While lush and lovely arrangements of YOU COULD BE A COP‘s self-titled album continue to blossom after maturing four years since its release, we’re about to get some more passionate tunes from Norwegian emo band. Four of their physically unreleased singles will be release on their upcoming split LP with Daniel from Wishes on a Plane / Time As A Color label, who will be contributing his four songs of acoustic emo as AMID THE OLD WOUNDS. The record will be out on August 27th via Friend Club Records (US), strictly no capital letters (UK), Motorpool Records (Japan), Slow Down Records (Norway), ADAGIO830 / BIS AUFS MESSER Recordstore (Germany), and Time As A Color (Germany), and today we’re giving a closer look through our interview with YOU COULD BE A COP.
YOU COULD BE A COP provide almost 20 minutes of dreamy, heart on your sleeve, nostalgic indie-emopop with postrock-bits not unlike Rainer Maria or Jejune, while AMID THE OLD WOUNDS offers up 4 songs at roughly 12 minutes, 3 of which have been written almost 18 years ago but mostly left unnoticed (although one of them has originally been performed by wishes on a plane), the fourth being a cover version of no use for a name’s ‘let it slide’. Musically you can again expect living room athmosphere recordings of an acoustic guitar and a voice, heavily influenced by early 2000’s emo heroes like The Get Up Kids, The New Amsterdams, or Bright Eyes.
Records have RPM speed numbers handstamped onto the center labels (33 for YOU COULD BE A COP, 45 for AMID THE OLD WOUNDS) and come in a beautifully designed cut-and-paste-collage-style gatefold cover, featuring artwork from Chaz Hewitt, known for his works for Human Hands, among others.
Hey there guys! It’s been 4 years since the release of your debut s/t record. How do you look back on your early days? Please take us back to when you started this project.
When it started we didn’t have any plans of being a band or releasing anything. Morten had been watching YouTube guitar tutorial videos trying to learn to play guitar, but failed miserably. His dream of being a guitarist seemed stranded already before he could strike three clean chords. But while just pulling some strings and with random “self made” chords that just sounded nice, we suddenly found ourselves having a song one evening. We recorded the drums and Marius had taught himself to play bass through Rocksmith on Playstation. We have equipment and a simple recording studio in the basement at our parents house, so during the next few months we had four instrumentals done. But we didn’t have a vocalist. Morten had done some halfbad shouting in previous bands, but this time around we really wanted something different for these jangly new slowcorish 90s emotunes.
How did you team up with Natalie Evans?
Mortens old band, Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson once shared stage with her in London. But actually the band went for pizza while she played, not knowing she is a fantastic guitarist, vocalist and songwriter. Through common friends Morten listened to Natalies work not long after that, and instantly regretted not catching the show in London. While listening he just randomly connected the dots; Natalie would be perfect for the twinkly songs we had recorded. After some quick messages and emails with the tracks, Natalie joined.
Why did you decide not to collaborate more and take over vocal duties on newer songs?
When Natalie had to use her time on her solo project we tried to get in touch with different female vocalists, but it was hard finding someone that was both into the music and suitable. After a while we just got tired of looking and recorded vocals ourselves for new tracks that we made. On Still the Same we got our friend Anders from Rest of my Life to help us out with some vocals, and on Burning Skyline we got Tonje from Avind to do dual vocals. We also recorded one instrumental track that has no vocals. If we are going to make any more songs, we are still on the outlook for a vocalist!
Ok, so getting back to your local environment, I’ve been to Trondheim a couple of Times between 2006 and 2009 and really enjoyed it. Tell us a bit more about the city, its cultural scene, your personal story and backgrounds that gravitated you towards alternative music.
Trondheim is the third biggest city in Norway, but still pretty small with around 200 000 citizens. Culturally it is known for its big church, Nidarosdomen, and it was founded 1000 years ago by a viking king. A lot of metal and rock bands started up here – I guess Motorpsycho is the biggest most known out there. We grew up in the suburbs, kind of away from any scene, playing marbles, biking, skating and cross country skiing. Around highschool we found skatepunk with bands like Millencolin, Bad Religion, Face to Face and all those. Not long after we moved on to other hardcore and emo-acts from the mid90s. I guess almost no one listened to that at the time in the city. Oslo, the capital, had a more vital scene, so we used to go there for shows with bands like Hot Water Music, Elliott, Yaphet kotto etc.
With all the (post) Covid pandemic craziness, how’s it goin in terms of local networking, and new artists activity?
We don’t play shows with You Could be A Cop so we are pretty unaffected by all that, but Mortens other band Onsloow has cancelled like 6 gigs. They used the last year to finish their debut album. Covid hasn’t hit so hard in Norway, but the closing of all venues is still a big problem. They still have a hard time getting back to normal due to lack of workers, money and the unstable situation of closing and opening and restrictions from the government.
Apart from the music community, how does the post Covid Norwegian economy and everyday reality look like?
Pretty good compared to others, I guess. We live far up north and have a very spread population, so the virus doesn’t have the best working conditions in the first place. The health care system is strong as well – actually less people than normal have died here the last year. But here as other places the financial support has hit very unfair. The rich and biggest companies got the most of it, and part time workers, kids and youth, sick and poor people and students have been stuck with the bill. But it seems like all this will work out fine in the end – just as long as we find our way back to some kind of normality.
Alright, so here you are, on the verge of the release of your new split record. Please give us some details about your cooperation with Time As A Color label.
Daniel and TAAC was one of the ten labels releasing our EP. There is a community around punk/HC/emo that is strong – not the biggest scene these days, but there are some oldies still keeping it up. Daniel was looking for someone to split with and luckily we had made a bunch of singles over the past two years that hadn’t got any physical release yet. We are grateful for getting the opportunity and these songs will never have made it to vinyl if it hadn’t been for Daniel. He has a big heart for doing what he does and that is pretty much all that we ask for.
Your debut EP was distributed by a variety of great DIY labels. How do you see this promotional model working for independent artists in more digitized times? Will you be expanding distribution for the new release with more labels, as well?
That model is perfect for us. Because each label is not that big and can’t sell 500 records alone – but together we are stronger. And that is what is so intriguing about this scene today. It is more about the art than the money and everyone is really helpful. It would be impossible to do this on our own and we don’t exactly play the kind of music that any “professional” labels would put their money on.
Ok, so lastly, are there some other projects of your own that you’d like to promote here?
We have a project that is called Nomos Amata with a guitarist from Japan. We get some tracks from him now and then and we just play around on top of that whenever we have the time. Check out a few singles on Spotify and Bandcamp. Guess there will be some more tunes coming there as well. Morten plays in Onsloow, a indie rock-band fronted by another female singer. Their album is coming in October, but the first two singles are already up for streaming! Morten also releases piano works under his own name, Morten Samdal, and indietronica under the artist name Morfar. He also drums for the postock-band Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson.
Marius: due to not being able to go to my work under corona lockdown i started a record label which i named after a boilermaker song, Slow Down Records in 2020 where i put out tapes, vinyl, cds and digital. check out my bandcamp. I’m releasing Nomos Amata LP in 2022. my final words would be thank you so much to Daniel for spending so much of his time and efforts doing this release.