Tag: Interview Magazine

New Video: Norway’s Pom Poko Releases A Mischievous, Gender-Bending Visual for Grungy “Like A Lady”

Deriving their name from one of the more unusual films ever released by Japanese animation studio Studio Ghibli, Pom Poko is a rising Norwegian act — Ragnhild Fangel (vocals), Martin Miguel Tonne (guitar), Jonas Krøvel (bass) and Ola Djupvik (drums) — that can trace their origins back to 2016 when the members of the band met while they were studying jazz at Trondheim Music Conservatory, And as the story goes, the members of the rising Norwegian quartet bonded over their mutual desire to play punk rock at a literature festival, rather than jazz.

Individually, the members of Pom Poko have publicly cited a wide and eclectic array of influences including Oumou Sangare, Ali Farka Touré, Vulfpeck, Palm, KNOWER, Hella, Death Grips, Jenny Hval and Nick Drake among others. Interestingly, the rising Norwegian act has firmly established a sound and approach that defies easy description or categorization. “We’ve all done lots of improvised music in the past, and I think that shapes the way we play, even though the tunes are not improvised,” the band explained in press notes. “We like when new and strange things happen in an old song, and that music can change over time by being played live, because that removes predictability and the ‘recipe’ that some genres of music have.”

Last year’s full-length debut Birthday was released to praise from Interview Magazine, The Line of Best Fit, The Independent, Clash Magazine, DIY Magazine and NME, who picked Pom Poko as one of the acts to watch out for in 2019. Adding to a growing national and international profile, the album received airplay on BBC Radio 6, as well as Norwegian Grammy (Spellemannprisen) Award and Nordic Music Prize nominations.

Building upon the growing momentum of the past year or so, the rising Norwegian quartet’s Marcus Forsgren-produced sophomore album Cheater is slated for a January 15, 2021 release through Bella Union Records. Written during a rather prolific and busy period that saw them release a one-off singles “Leg Day” and “Praise,” Cheater reportedly finds the band further developing the sound that has won them national and international acclaim. But the major difference between Birthday and Cheater is that the latter’s material wasn’t road-tested before they went into the studio to record it. ”That meant we had to practice the songs in a more serious way, but it also meant the songs had more potential to change when we recorded them since we didn’t have such a clear image of what each song should/could be as the last time,” Pom Poko’s Ragnhild Fangel explains.

“I think it’s very accurate to say that we wanted to embrace our extremes a bit more. In the production process, I think we aimed more for some sort of contrast between the meticulously written and arranged songs and a more chaotic execution and recording but also let ourselves explore the less frantic part of the Pom Poko universe,” Fangel says of the differences between Birthday and Cheater. “I think both in the more extreme and painful way, and in the sweet and lovely way, this album is kind of amplified.”

Earlier this year, I wrote about breakneck album single “My Candidacy.” Centered around the classic grunge rock song structure of alternating saccharine quiet verses and arena rock choruses, “My Candidacy,” evokes the urgently swooning rush of new love. According to the band “the song itself is about the wish to be able to believe in unconditional love, even though you know that there probably is no such thing. We, at least, believe in unconditional love for riffy tunes with sing-song choruses.”

Cheater’s latest single “Like A Lady” continues a run of infectious, grunge-like material featuring saccharine verses delivered with a brash coquettishness paired with blistering, power chord-driven, mosh pit friendly choruses. Interestingly, the song finds the band balancing mischievous levity with a brooding and probing seriousness.

“’Like A Lady’ was one of the first songs we wrote for the album – we started writing it in a cabin near Oslo and finished it in Piemonte in Italy, where we also started recording it,” the members of Pom Poko explain in press notes. “The whole song actually started with a long, jam-like sort of noise-rock intro, but when it was time to record it our friend/engineer/co-producer Marcus Forsgren suggested more of a Breeders/grungy intro that we just went with on the fly. The lyrics for the song slowly grew out from just jamming together, and are about what makes, or what one thinks makes, a woman, what even being a woman means, and it’s also a kind of tribute to all the different ways of being a woman that are out there.”

Directed by Marin Håskjold, the recently released video for “Like A Lady” stars Desiree Bøgh Vaksdal, Lærke Grøntved, Josephine Kylén Collins, Ann-Christin Kongsness and the members of Pom Poko subverting gender roles and rules in a way that points out their utter ridiculousness — and how gender roles deny one’s individuality.

