In the twinkling world of Midwest–emo, 2022 brought us one of the most intriguing discoveries from the far northern reaches of Norway. A trio known as Probleman, hailing from Trondheim, has managed to carve a unique space for themselves in a genre typically associated with the latter half of the 90s.
Their latest release, “Skal vi stupe,” is a shining example of their innovative take on emo-punk. Uniquely, Probleman’s frontman, Mathias Østrem, crafts his songs in the distinct Helgeland dialect spoken in the rural Arctic Circle villages of Northern Norway, an area traditionally underrepresented in this genre of music.
In many ways, Probleman can be described as an anomaly or an outcast, standing alone in the periphery of Norwegian Rock. Yet their music echoes with a universality that transcends geographical boundaries, appealing to the introspective nostalgia that resides within us all.
Their newest single “Skal vi stupe” follows their recent successful single “Byer Her (feat. Kapteinen)”, further cementing Probleman as an exciting force in the emo-punk landscape in Europe.
“Skal vi stupe” is Norwegian and it translates to “Shall we dive” or “Should we dive” in English. This phrase can be taken literally, as in preparing to dive into water, or metaphorically, suggesting a readiness to dive into a new experience, challenge, or adventure.
Probleman carries a distinctive aura around their music, which they define as “self-geographical.” Inspired by author Karl Ove Knausgård’s notion, frontman Mathias Østrem fuses real-life elements with fictional elements in their songwriting, creating an emotive canvas reflecting their personal geography. The band’s music, while grounded in authentic places and experiences, contains an imaginative dimension, making it more than just self-biographical.
Comprising Mathias Østrem, Ludvig Rølvåg, and Morten Samdal, Probleman brings together diverse musical backgrounds, including reggae, hip hop, trip hop, electronics, and post rock. However, their focus remains on crafting good songs rather than eclectic tunes. Their unique sound originated from a series of demos developed by Østrem and Rølvåg, which later found a perfect rhythmic backbone with drummer Morten Samdal.
Their creative space is a studio collective nestled at the docks in Ila, a place that houses the band’s entire creative process from rehearsal to production. This intimate space allows the band members to apply their varied skills and knowledge directly to their work, contributing to a wholly DIY approach to their music.
Mark my words, Probleman is poised to make an indelible mark in the global emo-punk landscape.