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Interviewing saxophonist Mette Rasmussen


How are you, what’s been happening lately?

I am good, thank you! Been doing a string of shows with Trio North this summer amongst other things. And started a new band with Savannah Harris, named ØKSE which also features Petter Eldh and Val Jeanty. And then I am far into a PhD study at the moment. I have different tours coming up for the rest of 2022 and for 2023. Finishing off the Trio North tour with a studio recording in Oslo, which will be our first recording, which I am really excited about.

As saxophonist you’re known for, correct me if I’m wrong, for improvisation, both solo and in smaller groups. What drew you to free jazz and improvisation in the first place, and were there any defining moments? I would also like to know, how have you been able to continue and keep yourself motivated? 

Definitely had some defining moments at various points, one for starter walking into the wrong band rehearsal once and ending up in the band. That group later became SAFT which was really my way into improvised music. Working with Kasper Bjerg and Søren Mehlsen at that point in time set off a lot of new inspirations and opened up a new direction into music for me. I guess I have never looked back since. Motivation, well I don’t know… it feels like a constant stream of energy that flows..

Jazz and especially free jazz is based on communication, a dialogue between musicians – and maybe also between the musicians and the audience. What do you want to communicate with your music to us, to listeners? 

Well….. I don’t want to be a preacher, or impose upon the identity of others! I think… being able to alter perception of “the now” or contribute to how we perceive what we experience in the now, can happen at a concert. You know that one second were your mind is not capable of understanding any of the content but you are so affected emotionally that you feel it all over your body. You know “that” physical reaction that your mind can´t comprehend. Being able to get to that point with an audience, I think can be the gateway for someone to branche out, into “other” truths than the ones we get from any set of laws or social code of conducts, something that can be extremely hard in a world that is cluttered in “fake news and fake reality”.

Mette Rasmussen Trio North is going to perform a brand new composition work in Tampere called Time Travels Through Us. Could you tell about its musical and non-musical basics? I know that one of the pieces is called ”A hashtag without content” but I’am quite sure you haven’t composed Time Travels Through Us without content. 

I think we are all here for such a short time, and time is traveling through us, moving through us all since centuries ago. In a current culture that has been urging us to nurture the “I” instead of the collective “We”, the “I” is busy identifying with the right hashtags, and far too often fail to act on any of the causes. It seems the hashtags becomes demobilized and disturbingly empty. Thou, I think tendencies in society is moving away from this culture right now, I think most people are getting tired of things without content, you know food that is not food, regulations that are not there to benefit what it is made for, freedom within the framework of control, democracy as an excuse to not reflect upon laws being passed, why we in 2022 still don’t have equality no matter gender, sexual orientation, religious believes or race. Yes, we have come far, but if we lift our head off off the i-cloud and look around, we have such a long way to go still. We can´t stop now. 

What’s going to happen in the near future?

I am going to be writing music for various bands and projects and going to be touring a bunch, going to be reading books, reflecting with my friends on life and music and engaging in the energy around me. I was talking to a friend of mine yesterday, and we agreed upon the importance of honesty in the world and all relations, and importance of things being in motion, and that all cross relations create a larger ecosystem. That we are many relational energies, but if something becomes fake, dishonest or static then the ecosystem won’t function. That sort of ecosystem is basically music. 

2023 Artists

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