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QRD #33 - the Father's Day issue - June 2007
about this issue
Martin Bowes of Attrition
Benjy Johnson of Benjomatic
Sam Rosenthal of BTFABG
William Amundson
Josh Howard author of Dead@17
Peter Ulrich of Dead Can Dance
Aaron Molina of If Thousands
D.A. Sebasstian of KSK
Alan Sparhawk of Low
Shane Sauers
Rune Flaten of Origami Arktika
Tore Boe of Origami Republika
Chris Olley of Six by Seven
Timothy Renner of Stone Breath
Patrick Ogl of Thanatos
Mats Gustafsson of Broken Face
Jason Wallach of Unquiet Void
Chris Wade of The Wades
Nevada Hill of The Zanzibar Snails
Wayne Barnes
Dan Sostrom of Tonevendor
Colin Newman of Wire
Joe Kendrick of WNCW
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Interview with Rune Flaten of Origami Arktika
May 13, 2007
When I first met Rune, it struck me that he didn’t quite fit the Origami Republika mold.  Respectible, responsible, well groomed, holds a steady job… but then I saw a live performance where his instrument was a microphone in a wooden box & he controlled feedback by opening & closing the lid.  So there you go….

Name: Rune Flaten
Band: Origami Arktika
Website: www.silbermedia.com/origamiarktika

QRD – How old were you when you first realized you wanted to be a professional musician?

Rune – It was an accident.  I just had some time on my hands & a band to go on tour with.  But when I had experienced playing live for an audience, there was no way back.

QRD – What are a few highlights of your musical career?

Rune – Oh.  Mostly that would involve playing with other bands or people, like the Naro Giraffe Group at Riddu Riddu festival.  Or with Tanya Tagaq, or the amazing Jen Paches.  Yes.  & Lee Pui Ming.  Interaction with unknown (or known) people is good.  Ah! & there’s the infamous “rar musikk festival” in the woods here in Norway.  We were for some mysterious reason scheduled as “origami fururama” some years ago, & played the part.  Ha!  Vancouver Breakfast TV after a long night of anything but sleep.  Trust me, kids; it is great to play in a band.

QRD – At what age did you decide you wanted to become a father?

Rune – Once again, I didn’t as much decide that I wanted to become a father.  It was more like deciding not-to-not want kids.  All my kids are happy & wonderful accidents.

QRD – What are some positive & negative impacts your family has had on your career?

Rune – The obvious positive thing is that having a family alters your views on most things in life.  You have to put your own needs in the back seat, & try to see the bigger picture of what’s important for everyone.  I think that has affected my view on how to make music as well.  Another thing, with small kids there is not much time left for doing other extra-familiar activities, like playing music.  So the time available for playing music is very valuable.

QRD – What are some positive & negative impacts your career has had on your family?

Rune – Well, they are not very happy when I leave them to go out drinking & playing.  &  it’s not like they are great fans of my music either.  But the kids love to play around with my instruments & stuff.

QRD – Have your children effected the music you make &/or listen to?

Rune – I think it has affected my music, but it is difficult to tell in what direction.  I certainly know & have recorded more lullabies since I started singing them regularly at home.  & I cannot listen to all the wonderful noise I like whenever I like.  So the music I listen to has changed a lot.  But that is also for the good, as I have explored other directions, learning about folk music from around the globe.

QRD – Have you had problems with the lack of steady money from a musical career providing the security you feel necessary in your household?

Rune – I’ve never had much money.  Not a problem.  Keep your expenses low.

QRD – Given the limitations having a family has on being a touring musician, would you have toured more earlier in life if you’d known?

Rune – Certainly.  But the time is approaching when touring is easier again, as the kids get older & more independent.  It is a period of five to ten years, when touring is difficult.  After that it gets easier.

QRD – Do you think being a father or a musician has a greater impact on your community?

Rune – What is my community? I think I live several lives, in different communities.  & in some my role as a father has greater impact than in others, where people know me as a musician.

QRD – Would you rather see your child eventually become a musician or parent?

Rune – Both, preferably.  But I don’t think people/my kids have to have children of their own.  It is not like you are necessarily made a better person if you have children.  Everyone doesn’t have to become a parent, it is very okay not to.

QRD – Both family & music seem like things that will take up as much of your time as you’re willing to put in.  How do you end up dividing your time?

Rune – Family is more important than music.…  Whatever spare time is available goes to the music.  But then again, the spare time available increases when the kids get older.

QRD – What do your children think of your music?

Rune – They think it is strange, but some of it they like.  I mostly sing traditional folk tunes, & the kids know most of them as I sing these around the house most days.

QRD – Do you think you could ever do a musical project with your children?

Rune – Naturally!  I have recordings of them, & as they are getting older, I want to do things together with them.  Hell, I’ve got three boys.  That’s drums, bass, & guitar right there.

QRD – Any words of advice to young people?

Rune – No.  Go figure it out yourselves.  It’s not like you’d listen to me, anyways.
QRD – 2015 update - any new insight from eight more years of fatherhood?

Rune – The older they get, the larger the problems. They occur more rarely, but are more serious when they do happen. You can always tell a three-year old that everything will be ok & it probably will. But a teenager can & will get into so much trouble & you can’t always help them solve their problems. Letting go, I suppose, is what it’s all about. But it is hard, letting your kids go. So much harder than letting go when I was a teenager myself. I’m not saying I will be sorry when they move out, there’s a time for everything. But I’ll always want to help & protect them.