On the evening of May 22 Morten Harket, Magne F and Savoy took the Rockefeller Concert Hall stage in Oslo for the third time to play their individual sets as well as give the audience a taste of the band’s new album. Russian magazine Music Box was able to meet Morten for a brief conversation before the show kicked off.

In connection with his second English-speaking solo release of just days before, the first question was whether English lyrics as compared to Norwegian ones changed anything about the overall expression of a song. While saying that English is doubtless the only route to take to reach international audiences, Morten admitted feeling that the spirit of a song sometimes becomes more manifest in a particular language, citing the Norwegian version of “All Of You Concerned” as an example.

As he has repeatedly seen his statements distorted by the press, and the problem has taken on a renewed urgency these days, our talk shifted towards how much he sees fit to interfere into the way he is generally presented. To this, Morten pointed out that any amount of interference is wrong unless facts are directly falsified. He added that, ideally, the media are not meant to either “support or oppose” him but their prime task is to serve as an objective link connecting him as an artist and the public at the receiving end.

Talking more broadly of the role of the media as an institution, he expressed a strong belief that journalists are not just reluctant to capture reality but purposefully try to pass “a surrogate” for it. And that, in its turn, stems from the fact that they do not set themselves the goal of lifting people to a higher aesthetic level, which we, as an otherwise developed civilization, are still far from. Making complex ideas accessible to everyone by simplifying them is not an option since all their “ingredients” play a part in the whole – “like food that is not just salt or sugar.”

With nearly no time left on our hands, the last question followed on from the previous one. So, what are Morten’s habits like when it comes to consuming media products? Well, other than “occasionally skimming through the papers,” he keeps a healthy distance from them.

Interview by Maria Mikhailova, published with permission.

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