Freshly baked (the announced release date was 16th April) by Novoton, GND (Ground) is the last output signed by Andreas Karperyd, a veteran of the Swedish electronica/ambient/experimental scene, having been active in many under different guises (Omala, Obconic, He Said Omala and, last but not least, Hox, the collaborative project together with Graham Lewis of Wire). Entirely live recorded (as the acclaimed “Woodwork”, the acclaimed debut album as soloist) and then edited in the studio, this album collects recordings made between 2016 and 2020, a stage when he started his fight against cancer. After he was declared healthy in 2020 (and electronic music lovers, but anyone in general, cannot but be happy for such a piece of news!), Andreas started editing and producing the hours of music he made during those years to forge GND. After listening to this album, I could suggest grabbing one of the 150 printed vinyls and I decided to forward some questions to his talented author.
Chain D.L.K.: Hi Andreas! How are you doing?
Andreas Karperyd: Fine, thanks.
Chain D.L.K.: I read about your health issue (hopefully gone). I maybe can understand the emotional framework and the thoughts when you have to afford similar situations. How did that experience steer your artistic path?
Andreas Karperyd: I’m fine for now, I do not know if it really affected me that much artistically, except that it was so extremely boring when the body and brain lacked energy, I couldn’t concentrate properly for a long time, a lot of creative work, like drawing and making sounds, I couldn’t do for more than 10 minutes, after that I had to rest, not ideal to find a proper work flow. It was like a strange prison for the brain.
Chain D.L.K.: I really liked your recent output GND, but before focusing on it, how would you relate your solo releases with the other alter egos or collaborative project? Besides style, what’s the point of intersection of all the artistic paths you’re crossing, or you used to cross?
Andreas Karperyd: Hummm, my relationship with music is quite sculptural, and objectifying, it’s about building a thing that carries its own logic and somehow creates a new world. When I work with different people it is always different since you are influencing each other, and I really appreciate that, making it different depending on who and where you work together. When I have worked with others, often we don’t know who did what. And it does not matter so much either. It is the track you work on that is important. But you often do that when I work alone as well, then it’s a collaboration with me now and me earlier, and maybe with myself later on.
Chain D.L.K.: By the end of the 90ies, first years of the 00s, there were many reviewers referring to the Nordic electronic scene as something appreciated for its specific sonorities, and I remember many tracks of yours were included (particularly of He Said Omala) in a number of compilation and playlists that came out in those years, together with projects/bands/artists like Xploding Plastix, Koop, mm, Royksopp, Amina, Nils Petter Molvaer and many more. Did you feel like being part of a sort of movement or do you think it was mostly a fictitious invention of music publishers?
Andreas Karperyd: I can see that almost everything I have done and been involved with seems to have been linked to some kind of “movement”, but that’s only when I look at it in retrospective. Never, when it was created. I think it’s kind of impossible to stand outside your contemporaries whatever you do if you are not a real hermit … Except if it suddenly becomes trendy to be a hermit, then of course that to will be a movement …
Chain D.L.K.: To quote the title of the opening track of the album we mentioned above, are there any well-defined rules of improvisation? Do you see improvisation as a possible way to transpose the uncertainty quoted in that title and wonderfully evoked by the music of that track?
Andreas Karperyd: I’m probably not really that interested in improvisation, but absolutely by chance and coincidence. The idea of inevitable sets of rules that are affected by systems that are also inevitably affected by chance.
Chain D.L.K.: I read that most of the tracks of GND were recorded live and, I guess, in one-take and some lovely glitches into it renders that jazzy nuance that manages to intrigue the listener. Was it intentional or were you planning to rearrange the stuff we can listen to in GND?
Andreas Karperyd: It is more a way of explaining a work process than the work process itself. To connect this with your last question, it is often more about arranging a situation where you can help to change and choose the right one. Or to make me make the right choice, by chance, and to listen to that bit of magic. A desire to link alchemy and quantum mechanics which I always have.
Chain D.L.K.: What’s the reason for this 3-letter title (abbreviation for ‘ground’ in electronics)? Any hook to another 3-letter entity that has a certain relevance in your career (I’m obviously referring to HOX)?
Andreas Karperyd: I haven’t thought of that. But when you point it out, there is maybe some unconscious weakness for it. GND “Ground” is based on the idea of a reference point that is zero and mutual but only for those who share the same interconnectedness. It gives an understanding of the relative but does not in any way deprive both the relative and universal values of the exact meaning and position. Maybe a bit like time in the universe.
Chain D.L.K.: In many moments of GND, I perceive a certain disenchantment in your music or something sounding like a bitter smile against what can be defined as wishful thinking… is this perception totally wrong?
Andreas Karperyd: Maybe, but certainly not bitter if it means the same thing in English as Swedish. Bitterness is not something I am interested in at all, but I love black humor. A human being can only perceive the world during the little time we have to live. And then it’s important to have some fun and see the beauty in what exists and do what we can do. Like vibrations in the air from an oscillator, or hugging or building a painting robot.
Chain D.L.K.: What’s the role/meaning of the sound of a clock that can be barely heard in “Failures and Small Observations” (one of my favourite tracks of GND)?
Andreas Karperyd: There is no clock on that track, I think. Or is it? Maybe it should have been, it has absolutely something to do with time.
Chain D.L.K.: “Common Ground” sounds like a delicate alarm. Do you remember the source of inspiration for this awesome track?
Andreas Karperyd: I think it’s mostly about building a sculpture or a world you can be seduced by. I’m kind of weak for that. Like a love child between a maze and a potter’s wheel.
Chain D.L.K.: Do you have a specific person or character while addressing that “Music for Millionaires Without Conscience”?
Andreas Karperyd: Absolutely. The way that morals, ideologies and compassion are suddenly seen as silly and a cute. They are still “good” values, but now basically losers values. I think you often see it in companies that grow fast with dubious foundations or working methods, but since the company is doing very well, suddenly everyone is impressed and ignores all basic values.
Chain D.L.K.: What’s the role of music in your life in these weird days for humanity?
Andreas Karperyd: Music is something I really have to do, to exist. Not always to finish things but just working on it. Some kind of addiction I guess, to “do stuff”. I do not really see any difference between music, painting, photography or any other form of creativity, but it has to be created. That’s why it was so tough for me during the parts when i was so weak and my brain wouldn’t work properly.
Chain D.L.K.: I know it’s not easy to plan the future nowadays, but are you working on something that is going to come soon?
Andreas Karperyd: I have some more music that is close to be finished. What that means I actually do not know right now, haha. Not at all actually. I think there will be some more music released this year though. But I have also often been wrong before when it comes to that, haha, and will probably be wrong whatever I say.