Let me put you onto Ivan Ave

An interview with the Norwegian rapper

I remember stumbling across a song called The Circle by an artist named Ivan Ave, during my second year at university. The music video has that old-video-footage-style, but Ivan keeps it fresh spitting that chill rap as he rides through the neighbourhood

It’s the hook that immediately got me, it’s smooth as sh*t – that jazzy undertone mixed with that authentic hip hop sound had me head bopping for hours. I had to put it on repeat! It really got me through exam season. I noticed that it was produced by Mndsgn who does mind-boggling things with a beat and a sample – his talent is undeniable. I couldn’t believe this was the first time I was hearing of Ivan Ave, as I was already familiar with Mndsgn’s work. After having rinsed The Circle to the point of no return, I began doing more research about Ivan on various platforms. I wanted to hear more from him. I wanted to see what he was about because The Circle really had me hooked, for real – after that I was fan. I then stumbled across the song Machines (also produced by Mndsgn) from Ivan’s LP Helping Hands. I can’t even begin to describe how I felt listening to it for the first time. I feel some type of way whenever I come across hip hop artists who maintain jazz and soul in their songs. It has sentimental value, I guess it makes me feel nostalgic because I grew up on jazz. Ivan’s flow on Machines is captivating. All the components in the song seemed to come together perfectly. You know when you sit there truly appreciating a song and you’re like damn this is beautiful”. Yeah, that was me. I had that same feeling when I heard Momma by Kendrick Lamar off his album To Pimp a Butterfly. You know, when the instrumental is beautiful and they come in spitting that real sh*t that really makes you think. That’s the best way I can describe it. It was really nice to see some of the musicians who have also greatly impacted me such as Dwele, D’Angelo and The Roots, being appreciated in the video.

Introducing Ivan Ave 

Tell the readers a bit about yourself in a couple of sentences.
I live in Oslo. I’m currently exploring my paths as a lover of sound and rhythm. These days, I’m finishing a record that I’ve worked on for about a year. It’s been a very interesting year.

You’ve got that chill rap vibe. Your flow and lyricism stays on point! How would you describe your sound?
I guess my stuff is rooted in a lot of sounds from the 70s and 80s, but also informed by newer music that I listen to, ranging from jazz to RnB to lo-fi house music.

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Image taken by Håkon Gleditch @hakongle

That’s a nice variation. So, who are your biggest inspirations?
My crew Mutual Intentions keep me inspired. There’s always some fresh perspective to be found within the group’s output, through visual art or on the music side.

Who would like to collab with that you haven’t already?
George Duke.

The Circle was actually the first song of yours that I listened to. The instrumental coupled with your flow brings back that old school rap feeling that I love so much. What is the inspiration behind the story you tell in the track?
Just some circular tendencies within my life that I observed and felt probably rings true to a lot of people. We get set in our ways and those patterns take many shapes. One of those shapes is the circle. It’s also pays homage to my circle of friends.

It really is a relatable track. I actually didn’t look at it like that at first. The circle is a great metaphor for situations in our life that keep recurring. What role is your heritage or background playing in your upcoming album?
This album I’m about to put out called Every Eye is inspired by my childhood. I’ve tried to use a child’s eye on things in writing this record, to just ask questions and be very naive. So, I’m sure my own upbringing is audible in the music somehow.

Nice and I can’t wait for you to put that out. What do you want your music to bring to the culture? What do you want the youth to take away from your music?
I don’t want to be too ideological in my work, I just want it to be free – an expression of my situation. Maybe that’s an ideology after all. I’ve always had an ambivalent relationship with the way music becomes a commercial commodity. It’s kinda weird when you think about it, like what if kids who love to draw were constantly reminded that the broader audience likes purple more than yellow. I write and record alone. I like the idea of just putting something together the way I want to and then putting it out. If I ever help a younger person find that creative space, that would be dope.

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Image taken by Håkon Gleditch @hakongle

I really like the way you worded that. I never actually thought about music in that way. That’s an interesting perspective. I noticed that Mndsgn has produced a lot of your tracks. Why is that?
Ringgo is a good dude and has been a huge influence and contributor to my work. We linked up a few years ago for my EP Low Jams and I have worked with him ever since. His production always speaks to me, so it’s a no-brainer for me. Very grateful to have him heavily involved on this next LP as well.

Image taken from The Hundreds https://thehundreds.com/blogs/content/ivan-ave-helping-hands

Well, I guess I speak for everyone when I say keep these collaborations coming! Finally, where do you see yourself in the next five years?
In the woods somewhere, kicking back with a beer.

Ave recently released his latest single Fast Forward from his upcoming album Every Eye, which is set to drop on 29th September on Jakarta Records. Check it out below.

Connect with Ivan Ave:

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Main image taken by Håkon Gleditch @hakongle
Written on: Wednesday 26th July 2017