Bent Ivar Depui Tversland can trace his lineage back to the royal courts of France where a presumed ancestor named Depui served as court jester. As the tale goes, eventually the king’s fool was banished from not only the court, but the entire country due to certain improprieties. And while Bent may be carrying on his namesake as a consummate entertainer, the difference is this Depui is no fool.

As far back as he can remember, Bent was always drawn to music and as a child his environment was one that was always musically rich. It was as if music was always in the cards for fledgling artist. “I think I knew I wanted to be an artist from the day I first laid hands on my father’s guitar. I think I was five-years old or so,” he said. “I was constantly listening to his LP collection as well, the likes of Slade, Guns and Roses and Doctor Hook records over and over. Also, my father had a shop right next to a [music] distributor and he would bring me over a new cassette each week.”

Based out of the small Norwegian town of Rena, Depui draws inspiration for his often-melancholy songs from the small quaintness of his surroundings. He typically plays five shows a month in Norway but his breadth extends to bigger cities in England, Ireland and Denmark. Though he is the first to admit his home in Rena is more fit to his particular demeanor. “I’m not fond of living in big cities as I find life there is too impersonal and stiff,” Bent said. “Here [in Rena] I have a quiet society where I can be myself and relax.”

While Bent may prefer the solitude of small town living, thematically his songs are testament that he has his finger on the pulse of the larger world around him. “The news inspires me to write a good bit. Watching the headlines and giving them life is one way I have written in the past,” he said. “Or sometimes I write about things that need a push forward. Egypt is in a very sad situation right now. And my past experience having gone there inspired me to write about it. The song is called “Closed Doors” and will be on my debut album.”

Fans will have to wait until this summer to hear the full debut, but in 2010 Depui released Start Healing, a three-track EP that foreshadows the coming debut and showcases the young artist’s versatility for songwriting.

“All three songs from the EP were written in three different countries. My idea was to have a different style on each song,” Bent said. “The first tune ‘Here We Go’ was written in Abby Road while I was sitting on a bench. It’s a song about a homeless man who was arrested for drinking in public. ‘On the Edge’ was a dedication to a three-week tour of Norway with another music friend of mine. On the last day of the trip we decided to record a demo that we could use as a memory of the tour. ‘Start Healing’ was written on the Phi Phi Island in Thailand three years ago… I was inspired by the citizens of that island.”

Musically the tracks ebb and flow from demure acoustic to pop, indie rock. “On the Edge” is Bent channeling Thom Yorke over a guitar-driven backing. The heavy chords give way to intricate finger picking and a harmonized duet chorus. “Start Healing” is laden with blues-inspired guitar work and quirky, intermittent horn accompaniment. The vocal delivery is Bent’s gruff growl a la Tom Waits in a clear homage to one of his favorite artists. “I Wish, Once to be a King” is perhaps the most emotionally moving song on the upcoming debut. Muted acoustic and Bent’s emotive lyrics open the track before giving way to a backing melody reminiscent of Parachutes-era Coldplay.

Bent is currently recording in Oslo and touring Norway before jaunts to China and India. The debut is scheduled for release this August.

by Chris West –

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