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15 Nov 2021

From Solo Project to Band: Tore Gjedrem on Sex Judas

by brian.hioe | Interview


Electric Soul’s Brian Hioe spoke to Tore Gjedrem of Sex Judas about their new album, Night Songs. 


Brian Hioe:  How would you describe the musical style of Sex Judas? How did you arrive at this mixture of influences? Influence from traditional music from Mali is particularly unique.


Tore Gjedrem:  To keep it short, I would say psychedelic, groovy music. It’s a mix of everything I like basically, plus what the band members bring to the table. From electronic music, funk, disco, post-punk, no wave, jazz, folk music, and in particular folk music from Mali. 


So much fab. music from Africa, both old and new, has been made available over the last 20 years. It’s a great interest of mine. I discovered the Kora thru the work of Toumani Diabaté and by chance shared the stage at a small festival in Oslo with Sex Judas band’s own Sidiki Camara. 


I did not know him at the time, but was captivated by his Ngoni playing. The Ngoni is a traditional string instrument from Mali. It sounds a bit different from the Kora, but can evoke some of the same beautiful atmosphere. I invited him to a studio session and he has been a member of the Sex Judas group ever since. Bringing with him a treasure trove of musical knowledge. 



BH:  How did Sex Judas grow from a solo project into a band?


TG:  It happened naturally over time. I first brought in Ivar Winther on guitar when I was doing some disco tunes, then came Sidiki. We played a few shows as a trio before bringing in Kristian Edvardsen on bass. Then came Tore our second percussionist and last but not least, Tracee our formidable singer. 


The Sex Judas project will be ever-evolving. Foremost it’s intended as a creative space where we can experiment with sound and art. We do everything from electronic club tunes to ambient, disco, artful rock, and beyond. Hopefully held together by the voice and lyrics of Sex Judas and the artwork of Sindre Goksøyr. 


BH:  What’s different about Night Songs, compared to previous albums? Why the choice of night as a subject?


TG:  This is the first album we do as a band and most of the songs were made through jamming in the studio. We quickly realized the potential of this unit when rehearsing for gigs and set up a weekend in legendary Norwegian studio Athletic Sound. Athletic Sound is studio known for its great analog gear and recording rooms. We brought a whole lot of equipment with us and set to work. Six of the songs on the album come from this session. 


The “night” subject came in place as an inspiration from Sam Cook’s beautiful album “Night Beat” The atmosphere especially on side A is really special. It gave me an idea to do an album that had one cohesive feeling throughout. An album that would hold you in one atmosphere from start to finish. Through the subject of “Night”, I wanted to explore lyrically, different thoughts occurring in the nighttime. Feelings we all love or struggle with. From dreams, nightmares, and stress, to sexually-related themes. 


A post shared by Sex Judas (@sex_judas)

BH:  What are some of the highlights of the album that you’d point to easier?


TG:  A creative highpoint for the band is “The light you saw was not for real”. The flowing feeling of the tune and how it changes thematically from subdued funk to a more eastern-influenced direction makes this a personal favorite. 


BH:  Anything you’d like to say in closing to readers?


TG:  First of all, thanks for taking the time to read this interview! We made this album with the intention of it being a warm and welcoming space that listeners can escape into. So please light up your finest tobacco, slip into your snuggest dressing gown, get yourself comfortable, and take a trip with us.