Finally! We managed to ask some questions to one of favorite punk bands ever, Norway’s DIY band DEATH IS NOT GLAMOROUS. If you’re not familiar with this pack, then you really need to catch up! Believe me. True and honest sound, Positive Mental Attitude and always keeping true to the genre. What can be better? :)
Christian (vocals) sat down with us and revealed some details about their split with SHOOK ONES (!), their future plans, cool Norwegian bands, European Union ;) and other fun stuff. A cool chit-chat, definitely worth checking out.
Hey! Great to have one of my favorite bands here [smiles]. Thanks for taking this interview, guys.
Hello [smiles].. that’s not really a question. Hi. How are you?
I’m extra stoked to finally have you here [smiles]. That’s basically what’s up here [smiles].
To begin with “what’s hot”, I’d like to start with some fresh news and ask you about your upcoming 7’’ split with SHOOK ONES. Tell us more about it. What’s the release date?
It’s something that we had talked about a few times with them, but never really did anything about – so it’s been a long time coming, but then again, we are busy dudes and things seem to happen kind of sporadically for us (and them, it seems), so it’s not like we’ve had a concrete plan to do it for forever or anything. We just finished recording it today actually! I think we’re all pretty happy with how the songs turned out – there will be two from us and two from those dudes (and I can tell you already that their songs are great) – it will be released on Run For Cover Records in the USA and on Struggletown Records from Scotland in Europe and the UK.. we’re not really sure when, but either right before or right after new year’s.
Awesome! Will you be touring in support of this EP? Please tell me you’re taking SHOOK ONES for a European trek to promote it [smiles].
[smiles] We wish. You’d have to ask those dudes about that – I think they are just as busy as us, and probably a lot more spread out over the great United States, so I don’t know that they are gonna be going on tour in Europe anytime soon. Neither will we really, since I am gonna move to Hawaii for 6 months at the start of this year. We are talking about touring a bit next summer though, and I really hope that works out. Would be great to see our friends in SHOOK ONES again, we’ll see.
That’s awesome. What will you be doing in Hawaii?
I will be conducting research for my Master’s degree in Anthropology / Environmental Conservation. The topic is marine wildlife and coral reef conservation, so I think I’m gonna be in the water a lot. Which I am excited about. Also, volcanoes.
Oh you lucky bastard! Sounds like lots of fun. Say hello to volcanoes! I’ll try to greet fjords next year again and finally introduce them to my wife [laughs].
About the distribution thing and the labels you tapped for it, are there any other channels which you’ll be using to spread it? What about Cobra Records?
There’s this really cool internet web program called Napster where you can download music illegally – it will no doubt be freely available there. [laughs] I don’t know, I’m sure it will be distributed here and there. Cobra Records rules, but I think that Struggletown and RFC will do a great job of getting it around!
What did you write about this time?
We recorded 4 songs for this split and we’re not entirely sure yet which will be on the split and which will gather dust on our hard drives or get put out on some weird obscure noise tape compilation or something. In order of recording, they are about: Oslo, my friend Felipe, gratitude for the everyday encouragement of friends and people who are nice to us on tour and in life in general, and not letting a really bad day ruin your life.
Your last proper release was “Spring Forward”. How was the feedback after the outing? Are you repressing already? [smiles]
The feedback has been cool, I think people were into the 12″ and that’s nice. Personally and as a band, I think we were also pretty happy with what we made, which is even cooler. I recently listened to Spring Forward and then a handful of older songs and I can safely say that most of my favorite DEATH IS NOT GLAMOROUS songs are on that latest release.
I recently found an opinion that since you are based in Norway, the rest of the world has barely heard of you [smiles]. What’s the recognition of DING abroad? How do you see it while touring?
I don’t know if it’s because we are from Norway or just because we don’t tour that much outside of Europe and don’t really care to advertise ourselves or play bigger shows. I mean, we all have other things going on in our lives and this has always just been a band we started and have played in for fun, an outlet, you know? That said, I am always surprised that someone on the other side of the world has listened to us or wants to see us play in their city. Pretty cool.
