About three weeks ago, we had the privilege of sitting down for an interview with Jørgen Munkeby of Shining, a band from Norway playing a mixture of jazz and metal in their self-created genre of blackjazz, following their show in Manchester (see our review of their performance here). See what happened in the interview below!
For our readers unfamiliar with Shining, can you introduce yourself and tell me what fans can expect from a Shining live show?
Well, my name is Jørgen Munkeby and I play in the Norwegian blackjazz band Shining. We play a mix of jazz and metal, and from a live show you can expect a lot of energy and a lot of action!
Tonight is the last date of your tour with Devin Townsend and Periphery – how has it all gone as a whole?
It’s been the best tour we’ve ever been on. The crew is amazing and make everything super smooth, and the vibe between all the bands is amazing. There’s also been a lot of people in the audience everywhere and musically it’s a great match as the audience responds well to all the bands. It’s just been really good and that’s what I’ve heard from the other bands too, that they think it’s the best tour they’ve done! So it’s kind of sad that it’s over, but if we had kept on for three more weeks I think we’d have got too tired!
Aside from the Devin and Periphery dates, you also got to play a headline show in London mid-way through the tour too – how did that go?
It was really fun. It was a pretty small venue but it was filled with a lot of very enthusiastic people and we got to play for as long as we wanted…for about an hour and ten minutes, so that was really fun. We hadn’t played a headline show in London for about five years, but I hope it won’t take as long as five years for the next one!
One of the things I liked about your set tonight was the fact you didn’t let the slight technical problem with the vocals stop you from continuing with the set and you kept going regardless. What happened?
It was a cable that wasn’t really behaving properly! Sometimes when things like that happen, it really ruins the show but I didn’t feel like it was much of a problem. I guess things like that are part of playing live shows, with things going wrong, but as long as it doesn’t really affect the show then sometimes it can actually be kind of funny – it makes the concert more memorable!
Tonight some members of the other bands invaded the stage during your set (editor’s note: see this photo) – did you have any idea it was going to happen?
No! (laughs) But I think that’s all part of the fun.
I wonder where they got all their instruments from – they’re not exactly the typical thing to have at a metal show, are they?
It was pretty impressive, wasn’t it? The tour manager is the boss of a big band hire and rental company, so he fixed it for them to get the instruments. But needless to say, I didn’t expect it!
It was pretty damn awesome.
I know! (laughs)
Moving onto the music, Shining started off as an experimental jazz act. Did the change in direction happen naturally or was it more of a conscious effort to start writing in a more extreme style?
I’d say it happened gradually. I grew up with metal music, but then I started playing sax and jazz music, and after that I started being interested in metal music again so to me it felt very natural to make metal music again and mix it with the other music I like as well. So I would say it was a conscious decision but it was also natural, as I couldn’t plan it in advance of course!
Do you have a preferred genre out of the two to write?
I just like to mix them. That’s my favourite genre to write…mixing those two!
As a fan of jazz and a saxophonist myself, it’s always nice to get a bit of representation in the industry, so what advice would you give to an up-and-coming metal artist playing a more unconventional instrument such as the sax?
I would say play well, play great music, and that’s all you can do! There’s more to it than that – you have to take care of the business side and all that, but you’ve got to have great music as a base.
A few years ago, you worked on a concerto with Enslaved – would this be something you’d consider doing again in the future, and if so who would you like to work with?
I would love to do that again with somebody. There’s a whole range of people I would love to work with – I’d like to work with any artist I admire! Working with Nine Inch Nails would be cool, or maybe Dillinger Escape Plan. Anyone I like basically, I’m not fussy!
Moving onto some random and quick-fire questions, if you could choose an animal to represent the band, what would it be?
That’s a very difficult question because we mix things up a lot! It’s not only aggressive and it’s not only clever. I think our music would have a little bit of the fox for the cleverness, and a little bit of the wolf for the aggression – so maybe a mix of the two!
It would be pretty apt for it to be a hybrid, given the music you make is a hybrid of jazz and metal.
Yeah, definitely! So my answer is a wolf-fox.
If you could replace the soundtrack to a movie with Shining’s music, what movie would it be?
Terminator, maybe. That would be pretty fun.
And my last question – if Shining could put their name to a product, what would it be?
Well, I have always been interested in creating visual stuff and we actually created the shirts we wear – so a clothing line would be cool because I have a hard time finding clothes I like.