While the son is experiencing international success, dad has built a world-class studio in the basement: You won’t find a better one in the north of Norway.
Translated by: Birgitte Fogtmann Dawson
Klemet Anders Buljo’s home-built basement studio isn’t for fun. Here he’s spent both time money and energy.
Behind every song made, lie hours of work. The song must be adjusted, mixed and infinitely perfected. Because while son Fred Buljo enjoys great success with the band KEiiNO, dad Klemet Anders Buljo is successful behind the mixing desk.
KRONSTADPOSTEN: He’s had many different artists and composers from many countries in the studio, but the biggest is probably his son’s band KEiiNO.
The band won the Norwegian final in Melodi Grand Prix (national selection for Eurovision /Red.) last year and was also the clear favorite with the voters at the Eurovision final later that year.
They are actually working on a new album, some of the songs from that are also from here, Buljo says.
One song has almost 100 million streams spread out on the streaming services and that is through the band KEiiNO. Some of the songs have been recorded here and more are on the way.
His whole life
The interest in music is something Buljo has had all his life. The interest he had as a child has become reality for him and his family.
I’ve been making music all my life. I’m 53 years old now and started playing music when I was 13. It developed rather naturally and with time it became my profession. I’m now both an educated musician and producer, so I also play music when I’m not producing, Buljo says.
– I was always interested in arranging music. I started studying in the 80s and I did very well in the subjects that involved arranging and composing. When I returned up North I thought it was exciting. I had requests from people asking if I could create things and that’s when I started. And I liked it. The ball started rolling from there. It just developed, he adds.
Quality comes at a cost
Klemet Anders Buljo started to realize that this was something for him and he became increasingly geared towards owning a proper studio. Good sound and music suddenly became his passion.
– We started properly in 2016, but we’ve always had some kind of studio. It just developed and you learn new things every day. That’s what drives musicians. You always want to create better music. Therefore it’s great that all is in place. It’s a disappointment coming to a studio with poor equipment, for instance in an inherited garage. It has to be done properly.
Buljo emphasizes that he’s very concerned about it being done properly and it shows. The studio is like no other ‘garage studio’, because Klemet has equipment many can only dream of.
– Most of it is specialized. It’s not something you can go down to the shop and buy to put it like that. The equipment makes sure that everything produced here is high class. You may find bigger studios in North Norway but I doubt you find anything better, Buljo says.
It’s safe to say that a good amount of money has been spent on this studio and Klemet knows that. But good sound costs money according to him.
– It’s much more expensive than people think. In cables alone, there’s perhaps for 100.000 kroner if not more. Everything else is additional. There’s probably for quite a lot of money here and most of it is specially made and that costs money. A lot of this equipment is so modern that it’s the future for a lot of people. I’ve gone over it with myself many times and thought about whether I need it, but it’s the future. You’ll need it even though it’s incredibly expensive, informs the producer.
The equipment is carefully thought out and makes everything that comes out of the studio world-class. There are many cables you don’t see in the stylish studio.
– It has to be of international standard. There are extremely many cables and electronics behind the walls, that you don’t see, which makes it high quality.
When you have a studio, it is not only the musical factors that are important. Often there a lot of people in the studio over a long period and then the environment is important.
– There must be daylight and enough air. Often we’re five to six people here working, so you need proper ventilation and light for instance. It’s something I’ve focused on a lot and it has to be done properly.
A lot of activity
Klemet Anders Buljo also tends to rent out the studio for other uses. Even though Klemet is Sami and a lot of the music he produces is Sami music, the studio can be used for all kinds of music. Amongst others, the well-known composer Henning Sommerro has used the studio and so have several pop artists from different places around the world.
He personally releases around 5 albums a year, where he’s listed as the producer. But the most well known is probably his son’s band KEiiNO.
– We have commercial success here. One song has almost 100 million streams spread out on the streaming services and that is through the band KEiiNO. All their songs have been recorded here and more are on the way. There are also others who rent the studio when it’s possible, so you can say things are happening here. I’ve recorded everything from a string quartet and Beatles-type songs to Sami and electronic music, Klemet says before he adds;
– The fact that KEiiNO is recording their album here isn’t just because I’m Fred’s father. It’s because it’s good, pure and simple. There is a very good collection of microphones, outboard, and everything is simply high class. Many have a studio with a lot of program software and sound libraries, but you often experience that what they have isn’t completely legal. Everything I have is licensed and there is a reason that professionals want the kind of studio I have. What I have can be used and if you get caught with unlicensed versions of things, you can lose everything you have. There are very strict rules when you’re doing this.
The accommodation allows the users to spend the night during recordings. Luckily he’s had professionals to do the carpentry. Photo: Krister Sandaker Tårn/Kronstadposten
Since he also rents out the studio, he has a strong focus on making it user-friendly.
– The whole system is designed so that no matter if a producer comes from England, USA or anywhere else, they should be able to sit down and start working. It’s not a specialized solution where you have to search for things. Everything is standardized.
With the quality that comes out, you might think it’s very expensive to rent, but he flatly denies that.
– Even though it looks expensive, the hourly rate isn’t expensive compared to other places. It’s cheaper than places where the standards are a lot poorer than this. It moves fast here and what comes out is professional. It sounds just as good as everything else you hear on the radio. You can have any type of studio, but it requires work to get the sound to be as good as here, he says proudly.
Even though it’s taking place in his basement, he doesn’t need to be involved in the production.
– No, I don’t need to be involved. That’s why everything here is laid out so that it can be used by everyone. It’s standardized and it’s called class A in international standard.
The entire family also helps out and that makes everything a bit easier. He has 3 children who works with music, from amateur level to professional. All his sons have been in the studio doing something, so it becomes a family thing within the big picture. They also have their own record label named Audioland Music, where wife Olga also is of great help.
– Olga is also involved. When you have such an operation as we do, you have to help each other. There’s a lot of administrative work since we also have our own record label.
Right now parts of the studio are being refurbished. There will be three recording rooms in the studio and Klemet Anders has got big plans. He wants to offer accommodation to artists using his studio.
– They should be able to live here. There will be many facilities such as a kitchen, a bathroom and a bedroom, and with a separate entrance to the accommodation. That’s the future plan and that’s why it’s rather messy here now.
It should have been finished in December but unfortunately, the contractor went bankrupt. We’ve got new carpenters in and they’ve started working again.
Can’t be measured in money
Now as he spends his working days in his own basement, he couldn’t be happier. It’s a freedom he enjoys.
– Of course I’ve considered renting a larger room, but there’s something about working where you live. I can just go down the basement and work and can go down in the evening or a Sunday morning when I feel like it. I avoid having to get in the car and drive half an hour.
– Do you feel it’s all worth it?
– Maybe it’s because I don’t know anything better. When you’re my age you have different interests. Others buy expensive scooters or boats and cars. I drive a Mazda SUV and I’m very happy with life. The family and this studio are all I need. I also play live music on the side and everything works.
– Money isn’t everything. When I go down the stairs and sit down here, that’s when I feel alive. You can’t measure this in kroner and ører, it’s quality of life for me. That’s why I wish more people can use it as well, because it’s so good, he adds.
And he’s very down to earth about his son’s success with Keiino. With sold out concerts every time, the band has become one of Norway’s most popular.
– I don’t really think about it very much. For the family it’s what we do. It’s probably the same for top sportspeople, it’s the result of something you’ve been working on for many years. It shows that we do something right and that’s great because it’s been a lot of work, Buljo smilingly concludes.