New Audio: Acclaimed Norwegian Act Pom Poko Release an Exuberant and Breakneck New Single

Deriving their name from one of the more outre films ever released by Japanese animation studio Studio Ghibli, Pom Poko is a rising Norwegian quartet — Ragnhild Fangel (vocals), Martin Miguel Tonne (guitar), Jonas Krøvel (bass) and Ola Djupvik (drums) — that can trace their origins back to 2016 when the members of the band met while they were studying jazz at Trondheim Music Conservatory, and bonded over their desire to play punk rock at a jazz gig at a literature festival.

Interestingly, the individual members of the rising Norwegian act have publicly cited a wide and eclectic array of influences on their sound and approach, including Oumou Sangare, Ali Farka Toure, Vulfpeck, Palm, KNOWER, Hella, Death Grips, Jenny Hval and Nick Drake among others. And as a result, the act has managed to establish a sound and approach that defies easy description or categorization. “We’ve all done lots of improvised music in the past, and I think that shapes the way we play, even though the tunes are not improvised,” the band explained in press notes. “We like when new and strange things happen in an old song, and that music can change over time by being played live, because that removes predictability and the ‘recipe’ that some genres of music have.”

Last year’s full-length debut Birthday received praise from the likes of Interview Magazine, The Line of Best Fit, The Independent, Clash Magazine, DIY Magazine and NME, who picked the band as one of the acts to watch out for in 2019 — and with the breakneck “My Blood,” a track that possessed elements of math rock, punk rock and indie rock was a great example of their wildly inventive, exuberant sound. Adding to a breakthrough year, the band also received airplay on BBC Radio 6 while landing Norwegian Grammy (Spellemannprisen) Award and Nordic Music Prize nods.

Building upon the momentum of last year, the Norwegian quartet’s highly-anticipated Marcus Forsgren-produced sophomore album Cheater is slated for a November 6, 2020 release through Bella Union Records. Written during the same period that produced one-off singles like “Leg Day” and “Praise,” Cheater finds the band further establishing the sound that has won them national and international acclaim — but the major difference between the two is that Cheater’s material wasn’t road-tested before the band went into the studio.”That meant we had to practice the songs in a more serious way, but it also meant the songs had more potential to change when we recorded them since we didn’t have such a clear image of what each song should/could be as the last time,” Pom Poko’s Ragnhild Fangel explains.

“I think it’s very accurate to say that we wanted to embrace our extremes a bit more. In the production process, I think we aimed more for some sort of contrast between the meticulously written and arranged songs and a more chaotic education and recording but also let ourselves explore the less frantic part of the Pom Poko universe,” Fangel says of the differences between Birthday and Cheater. “I think both in the more extreme and painful way, and in the sweet and lovely way, this album is kind of amplified.”

Cheater’s latest single “My Candidacy” finds the act managed to walk a tightrope between breakneck mosh pit friendly punk, centered around enormous power chords and saccharine sweet verses. Featuring the classic grunge rock alternating loud, quiet, loud song structure, the song explodes with an unpredictable, brash and girlish coquettishness while evoking the swooning rush of love. According to the band “the song itself is about the wish to be able to believe in unconditional love, even though you know that there probably is no such thing. We, at least, believe in unconditional love for riffy tunes with sing-song choruses.”

New Audio: Acclaimed Dream Pop Act Cigarettes After Sex Release a Hauntingly Spectral Single

Currently comprised of founding member and primary songwriter Greg Gonzalez (vocals, guitar) with Jacob Tomsky (drums) and Randy Miller (bass), the acclaimed Brooklyn-based dream pop act Cigarettes After Sex can trace their origins back to when Gonzalez formed the band in El Paso. TX back in 2008. Their debut EP, 2012’s I received some attention when “Nothing’s Gonna Hurt You Baby” became a sleeper hit of sorts, after it was licensed for use in commercials.

With the release of 2017’s self-titled debut, Cigarettes After Sex quickly became international sensations. Since its release the album as sold over 550,000 records to date, amassed over 360 million Spotify streams, 2.2 million monthly listeners and 350 million YouTube streams. They’ve been featured in a number of major media outlets including Vice Noisey, V Magazine, Interview, NPR’s Tiny Desk — and their music has appeared in The Handmaid’s Tale, Killing Eve and in a Ralph Lauren ad campaign. Additionally, Taylor Swift, Kylie Jenner, Lana Del Rey, Françoise Hardy, Lily Allen, Busy Phillips and a long list of others have claimed to be fans of the band’s work. 

