Electric Woodland was formed in 2009 when they decided to organize a mini festival in their hometown called Rune Rock. The festival needed a band, so they started one! After a few years of Rune Rock, the band started to take other gigs and write their own songs , which resulted in an EP in the spring of 2011. After a few years of writing and more gigs came their debut album in 2013! This was recorded on Snaxville Recordings in Skogbygda.
We caught up with the guys and chatted about Electric Ladyland's (not lady gardens), the Norwegian music scene and how two of the band are teachers, here's how we got on....
Please introduce the band and your music in one sentence....
Electric Woodland is bluesy, grungy rock from the woods of Norway.
You’re called Electric Woodland, how did you come about choosing this name?
It is an homage to where we are from, which is very important for what we do, and our style of music. We come from a place in Norway that is called "Skogbygda", which roughly translates to Wood village, or Wood town. So that is the Wood part of it, while the Electric-land part is a nod in the direction of Electric Ladyland by Jimi Hendrix.
Give me 3 words that best describe you as a band?
Bluesy, earthy, rural
Track ‘Dog Without a Bone’ is one of your highlights on ‘Potrero’ what inspired you to write this song?
Most of our songs are inspired by where we come from in one way or another. It can be that we long for a quiet day in the country side after a day in the city, or in the case of ’Dog without a bone’ or ’Humbread’, people we know or see around where we live. We also wanted a bit different ending to the album, something that stood out a bit from the rest of the track, like in the way that ’Mothers lament’ ends Creams album ’Disraeli gears’. It sort of doesn’t fit the rest of the songs, but still has it’s place.
How would you describe the music scene in Norway?
It is certainly very varied. The biggest musical export of Norway is Black Metal, and that says a lot about the scene in one way. I think that a lot of the best music in Norway comes from a place of solitude, if it’s rock, pop, black metal, etc. The Fox by Ylvis not included of course. There’s not a lot of huge international artists, but there’s actually a lot of quality out there in every genre if you know where to look.
Have you had any ‘Spinal Tap’ Moments? If yes, please share!
Well, we’ve had the odd gig where we’ve gotten a bit lost going from backstage to the stage, but our drummer hasn’t exploded or anything. He tends to end up weird places after gigs though. A couple of gigs ago he woke up in the middle of the day in the back of a car. After our last gig, which was in this mountain town here in Norway, he got lost after some after show party, and walked half an hour in the wrong direction, crossed a creek and ended up in an alpine slope before he figured out he had probably taken a wrong turn somewhere. But being a drummer, we try not to be too hard on him.
Which act/band made you want to get a band together?
For me, it probably was my fathers band actually. I remember going to their rehearsals as a kid, and hanging around when they were setting up for gigs, and thinking that playing in a band was the most awesome thing in the world! When I was about 8 years old, I saw a documentary about Deep Purple, and there was a clip of them playing ’Burn’ at the California Jam in ’74. I remember especially seeing Glenn Hughes made a big impression on me. Rocking the bass and singing with long hair, a white leather suit of some sort and sounding awesome in front of 500.000 people was suddenly something I wanted to do. Even if it ended up with me playing guitar, and not really going for the white leather and platform shoes-look. What made us get together as a band was actually something more random, which I’ll get back to in the festival-question!
Would you rather live with a dog that sings lullabies or a gorilla that can do sign language? Explain your answer.
I’m more of a cat person than a dog person, but I’m not sure I’m a gorilla person either. We could have the gorilla come on stage with us and make the show a bit more accessible to deaf people, so I’ll go for the gorilla.
In your opinion, what is the BEST album/record ever released and why?
Wow, that’s a hard one. I’m a huge fan of Black Sabbath, so any of the first Sabbath albums are certainly up there! I also love Ritchie Blackmores playing and Dio’s singing, so if I have to choose one album, it might just be Rainbows ’Rising’.
Tell me a fascinating fact about you or one of your band members?
We all work with other things than being in the band. Along with two teachers and a photographer in the band, Peder, on guitar and vocals, is actually an engineer who improves equipment for professional, handicapped athletes. He made the sledge for the national team that came fourth in the paralympics, and last weekend, a Norwegian became the world champion of rowing in a boat where he produced the seat. Neither rock’n’roll, music related or very spectacular, but there you go. Oh, and Marius is the unknown love child of Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix.
