Interview, Music

Øyvind Holm’ solo album ‘The Vanishing Act’ from 2005 is now available for streaming

Photo: Geir Mogen
Cover art: Øyvind Holm

It’s always a big pleasure to discover some great music you didn’t know about before. And this time I’m talking about Øyvind Holm’ debut solo album ‘The Vanishing Act’ from 2005, which got its more than deserved rerelease on streaming services today. And we’ll all have our fingers crossed to one day enjoy this beautiful record on vinyl.

Read the interview with Øyvind Holm talking about recording ‘The Vanishing Act’ back in 2000s and working on the album together with Even Granås, Thomas Henriksen and Bent Sæther.

You started working on the album in 2004. How long was the recording process? 

I can’t remember exactly how much time we spent recording these songs. But after the initial drum recordings, I guess it took about a month or so for me to finish the rest. But back then we usually only worked a couple of nights a week, so it wasn’t a full month of concentrated studio time.

The album was recorded at Nidaros Studio 2 with Robin Barstow as sound engineer, mixed by Robin Barstow and Thomas Henriksen and mastered by Morten Stendahl at Redroom Studio. CDs were released in Norway via Cutwater Records (your and Thomas Henriksen own label back in those days) and in the rest of the world via Australian Camera Obscura Records. So why actually was the CD format chosen? 

The reason it was released on CD is probably because that was the only sensible physical format back in 2005. The vinyl market was more or less dead. So, even if I for selfish reasons would have loved to have it out on vinyl, CDs were a lot easier to sell.

For somebody who has never heard ‘The Vanishing Act’ what could you tell about the album? And what do you think was the main style difference from your previous band Dipsomaniacs?

I don’t think ‘The Vanishing Act’ is that different from what we were up to with the dipsos. For me it feels more like a natural continuation of that sound, which means a handful or so of melodic, semi-psychedelic pop songs. I always focus a lot on melodies and vocal harmonies when I write. Probably due to listening to tons of 60s psychedelia and Beatles records. If anything is different, this batch of songs probably comes across as a bit more focused than some of the Dipso stuff. Not quite as many detours into space.

Even Granås and Thomas Henriksen contributed a lot to the album. Could you tell a little about this?

I got to know Thomas when he joined Dipsomaniacs right before we recorded our third album, ‘Braid of Knees’. So we had been working together for several years already when this album was recorded. Thomas also ran a little studio at Nidaros studios, which is the place where most of this album as well as lots of the dipso stuff were recorded. Ever since we met he has always been my musical sparring partner. I could always run ideas by him, and he’d help me come up with arrangements and contribute musical ideas. On this particular album he plays the piano, in addition to taking part in the mixing process.

Even I knew a bit, but not too well back then. Basically, I just called him up and asked him if he wanted to play drums on these new songs that I was recording. At the time he was on tour with The International Tussler Society, but we agreed to meet up as soon as he got back home. We then had a great couple of days in the studio together. We got onto a nice little routine, where we first knocked out loose sketches for arrangements on an acoustic guitar, before he ran into the studio to lay down his drum tracks. Subsequently, I started building my stuff around his drums.

​The title track and the lead-off single ‘Salt-Mutated Summer Breeze’ was written together with Bent Sæther. How did this collaboration begin? And what has he brought to these songs?

Bent was also just a perifere acquaintance back in 2005 . We had probably met on a couple of occasions, a gig or two, and I guess we knew each other well enough to tip our hats to each other if we met on the street.

I had made a simple demo of ‘Salt-mutated’, basically just the melody for the verses. I sent the demo off to Bent by email, and asked if he would consider contributing to the song. A few days later I found a new version of my demo in my inbox. On this one Bent had added a new part that ended up being the chorus of the song. To finish the track, I wrote the lyrics and added a bridge

Bent also sent me a little snippet of a melody that he had been working on, and said I could use it if I could come up with something to finish it. I added some lyrics and a chorus. That song ended up being the title track of the album, ‘The Vanishing Act’.

What about plans of releasing the album on vinyl?

A remastered vinyl edition would of course be a wonderful thing to do, and definitely something I will consider in the future. Right now, making it available for streaming is the main goal. A lot of people don’t know this album exists, so having it out there again will be great in itself. However, there will be a vinyl release later this year, when the brand new album ‘The Paradox of Laughing’ is released.

Listen to ‘The Vanishing Act’ on your preferred streaming service: