It’s time for another Music Monday and this month I’m joined by Acting Quiet, a band from Norway. They just released their newest album, Kaizen, on October 22nd and graciously allowed me to feature them on my blog!
Now, there’s technically no book connection to this Music Monday but since I found this band through my blog’s Twitter, I’m gonna count it!
About the Band: Acting Quiet, founded in 2010, is an indie band that consists of Johannes T. Røsvik and Mathias Waagnes, from the Art Nouveau city Aalesund in Norway. The smooth acoustic, often melancholic sounding tracks creates a lush and emotional soundscape.
After the first self-released album “Lucky”, Acting Quiet decided to continue self-releasing albums independently. For the EP “Pascal”, the genre evolved from a purist acoustic music style to indie pop. Continuously evolving, Acting Quiet released “Lotus” that explores electronica oriented instruments as well as using a wide variety of orchestra in their tracks.
For our new album “Kaizen“, we wanted something new and challenging to work on. Bringing with us the previous experiences from our previous albums and combining what we think worked out well on them were the direction we wanted to take “Kaizen”. We love to mix acoustic elements with orchestral and electrical elements. We want to think that is our style, more than just melancholic lyrics.
Kaizen, a Japanese word mostly used in business terminology, may be briefly defined by “continuous improvement”. This is something we strive for with everything we do so we decided to dedicate our album to this.
Interview with the band:
Q: How did you both get started in music?
A: The fact that we got together making music was a pure coincidence, but now we think of this as inevitable. We both love to create, regardless of whether it is music, graphic design or websites. The reason why our main project became music was probably because we started out with a couple of guitars in middle school. Even though Mathias has played the piano since he was eight, it was one of those guitars that got him into making music himself.
For a Christmas-party in 10th grade, no one in our class knew how to play a bass guitar, so Johannes thought he’d just learn to play the songs that were planned, and that became our first serious collaboration in the world of music.
We were both around 12-13 years old when we first started making stuff together, but music wasn’t a part of it then. We actually worked on graphic design and videos together for a while. Mathias even bought a pretty serious camera, and we made some videos with some of our other friends. While Mathias personally wasn’t really recording music very much, he was doing so called “beat-mashing” on his computer. It was, of course, indeed terrible, just like you would expect from a teenager with not much equipment or skills.
Along with another childhood friend of ours, we made a song for our middle school graduation party. Let’s just say that autotune was our best friend back then, but it turned out kind of alright. To Mathias’ surprise, people thought he had a good voice. That gave him the inspiration and courage to explore more of the musical side of himself.
One thing led to another, and soon enough Johannes stitched together a website for our band, which back then was already Acting Quiet. We released a less than mediocre album after that. Looking back at it, it sounds horrible, but it was of course an important first step. Luckily, the album is no longer available on the internet, so don’t worry about it.
Over time, Johannes has gone fully into design and web development, while Mathias is responsible for the actual music. That’s convenient when we live in two different parts of Europe anyway.
Q: How did you come up with the name for your group?
A: That is actually a funny story. In the beginning of the group’s conception, we had another group member that Mathias met in his tiny hometown on Facebook. She needed help with a project for her Norwegian classes, and he posted what he did a couple of days too late, of course. After some time of talking, we decided to make music together as we had a common interest. That was before Johannes was involved, so it lacked structure to say the least. When Johannes joined, we started pondering upon which name to take for our probably short-lived project.
We found this list in our archive. These are some of the suggestions we were thinking about back in October 2011. Can’t believe we didn’t go for “Bizarre Team”!
Actually, we’re glad we ended up with Acting Quiet. The name was to signalize that we made acoustic music, without too much percussion. That, of course, changed rather quickly as Mathias sold his expensive camera, and bought an iMac together with a lot of virtual instruments, such as drums. The first song I made and released on that machine is actually still up on YouTube, just for the nostalgia of it. The song is called “Another Day” and probably laid the cornerstone of what Acting Quiet was going to become.
As we started getting more proficient with our virtual drums, the name Acting Quiet has become more of an ironic joke about us not using any drums at all, which of course is not very true anymore. But to this day, we have never used any real drums in our tracks, so at least our neighbours are happy.
Q: From your past albums and EPs, it looks like you experiment a lot with different musical styles; how would you describe your genre?
A: Mathias loves to visit a lot of genres within one album, otherwise he’ll get bored when mixing and mastering. It may also be because both of us are puritans when it comes to albums. We never use playlists so that we can appreciate the artist’s full intention of an album. Since Mathias comes from a family that’s listening to a lot of jazz, that carries on in it.
Our genre is not very easily defined, and if we did define it, we feel that we would have to follow the chosen genre more than we do now. Thus, we just settled with indie and called it a day. We do, however, try to make music with a vibe that both you and your dad might enjoy.
Throughout these five years we have been determined that we will never make or release something because we feel like we have to. All our music is made because of our desire to express our thoughts, and we are very humbled by the fact that there are people around the world that seem to like it.
This month we released our fourth album, Kaizen. It has been in the making for over two years now, but there are songs in there that were started almost four years ago.
Mathias and Johannes
Thanks again to Acting Quiet for joining me on my blog! Be sure to listen to their new album, Kaizen, and share the love on their social media sites!