If you had a chance to put together your own ‘super group’, who would be in it? (only living members please)
Tempting to say Bill Ward, Geezer Butler, Ozzy Osbourne and Tony Iommi, but I guess that’s cheating. Bill Ward (drums), Glenn Hughes (bass and backing vocals), Keith Emerson (organ), Jeff Beck and Ritchie Blackmore on guitars, and Robert Plant on vocals. They’d break up in about four minutes. My zombie band would be John Bonham (drums), Jon Lord (organ), Jimi Hendrix (guitar), Gary Thain (bass) and Ronnie James Dio (vocals).
Who designed the artwork for ‘Potreo’ the Album Cover?
The photos are shot by Truls Vinju Lindahl, a photographer from Skogbygda based in Stockholm, on the coldest photoshoot I’ve ever been to. The design is done by an artist called Stefan Christopher Wold.
What classic song would you have liked to have recorded and why?
Having the rights to ’Happy Birthday’ probably wouldn’t be too bad from an economic perspective, but from an artistic one, War Pigs by Black Sabbath. We’ve actually done it a couple of times live, and it has the riffs, the lyrics, the jammy solo parts, basically everything you want in a rock song.
You started your own music festival in your local town,. How did this come about and has this evolved?
Both the festival and the band started totally at random, really. A friend of the band had built a patio on his house at his farm in Skogbygda, and asked me and Peder if we wanted to bring a couple of acoustic guitars and some beer, and break it in. A couple more people wanted to come, and then a couple more, and all of a sudden there were about 150 people coming. Two acoustic guitars and a patio wouldn’t cut it anymore, so we got Peders brother, Emil, to play drums and their cousin, Marius, to play bass. We also built this huge, wooden stage in the same way you’d build a log cabin. We played the concert with only covers, and really enjoyed playing together, so we just kept it up. After a while we started writing our own material, and the first four songs we wrote turned into an EP. We continued doing gigs and writing songs, and it resulted in the album Potrero.
What is the best advice you ever received and who was it from?
"Don’t buy that 7-string!". Good advice I wish I had listened to, before buying the worst and most expensive guitar I’ve ever owned, by a friend and guitarist Dagfin Hovind. "Play each note as you spent a dollar on it", by BB King is pretty cool as well.
Where did you record your album ‘Potrero’ and what made you choose that studio?
We recorded it at Snaxville Studio in Skogbygda. We wanted to do as much as possible locally, and more importantly, it’s a really great studio. Amund and Henrik Maarud who runs it, are two of the most talented blues/rock musicians in Norway, so to get to work with them was great. They’ve got a lot of old, cool equipment, and it gave us the opportunity to do everything on analog tape. The studio is on their familys farm next to a forest in Skogbygda, and the whole thing just gave us the right feeling when we were going into the studio. We’re also relatively new to working in a studio, so they really helped us a lot with everything. I’wont say there wouldn’t be a record without them, but it probably wouldn’t sound half as good!
There are many good bands and musicians out there, who would you ask the readers of musicmuso to look out for?
I’ve been listening a lot to a band called Blues Pills recently. They’re a quite young band with members from around Europe, that sounds like a mix between Black Sabbath, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. Amund and Henrik, who produced the album, released a record that won a Norwegian grammy two years ago called Dirt, which is really good. Last week, we played a festival with a band called Orango that was quite cool as well. It sounded like Grand Funk Railroad performing The Band songs. Monica Heldal and Daniel Norgren are two cool artists as well, if you’re looking for something with a bit more bluesy singer/songwriter feel.
Who would you like to know has your music on their iPod, MP3 or cassette walkman?
Tony Iommi or Osama Bin Laden, for the absurdity of it.
If you could describe your music in the form of a fictional character, who would it be?
A mix between Batman, Nigel Tufnel and Cletus from The Simpsons.
What are your plans for what remains of 2014?
For 2014 it will be just to keep doing gigs, and hopefully get the time to write some more music together. In 2015 we’d like to do some gigs outside of Norway, so tell your local promoter!
We were still trying to get our heads around why they would want Osama Bin Laden to have their music on his iPod (assuming there are iPods in Paradise that is), in the meantime, we threw in a few quick fire questions....
Coffee or Tea?
Coke or Pepsi?
Hulk Hogan or Stone Cold Steve Austin or CM Punk?
Drum machine or the real deal?
The real deal
Mac or PC?
Lemmy (Motorhead) or Ozzy (Black Sabbath)?
CD or Vinyl?
Car or Motorbike?
Acoustic or electric?
Jennifer Lawrence or Zoe Saldana?
Shower or Bath?
Tattoos or Piercings?
Robert de Niro or Al Pacino?
God or Google?
We'd like to thank the guys for taking the time out to answer our questions and we look forward to maybe catching them at a live show one day on UK soil (or Norwegian soil if they stump up the airfare!)
Interview by Mark Wincott