This site might use cookies. Check our privacy policy. OK

Norwell’s bittersweet synth psychedelia

Published January, 2013
by Easterndaze


Budapest-based producer Balázs Semsei aka Norwell makes his debut with his psychedelic electronica project on Shabu Recordings. The Farbwechsel co-founder is the third man connected to the fledgling label we featured earlier. Influenced by krautrock, house and electronica, Norwell’s ’I Kissed The Sun’ conveys a bittersweet nostalgia coated by melancholic synth melodies. Listen to it below.

Would you please introduce yourself?

I’ve got involved with electronic music making when I was 19-20 years old after giving up guitar and piano, first djing and later making my own music. Together with my childhood friend Alpár, half of the duo Silf and my other friend, half of the duo Stephan Olbricht we were teasing each other with the latest software tricks and learned music making together as autodidacts until one of us bought a synthesizer. Earlier I had another project called Elbow Room releasing an EP on Ryan Davis’ label Back Home but after a long search for a new sound which I feel more comfortable with, I started Norwell.

What kind of sound were you looking for?

I could never describe the style of my music. Elbow Room was more about melodies and more house-y beats but later when I got my synth and it changed everything. I gave up virtual synths in favor of analog ones and wanted to start a new project: Norwell. By now I’m able to write music on analogue gear, so almost without computer, I only use it for drum patterns, recording and mixing. It’s not that I hate digital but more about how it feels, it becomes real, so it’s more entertaining, not to mention the incomparable sounds. Mostly the creative process starts with improvisation, I start playing on one of the synths to find a sound or a sequence I like and I record it and after couple of drafts it evolves to become a song. But there can be a sound also in my head before sleeping. It varies. I don’t feel my music has any dominant motif, it’s a blend of house, techno and electronica elements.

How would you describe the world of Norwell?

It comes as a mood of old and vintage but with modern electronic sounds. For me it recalls the kraut rock era of the 60s, 70s. I was listening to kraut rock, psychedelic rock. Basically this kind of psychedelic music defines my sound, something old, bittersweet something, not happy, neither sad. I was making sad music before but I changed and I write out less melancholic stuff, but it’s still melancholic. If I’m in a bad mood music making is what makes me feel better, that’s what I like most. Though I have a dual purpose, besides doing what you like you also make an emotional effect on others.

What are your plans for 2013?

After the first Norwell EP there is the second one in the making, via another label. I’d be happy to have one physical release this year finally. And when I’m surely ready for it, I’d like to put my live act together, but before that there’s so much to prove and improve.

by András G Varga, Easterndaze and Electronic Beats Budapest collaborator, you can find him on Twitter here.