HM Johnsen is an experimental Indie/Rock Artist from Norway– a singer-songwriter who embraces many styles whilst still managing to stay true to himself and his musical and lyrical vision. On September 4 he released his latest single ‘Stay Within Range’ the second track to be taken from his forthcoming EP ‘Serenity’.
1. You have varied taste in music, can you name some of the bands that have inspired you?
Yes, definitely! There are many of them, but I will list a few for you. Pink Floyd, Iron Maiden, John Mayer, Coldplay, David Bowie, Plini, Led Zeppelin, Hans Zimmer, Herbie Hancock, Chick Korea, The Beatles, Joe Bonamassa, Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, Eric Johnson, Gary Moore, Highasakite, Jeff Beck, Steven Wilson, Foo Fighters, ABBA and many others
2. You come from a small community in Western Norway – what was growing up there like?
Very peaceful and quiet. Not much room for music and creative people like me, but I found my ways of growing my musicality. But all in all a very nice place to grow up. I’m used to being a lot outside, fishing, cars… everything but living the big city life.
3. Do you find being in Berlin has influenced your musical style and writing?
Extremely! I always thought that going away and living in a new place to be more creative was a myth, but I proved myself wrong. I wrote the whole new EP in 2 weeks, and finished the demos as well. I remember a kind of ‘living in the moment’ state of mind, during the stay in Berlin for 4,5 months. I would go back anytime!! (Just need some more paper in my wallet)
4. When the NRK TV crew flowed your story, how did that feel? What do you think of so called reality shows etc, since you know how it feels to be filmed over an extended period?
Well… I was a 18 at the time, and I thought that world circled around me. For me it was an unbelievable experience, and I really felt that I was finally going somewhere! And it caused a lot of positive things in my life at that time! Regarding Reality TV, I think personally that most of the reality shows around are shit. But, I admit that I fully understand the value of entertainment in those kind of shows, but it’s so not my cup of tea. I’d rather put on Discovery and watch Shark Week, or watch a good movie/series on Netflix.
5. Your new music is more towards indie rock than your earlier blues sound, can you explain a little more about this evolution of your sound?
What can we expect from your next album? I have always written and experimented with sounds and arrangements from different genres… everything from HipHop, Jazz, Funk, Pop to Hardcore Heavy Progressive Metal. When I was younger I was really digging the guitar as an instrument, and I wanted to be as good of a guitarist as possible. A natural genre for me was the blues, and I attended a lot of Blues Jams etc. I ended up in a competition, and won this Norwegian National Blues thing. For me it was a door opening, even if I never intended to become a ‘blues artist’. It went a bit too far, and I was on my way to attend an international competition in the USA. I had been walking in somebody else shoes from 2017-2019, and I felt more and more that I was locked in a genre, and it felt wrong. I decided to cancel the whole US tour and the competition.
It made a lot of fuss and was stressful for both me and the band and the Norwegian blues environment, but I knew it was the right choice for me. After going to Berlin, I felt that for the first time in my life, I was making my own music 100%. As a result, I have just released two of the new singles from the upcoming EP in November – ‘Stay Within Range’ and ‘Serenity’!
6. How has lockdown been treating you? Do you find isolation negative or beneficial for your own creative process?
For me it’s been quite negative. I usually get motivated and inspired by playing live and traveling around. I have problems with sitting still in one place, and to be an efficient songwriter in the same room and behind the same home-studio desk has been difficult for me. BUT, on the other hand, I have been practicing the guitar and the piano technically, to be fit and ready for upcoming shows (Hopefully). I’m also making a new film about the EP, which I’m hoping to release early next year. I have some great people with me who I’m working on the project with.
7. Can you recommend a book, TV show or song/s (other than your new single of course!) that our readers might enjoy?
Yes, I would love to! MUSIC: I would recommend the new album from EIVØR! Its insanely good! A mixture of brilliant and genius pop writing along with traditional folk sounds from Iceland. TV-SHOW: I’m currently addicted to Homeland on Netflix.
The latest Facebook Live session from Canadian singer-songwriter Josh Taerk Sunday 21 March 16:00 EST, 21:00 GMT
David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 14 March 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at www.getreadytorock.com for that week.
UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 23 March 2021.
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Featured Albums w/c 5 April 2021 (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 GARY HUGHES Decades (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 METALITE A Virtual World (AFM Records)
14:00-16:00 KAT DANSER One Eye Open (indie)
Power Plays w/c 5 April 2021 (Mon-Fri)
ALTZI Point Of No Return (RA Music)
DIRTY LACES Breathe (Golden Robot Records)
ASHEN MOON Ashen Moon (Golden Robot Records)
ANDREWW Shadow Love (indie)
JORDAN RED Freak Show (indie)
HAYES & Y Empty Orchestra (indie)
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