“It’s all about the music”– Stian Westerhus in conversation with Fiona Talkington
On stage Stian comes across as a fiercely uncompromising musician, totally in control of his instrument and his musical vision, unafraid to challenge himself and his audience.
Off stage a broad smile, an infectious laugh and a gentle voice are a reminder that his music comes from a deeply creative spirit who is truly passionate about his music. A warm and generous musician respected by those he works with.
He’s a guitarist, but that’s hardly an adequate description of what he’s already brought to the music world. Yes, he’s an inspiring and virtuosic performer but he’s not a showman, no matter how awesome his stage appearances might be. His guitars are simply the channel through which his music comes, his techniques and affinity with the instrument giving him a vast expressive language.
The remoteness, the sense of isolation, and the beauty so often present in his music was surely born a couple of hours north of Trondheim where Stian grew up near the small town of Steinkjer, on a farm in an area called Jådåren.
Determination and motivation, and the ability to recognise his own musical needs brought Stian through a sense of feeling musically lost to rediscovering the thrill of playing with new people. “It was like diving into unknown waters not knowing how deep you would have to go. I learnt so much in Trondheim and, ironically, I learnt the most from my mates, the people I played with, just like in school as a kid. We were a bunch of motivated young people who only focused on music. It was so motivational and so hard at the same time. So many talented people in a small space can be scary, but it taught me to trust myself and only do what I want to do. If it’s not 101% it’s never going to be good enough”.
"His improvised solo shows largely eschew chords and melodies, opting instead for cello-bowed atmospheres, jackhammer-style noise, and waves of distortion, before fading into glitchy loops."– Guitar Player Magazine
"The boldly unrelenting Westerhus demonstrates that electronics, pedal techniques and a cacophony of noise can bring us to harsher extremes, but also to places of delicate beauty. His album Pitch Black Star Spangled has been called “a masterpiece of solo guitar”– All About Jazz