It's not uncommon to find musicians who also excel in other forms of art, but you'd be hard pressed to find another musician as multi-talented as Kim Hiorthøy. Check out this impressive resume:
As a graphic designer he is responsible for the Rune Grammofon artwork, as well as most of Smalltown Supersound’s [his record label] artwork. He is also an artist (check out www.standardoslo.no for more information about his art) and a writer. Kim wrote the book Du kan ikke svikte din beste venn og bli god til å synge samtidig on Norwegian literary publisher Oktober Forlag. He has released a book of photography in Japan, a book of drawings, Alt Fins, and a design book, Tree Weekend on Die Gestalten Verlag in Germany. Additionally, Kim has illustrated several children’s books. Kim has worked in film as a photographer, having shot the acclaimed Norwegian movies “Kroppen Min” and “Ungdommens Raskap”, as a video director for the concert film “Supersilent7”, and as a filmmaker, having just debuted as a director/screenwriter with the Swedish/Norwegian co-production, ”Hur Man Gor”.
Somehow in between all those endeavors, Hiorthøy has managed to release some great lo-fi/leftfield electronic records for the Norwegian label Smalltown Supersound. This Saturday, he'll be in town to play the Empty Bottle as a part of a Smalltown label showcase with diskJokke and Bjørn Torske. RFC recently caught up with Hiorthøy via email to find out how he manages to make enough time to be such a prolific musican and artist.
Download: Kim Hiorthoy - "I Thought We"
How did you first come to meet Smalltown founder Joakim Haugland and start contributing to his label?
I was living in Copenhagen at the time and I'd had two extremely short tracks included on a Danish compilation CD which Joakim somehow heard. He knew of me from record covers I'd made and got
in touch to ask if I had more music. I put together a DAT and sent it to him and then it sort of went from there.
You're well known for your use of the classic MPC sampler, does your love for the MPC stem from an infatuation with old school hip-hop or was it something else that led you to it?
A musician friend recommended it. I'd made a strange field-record-y record while in art school, where this friend also studied. He is a musician and has helped me a lot over the years. One day he just said, 'you should get an MPC'. I had no idea about the MPC history in terms of hip hop and so on, at the time.
You're also a very busy visual artist, photog, writer, etc..how to you find the time to not only pursue, but also excel at all your artistic endeavors? Also, was curious since you do a lot (or most?) Smalltown's album designs/cover art, what are some of your favorite album covers of all time? Or perhaps some favorites of your own that you've done over the years?
Yes, time is a problem. I make a lot of mistakes and lousy work because of lack of time. I am also consistently late with everything. Sometimes I think I'm just not good enough at organizing my time, which is also true, but mostly things just take time to do if you want to do it properly, so I either try to do things properly and then everything gets delayed, or I just do things sloppily. Sometimes sloppy is good and everybody wins, but somehow this used to happen much more when I was younger. Some of my favorite record covers would be maybe more how some labels have collaborated with designers and for a certain time period put out amazing work. Ben Drury and Will Bankheads sleeves for Mo'Wax in the early 90's for
instance, or Reid Miles work for Blue Note in the 50s and 60s.
You currently reside in Berlin.what inspired the move from Norway? Also, how would you compare the two these days in terms of the musical trends and sounds coming out of each scene?
Moving to Berlin was accidental, I never meant to stay there. But once I'd been there for a while it began to seem more like a good idea, and also much cheaper than living in Oslo, so I stayed. But I do continue to have a room in Oslo and go there often. Berlin is obviously much bigger so many more things happen there, people have more time to do things and make things because the cost of living is not as ridiculous as it is in
Oslo. My feeling is that at least the local electronic music scene in Berlin perhaps was more thriving a couple of years ago, but it might also just be me losing touch. I spend a lot of time at home working.
In coming over to America to tour, what are you looking forward to most?
Meeting old friends!