During the week of their full-length debut’s release, the members of the Cigarettes After Sex traveled to Mallorca, Spain. And naturally, each of the band’s individual members consciously let the striking location guide what was to become the initial sessions for their forthcoming sophomore album Cry. “The sound of this record is completely tied to the location for me,” Greg Gonzalez explains in press notes. “Ultimately, I view this record as a film. It was shot in this stunning, exotic location, and it stitches all these different characters and scenes together, but in the end is really about romance, beauty and sexuality. It’s a very personal telling of what those things mean to me.” 

While the instrumentation came about quickly — often improvised on the spot — it would be another two years before Gonzalez would attempt to complete the material’s accompanying lyrics. Slated for an October 25, 2019 release through Partisan Records, Cigarettes After Sex’s highly-anticipated sophomore album is influenced by a new, burgeoning romantic relationship, the films of Eric Rohmer and the work of Selena and Shania Twain. Thematically, the material is a cinematic and brooding meditation on the many complex facets of love — meeting, wanting, needing and losing .  . . sometimes simultaneously. But interestingly enough, Cry will find the band blending the carnal subtly of its predecessor with a warmer sonic palette. 

Cry’s first single is the spectral yet lush “Heavenly.” Centered around Gonzalez’s achingly tender and vulnerable falsetto, hushed and shuffling drumming, shimmering guitar, a sinuous bass line and a soaring hook, the song sonically reminds me a bit of Mazzy Star’s smash hit “Fade Into You.” And much like  “Fade Into You,” “Heavenly” is a feverish, narcoleptic dream that expresses a wild, desperate, swooning longing — the sort that mixes devotion, obsession, love and lust into a confusing and wonderful blur.  Of course, the song finds the band managing to craft material that’s as intimate as whispered, sweet  nothings to a lover while possessing a cinematic (and larger than life) quality.  As the band’s Greg Gonzalez explains, the song was “inspired by the overwhelming beauty I felt watching an endless sunset on a secluded beach in Latvia one summer night…”

Deriving their name from one of the more vigorously outre films by Japanese animation studio Studio GhibliPom Poko is an up-and-coming Norwegian quartet, comprised of Ragnhild (lead vocals), Ola (Drums), Jonas (Bass) and Martin (guitar). The members of the band can trace their origins back to about 18 months ago when they met while they were all studying at Trondheim Music Conservatory.  Interestingly, the members of the band cite a wide and eclectic range of influences on their sound including Oumou Sangare, Ali Farka Toure, Vulfpeck, Palm, KNOWER, Hella, Death Grips, Jenny Hval and Nick Drake among others. Interestingly, they manage to defy easy description or categorization, as well as anything resembling a prescriptive approach. “We’ve all done lots of improvised music in the past, and I think that shapes the way we play, even though the tunes are not improvised. We like when new and strange things happen in an old song, and that music can change over time by being played live, because that removes predictability and the ‘recipe’ that some genres of music have.”

With the release of their first three officially released singles, the up-and-coming Norwegian band have received attention both nationally and internationally, receiving praise from the likes of Interview Magazine, The Line of Best Fit, The Independent, Clash Magazine, DIY Magazine and NME, who picked the band as one of the acts to watch out for this year. Building upon a growing profile, the band’s full-length debut effort Birthday is slated for a February 22, 2019 release through renowned indie label Bella Union Records. And the album’s latest single is the breakneck, math rock meets indie rock “My Blood,” which is centered by an arrangement featuring rapid-fire time signature changes, key and tone changes, thunderous drumming, enormous heavy metal-like power chords and a gorgeous melody underpinning it all. Sonically, the song strikes me as an amalgamation of The Cardigans, Cinemechanica and Bo Ningen while sounding (and being) wildly inventive.

 

 

 

Ariadne Loinsworth is a Trondheim, Norway-born, Oslo, Norway-based electro pop artist, singer/songwriter and producer, best known as ARY, who quickly emerged into the contemporary Norwegian pop scene with the release of her Carl Louis-produced debut single “Higher,” a single that was A-listed by Norway’s P3 Radio. Building on the buzz she received, Loinsworth continued her collaboration with Louis with the release of her second single “Telescope,” which was also A-listed by P3.

