Erik K Skodvin aka Svarte Greiner is a Norwegian film music composer, ambient musician, one half of Deaf Center as well as founder of Berlin-based boutique-label Miasmah. His compositions range from spacious, classical-influenced and airy soundscapes to excursions into an oppressive and unforgiving blackness. Skodvin will make an appearance under his Svarte Greiner alias at Digital in Berlin’s 10 Years in Sound Festival weekender, presenting a special symbiosis of live performance and installation.
1: Taking time off improves creativity.
2: Tristan Da Cunha is the world most remote inhabited island and also a great record by Deathprod.
3: Of all the creatures on the Earth, snakes are the most sensitive to earthquakes.
1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
Lights & shadows, moments, places, the strange, bizarre and unusual.
2. How and when did you get into making music?
Through an underground computernerd movement called the “demoscene”, for me starting around mid 90ies. Using tracker software with mostly stolen samples to make jungle, d&b, house and ambient. Going to computer parties to compete with demos and music and releasing on early open source and later MP3 netlabels. Later on I discovered other types of music with “real” instruments, which made me move further away from electronic music.
3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
FSOL – Dead Cities
Luciano Cilio – Dialoghi Del Presente
Volcano The Bear – The Idea of Wood
Bethany Curve – Flaxen
Sakamoto/Noto – The Revenant (OST)
4. What do you associate with Berlin?
Freedom, music, high quality of life, too much party people.
5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
At a good bar at the right time. Or walking around our local park after sunset.
6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
Illustration, design, gardening, travel. All of which I do anyway.
7. What was the last record/music you bought?
I buy almost exclusively vinyl, but the last musical purchase I got was actually Jim O’Rourke’s ambient album “Sleep Like It’s Winter” as a bandcamp download. Beautiful!
8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
Maybe Chris Corsano or Alex Zhang Hungtai could be an interesting meeting. Though I’ve just released a collaboration with Aaron Moore. Collaborating with him is for sure a big pleasure both live and on record.
9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
As a performer this must be in Copenhagen for my first live concert there, which was during the filmfestival PIX, opening for Erik Enocksson whom was performing a live film soundtrack to the film “Man Tänker sitt” featuring a full orchestra and Johann Jóhannson on Organ. It was in a church and I was given a Cello to perform. I opened solo as Svarte Greiner on Cello and guitar by the altar while the sunset was slowly panning down behind me. It was one of those times where everything came to place in the best possible way. It was truly magical, and I think I never got so much reviews for a gig as that one. It was also very special to share stage with Erik and to meet Johann for the first time. I think this was also the reason he got me to go in studio with him to make sound for the “Prisoners” soundtrack he did the same year (2013). I have to also mention that the Cello was already connected with a special contact mic which gave unprecented great sound without feedback and I could run it through my effects and looper. I wish I could get that setup again.
As spectator I think still nothing has topped Pluramon with Julee Cruise performing at Blå, Oslo in 2005. Ending the show with a rendition of the twin peaks theme. Marcus Schmickler was looking incredibly brooding and melancholic during the whole performance. Just a great heart wrenching concert experience.
10. How important is technology to your creative process?
I guess very important, as I can’t really play any instruments traditionally and need reverb, delay, loopers and effects to be able to do what I want. On the other hand I can’t stand technology and go more and more away from it. Just improvising on the piano is at least something I can do without any digital interferance.
11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?
No siblings, so I’ll never know.
Catch Svarte Greiner on the second evening of Digital in Berlin’s 10 Years in Sound Festival on Saturday, 11th August 2018. Day passes for 15,00 € are still available via Eventbrite and KOKA36.
Photo © Monique Recknagel