Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Interview with Oslo's "Riots"

Cover of their Newest LP

Norway is most (in)famous for being one of the main birthing grounds for the popular Black Metal scene. When you do a bit of research into Norway, you can see that there is a real conflict of culture there from the Pagan history to the Christian takeover. Norway, like many modern countries, is a place based in a bit of conflict. This sort of past makes room for a lot of different views, both positive and negative. Likewise, there is a huge wealth of music springing from the country along all genre definitions.

I am a proud member of the Dead Beat Records distribution and label newsletter (order today, ship tomorrow!) and I saw a really cool package from Oslo's Riots getting a sweet distro there and I bought it. One morning, as I was doing a quick workout, I decided to pop in the LP and I was blown away. The lyrics of Riots have a tremendous depth that pervades social, political and perhaps even spiritual problems.

That and their music kicks ass! Pounding drums reverberate throughout the record and the guitar line merely bolsters the sense of disillusioned unrest of the vocalist. It's an incredible record and still has an awesome package for all the punx out there! I strongly recommend picking it up, which you can do HERE

This record is going to definitely make my year-of list. I think it's amazing.

You can learn a lot about the band ON THEIR WEBSITE and see a bunch of live clips ON THEIR YOUTUBE CHANNEL


Jordan: When did the current band Riots start and what was that process like? Some of your members had played in the band Goldcrush, but when did the idea for Riots come along?

Paul: - Riots really started back in 2000. we were called Goldcrush then, we changed vocalists in 2007, and really should have changed the name as well. In 2010 on the European tour we passed under a bridge in Germany where someone had spray painted Riots on the wall, I thought that was a good name and one that suited our musical style better. We did eventually get round to changing the name in November 2011.

Jordan: Why did you name the band Riots? What political implications are there from your music? There seems to be a lot of disillusionment in your lyrics, but also a sense of pride.

Gisle: - Seeing it as I am an anti-capitalist I feel the need to express this. And we lefties love a good riot :P But jokes aside, I feel that music, all music, should express and comment on the world it is created in. I have a need to say these things.

Jordan: Your new release "Riots" is a short but poignant blast of punk rock. Which musicians, lifestyles and events inform the music you have made? In short, what makes a Riots song into a Riots song?

Gisle: -As I said, music should reflect the world it is created in. Things going on in this world, they need someone to talk about it. And there are enough love songs out there. But not too many songs deal with the real world.

Paul: - Thanks. I think we are affected by what goes on around us. It's very easy to write songs about things that piss you off and day to day life. We sometimes work on a riff, sometimes either Gisle or Mathias comes with a finished song. We have made songs before, and realized after playing them for a month or so, that it really isn't a Riots song, so we scrap it. 

Jordan: What is the scene in Oslo like? Is there a big punk scene? Who are some bands that you all are currently enjoying?

Paul: - There is a very small punk scene in Oslo, we found it very difficult to actually get gigs in Oslo, and we struggle still. We decided a few years ago that it just wasn't worth playing gigs in Norway, we get little feedback and it's frustrating and there are great distances between larger cities and it takes hours to drive and is expensive doing this. If you think we play festivals in China where they have a circle pit going, mad stage-diving in Czech Republic and Germany. We played a festival in Poland where we had to stop in the middle of our set for 20 minutes as someone got knocked out in the pit and the ambulance had to drive into the field, pick the poor guy up and drive out again. It makes Norway look very tame. I saw Cross-Stitched Eyes a few weeks ago in Oslo, they were really good. I am also listening to Whores, Cellos and Kerouac at the moment, sort of having a re-live the 1990's moment for the time being. I listen to UK/US punk rock. Anything really. Some I like, some is too predictable. I probably have the largest The Jesus Lizard vinyl collection in Europe. Been collecting since the 1990's. Thankfully I nearly have everything now. But what a band.

Gisle: - as Paul said, the scene is not that big, may be too much oil made all the punks go away… Eye for an Eye from Poland at Blitz, in Oslo this summer was a good show!

Jordan: You have been touring Europe a lot recently. Do you have any plans to eventually come Stateside for a tour or a few shows? What would need to happen to realize that?

Paul: - For us, Europe is where it is. We get the best crowds, best food, best beer, and we are due for another visit there soon. We've been asked to go back to China in 2013 and that we really have to do, because it was superb the last time, and we are trying to get some shows in Sweden sorted soon, but to get 5 or so shows in the USA would be great. Charlie Harper from the UK Subs thinks we're great, so he's asked us if we want to support them on their UK tour in 2013, some shows in May + June, so that will be a blast.

Gisle: - USA, USA, USA! Hehe… a US tour would be great. A lot of cool bands form the good ol’states.

Jordan: What makes for a memorable Riots show? Are there any standout performances?

Paul: - Well there was that ambulance incident in Poland, but another memorable day for me was when we played Midi Festival in Beijing during the day, and the Temple Bar in Beijing in the evening. We were treated like big rock stars, given VIP treatment, 5 star hotel and we played a great gig during the day, endless supply of alcohol, I was pretty wrecked by the end of the day, then we had to get on a bus and drive 2 hours through Beijing to a small pub venue, where everything was chaos, then played what felt like a really sloppy set. Tip. Don't drink beer all day then try to play drums. I managed to scrape through, but I will always remember this as a day where we experienced near enough everything within 24 hours. the first 5 star hotel I have ever stayed in my life, and I was out partying/sightseeing well into the early hours, ended up getting 45 minutes sleep there. Typical

Gisle: - Podebrady in Czech Republic was insane. Small spa town, mainly for pensioners, and we packed out a club for some crazy Czechh punks! That was so surprising and so great. And the last show in china, a really good crowd and a show that was super intense! Great stuff man.
Paul: - It was also a very good show. When we finished the set and I tried to get off the stage. One man wouldn't let me off, he wanted more, so he picked me up and put me back on stage. Hint taken. We just were the backing band for Charlie Harper out of the UK Subs, here in Oslo, belting out a blinding set of UK Subs classics with Charlie singing, so that for me goes down as a great performance.

Jordan: How is it working with different record labels in order to reach an international audience?

Paul: - I though that this would be the best way to get physical copies of our music out to people. For us to send 1 x 12" vinyl to the US it costs as much as the vinyl itself, so it was better to find willing distributional partners in these far off places. We did distro deals with them, they take 20 of our vinyl, we take 20 of theirs to sell on our merch desk. The best thing for us would be to get a label in Germany + US interested in doing a release with us. There is a lot of emphasis on digital distribution at the moment, and that works ok, but I personally like a cd or piece of vinyl in my hand. Our vinyl sounds so much better than the cd or download, it somehow makes the sound even rawer

Jordan: What are the future plans for records and releases?

Paul: - We have several new killer songs, so it won't be long before we start to think about doing some new recording. I would like to think after Christmas we'll start the ball rolling, hopefully we'll have a new 7" vinyl out March time. I am in talks with a German label now about a split release between our own Subversive Records and them.

Jordan: Anything else you'd like to say?
The Band members

Gisle: - Don’t be a fool, stay in school!

Paul: - The more you drink, the better we sound

No comments:

Post a Comment