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Inner Castle

Inner Castle is the project of Norwegian songwriter Morten E. (with friends). His music combine inspirations from 80/90´s pop/rock, jazz, English/Norwegian folk, classical music - and a hint of Phantom of the Opera on top.

Morten started out as a rather promising violinist from age 4 to 16. Growing up he had the fortune of being part of a very active classical music scene in his hometown, Trondheim. In his teens (in the late 80´s) he joined a rock band and switched instrument to piano/keys. During his years in musical high school, he also discovered a new love in jazz. His most important musical influences through the years have been Sting, Paal Waaktar (A-ha), Tom Petty, Leonard Cohen and jazz guitarist Pat Metheny.

The first 20 years of Morten´s life was very much about music, and he used to think music was what he would be doing in life. But after graduation Morten felt like he was done with music and left it all behind. He went into the military, studied biology/psychology at the University, then worked as a music teacher for a few years before he started his own company. Wife, kids... Long story short, 20 years flew by.

All these years the grand piano was always waiting in the basement, and Morten still played from time to time. Now and then he would write a song or two, but nothing really serious. He had composed music from the age of 7, and creating his own music was always a natural thing for him to do.

"I was quite skillful playing the violin, but I was never really that good at playing the piano. I was self-taught and not fluent in reading sheet music. Since I could not read sheet music very well, I preferred to make my own music instead. When I sit down by the piano, I just play what my fingers wants to play - I make it up as I go. 99 out of 100 times it does not lead anywhere, and I just enjoy playing whatever runs through me. But once in a while I stumble into a chord progression that speaks to me, and then I follow it down the rabbit hole to see where it goes. Next thing I start to hear a melody and soon enough certain words will appear. An hour later, it´s like I wake up by the piano, and I see this new song in front of me. The words, melody and chords are all there, and the emotion is carved into the song. Writing songs is mostly an intuitive process for me. I am a very rational, analytical person in general, but in music I prefer to just let go of all that. I guess it gives me some sort of balance in life."

It was never Morten´s intention to share any of his music outside of the house. But in recent years he found himself spending gradually more time with music. His wife took up singing and often joined him by the piano. They also wrote a few songs together that turned out to be the start of something more. And then early 2017 something shifted...

"For more than 20 years I thought I was done with music. But unconsciously I must have had some seriously unfinished business, because suddenly all these new songs started coming to me like an avalanche. I used to finish one or two songs a year at best. Now I wrote a new song every week. It was like I could not stop these songs from coming even if I had tried. Soon I had a nice collection of new songs."

In the middle of this steady stream of new songs, Morten stumbled into a brilliant jazz pianist and producer living in New York. Morten sent over a few of his songs, just to see what was possible to do with them. These new arrangements took the songs to another level and now there was no going back. A complete album started to appear - a very unlikely idea just a few months ago.

"This album may be 20 years late, but I simply did not have these songs in me before. I may have been a better musician before, but I am a better songwriter today. I guess I had to let life have it´s way with me before I could finally write these songs."

The songs on this album project are produced by New York producer Condemusic and Morten himself. Musicians from several countries (USA, Canada, England, Spain, France, Bulgaria and Sweden) have contributed to the album. Cecilie Køste (Morten´s wife) and Lena Voyles (good friend from Phoenix, USA) have participated in the songwriting process. The album is released on Morten´s own independent label, Inner Castle Music.

"My idea was always to write songs for other artists, but the songs on this album were too personal to let go off."