CSN & Obzene – a new, unique project on Trondheim music scene

Photo: Ida Muren

The Trondheim music scene, with its incredible variety of genres and impressive number of bands and artists, has something to offer for all tastes. But this project definitely had no analogues so far. Meet CSN & Obzene – a creative collaboration between the metal band Obzene and the urban/pop artist CSN. Innovative, deep, personal, overcoming the limitations of genres – this project won’t leave you indifferent.

The first single hiding/OVERLOAD is released this Friday. And a new single will be released every month until the concept album ‘color, see you soon’ release in September.

“What started out as a curiosity for experimenting with different genres became something much more meaningful” – read the interview with Jørgen Norby (Obzene) and CSN

How did you start working together? And did you know each other before this project?

We knew of each other from the music environment in Trondheim, but only on a professional level. So no, we can’t really say that we knew each other before the project started.

CSN approached me almost exactly a year ago and told me: “Jørgen, I wanna make rock music”. I thought sure, that might be fun, without any clue of what we were about to embark on. After a couple of sessions in the studio we quickly realized we were on to something truly special to us; we were making music we never knew we had in us. What started out as a curiosity for experimenting with different genres became something much more meaningful. We genuinely felt that we had to create a bigger project, a project that was first and foremost for ourselves. As CSN likes to put it: “Music from us, to us”. -Jørgen

What did the music background of each of you bring to this project?

We have quite different musical backgrounds, something we have used to our advantage. We tried to bring some of the most interesting parts of each other’s musical background into the project. Early on we noticed we had different strengths, which made up for each other’s weaknesses.

I am influenced and inspired by the entire existence. Musically and lyrically. My music background brought a lot of experimenting, expression, genuineness and sound details, as well as trust, in the creative process. – CSN

As a producer, and having mainly worked with metal music, atmospheric and big soundscapes is something I have always been drawn to. I am in general a very happy person, which for some reason makes me seek out extremely emotional and sad music. I like to believe this has helped the music to express emotions in an extreme way, as well as given it its own unique sound. -Jørgen

What was the most exciting and most challenging thing while working on the project?

The most exciting part was definitely sharing our love for music and life experiences with each other. You could say the project has been about getting to know each other on both a creative and personal level.

The most challenging part was to overcome our creative differences, but we accepted the challenge and push ourselves to execute the project to its fullest potential. We agreed very early that there could be no compromise in the collaboration, and we believe that’s the reason why all of us are so proud of the result.

Another exciting part of the project has been the times when we started realizing how amazing our songs were becoming. How excited we were to upgrade the song until the final versions. We embraced the challenge of creating in a rare and unique collaborative environment. This was done by trusting the process, and by being patient and understanding. – CSN

Creating music is very personal, and when somebody shuts down your idea it can at first feel like a loss of some sorts. But then when you continue working and together create a new idea that you are both very excited about; that feeling is amazing. Music is emotions, and when you can share the emotions with somebody else they increase ten folds. – Jørgen

Where was the album recorded? And was there anyone else besides you who took part in the work on it?

The entire album was written, recorded, produced, mixed and mastered by us in our studio at Musikkbyen Trondheim. Even though we, CSN and Jørgen, have written most of the music, it could not have been done without the rest of the band members in Obzene. They are Bård Rønnebu (lead guitar), Are Åberg (drums), Ole Henrik Furberg Karlsen (bass) and Erlend Elvesveen (keys). A group of creative, open minded, and in general just wonderful people.

We have actively reached out to people to get their opinion on the project, ranging from the music itself, down to the general aesthetic. We are very aware that we don’t always have the right answers, and we are always eager to learn from others. There are honestly too many to mention that have taken part in this project in some form. We can however mention some of our co-tenants at Musikkbyen Trondheim, namely Ronny Svendsen, Adrian Thesen and Sverre Sunde. Especially Ronny Svendsen from Dsign Music took an interest in the project very early on and has pushed us to our absolute limits.

We feel so grateful to be amongst so many amazing human beings. In time, we will properly thank you all.

You define ‘color, see you soon’ as a concept album. What is behind this concept?

‘color, see you soon’ is an introspective journey about thoughts many of us are having, but not necessarily have the opportunity to talk about. We want to expose some of the challenging parts of life, and the best place to start is with yourself.

‘color, see you soon’ is about looking forward no matter what. I’ve waited for the time, while time kept on moving. I finally am building a solid relationship with time. – CSN

What would you call the main distinguishing feature of this project?

For somebody not involved in the project the mixing of so many different genres would probably be the main distinguishing feature. However, this project is so much bigger than the sum of its parts. The word “genuine” has been our mantra and shaped the project in a massive way. We have written music for ourselves, music that we sincerely love and want to listen to. As a result we genuinely believe we have created something that is innovative, something that can’t be described as this or that genre. To call it groundbreaking would come across as arrogant, but we are breaking new ground on a personal level.

Your first single hiding/OVERLOAD will be released this Friday. What would you like to tell me about this one?

hiding/OVERLOAD is a dynamic, emotional and euphoric rollercoaster. It’s a song that tries to surpass itself all the way through, and it taps into an almost primal urge. Sometimes you just have to scream at the top of your lungs.

As cheesy as it sounds, the idea for the song came to me in a dream. I woke up in the middle of the night and had to sneak into the bathroom and whisper the melody into my phone so I wouldn’t forget it. CSN and I started working on it the next day based on the audio recording. The way I see it, this song is from me to CSN. – Jørgen

I got excited when I heard about Jørgen whispering the melody into his phone. I heard an idea that was about to become the first song on our album. Writing and producing this song went very smoothly because it felt like we were heading the same way when it came to making the idea into the song it became. – CSN

The album is set to release in September 2023. What are your plans after this?

The journey has just started. We can’t reveal too much yet, but the story doesn’t end with ‘color, see you soon’.