Stian Westerhus

“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