Your debut album ‘Wonderfault’ is out – what was the process of writing the album like?
When we started the band, we only released singles and we were told by some booking agents around Norway that they didn’t want to book us because we only had singles, we didn’t have an album. So we started working on the album with brand new singles, there’s only 2 of our previous singles on ‘Wonderfault’. We started working on it in January 2017 and we’d finished it by May, so then we just had to wait. It was postponed or delayed 2 or 3 times, so it was kinda frustrating. But recording the album and making the songs went really fast. We had a whole album in single format already, so I was a bit scared because we had to write like 8 new songs. But it went a lot faster than I originally expected.
One of the singles from the record, ’Told’, seems to have come from a lot of frustration over being told what to do by lots of different people in your life – is that the case?
‘Told’ is the first song I wrote for the Great News project actually. I’ve never been 100% sure of what to do, because you always have these people around you saying ‘Be realistic’. I’m not good with expectations. I see a lot of people not following up the dreams that they have and choosing the ‘safe’ option and it’s like, ‘C’mon, live on the edge!’.
I love the silk dressing gown that you’re wearing in the video for ‘Told’ – have you decided to invest in one of those to wear everyday? Or was it just a one-off for the video?
I’m more of a bath robe kind of guy… I need a bit of warmth. That silk one definitely isn’t warm enough for me.
You’re signed to the Norwegian independent label Eget Selskap – what have they been like to work with? Have you experienced working with a major label before?
No, we went with the first and the best thing we got! When I showed the songs to the guy who works for Eget Selskap, who’s one of my best friends, I didn’t really plan for any of it to be released. But he just flipped and wanted to release it. Previously they’ve only released bands that sing in Norwegian, so we were the first English-speaking band on the label with ambitions to go abroad. We’re looking for major labels outside of Norway at the moment though. I don’t think it could’ve happened with our first album because it was already done and mastered, so no major labels wanted to touch it. Most of them have something to say when you’re making an album, they want to shape it. We’re going to get people on board for the creation of our second album, before the mixing & mastering process. I’m hoping to let people stick their nose in a bit more.
You’ve previously spoken about how things can be quite grey and drab in Bergen because of the weather – is that why you’ve made the cover artwork so colourful and bold?
I made the cover art myself actually, because I went to art school for two years. I took a photo of a tote bag with some leaves on it and I started working on it on Photoshop. People have always have said that we make quite summery music, so maybe it was a subconscious thing…
Despite it being so drab, I’d really love to visit Bergen one day – what are some of the places I should check out when I go there?
You should check out a place where I worked for a few years called Café Legal. It’s the greatest bar in Bergen, it’s where all the musicians hang out. It’s a wonderful, cosy little place. It’s like being at a Home Alone party actually! If you’re gonna go out and eat, I’d say go to Lysverket.
What are the differences between the scene/vibe in Bergen compared to Oslo (or other cities in Norway)?
From my perspective, Bergen is very small, it’s not as big as Oslo. It rains a lot in Bergen, so we don’t have much else to do other than sit inside! Or we hang out in bars, which means we get to each other really well. People in Oslo are probably gonna dislike me for saying this, but socially, it’s a bit colder in Oslo. It’s a bit more competitive and it’s not as easy to get to know other musicians, you have to have a reason to go and speak to someone. You can’t just go up to someone and say “I’m really a fan of what you’re doing”, they’d just react like “Who’s this weirdo?”. People hang out more in cliques over here. In Bergen, if you make music, you’re part of the gang. It doesn’t matter what genre of music you make, we just wanna have a good time. I work with hip-hop artists, indie artists, rock artists… It’s a real mix.
If sunshine gives you more energy and positivity, you must be looking forward to summer festivals right? You’re playing Vida in Barcelona and Øya in Oslo – how excited are you for those shows? Who knows what the sunshine will do? Perhaps we’ll see some interpretive dance moves…
My body is screaming for more vitamins! It’s the best anti-depressant there is.
You’re playing The Great Escape Festival next month – will it be your first UK festival? Have you ever been to Brighton?
Yeah, I’m a bit nervous, I’ve heard so much about it. People in Norway say it’s something you just have to do. We’re really looking forward to it though.
There’s so much great music coming out of Norway at the moment, it can be hard to keep track of it all, who should I be keeping an eye on?
One of my favourites at the moment are a hip-hop group called Soft Core United, they’re friends of mine who are making UK grime-style hip-hop with some jazzy chords. They’re really good live. Sassy009 are really nice girls, they make clubby, electronic music. Young Dreams are amazing too, Matias [Tellez] is one of the best producers in Bergen and he’s done such a good job with their second album, it’s crazy. You’ve got to listen to their second album ‘Waves To You’, their first album is good too but the second album is great. And there’s Chain Wallet, they sound like they could be on the label Captured Tracks, they sound really indie. It’s produced by the same guy from Young Dreams, you can recognise the same drum sounds in their music.
‘Wonderfault’, the debut album from Great News, is out now via Eget Selskap.