,
are all very different. Were they conceived at very
different moments in your life?
A bit. Live Shet just came from people asking
for the music I played live, since it was different
from what was otherwise on the records. For The
Ladies, again, was just an old idea that I wanted
to realize. Hopeness was more a result of Smalltown
wanting an EP of new music and me not having put out
any in a while. Hopeness is more the coherent
continuation of the music I'd released before.
Although the six tracks on Live Shet
were all performed live at one point or another, these
specific versions aren’t live? Why did you decide
to record them in the studio?
Because the live recordings I had of them were crap
and they were programmed and put together to work in
a live setting, and I needed to make changes here and
there so that they worked on a record. I don't know
in the end that they really did, though... It's a problem
I think, how electronic music works so differently live
and on record, at least my music.
The press release for Live Shet says
that your live sets are the result of you developing
something different from your records because you couldn’t
make your original sound work as you wanted. What was
it you were trying to achieve?
It just got boring to play for people who were only
listening. It's more fun when they dance.
On the back of the cover for Live Shet
is an email sent by a fan to your record label complaining
about your live performance not being what they expected.
Is this a real email, and what was your original reaction
Yes the email is real and I can understand the reaction.
But I also don't feel obliged to fulfil anyone’s
expectation. Releasing a record is not signing a contract
with the people who buy it, that that is what everything
will also sound like in the future, or in concert. The
same goes with For The Ladies.
Do you think this live persona will affect
your future studio recordings? If yes, in which way?
I don't know. It might, it might not.
You have played live on a regular basis over
the last few years. Do you think it has put a different
perspective on your work?
That's difficult to say. Everything changes a little
bit all the time anyway, because of all kinds of things.
I'd definitely like to try and put more music on record
which will also work like that live, but on the other
hand that's the good thing about records, that you can
put stuff there which might not work in a live setting
Are you planning to release a full-length album
soon? What can we expect from Kim Hiorthøy?
There will be a new album in the spring. Expect the
You are currently working on putting a DVD
together for Supersilent. What can people expect of
the finished product?
It's one concert in Oslo shot in black and white on
film. It's all very simple and blasting as fuck.
What is next in your diary?
Going to Japan and finishing the new record.
Email interview October 2004
Thank you to Kim and Jim.