How many songs do you write in a week? Do
you always write songs together with the artists
or also separately?
Stargate's Rustan Hallgeir: We’re a team of 3 people and
currently we write about 2-3 songs a week, but
have done as many as 9 songs in a week. We
regularly co-write with approximately 10 people.
I am currently in Norway, and Mikkel and Tor
Eric are in New York. We work on a lot of
projects together, but because of the distance
they work directly with artists in the US.
Currently, I can’t get involved as much as I
would like, since I made a choice to stay in
Norway, because I didn’t want to leave my family
What are some of the biggest mistakes
you see songwriters make?
Stargate's Rustan Hallgeir: The biggest mistake
new songwriters can make is to spend too much
time on the production.
It’s better to have a
lot of ideas and then look at what might work
before delving deeper into the production.
always write a lot of songs – some good, some
not so good at all. We only finish off the good
songs. It’s easier to get high-quality songs
How do you go about improving your
songwriting? Do you listen to some other big
producers in industry?
Stargate's Rustan Hallgeir: We do that all the time.
We constantly listen to other producers, new
artists and try to learn from them. Sometimes we
try to replicate new sounds or sections to see
how they do it.
In the end, of course, what we
create will sound very different. But it is a
good way to learn and experiment with fresh
When did you first start pitching your
Stargate's Rustan Hallgeir: Actually, it’s funny you should ask,
because ever since I was 8 years of age I
started to compose music. My sister and I tried
to pitch music to a Norwegian Television
festival. The music was awful – not good at all!
Nowadays, however, once we know about the latest
project opportunities, we like to pitch music
through our management.
For me, the key to
success is a good manager. He will pitch our
music to a specific artist, manager or A&R.
the end, how many songs usually get cut?
Stargate's Rustan Hallgeir: If
pitching for outside projects, the number of
songs that make it to the album is about 1 in
Important is to stay focused, work hard and
be in the studio to improve your skills all the
time so that you can provide the best music out
Since you’ve produced music for so many top
artists, have you considered developing your own
Stargate's Rustan Hallgeir:
Actually, we have tried, but without
success. We launched a project called “Stargate”
(no less!) for the UK market.
The problem we had
was that the music we composed was too similar
to the music we produced for other artists. At
the time we were working with “Blue” and it was
basically a conflict of interest.
Let’s just say
Blue’s record label Innocent was not thrilled by
the idea and we had to focus on Blue instead.
Finally, what are some of your favorite projects
you’ve been involved with?
Stargate's Rustan Hallgeir:
There are a lot of
projects and it’s hard to choose one, but I
particularly enjoyed working with Elton John as
well as the Pet Shop Boys.
We all had such
respect for each other that it was certainly a