INTERVIEW: Bugge Wesseltoft (Rohey at Rich Mix - 19 Nov - 2017 EFG LJF)

Bugge Wesseltoft
Photo credit: CF Wesenberg

Norwegian band Rohey who record for the Jazzland label will present their powerful and energetic nu-soul music at Rich Mix on Saturday 18 November 2017. Jazzland label owner and creative pianist BUGGE WESSELTOFT talks about Rohey, the Jazzland label 20th anniversary and about his new album Everybody Loves Angels (ACT).  Interview by Tomasz Furmanek:

Tomasz Furmanek: Rohey are possibly unfamiliar to LondonJazz News readers. Please tell us about them.

Bugge Wesseltoft: Rohey are a very talented and hard working young group, we are super happy to have them on Jazzland label, they seem to be extremely successful wherever they go! Their music could be described as, I guess, a kind of neo-soul, and sometimes they remind me, in a way, of the early Beady Belle, so it might be something that could be interesting for Beady Belle’s fans too...

TF: Where do they come from?

BW: I believe they come from all over Norway, and even from Sweden. They all met up in Trondheim, where they studied jazz. It was my colleague Sten who booked them, and I think it’s their exceptional talent and exciting music combined with hard work and real focus on music that made us wanting to sign them. They do have a very fresh and lovely energy and it’s interesting to see how they interpret soul music in the 21st century.

TF: Jazzland recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, was there a special anniversary album released?

BW: I guess that both Jazzland20: 1996-2016 and the 20th anniversary edition of my record New Conception of Jazz were the anniversary albums. We also had quite a few very nice anniversary concerts. My initial idea, back then, was to release my own album and to do it well. At that time, there weren’t really any labels releasing the type of music I was playing. Then, after a while, other people started sending me demos, like Beate Lech, for example. She sent me a demo with her music, I liked it, and we decided to work with that... That’s how it started. We are so happy that we are still around and that what we do still seem to be relevant for the audiences!

TF: Within those 20 years Jazzland documented many of your collaborations with exceptional artist, like Sidsel Endresen for example...Would you say something about this very unique singer?

BW: She is unique, in my opinion she is one of the best living vocalists in the world. The quality of her voice in so unique, she’s just a fantastic singer – when you hear her sing a straight melody too! It blew my mind, how strong she is and how exceptionally well she could do it! She always looked for her own voice and her own energy, and I think she definitely found it! She’s a great performer too! And that’s what she teaches younger singers, to find their own level of energy, because if you try to be someone else, you will never be anything really. You just have to work with who you are! We worked together so many times, I think we are very good friends, and we still play together like every other year...

TF: Please tell us about your newest album on ACT Music Everybody Loves Angels.

BW: This album is a direct descendant of a twenty year old Christmas album It’s Snowing on My Piano which I recorded back in 1997, and which was without doubt my best selling and most popular album so far. It feels good to do a “follow up album” twenty years later – time really flies... Everybody Loves Angels is not a Christmas album but a collection of popular songs I grew up with since childhood, interpreted in the same very ambient and minimalistic way as was on the Christmas album. It was recorded on the beautiful Lofoten islands, north of Norway, and I hope that album captures and brings out the nature of the place and our care for its beauty.

Concert: Rohey + Bigyuki + Butcher Brown + DJ Harrison @ LJF 2017
Saturday 18 November 2017, 8:00pm LONDON Rich Mix  

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