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namnambulu2015 henrikInterview with

Henrik Iversen (vocals) from NamNamBulu

Henrik Iversen, singer and songwriter for NAMNAMBULU, was kind to spend a bit of his time to answer a bunch of questions we prepared for him. As you might know, NAMNAMBULU split up in 2005 and didn’t produce new tracks until 2013. Since they have announced a new album we decided to catch Henrik and speak to him about how he met Vasi Vallis years ago, the video for ‘Memories’ and what’s the best about being Henrik Iversen. Enjoy!

Reflections of Darkness [RoD]: Hello Henrik, how are you?
Henrik: Thanks for asking. I’m fine.

RoD: To start with the business stuff: I heard there will be a new NAMNAMBULU album. I guess it’s about time since your last single ‘Sorry’ was released quite some time ago. Is there a name for this new Synth Pop masterpiece already?
Henrik: Of course there will be a new album, this isn’t a secret. It has a working title, but I won’t decide on a name until all tracks are done. For me an album title always had to do with the story of its development. So I guess, the title should be ‘Taking Forever’ in this case (laughs). It will be an album with catchy melodies transforming the old NAMNAMBULU sound to a new and modern version. As we all know, Vasi is famous for creating catchy melodies. Sometimes he sends me stuff, then he changes melodies and resends and sometimes some of his ideas disappear. It’s a constant process.

RoD: When did you meet Vasi for the first time? I mean, it’s like decades ago. How did you stumble into Mister Catchy Melodies?
Henrik: We met in a bank. Sounds like a cliché as all Swiss people seem to work in a bank (laughs). But that’s the truth. Vasi and I were working at the same department of a Swiss high street bank. Believe it or not: This bank still exists though we were working there (laughs). I think it took about a year until we had the plan to start making music together. I was more gothic-like at that time and Vasi was doing some commercially successful stuff. Why he went into this dark alternative scene will always remain a mystery to me.

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RoD: It will always remain a mystery to me how we all could end up in this dark alternative scene (laughs). Maybe I should ask Vasi the next time how he could end up there with all of us. So a tiny little bird tweeted to me that it took you quite a while to show your lovely singing voice to an audience. Is this true?
Henrik: Well, what can I say… I never had a high opinion of my singing voice. I know I can set the right ton, but I never saw myself as a great singer. It is still like that and there are a lot of people who agree with me. I never had “becoming a singer” on my screen. It was more like fate and I’m glad that this opportunity aroused.

RoD: I know, you’ll slap me one day for this but I have to say it again: Your voice is so darn beautiful. Am I the only one getting on your nerves by telling this over and over or are you getting some fan mails too about this topic?( laughs)
Henrik: You are the only one!

RoD: So I guess if I’m the only one telling this over and over you’ll have to stand it (laughs). How did it come that you started to work again with Vasi after you two split up back in 2005?
Henrik: He was begging (laughs). Though there were a few bad things that led to our separation – I don’t want to go into any further detail – I’ve always missed making music. It wasn't an easy decision for me to stop making music. Restarting NNB mostly comes back to nostalgic reasons. I tried to be musically active in the past, but had to admit that my production skills just weren't satisfactory to fulfil people’s expectations.

RoD: When reading interviews from your separation time, Vasi sounded really grumpy. So who was sending flowers to the other one to reconcile?
Henrik: No one sent flowers ever. It was more like shaking hands.

RoD: Cross my heart: In the video for the song ‘Memories’ so many Synth Pop video clichés were used. Nearly all existing on this planet. It’s in black and white, candles, the typical Synthesizer scene where someone is playing on his Synthesizer and how I like to call it “the cliché rose”… Who made this video and who delivered the ideas for it?
Henrik: Who served any clichés? Those are all things, that have never been used before (laughs). But yes, you are right. The script was written by a friend of mine. This video was done so long ago, I can remember Marco, who cut the scenes. But to be honest I forgot the name of the director. I guess it was the first music video ever for those two people and the first official one for NAMNAMBULU. We were newcomers at the time, and happy to have someone make a video, even if it meant to serve a lot of clichés.

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RoD: To get away from cliché videos: Could you tell me your personal favourite song of all times and what does this song mean to you?
Henrik: The ONE SONG does not exist. There are different times in your life and every time has a fitting song. Sounds strange but it is like that. There’s a time for ‘Black Celebration’, ‘Showtime’ or ‘Caustic Grip’. There have been so many songs in my life, but none is THE ONE TRACK.

RoD: To be honest, I couldn’t tell you about one special song in my life. It’s practically impossible, you’re right. But maybe you can answer with whom you’d like to work with.
Henrik: Sure. But shall I really name all those people? Of course there are people or bands, I’d like to work with. I love to collaborate with others and it’s not important for me if this person is famous or a newcomer band. If the song is good and the people are fun to be with, I’m really open for collaboration. But just to list a few ‘celebrities’ to work with: Vince Clarke and Martin Gore, of course, or probably Douglas McCarthy, just to stay in this music scene. I could also imagine working with non-scene people, this could be interesting too, but I can’t make a list of those.

RoD: I wonder who hasn’t Martin Gore or Vince Clarke on his list (laughs). It’s quite interesting that you are so open when it comes to collaborate with others. So people out there – don’t be shy and ask Henrik! Maybe it’s someone’s wish out there to work with you. When it comes to wishes and you’d have three free wishes, what would you wish for?
Henrik: This is a question I would like to have a really creative answer for, but I don’t have any. At the end of the day it is always the same I would wish for: 1. Health for my family – without health, life is not a fun thing. 2. Eternal life – cause I’m curious about what will happen in the future and I’d like to be there for my children forever. 3. Three more wishes – because you always forget this one thing you should have wished for. So maybe there’s a number 4 on my wish list. Health for myself. I don’t want to be the only one getting sick (laughs).

RoD: You’re definitely a family person, I think. And you always seem to be so relaxed and calm. How could anyone discompose you?
Henrik: There are things that make go bananas. Especially people, I care a lot for, can make me lose my coolness easily, if they really want to trigger it (laughs). Despite from that it’s hard to make me lose my calm. In general I would say that dumbness, ignorance, irreverence and arrogance are things which can make me lose my temper. I dislike people that have augmented capabilities in any of these areas, and I really hope that there is no one out there, that would put me in any of those boxes.

RoD: One more personal question: Where’s the difference between “satisfied” and “happy” for you?
Henrik: Difficult question. Satisfaction develops, when you start to arrange with a situation and you don’t see the necessity to change something. I don’t think a lot of people have the ability to be like that today. Happy is the person, who can find something positive in any situation but this includes that you want to be happy.

RoD: Last question for today: What is the best thing about being Henrik Iversen?
Henrik: Hmm… There’s nothing special. I think it's cool to have been given a voice which I don’t have to train every day to be able to sing. But despite that… I don’t want to bore anyone (laughs).

RoD: I think this have been enough questions for today.
Henrik: Was this a question?

RoD: Not really a question. It was more like talking to myself. Now it’s your turn to choose someone you’d like to get interviewed next time. Choose wisely (laughs).
Henrik: Xavier Morales of RUINED CONFLICT, because I think he might be happy answering some questions.

Promo pictures by Verity Vian (

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