Magnet is Even Johansen from Bergen, Norway. He follows in the footsteps of Royksopp & Kings of Convenience and draws upon a vast array of influences from country music right through to blissed out Electronica, whilst tenderly sculpturing a uniquely individual sound, 13 February at Bush Hall in London; UK tour 15 - 27 March.
18/02/2004 :: Despite his claims to have sold the Bergen scene to Stavanger, who sadly lack the same crop of pop futurists that shines like a Beacon on Norway's beautiful West coast, Even's position on its cultural pinboard is assured as possibly the only 100% genuine Bergen Cowboy. "The musical scene in Bergen is a bit of a fallacy, nobody fits as such, apart from possibly Bjorn Torske and Kaptein Kaliber. Everyone else just does their thing, it just happens that a lot of it's really good. Besides I don't actually live there." That's right, despite recording in his hometown musical Mecca with Sir Dupermann on controls, Even has long since swapped the frost kissed pavements of the fjordic wonderland, for a home in bonny Scotland.
His father, who toured the world as part of a Norwegian swing/jazz dance troupe, probably prompted his ascent into the world of rock'n'roll; his first forays into musicianship came at an early age on his dad's old four-string guitar. It was later in Scotland that his love of the lap steel was compounded. "I saw this beautiful guitar in the window of a shop in Dumfries, but I couldn't afford it," Eventually, like a gift from the gods and 'gullet' the lap steel was his, and the rest is history, "that's also when I became a cowboy". It is this guitar sound that brings life to Even's blend of storytelling.
Magnet makes highly emotive songs, rich with experience and realism, compacted into personal, electrifying and intensely beautiful songs that you will cherish. Songs that will make the hairs on your neck stand on end, songs that you will fall in love with, songs that lift you out of normality and cradle you in cushioned dreams and so much more. Giving adage to the old expression 'scarred by experience',
Even took the name Magnet, after an incident in his early teens. Having been diagnosed as anemic and suffering from Iron deficiency at the age of 13, Even visited his father's rock'n'roll doctor whilst on holiday ("I think he may have been a drug dealer, but he was wearing a white lab coat"). Said doctor sent a young Johansen to a half Chinese, half Indian medicine man, who tattooed him with a Magnet in "Special" ink. After passing out from the pain, Even awoke to find that he was miraculously feeling better. "I was stupid enough to believe it, but believing can work wonders."
Magnet released a long since deleted album on Rec90 in his native Norway entitled "Quiet And Still" in 2000. Even embarked on a hugely successful tour of the US late last year, which involved much hilarity, drunken tomfoolery and provided many warm memories, that include touring partner David 'Kaptein Kaliber' Aasheim's naked dance with a Christmas tree and an incident at sea-world that still brings tears to their eyes, not forgetting their now infamous incident with a seven dollar bottle of Vodka in front of practically LA's entire musical fraternity.
'See that bit at the end of Die Hard where the ambulances turn up and Dean Martin's "Let It Snow" starts playing? Making you feel all warm and cuddly and willing to forget the slaughter of smug German crims that preceded it? Now imagine the same scene set in the Wild West. This is the song you'd hear. It's a bit Christmassy, a bit sad, a bit Ennio Morricone, a bit Radiohead, a bit Avalanches. It's lovely and, if you've just shoved Alan Rickman off a skyscraper, just what the doctor ordered' (Simon Lewis)
NME - The Critics Singles 05/04/03
'Norway, inexplicably, continues to produce oddball talent by the bucketload. For anyone who's ever wondered what a Radiohead soundtrack for It's A Wonderful Life might sound like, Magnet's Even Johansen has the answer on The Day We Left Town EP (****)
Q - Single Reviews May 2003 Issue
'Further proof, if needed that North Europeans are the Kings of electro-epic, the title track is a triumphant unison of Bjork's vital organs and Jason Spaceman's soul'
The Fly - Single Reviews April 2003 Issue
For 27 and a half years, I have been searching for the record that I want playing when I die/fall in love/have underwater sex with Julie Delpy. The title track of this ep may well bring my quest to its end. Evan Johansen (for it is he) writes gentle, electronic tinged acoustic ballads, sung in the voice of Thom Yorke after 3 bottles of gin and tears, that overwhelm the soul with wave after wave of bittersweet joy these are the melodies that you hear in your head once the wounds have healed, and you can go back to remembering the good times you had with the girl that broke your heart. "The Day We Left Town" opens like the score to a Frank Capra film, and ends as Johansen and his lover look back at their former home as the kerosene flames engulf it. Breathtaking doesn't even begin to cover it. I'm taking this ep to my desert island. Really.
The Day We Left Town ' EP - Radar
"Everybody should worship at the alter of Magnet, 'The Day We Left Town' sounds like an audio remake of Frank Capra's 'It's a Wonderful Life', peopled by hand puppets and giant rabbits nicked from The Flaming Lips tour bus" ****
The Day We Left Town ' EP - logo-magazine.com - February 2003
Concert 13 February: London Bush Hall
March tour dates:
15th (UK) BRISTOL COLSTON HALL
16th (UK) SOUTHAMPTON GUILDHALL
18th (UK) SHEFFIELD OCTAGON
19th (UK) MANCHESTER CARLING ACADEMY
20th (UK) GLASGOW CARLING ACADEMY
22th (UK) BIRMINGHAM CARLING ACADEMY
23th (UK) NORWICH UEA
25th (UK) BRIGHTON DOME
26th (UK) BRIXTON ACAMDEY, LONDON
27th (UK) BRIXTON ACADEMY, LONDON