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Interview with Café Humbug's Anders Gjerde

Gjerde is performing Thursday the 27th at Tou Scene.

For those who are unfamiliar with Café Humbug can you describe its philosophy and why you exist?

Well, how do I put it, naivety? Idealism? It's hard to put it in a nutshell, but I guess I'd like it to be a sort of playground for musicians and artists to expose whatever they are up to. A hub for underground culture if you like. We encourage all kinds of expressions - and the essential thing is this: "quality" is not that important to us. Other venues can take care of that, the popular culture, the evergreens, what have you. We want diversity, people who care about what they do and apply themselves to it. It's not about "art" - it's about activity, collaboration, making things happen…I guess the D.I.Y. thing is at the heart of this. So we'd like to define "quality" in our own terms!

How did you start?

Humbug started as a record label in 2001, and released close to 100 releases. A handful of vinyl, but mostly very limited CDRs and other handmade releases. Mostly catering to the Norwegian experimental music underground, from electronic, to noise and improv.

The idea to start the Café came in 2010 when I found the space by chance. It's a just a 5 minute walk outside the city center, it's big enough to put on shows, host workshops, etc. And most importantly it's a chance to promote this music in a more "live" atmosphere; much more rewarding than social media.

What is the daily routine running the cafe?

Well Cafe Humbug is a combination of a few different business ideas: 1) café / coffee shop 2) record store 3) a small live venue. The café / record shop is open during weekends Friday to Sunday, while gigs can be scheduled anytime. We have a small PA system - plug & play.

To be honest this has been the most rewarding and successful part of Cafe Humbug, supporting the local scene. The business aspect - not so much, but we´re working on it! We need your support!

How long has Cafe Humbug been collaborating w Numusic?

Since last summer. At that point we had already done a bunch of shows and my wife suggested why not propose to do something in the context of Numusic, so we did, and it worked out well. We invited acts from the local scene as well as some friends from Oslo, and called it "A week of Norwegian underground music" - it was a bit chaotic at times, but a lot of fun!

What's the connection?

I am a musician myself and have participated in the festival many times, so I guess it was natural to approach Numusic, and try and expand our horizons a bit. Obviously Numusic is well connected and is recognized as a cultural event, so it's wonderful that this kind of exchange is possible. I mean, Stavanger is a small city, but collaboration is not always a given. But I think a common thing is resistance to the commercial mass market, Numusic (and Nuart) has definitely struck a nerve in that sense.

 

When people think about Cafe Humbug artists what are they likely/ or should they anticipate?

There is not a common denominator I could talk about musically, There has been all kinds of artists. Acoustic singer/songwriters, eccentric crooners, performance artists, noise musicians, emo/screamo/punk, techno, left field electronica, free jazz and improv. We try to not act as a "filter" too much, anything goes, we are NOT agents, we are NOT managers, we are NOT just aiming to sell! This is the truth! Hopefully people should anticipate a challenge, maybe have their patience tested, maybe entertainment, maybe indifference, maybe shock, maybe awe. Who knows.

Can you say a few words about each artist you’re bringing to Numusic and why you chose them?

Cinema of Spirits:is the solo "splatter folk" artist Stein Henning Berg a.k.a. Seth Horatio Buncombe. He plays a mean banjo. Used to be half of the Thinguma*Jigsaw duo that I tried to get to play in Stavanger a couple of times, but it never happened.

By the Waterhole:Evas Pfitzenmaier from Bergen. Played Cafe Humbug this spring. It was awesome, a very powerful vocal presence combined with a playful use of modified electronics and loops. Not too many people caught her last time, so I figured it would be a natural thing to invite her to Numusic.

Lasse Passage:Another Norwegian artist I've been in touch with since way back. He seemed to have a nomadic lifestyle and always remained a bit elusive until recent years, and the release of his lovely singer-songwriter based music. He's just "different" enough to keep me interested, and a listen to his

upcoming album (released just around the time of this years Numusic) confirmed that impression.

Vanilla Riot:Another great/project band from Stephan Meidell, currently the most interesting guitarist / improviser here on the west coast, in my opinion. Vanilla Riot's music revolves around the use of live visuals "creating numerous situations of synaesthetic experience" according to their website. Whatever it means, I'm sure it must be good.

 

Café Humbug’s night is Thursday the 27th in Scene 2 under Numusic.

Buy Tickets Here

You can visit Café Humbug at Rosenkrantz gt. 52, 4010 Stavanger, Norway.

Or if you are not located in the Stavanger area visit them on Facebook.

 

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