Arabrot: Noisenik action from Norway
Earlier this year we saw Arabrot live at the By:Larm music festival in Oslo- the band were fantastic- a two, sometimes three, piece taking on the noisenik brawl of Jesus Lizard and the Butthole Surfers but with their own take. It was loud, scuzzy and freeform but with some great songs and great playing.
The band are now a two piece and the stripped down power sounds even more intense…we fired them some questions…
How are you doing? Where you directly or indirectly affected by the recent atrocities in Norway?
All good, thanks. No, we were fortunately not affected by the recent tragedy.
1. Solar Anus is a crazy name for an album ”â does this have to do with Georges Bataille’s writing of the same name?
Yes, George Bataille was lyrically a great inspiration to this album. In addition to Comte de Lautreaumont and others.
2. How does a Norwegian punk rock duo come to be writing about surrealist French literature?
Funny thing you brand us a punk rock duo but I take it as a compliment. Truth is we’ve been inspired by transgressive literature, music and arts ever since our teenage days back in Haugesund listening to Throbbing Gristle wondering what to with life. After finally getting the existential burden off my back with the almost “fin-de-siecle” Revenge I’ve thematically dug deeper into surrealistic and dadaistic territory.
3. George Bataille wrote The Story Of The Eye under the name Lord Auch ”â literally, Lord Shit House. Can you explain what is attractive about combining high and low art?
You now, the abominable always lurks under the surface of the exquisite. I always relate to music, literature and arts which is emotionally powerful, passionate or substantial in one way or the other. That being AC/DC or NON don’t really matter (We grew up on Ministry and Captain Beefheart after all). Or Dante or porn. You know, noise rock and philosophy, sun and anus.
Lord Shit House is a great name by the way!
4. You went back to record Solar Anus at Electrical Audio in Chicago with Steve Albini but you got much better results than on your album from a few years ago, The Brotherseed, what was different?
Time. Brother Seed was done in four days including mixing. It’s all first take. Unfortunately the actual potential of The Brother Seed didn’t fully bloom. We were slightly underworked and personally slightly distressed. I’m quite happy about it lyrically though. This time we had a fantastic label backing us up and the result is a lot more focused. I’m happy about how Solar Anus turned out.
5. On the album, you’ve got a dude called Concept Virus playing synths ”â how did that come about?
Concept.virus been a good friend and partner for a long time. We did a collaboration called Absolutenegativism a couple of years ago(the sequel being released early next year). He also contributed to Revenge, so it was a natural thing letting him in on the Solar Anus project.
6. You’ve now stripped down to a two piece but you’ve got your most ferocious sound yet, how does that work?
True, it’s the heaviest record we ever did. And there’s even no bass (!) with the exception of the very last part of final song The Wheel Is Turning Full Circle. We decided that stripping down to a duo format – at least on record – a heavier register was absolutely required. We’re still operating as a trio or four-piece live though.
7. When we’ve seen you live in the past you’ve ended on an epic song called I Rove that seems to drive you and other people mad. Can you tell us about it?
It’s the main theme of an EP called I Rove released a few years back, which includes the production work of Emil Nikolaisen from Serena Maneesh and also electronics by Concept.virus. 20 minutes of desperate evil and Dostoyevsky’s Raskolnikov hiding in dark corners. It so far summarizes in many ways the so-called Arabrot sound.
8. In the past there were elements of your aesthetic and bits of your vocal technique that hinted towards Black Metal but this seems to have disappeared now ”â is this correct?
Yeah, another logical progression. After Revenge punctuated the first ten years it was like a sigh of relief to move on to different territory. Crawling out of the metamorphosis so to speak.
9. You often have quite intense live shows. Once at by larm a girl wearing angel wings fell off the stage ”â what was happening there?
Hell yeah, our road manager dressed in angel wings, drunk out of her tits, flew off stage in front of 500 people resulting in a broken leg. It was at Oya Festival in Oslo.
10. When and where did you form?
Summer of 2001 in the back streets of dilly west coast town Haugesund.
11. What does your name mean?
It’s the name of the municipal waste dump outside Haugesund. The actual name is old norse and of uncertain meaning.
12. What are the advantages of making left field music in Oslo?
Hm, not sure. Vidar lives in Oslo, but I live in a church deep into the Swedish countryside. Basically, we could live anywhere convenient.
13. Are you part of Norway’s Necromantic Rock scene with bands such as Haust and Okkultokrati?
Certainly, Haust, Okkultokrati and Arabrot is the basis of the so-called Nekromantiks scene. Great bands!