Released earlier this year, Loinsworth’s single “Childhood Dreams” reportedly found the Trondheim, Norway-born, Oslo, Norway-based artist, producer and singer/songwriter further developing her sound and songwriting approach, as the song thematically focused on her own development an artist. And since the single’s release, it has accumulated more than 10 million streams across the major streaming services and has seen international radio airplay from BBC Radio 1 and Beats 1, as well as playlist adds in Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Germany and Poland.  Adding to a growing international profile, Loinsworth has been tipped for success by the likes of The FADERPigeons & PlanesInterview MagazineNylon, The Line of Best Fit, The 405 and others; but along with that she has also developed into a skilled producer, producing some of her own work.

“Already There,” Loinsworth’s latest single may arguably be the most pop-leaning and club-friendly track that the up-and-coming artist has released to date as her sultry, self-assured, jazz-like vocals are paired with a stuttering drum programming and tweeter and woofer rocking beats, shimmering arpeggio synths and a soaring hook; but under-pinning the song is an earnest and swooning romanticism.

As the up-and-coming Norwegian pop artist recalls in press notes “Often when I’m writing, I feel like things are taking an eternity, but this song somehow wrote itself. I remember when I got home from the studio with the first outline of the song, and I didn’t want to stop listening to it. I think it’s the first proper pop song I’ve written. It’s also worth mentioning that it was my first love song.

“I think love is hard. It’s hard to find a new way to describe it, and it’s hard to put something so powerful but simultaneously invisible into words without being overly dramatic. I get the feeling that it’s almost a bit taboo to write about love these days,” she continues. “Or shameless love, anyway. There always has to be something blocking a relationship — whether it is a broken heart or just that you want a one night stand, or whatever. It seems like that it’s not cool to simply like someone, you know? Just having a good time. But I am. I’m having a shamelessly good time.”

 

 

With the release of her mixtape Eleven Roses and her breakout 2012 full-length debut Til the Casket Drops, which featured collaborations with Kendrick Lamar and Freddie Gibbs, singer/songwriter multi-instrumentalist ZZ Ward quickly received praise from major media outlets like Rolling StoneGuitar WorldElle and Interview Magazine for pop anthems that meshed the blues and hip hop. Adding to a growing profile, Ward made national television appearances on Jimmy Kimmel Live!ConanGood Morning AmericaThe Tonight ShowThe View and others. Along with that, she’s toured with Eric Clapton, Gary Clark, Jr., and Fitz and The Tantrums, as well as played sets at Coachella, Bonnaroo, Firefly, Made in America and others. I also should add that “Put The Gun Down,” which has received more than 7.4 million streams was featured in the major motion picture We’re The Millers.

Now, it’s been a while since I’ve written about Ward, but as it turns out, along with a busy touring schedule, the renowned multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter had been busy writing the material that would eventually comprise her forthcoming (and long-awaited) sophomore effort The Storm, which is slated for a June 30, 2017 release. The album’s latest single “Help Me Mama” is a strutting and swaggering track that pairs Ward’s powerhouse and soulful vocals with stomping and bluesy production consisting of strummed acoustic guitar, tweeter and woofer rocking low end, twinkling piano, whirring synths and electronics, and an rousingly anthemic hook in a song that’s rooted around viscerally candid personal revelations. Naturally, the single will further cement Ward’s reputation for crafting deeply personal, sultry and anthemic pop with a blues meets hip-hop swagger in a way that nods at Amy Winehouse, Hannah Williams and others — and perhaps more important for that impressive voice. Simply put, girl can sang.

Ward will be on tour throughout June and it includes a June 14, 2017 stop at Le Poisson Rouge. And then during the fall, Ward will join Icelandic rock at Kaleo for a series of Stateside dates. Check out the tour dates below.

Tour Dates
May 31, 2017 Chicago, IL Lincoln Hall
June 2, 2017 Minneapolis, MN Fine Line Music Cafe
June 3, 2017 Denver, CO Bluebird
June 8, 2017 San Francisco, CA The Independent
June 9, 2017 Los Angeles, CA The Roxy
June 11, 2017 San Diego, CA Belly Up
June 14, 2017 New York, NY Le Poisson Rouge
June 20, 2017 Austin, TX The Parish
June 21, 2017 Dallas, TX The Kessler
June 22, 2017 Nashville, TN 3rd and Lindsley
October 2, 2017 Houston, TX Revention Music Center **
October 4, 2017 Kansas City, MO The Mid **
October 7, 2017 Madison, WI Orpheum Theatre **
October 16, 2017 Boston, MA House of Blues **
October 20, 2017 Wallingford, CT The Dome at Oakdale Theatre **
**Dates supporting Kaleo