MARTIN KVAM – A Dive…
Diving in the record collection to people is something many have done before us, but we want to give it a try anyway. We’ve picked a nice collection of well known actors within what we may call the metal press, and we took a second look at their favorite bands and discs. We have already been messing up a little in the collections of Gunnar Sauermann, Jonathan Selzer, Bjørn Nørsterud and Goetz Kühnemund and the end of this series is approaching fast. But, there are still a few of those journalists left and here is MARTIN KVAM from Norway Rock Magazine.
Are you a vinyl freak or more of the modern CD type?
When I buy music, I prefer to buy vinyl. So, you can call me a vinyl freak. I have about 2000 vinyl albums at home.
Do you have a record player? If so – do you use it?
I have 3 record players, and use the newest one almost daily.
Do you remember the very first record you bought?
The first album I bought for my own money was the Kiss – Gene Simmons solo album in 1980.
What is the rarest album you’ve got?
Hmmm, I got quite a few rare albums, both from the 70’s prog rock era and from the early Norwegian black metal movement. But which one of them is rarest is hard to say. I got some releases that the label has borrowed recently, so they could scan the covers and do re-releases…
Does Martin’s record collection consist of metal only? What else can one find that Martin highly appreciates?
No, it’s not metal only at all. I’m very fond of 70’s prog rock as well, so there’s a lot of that in my collection. And a lot of other stuff too.
How do you preserve your collection? Is it categorized or is it just helter skelter?
I have all my vinyl and cds catalogued alphabetically after band name, and chronologically after release date. Have to have some system with the amount of vinyl and cds that I have.
Your favorite band is the British rock band King Crimson. Since the band was formed before you were born, you need to tell us how they ended up as your favorite band.
In the early 90’s, I started to get more into 70’s rock in general, and took the usual route through Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple etc. Then me and my friends in The 3rd And The Mortal, got even more into the progressive rock bands of the 70’s, and when I got introduced to King Crimson via them, I was sold. They were really heavy in a way I’ve never had heard music before, and also amazing musicians and great song writers at the same time.
What is it with King Crimson that makes you hold on to them as your favorite band? What do they have that no other band has?
In my opinion, King Crimson is the most progressive and provoking band that has ever existed. They’ve always evolved and done new things, and are still able to be really progressive to this date, even though they have very strict ways to write music. Most other progressive rock bands stopped evolving, and just continued in the same style after they reached their peak.
Is the entire discography of King Crimson equally essential to you? Do you have to have all versions of all the albums?
Yes, all the periods of King Crimson are essential for me, even though they’re very different. They’ve had so many different line-ups and they’ve only been together for different cycles every decade, and Robert Fripp is the only constant member. And that has made the band so interesting and significant. I own most of the essential versions of the albums, not all the different prints and re-releases since there’s so many of them.
"Red" from 1974 is your all-time favorite album. When did you hear the album for the first time? Was this an instant favorite album or did it take some time before you realized the importance of this album?
The first time I heard "Red" was in 1993 I think. It was not an instant favorite, but really grew on me and is the album I can listen to daily without losing any interest. It started with the end song "Starless", and I couldn’t stop listening to that song. That song is the 12 shortest minutes ever. And then the rest of the album also clicked, and the whole album is perfect. The performance of Robert Fripp, Bill Bruford and John Wetton is unbelievable!
Is there any other album that has the potential to take over the place as a favorite album or is it too many memories and too much history behind the choice of "Red"?
Well, my fave metal album of all time is Slayer’s "Reign In Blood", and I love that album. However, it won’t take the place from "Red" I think.
What is your relationship with the band members of King Crimson, and particular the only remaining founding member Robert Fripp?
He’s the only one that has made me "star struck". I’ve done several interviews with other members of King Crimson, but when he walked past me outside Grieghallen when they played in Bergen in 2003, I could hardly take a breath. I really wanted to say "hi, I’m your biggest fan", but didn’t dare, and was afraid he would stop the concert if I did. He seems to be quite a character, with very clear opinions on how he wants thing to be done. And that’s probably why King Crimson always has been able to do new things every time. I’m not a fan of all the Frippertronics and soundscapes he’s done, but he’s a musical mastermind, both theoretically and musically, and what he’s done for other artists like David Bowie, Peter Gabriel and such, is amazing as well.
You are home after a long day’s work and want to relax with some music. What do you, most likely, want to listen to?
For relaxing, I tend to listen to either progressive rock bands or more low key and atmospheric rock artists. Sometimes, some dark and monotone black metal works too. But, not too much straight forward rock or metal. That’s for Friday night.
Where do you stand when it comes to original albums? Do you want a first press or are you pleased with re-mastered re-publications?
If I find original pressings in good condition for a reasonable price, I tend to go for that. But, I’m also pleased with re-mastered re-issues, especially when it’s albums that are hard to find. The new re-issues are usually done with a lot of care and liner-notes, so they are usually quite good as well.
There are split opinions about live albums. Where do you stand and what’s your ultimate live album? What’s so special about this record?
I’m not a big fan of live albums, but I do try to buy every bootleg and live release I find from King Crimson, Frank Zappa and Mayhem. The problem is that there’re so many of them. I’m not sure why I always buy Mayhem stuff, since most bootlegs really suck, but they’re my fave Norwegian black metal band. As for Zappa, most of his gigs were very different from each other, and I think it’s really fun and interesting to hear all the different versions and the stuff that the band finds fun each night. As for specific live albums that I like, I have to pick out Iron Maiden’s "Live After Death" for nostalgic reasons, and because it’s so good. And also Gentle Giant’s "Playing The Fool", which portrays the band in an excellent way.
What about the gender distribution in your collection; how is that coming along?
I really don’t think about gender when it comes to music. Good music is good music no matter who is playing.
The vinyl tax collector is standing at your doorstep and demanding one – 1 – vinyl record as an instant charge. What record do you choose to give away?
Probably one from my own label, so I easily can get a new copy back in my collection.