An Interview with Jarle H. Olsen

Q - Tell me about yourself like cd's, endorsements, tours, special honors.

A - I was born in Bergen, Norway the November of 1980 and started getting the interest for guitar when I was twelve. My older brother had a lot of music that I listen to and he also had a guitar which I was noodeling around with for a while before I got my own at the age of thirteen. There was something about the electric guitar sound that really caught my ears and it made me wanna learn to play. I have always loved to make music for myself since the very first day I started. I remember even before I knew how tablature really worked out, I made my own system by writing riffs that I made on staffs. The bands that mainly influenced me at that time was Iron Maiden, Testament, Metallica, Rising Force ect. I started playing in some local bands, while I was constantly playing and composing music. The Jarle H. Olsen Project started up back in '97 , when I decided to make an instrumental band. Me and some friends played together for a while before I started to work on my very first demo cd. I ended up with a six track disc which was stylistic in the very neoclassical realm. I programmed the drums, bass and keyboards myself and received some cool reviews from the local press.. After some years of playing, practicing, composing and trying out a ton of different musicians for the band, I came up with a second demo. I went up to a friend's studio and recorded everything there. The result was "Osiris" and it received a lot of good reviews. After this, I was asked to perform at a festival in Norway and I fixed together a band. We did about three rehearsals before we went on stage in august last year. This was our very first gig with the project and I had always been kinda skeptic on how my music would turn out live because of it's complex and detailed structure. The sound is very important. The gig went fine and really gave us all a good inspiration to go more on stage in the future.

Q - Well, tell me about the style you play

A - The style I play, hmm.. It started out in the earlier age as traditional heavy metal but later ended up very neoclassical. It now has become a mix of a lot of styles, actually. I like to consider my music as atmospherical and progressive with touches of futurism, neoclassism and fusion. I really like to mix a lot of different elements when I compose. I can't say I actually think about that, but it's become a natural thing for me to do. I like a good taste of melody, as much as ripping out notes, it's all about what the song needs. Odd meter and keys, slow phrases and notes with a lot of nerves. I love the dramatic as well as the more emotional way of classical music. And also really enjoy film music and how that really affects a moive. I try to reflect a little bit of these things within my own music and to create a magical atmosphere.

Q - So, whats it like to be a Norwegian musician in an American based music economy?

A - It can be really cold and my fingers sometimes freeze too much for playing acoustic guitar back in my garden (laughs). Nah, it's a very narrow market for this type of music in Norway as well as in most other countries (laughs). But worldwide there really is a market for it and I just love the music so much that I can't stop doing it because other's interests are not as big as my own. I just wanna play and compose the music I really love and if somebody else enjoys and buys it that's just great!

Q - So who are your influences?

A - I have a lot of different influences. When it comes to guitar players that have inspired me most through the years are Adrian Smith, Alex Skolnick, Yngwie Malmsteen, Jason Becker, Satriani among others. I really enjoy classical music and all the grand composers as well as film music. Bands like Maiden, Testament, Symphony X, Dream Theater have also inspired me since I was young.

Q - Well, with all these influences, what makes you, you?

A - Good question. My own thoughts make me, me. I don't try really hard to do everything so very original or something like that, something that no one else has done before or whatever, I just follow my mind and heart when I play and compose. I think if you do everything to be as original as possible, it just turns out bad. Be yourself and listen to your heart. There is only twelve notes to work with anyway (laughs). I think the phrasing, tone and how you lay the final touch on the notes makes the recognizable sound of yourself. The way you attack and lay the pressure on notes and even how you chose them. It's all about feelings and not so much technique when it comes to that point. Everybody can practice a bunch of licks. But what makes you, you is all mentaly and comes from your soul.

Q - What are your plans for the future?

A - I have plans to record an album with my very own music. It's just a matter of time. I got all the material that is needed and the different ideas in my head. It will also include real musicians this time. I am really happy with the current band lineup as we come together very nicely as people, we work effectively, and we just flow together nicely. As mentioned we also have plans to do more live performances as soon the album is out. For my personally life, I will just continue studying music, practicing, eating, breathing air and living the life..

Q - Tell me about your gear.

A - I use mainly Carvin electric guitars with Dimarzio pickups and VHT amplifications. The reason I choose this equipment is basically because it works out perfectly for me, for my music and my playing style. I feel very comfortable with Carvin guitars, the way they are built and constructed. The tone, neck, and it's components. I use VHT amps, because they give me the sound and dynamic levels I want from an amp. I've tried a bunch of different models but after this, I simply stopped trying any more.. Since I can't stand having a thousand stomp pedals, two hundred meter cable-spaghetti, which have ten pints of beer sauced into it after a gig, I prefer using a rack built multi effect processor for all the effects. My live setup is very simple actually. When I am recording in my home studio I'm using a Line 6 Pod pro for the guitar sounds, since a 50w rear amp can be noisy.

Q - What is your greatest moment on stage?

A - I have a really great time every time I'm on stage, so that's hard to say. But I guess it must have been when I played with Jarle H. Olsen Project last year, since that was my very own music and the very first gig we with did with that project.

Q - What is your greatest dream?

A - I just want to be able to live of my music.

- Jordan Graham, 03/16.04