[smiles] By the way, when are you planning to hit the U.S. once again?
No idea. It would be great, but we don’t have all the time in the world on our hands. Dudes have jobs, school, families, other bands, etc – maybe if we put out another record we could tour on that in the US, but only time will tell.
You have pulled out of Hevy Festival last year as you did not agree with the festival taking place at the Port Lympne Wild Animal Park. Were there any echoes, has anyone turned on you after that decision?
That seems like such a long time ago now! I think there were a couple people who were bummed that we weren’t gonna play there, but when I say a couple, I mean a couple – I like to think that people that listen to our music also share our values or at least can appreciate why we don’t want to play some shitty sponsored rock festival in a glorified zoo. I’m very happy we didn’t play there (and instead did a show in a tiny club for a handful of nice people in Brighton).
I think that either someone in one of those bands approached us or the agency booking their tour to ask if we would come with them, and it was kind of a spur of the moment decision – either we weren’t gonna go on tour, or we were gonna go on tour with them. To be honest, I hadn’t heard much of either band before the tour, but we had a great time. Met a lot of nice people and got to play for a lot of kids who maybe otherwise wouldn’t have heard of us. It was a nice opportunity to bring up issues that we think are important during sets, even though I’m sure most people were more siked to see TOUCHE AMORE and LA DISPUTE. Which is cool, they are good bands and really nice people.
How would you compare the U.S. touring with European hardcore kids and shows?
This is hard question to answer, because it was forever ago since we toured the US, and also because although we went on tour with a couple really cool bands, the tour was booked in a way that we probably would not have done ourselves, had we done it (learned a lesson there), and thus we really didn’t play many traditional hardcore shows. That said, we did get to play in a few living rooms / backyards (and a parking lot), and we had a fucking great time doing it. Still, I feel like Europe is more our turf, so to speak (even though I don’t really consider Scandinavia part of Europe – at least not Norway).
So what about your upcoming dates? You have one November date scheduled for the 4th day of the month, right? Tell us more about this gig and your other future touring plans.
That is the only show we have scheduled, and will probably be the only show we play until next summer, since I’m not gonna be around (unless the other dudes wanna play without me). It’s going to be fun, we are playing at a great venue (Endless Tinnitus, which is also where we recorded these new jams this weekend) with one of Norway’s best bands, MODERN LOVE, and probably my favorite band out of Spain / Catalonia, ABSURDO!
Is there anything you wouldn’t do with your sound in the studio? [smiles]
Uh, probably not. We are pretty open to shit – most of us listen to a variety of different music, and it’s always fun to try new things. One of these new songs sounds more like something QUICKSAND could have recorded than what you would think of when you hear ‘DEATH IS NOT GLAMOROUS. Also, we used a phaser pedal more than expected we would. Bring it on.
Is everyone in the band apart from Mathias still straight edge? How long have you been one?
Yeah we are all still straight edge I think. Definitely a personal thing and not a thing that our band is ‘about’ though, so I am hereby striking this question from the interview. Is that ok? (seriously, can you take this one out? i think it’s cool to not talk about that kinda thing in interviews since it really has no bearing on our music or anything else apart from our own personal lives).
;) Sorry, Christian, I’m not taking it out [laughs].
You’re not a very active social media band [laughs]. “If you’re not taking advantage of social media – you’re not in business”, some might say [smiles]. Ok, no jokes, but there’s something about the whole thing. Aren’t you tempted to interact more with your people out there?
I interact with so many people through social media on my own that I don’t think I’d have time to fuck around with band stuff as well anyway. No, I don’t think we care too much about ‘business’. Our records exist, you can download our songs on the internet easily, we’re not really looking for anything more than that. That said, we love meeting and talking to people, so it’s not like we’re anti-social as a band, just anti-social media maybe? (not me! [laughs])
What’s hot in Oslo these days? Any amazing bands, zines or other undertakings you’d like to talk about?
