Fresh off their recent fourth album premiere, Oslo based noisy metal/hardcore expirementalists GRINDING FORTUNE have teamed up with IDIOTEQ to talk about the band’s story, their approach to making music and plans for the future. Seamlessly bringing together a tasteful sense of melody and sonic savagery, ‘Itch Relief’ pushed the band forward and presented a beautiful vision of modern blend of chaotic metal and hardcore. Below, you’ll find a stream of one of the recordings worth gravitating to this year and the full interview with the band behind it. Enjoy!
Hey there guys! How are you? Have you already melted out of the snow up there in Norway? :) Where are you now and how’s it going?
Daniel: Hi! We`re good, currently enjoying the summer here in Oslo, Norway. The snow is gone for now, but it will definitely be back in a few months. We just released our new album “Itch Relief”, which has gotten a lot of positive feedback, both in the form of reviews, online sales and streaming numbers!
Oh yeah, I bet it has! But before dive into it, let’s start off with some information on your background. What do you consider your first real exposure to music to be and how did you get involved in making music?
Daniel: My first exposure to music came very early. Both my parents listened to a lot of different kinds of music, so I have been exposed to music for as long as I can remember. I guess THE ROLLING STONES was the first band I became a fan of early on, when I was 6 years old or so. I starting buying CDs a couple of years later, and from there I really started to develop my own taste.
My father used to play guitar when I was a kid, so I guess that`s why I eventually picked it up myself. I was never really interested in learning other people`s songs, so I started trying to write my own almost right away. My first attempts were horrible, like you would expect! It wasn`t until I started playing with Thomas (drummer, GRINDING FORTUNE) that I was able to write something even remotely close to a decent song. That was around 2004-2005.
Apart from GRINDING FORTUNE, what other projects have you been in? Also, what was the local music scene like when you were younger? How would you comment on its evolution?
Daniel: Thomas and I played in a band together from 2004-2010 called FIRST VIOLATION. That was my first “serious” band-project. In the beginning our sound was very inspired by bands like ALICE IN CHAINS, DEFTONES and TOOL. As we started getting into harder and weirder music, our sound gradually became more extreme and varied. We recorded an album in 2009 that we never released, because we decided to break up the band instead. Outside of that I have played in a few short-lived projects. Among other things, I played drums in the stoner/sludge-band BYE THE SUNN where Henning (bass, GRINDING FORTUNE) played guitar.
I grew up in Oslo, where the music scene has been thriving for a long time. Today, the local scene is bigger than ever, more shows, more bands/artists and more people interested! Also, there are more local acts that tour internationally now, so that`s a good thing! The internet has made the world a much smaller place!
Oh yeah, I’ve just shared this news about the new offering from PROBLEMS – and once again, I’m totally stoked! It’s literally impossible to miss out on plethora of amazing artists coming from the city.
Alright, so back to your band, what led to the formation of GRINDING FORTUNE?
After FIRST VIOLATION broke up, I was involved in a few different projects. At the time, I felt like I wanted to do something harder, rawer than what I had been doing so far. I started GRINDING FORTUNE as a solo-project for my more aggressive and primitive ideas. I recorded a few demoes where I played all the instruments myself, but quickly realized that I wanted to turn GRINDING FORTUNE into a band!
Is there any sort of code or ideals that you operate under? What are some of the main ideas and goals for the band?
Well, we don`t really operate under a specific code or a certain set of ideals. If all three of us agree that a song feels like a GRINDING FORTUNE-song, that`s basically it. That being said, there is an unspoken standard that all our songs has to meet. If one of us feels like a song or idea doesn`t meet that standard, we either change the song or throw it in the bin. The bar gets higher as we progress as songwriters and as people in general.
The main goal for GRINDING FORTUNE has always been to create music from the heart. That might sound cheesy, but it`s the truth. Of course we want that music to be heard by as many people as possible, but the main goal is to keep creating honest music until the end!
Ok, so, you’re fresh off the first chapter of a new era defined by your latest acclaimed record “Itch Relief”. Was it a relief to finally release it? Tell us a bit about the road to this record and your evolution path to this quality album.
Yes, this is definitely the first chapter of a new era. It was a huge relief to finally release a new record, 3 years after the last one! The process leading up to “Itch Relief” was quite a struggle, so that makes it even more rewarding to have it out!
After Henning (bass player) joined in 2013, we had to rethink our sound a little bit. Our first 3 releases were written and performed as a guitar/drum duo, so that meant I had to find ways to add bass to my guitar sound. When we decided to get a bass player, I struggled to come up with song ideas that had room for the bass. This might sound weird, but I was kind of stuck in my ways for a little while there.
Eventually we started writing new material in 2014, but something was still not right. For some reason the songs we were working on just didn`t have the energy that defines GRINDING FORTUNE. After writing an albums worth of new material, we finally decided to scrap all of it. Around that time, tensions were rising, and the band almost broke up. We just didn`t know were to go from there. It felt like some kind of creative void.
So in the spring of 2015, we decided to give it another try. I started recording a bunch of ideas at home, a lot of them based around guitar-improvisations, These new ideas had a harder edge than the previously scrapped material, and went over a lot better with the rest of the band. So from there we wrote and arranged the songs that ended up on “Itch Relief”!
The record serves an amazing example of creative mixture of so many styles, subgenres and ideas. What’s the songwriting process for the band like? Also, what was recording like for “Itch Relief”?
Thanks for the kind words! The songwriting process for this album was different than for previous albums. Back when we were a two-piece, we used to jam out the songs at rehearsals. It would usually start with a riff or a drumbeat, then we would go from there. For “Itch Relief”, we took a different approach. I wrote most of the basic songs ideas at home, then brought them to the other guys to flesh out. Usually I would have ideas for all the instruments, but I always let the other members add their own flavour to the songs. Sometimes the final song would be very close my original idea, other times vastly different.
The recording process was also different than before. Our previous album were all recorded live in the studio, with vocals and guitar-dubs added later. For this one we recorded all the instruments separately. It took more time, but it was worth it! We just felt like this new material required more attention to detail, so that`s why we took a different approach. However, the album was recorded and mixed at Tuft Studio by Jørn-Arild Grefsrud, the same guy we have worked with on all our previous projects. He played a huge part in making the album sound as good as it does!
What kind of equipment was used to record it? Any special gear that helped you to craft these tracks?
We used our regular backline to record the album. Exactly what mics were used to record each instrument I`m not sure of, that is Jørn-Arild Grefsruds lane! I would say that my Verellen Skyhammer amp really was vital to the guitar-sound on the record. If you like custom-built high gain guitar amps with fantastic eq-options, go to verellenamplifiers.com.
Cool! Are there any upcoming shows of GRINDING FORTUNE that we should look out for? What are your plans for the coming months? And are there any major plans or goals that you are looking to accomplish in 2016/2017?
We are going to play a few shows in different Norwegian cities in the coming months. As for shows outside of Norway, that will probably not happen until 2017. We are also writing new material for a new release that will see the light of day sometime in 2017. We don`t know if it will be an ep, an album or a split-release with another band, it depends on how much material fits in the same context.
Our overall goal for 2016/2017 is to be more active than we have in the past!
Ok guys, thanks a lot for your thoughts! Wrapping it up, tell us what’s the best place for our interested readers to pick up copies of your work and feel free to add your final words. It’s been a pleasure. Thanks!
Thank you for the interview!
If you want to pick up physical copies of our work, you can either order from our Bandcamp site, or from our label’s webshop There are a lot of other cool releases available from the Negative Vibe webshop as well, so be sure to check that out!
Thanks for the support!