Hour of the Wolf at the PuSh Festival 2015

Beau Bridge

Beau Bridge spoke via email with Sissel Vera Pettersen, Norwegian vocalist, musician and composer who performs with Eye of Newt at Hour of the Wolf at Performance Works Jan 30, 2015.

Check out his audio interview with Sissel and Stefan Smulovitz (Eye of Newt).

And check out (and share!) all our PuSh-y interviews here: http://bit.ly/CJSFPuSh15

from pushfestival.ca: Sissel Vera Pettersen is a Norwegian vocalist, saxophonist and composer based in Copenhagen. She studied at the Trondheim Jazz Conservatory and at the Rythmic Music Conservatory in Copenhagen. 
She is an important voice on the Scandinavian improv scene. Her style combines a cool, sensuous timbre with extended vocal techniques inspired by a wide range of folk music and non-western cultures, even birdsong, often morphed through looping and other live electronics. sisselvera.com

Eye of Newt, led by avant-garde violinist Stefan Smulovitz, returns to Club PuSh with a very special guest. Norwegian vocalist Sissel Vera Pettersen performs in Canada for the first time, taking to the stage to perform with vocalist Viviane Houle to weave a mesmerizing vocal soundscape accompanied by the improvisation of the Eye of Newt ensemble. Their live experimental set is inspired by the palpable madness of Ingmar Bergman’s Hour of the Wolf, described by Time Out London as “a dazzling flow of surrealism, expressionism and full-blooded Gothic horror.” Catch this rare screening of the 1968 surrealist psycho-drama, along with a startling performance from Eye of Newt.

Beau Bridge, CJSF: How did a collaboration between you and Stefan form?

Sissel Vera Pettersen: I got an email from Stefan, Inviting me over for the PuSh festival. I checked out his and Vivian'ss music on the web, and immediately felt very related to what they do, so It was a pleasure for me to say yes to their invitation. We haven´t met before, so this will be the first time we perform together.

CJSF: When it comes to live performances, how would you describe the interaction between the audience and yourself?

SVP: Very important. In a live performance there is a strong interaction between those performing and those listening/watching/experiencing, although I might not put a heavy focus on that when singing/playing. I´m normally very absorbed in the music on stage, but the presence of the audience is still very important, and often contributes to shape the path of the music. We´re together, creating the atmosphere in that room and that specific moment. And in a world and time that spins fast, it is a beautiful thing to have shared that moment of live music, and to have that memory in common of something that can never be recaptured. I also sometimes see the music like a prism, where the sounds that I send out is like white light, and how that light breaks in to different colours in the meeting with the different listeners and all their different stories and references.

CJSF: What draws you to avant-garde & expressionist music? 

SVP: I find it a bit hard to say what avant-garde is today. But I work a lot with free improvised music, because I love the openness and the way it can go in all and often unexpected directions. Like a good conversation.. I also enjoy the great space it gives each individual - both players and listeners, because there are no facits, or strong guidelines telling you how to interpret it. That is also why I love abstract paintings.. And I love the intense listening and interaction between each musician. 

CJSF: Do you have any specific "process of creativity" when it comes to writing music and preparing for shows?

SVP: Keeping open minded. Trying to be in one with myself, so that I can be open to my surroundings and let anything inspire me. Being aware that I´m a tiny tiny piece in a great universal puzzle that is constantly changing. Keeping the ego small and instead be humble for the gift of being a messenger of the music.

CJSF: Lastly, are you excited to perform in Canada for the first time? What are your expectations?

SVP: Oh yes. I´m looking so much forward to the trip. I kind of expect the nature to be a little like Norway, where I come from. Only bigger, and of course with the combination of great cities as well. So I can´t wait to see Vancouver and Roberts Creek!

  • Posted on: 12 April 2016
  • By: Administrator