Nothing, it’s fucking freezing here these days. Winter suddenly jumped us when we weren’t looking. There are some cool bands and zines though, yes! Check out URBANOIA (technically not from Oslo, but whatever) MODERN LOVE, UKKULTOKRATI, HAUST, WITS END, and KNUSTE RUTER for some cool jams. And Obliteration if you’re into death metal. My friend Marius does a really cool photo zine called Anomi, he’s about to release the second issue of it. Basically just photos of bands. Another friend, Håvard, does an excellent zine called Svart Samtid, but it’s in Norwegian, so you’d have to learn that to read it. It’s worth it though!
Tell us more about what’s going on in your other projects. What other bands are you currently in?
We all play in different bands – the scene in Oslo is pretty small, so it’s hard not to. Even plays in MODERN LOVE and with Emanuele (our original bassist – Mathias is the dude you probably all know, but Emanuele is the OG and still plays with us when we play in Oslo / record / practice / whatever) in an indie band called BOUVET. Espen plays in COMMON CAUSE and some other bands that have yet to put out anything, and Terje plays in a great emo band called WITS END. Check them out!
We’re reporting lots of different genres and styles here on Idioteq. Besides reporting about some of the bigger names, I’m supporting DIY local bands and spreading the word about their activities and art they make. The goal is to let people know about honest undertakings going on around the world and move them away from more mainstream music. There’s always a dilemma about it, but I believe there’s tons of inspirations out there and it’s so important not to have a tunnel vision. Besides hardcore punk, what genres are you into?
Personally, I can listen to most anything. This week I have been listening a lot to the new Jason Molina album, as well as a lot of death metal stuff. I think the whole band has a pretty varied taste in music, from obscure 90’s emo stuff to black metal and back.
Alright. Let’s forget the music [smiles]. I remember when you addressed the audience at Fluff Fest 2011 about Anders Behring Breivik’s shooting and bombing in Norway. Lots of people didn’t know what were you talking about, it happened while the bands were playing. Fast forward one year later, how do you feel about the verdict and the whole thing?
Do you remember that I said ‘Hey, it’s cool to be here, since someone is blowing up Oslo?’ [smiles], shit. The thing is that before the show, I had only heard that there had been an explosion in the city, and nothing about the shooting or just how many people were killed, let alone that it was all perpetrated by one nutcase. I think the whole thing affected the entire country, us included – Norway is a tiny country and something like that happening here is huge. Still, I think it probably made people more conscious of the racism and xenophobic attitudes that sometimes go unnoticed in the day-to-day here. Dude is crazy though, and I doubt that he will ever get out of jail alive. Fuck him.
What are you fed up with it in the world today?
The EU receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, and not being able to go swimming in the ocean.
[laughs] Seriously, what’s your opinion on that [smiles]?
We think it should have been shared with NATO. [laughs] Just kidding, obviously. Can’t even take that shit seriously.
Ok, so tell us what else is there that you do you in your lives? Is the education part over? [smiles] What will you be doing in 5 years from now ?
Well, I go to school and work two jobs, plus watch every horror movie that comes out ever. Espen goes to school and works as well, Terje recently scored a pretty straight job in the government and is happily married. Even rides bikes and works nights (and days, I just liked how that sort of rhymed), Emanuele has a job at the University and is generally a busy guy, and Mathias works at a bread factory or something Swedish that I have no idea about really. Great dude though.
Cool! Working class punks, straight up [smiles]. Thanks so much for your time! If you want to add any last words, feel free to do it.
No problem! Our split with SHOOK ONES will be out soon, look out for that. Feel free to tell us we need to play in your area. I have spent the day listening to a couple rough mixes of the new songs we recorded and I am siked. Have a nice day. Thank YOU.
Live shots by Janos Kummer.