Name: Trond Frønes
Occupation: Bass guitarist
Recent Release: As part of Red Kite, a quartet with Bernt A Moen, Even Helte Hermansen, and Torstein Lofthus, Trond Frønes has just released Apophenian Bliss available via Rarenoise.
[Read our Bernt A Moen interview]
[Read our Even Helte Hermansen interview]
[Read our Torstein Lofthus interview]
For many artists, a solitary phase of creative development preceeds collaborative work. What was this like for you: How would you describe your own development as an artist and the transition towards your first collaborations?
The first collaborations that led to something worth listening to happened when I was about 20 years old.
Up to then I had focused on learning my instrument, not so much playing with others. I spent hours learning heavy metal songs, later came blues and jazz stuff. Once I started attending concerts I met up with others with similar taste in music that were on the same level technically.
From then there were not so much individual practice, but more band rehearsals and productive discussions about music.
Tell me a bit, about your current instruments and tools, please. In which way do they support creative exchange and collaborations with others? Are there obsctacles and what are potential solutions towards making collaborations easier?
My instrument set-up is very basic. The instrument goes directly into the amp with maybe just a boost added. I have been using vintage equipment for years, that´s because I can find the sound I´m looking for really quick. With old stuff you get the signature sound once you´re plugged in.
I am not that interested in musical equipment and don´t have the urge to experiment much with my sound. I´m happy with a meat-and-potatoes classic rock sound. I might not fit in every band and I don´t want to.
What were some of your earliest collaborations? How do you look back on them with hindsight?
My earliest collaborations were with my friends at school when I was a kid. Looking back brings a smile to my face. We did not sound good but we were determined and tried hard.
Besides the aforementioned early collaborations, can you talk about one particular collaboration that was important for you? Why did it feel special to you?
I was lucky enough to fill in for Bushmans Revenge´s bass player at the Molde Jazz Festival in 2010. That was my first gig playing free form jazz/rock and the first of many concerts with Red Kite guitar player Even.
From then I would play lots of similar concerts wiith Bushman´s Revenge, Grand General, Hedvig Mollestad Trio, Soft Ffog and Red Kite.
What are some of the things you learned from your collaborations over the years?
Believe it or not!
How do you feel your sense of identity influences your collaborations? Do you feel as though you are able to express yourself more fully in solo mode or, conversely, through the interaction with other musicians? Are you “gaining” or “sacrificing” something in a collaboration?
I believe my identity influences my fellow musicians in the way they play. I also think the composer has my style in mind when he or she writes the music. It´s all positive.
I am not a solo performer and I need to interact with orders to make music. Playing with others is what matters to me, so I´m definitely gaining something.
There are many potential models for collaboration, from live performances and jamming via producing in the same room together up to file sharing. Which of these do you prefer – and why?
I tend to be most devoted in live performances and studio recordings. Not so much in post-production like mixing and mastering. I usually put my faith in others then.
Is there typically a planning phase for your collaborations? If so, what happens in this phase and how does it contribute to the results?
There is not much planning besides different individuals wanting to play together. The composer usually brings in an idea or a more or less finished piece to the table. Then we carve it out together and try different things before the end result.
What tend to be the best collaborations in your opinion – those with artists you have a lot in common with or those where you have more differences? What happens when another musician take you outside of your comfort zone?
Defintely with those I have something in common. It´s hard to talk a about comfort zones with Red Kite. I guess a big part of our sound comes from not being in our comfort zone. Every time we play a song it sounds different from the last time and that´s the way we want it to be.
I guess we all try to leave our comfort zone and take the rest of the band with us every time we play. We are looking for chaos but also want to be on the same page. A collective challenge.
Do you need to have a good relationship with your collaborator? Or can there be a benefit to working with someone you may not get along with on a personal level?
I don´t have to know my fellow musician personally as long as we get along musically. Bu there is no point in working with someone if we don´t get along personally. It´s a creativity killer. Music should be fun!
Some artists feel as though the creative process should not be a democratic one. What are your thoughts on the interaction with other musicians, the need for compromise and the decision making process?
In every band it helps if the song writer has some sort of idea about what the end result should be, so early in the process it doesn't have to be that democratic.
After the idea is presented properly, there is more room for the rest of the band to bring in their own stuff and put their stamp on it. There is not much need for compromise if everyone agrees that the unit should sound as one, not different individuals sticking out.
What's your take on cross-over collaborations between different genres?
I´m all for musical crossovers. Experimenting is good, although not always successful.
In a live situation, decisions between creatives often work without words. How does this process work – and how does it change your performance compared to a solo performance?
We rarely decide or discuss arrangements before a concert. What happens happens.
There are many descriptions of the ideal state of mind for being creative. What is it like for you as part of a collaboration? In which way is it different between your solo work and coollaborations?
I think playing with like-minded people and musicians is necessary for the creative process. I don´t do solo performances and rely on my fellow musicians on stage.
Collaborating with one's heroes can be a thrill or a cause for panic. Do you have any practical experience with this and what was it like?
Not yet. Still waiting for Neil to call.