with Tore Honoré Böe of Origami Republika
June 2, 2007
Tore has been a major impact on a lot of the ways I look at art. In the early 1990’s he started his artistic family called Origami Republika that includes a couple hundred artists from every corner of the globe as well as every style of music & art. That is a big thing of what art is about, a family connection & communication with other humans. Of course he has gone on to what one thinks of as a “traditional nuclear family” as well & left Oslo for the Canary Islands about five years ago.
QRD – How old were you when you first realized you wanted to be a professional musician?
Tore – Still hasn’t happened. I realized I wanted to become a person who’d occasionally follow up on my creative urges around 16, as the “intermedia”-worlds of Wölfli, Schwitters, & Stapleton dawned upon me. I guess I was lucky.
QRD – What are a few highlights of your musical career?
Tore – Teenage-drummer for garage/rockabilly band AVE! Some years later backing a great poet on my passport & a handful of freshly cut hair.
QRD – At what age did you decide you wanted to become a father?
Tore – No joke or easy pun here; I do think it is wise to plan ahead a bit & take a conscious decision to have a try. That doesn’t mean that one should avoid steadfast & varied practice. Or that an “accident” cannot be born with all the love it deserves. My wife & me took the decision as soon as she had a good job & I saw that the origami-ball was rolling.
QRD – What are some positive & negative impacts your family has had on your career?
Tore – The positive is summed up in the chance I’ve been given to work with my things without any of the usual concerns about partners envious on that dedication. The negative is that my family has kept me so down-to-earth that I’ve been robbed of my sweet illusion of “estranged artisthood.” Artists should change diapers more often.
QRD – What are some positive & negative impacts your career has had on your family?
Tore – I think it is positive for the family life that I get to express these creative urges & thus to blow some steam. The negative must be when I can’t control these urges, although I’m getting better & better at that.
QRD – Have your children effected the music you make &/or listen to?
Tore – They got me hard into Swedish storytelling & spoken word/vocal performance. & into Maria Isabel who won the Junior Eurovision Song Contest some years back. More “artistically” the emotional closeness of their voices & sounds (ultrasound scans, breast-feeding, never sitting still, fickeling more than their ever-fickeling dad...), or indirect like when my daughter’s favorite at the time is low-resolution Scriabin interpretations in mp3, then we have to listen to it over & over, & it becomes inspiration for working more with such emotional soundspheres.
QRD – Have you had problems with the lack of steady money from a musical career providing the security you feel necessary in your household?
Tore – Money & me is like oil & water. STEADY money from a musical career in my areas of art-music either means you are on the seasonal hot-list, the government pay-list, or are dealing dope or other commercial crap on the side; not my three ultimate aims. SOME money from a part-time musical career would have been welcomed, I’d be willing to compromise & lower my life standard for the benefit of the future generation on this planet. I’ve had more problems with lack of steady money from highly temporary non-musical careers, not providing security at all. Losing money on musical activity is something I can’t afford, & that is a fact that takes the problem away. I am sanding down doorframes, putting together cupboards, & installing kitchens on a day-to-day basis.
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?
Tore – It is not the limitations of fatherhood that has made me conclude that maybe I should have toured more extensively. Although I have hundreds of performances & hours on the train behind me, there are a few opportunities I maybe should have responded to. The choice of doing the coordinating/archiving thing for all the origamists has been working against the idea of constant touring, as it has given less time for ego exposure. Origami won, I stay here in close proximity of this house for most of the time. It should be added that I now have the whole world right outside my doorstep, only for me to take a step outside & sit down for a coffee to experience much of what traveling brought me - otherness.
QRD – Do you think being a father or a musician has a greater impact on your community?
Tore – In my community nobody knows about my music. Only the very closest friends know that I’m up to those things. I like that. Out walking with three blonde kids, communicating through them as the stereotypic immigrant family, there is a lot of response. As the only Norwegian family in our 20,000-headed town we sure come around as exotic, there are 5-6000 Norwegians in another town some 10 km away, & everybody sort of asks why we are not living there. My artistic leanings does have an impact in a sort of undercover way, as I really like talking to children, including heavy propaganda stunts (“fashion clothes will give you pimples” is one of my weapons, “Barbie will make your teeth fall out”, & still it wasn’t me who sprayed “Viva La Republika” on the school wall)....
QRD – Would you rather see your child eventually become a musician or parent?
Tore – I would only wish for my children that they find out who they really are early on, so that they can follow the less contrived path, being counted for their skills, feeling a natural belonging to the local area in which they choose to settle, & in general become perfect citizens with interesting flaws.
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?
Tore – Dividing your time you end up dead. Go on touring & lose those closest to you - often in crucial ages (they all are, I guess) & at crucial stages (same), longing will tear you & them apart, it’s no longer all about YOU anyhow. Stay at home & lose contact with whatever “scene” you thought you might be part of, because you are no longer a part of it. My idea is that when other people go on holiday, I go playing. That makes me feel alive, although it doesn’t exactly charge my batteries for the next round of shit work for cash or parenting effort craved.
QRD – Do you have a split/secret life between being a parent & being a musician?
Tore – Yes/no.
QRD – What do your children think of your music?
Tore – I ask Silja A195 of Origami Kanaria (age 7): “It is nice, it is very quiet, sometimes it’s very scary - like when Uncle Kim is singing (papi’s note: Xmazz A108 from Origami Replika & I quit), but, uhh, with Uncle Stefan (papi’s note: DJ Rrasta A217 of Origami Kalima) it is VERY dance music, that’s why I made a song for you at the fiesta by the football field, I just made it up LIKE THAT.” (This answer was only given under the threat of later not being measured to 126 cm height without shoes.) “Time is not time in the nursery.”
QRD – Do you think you could ever do a musical project with your children?
Tore – It is hard to avoid, seeing how I am a devoted living room table composer, with mic’s on & red buttons flashing everywhere, & three angel-demons running around. My daughter debuted in my recordings six months before being born; they have all the gear available to them anytime, but no pressure what so ever in becoming musicians. Like most kids they have a go at any given instrument lying around; only they have a dad honestly interested in honest expression to save they’re work for posterity.
QRD – Any words of advice to young people?
Tore – Never listen to guys like me. Teenagedom is a hype, flash individualism likewise. Be the whole & a part of it.
Another QRD interview