Åse and Linn from Deathcrush answer some questions.
No, it’s not what you think. This is NOT a Mayhem tribute band. In fact, these true blooded Norwegians take more of a cue from the no-wave noise scene and moany art punk, as perfected by Lydia Lunch. We caught up with Åse and Linn to find out more about their music and their real motivation for coming to Iceland (Hint: someone take them horseback riding to the Blue Lagoon!).
Tell us a little bit about yourself: who you are, what you do, why you do it. Remember: Hype is for PR departments, honesty is for musicians.
Linn: Don’t know who you normally interview but “hype” is usually a cuss word amongst musicians. It’s a hot-air balloon kind of thing isn’t it? Attention is a good thing, yes, it gets your music out to more people, it can get you more shows etc. But sustainability is way more important. “Hype” sounds sorta cheap. You want to keep doing what essentially is the most important thing in your life don’t you. And Deathcrush is our lives so…
Åse: We’re just now adjusting to being primarily musicians again, after one crazy year, and now we’re lucky enough to have people taking care of us. Who, why, what? It’s hard to answer that without falling into band bio cliché pit holes. Musicians suck at dancing about architecture.
Linn: Even though we’re clearly not a metal band, our common medieval rape and pillaging heritage shines through even in our more poppy songs. Both live and in the song-making process. On stage we usually get up close and personal with the audience.
Do you have anything special you want to accomplish by coming to Iceland? If so, what?
Åse: I just wanted to come for a swim in the Blue Lagoon! And ride horsies! But the official Lagoon excursion is after we leave, so… anyone in Reykjavík have a pony?
Linn: One with more, uhm, gears than the normal ones preferably. What is it, five? Tølt and pass? At least that’s the Norwegian words for them. I think.
Åse: Or maybe somebody has a car and wants to take us to see some hot springs? Yeah?
Linn: Someone told me the Icelanders view the Blue Lagoon as an infected orgy playground because of the mist and the heat. Is that true? If so, how very Viking-esqe! Anyway, we were really excited about being booked for Airwaves. It’s kind of a big deal for a young band you know. Hopefully the right people will see us and even more opportunities will arise from it.
Åse: And people keep telling us no one puts on a party like Icelanders, so no way would we turn down a chance to experience this on your own turf!
We won’t have you pin yourself down in a genre, but maybe you can tell us what musicians you hope your fans also like. What music inspires you?
Åse: Why not? What’s so awful about genres? I hate reading interviews with bands claiming they don’t fit in this and that box. Pfff! I bet they play straight up indie rock. Seriously though, it always makes me think that they’re too closed up in their own little world to understand where they fit if they think they’ve created something unlike anything you’ve heard before.
Linn: We didn’t start out saying “let’s start a band that sounds exactly that!” and we still don’t discuss what direction we are heading in or where we fit. But we do understand the necessity of being able to place ourselves in some sort of context so that people get interested and check us out.
Åse: I guess we’ve landed in no-wave and noise rock. In both orders, combination or separately. And we’d love to call it pop. But we listen to a lot more than that. Hip hop, metal, garage, noise, dancey shit.
Linn: We’ve been called neo-grunge, Riot Music for the 21th century, pelvic noise sludge, Avant-Metal with pop sensibility, even a mix of Sunn O))) and the Bangles. And according to DIY we’re sexier than Megadeth!
And what would you want to tell our readers, to convince them to come to your show (remember: you are not in marketing, you are an artist)?
Åse: Not fair! How come you get to ask PR-questions, and we’re stuck not selling ourselves!
Linn: Bands today work hard outside of the rehearsal room too, you know. Sometimes it feels like you spend more time with your laptop than your guitar. But we’re not selling jeans, we make music. And if we want to keep playing live and record albums…
Åse: A marketing department would throw in a “buy one, get one free!” bargain and print flyers with free food. Free food always draws a crowd at these shmooze-fests. We won’t have that option until we get a label with a budget, I guess. So in exchange, come get smashed in the face by Linn? Come see if you can catch the tall, dark stranger Andreas’ eye? And as for me, we’ll see.
Do you get a lot of backlash for the corpse-paint? How do you view the act of corpse-painting and the meaning behind it?
Linn: We’ve only used corpse-paint for one photo, and if you look at the context—the pink light, the awkward positioning, location etc.—there are more references in that photo than black metal. And we do like our referencing. Our songs are all “lessons” for different people, first two being Cliff Burton, the late bass player of Metallica, and the other for Snoop Dogg himself.
What got you making music in the first place? What kept you playing?
Linn: I never wanted to do anything else, but spent about 19 years doing everything else. Well, mostly acting, dancing. Then when I finished school I panicked because I wasn’t doing what I was meant to, and dove into the studio, searching for a direction. When Åse and I bought our first guitars everything sort of fell into place.
Åse: We both came from similar backgrounds in that respect. Both had wanted to do music, but without having the right people around us for it to be natural we tried every other artistic activity we could find. When the two of us started working together it was instantly directional, instantly efficient and it feels like all of a sudden, we’re in Iceland!
Linn: If all of a sudden includes quitting jobs, leaving boyfriends, moving cities and countries,
building serious debt. Spinal Tap searches for that special someone, I mean drummer, then ta-da! Here we are!
What do you like these days? Anything we should know about?
Åse: Oh stop it! You don’t have to get us anything! Maybe a nice vodka on ice at Amsterdam this Friday?
What are your current obsessions besides music? What are you watching/reading/wearing/learning?
Linn: I met an old friend not long ago who asked me how my life was, “You know besides the band,” and I had nothing to say really. It’s all about Deathcrush these days. Which after all our hard work is absolutely fantastic! So I dunno. To unwind I’ve been attending to the basics, like fulfilling clichés and avoiding my own mind. And my rent. When you work full-time as a band, making time for normal, paid jobs is quite hard. Andreas is frantically trying to be a student. I feel for him.
Åse: I’ve managed to spend six months finishing ‘Catcher In The Rye.’ Those measly two hundred pages were quite the quest! Yesterday a friend of mine suggested I read ‘Don Quixote.’ Yeah, sure!
Make a five track playlist for your plane ride over. Tell us why each track is there. Your scenario: you’re just about to land, and you want to mentally prepare yourself for whatever you think is going to meet you.
A-laget – ‘Funksjonshemmet’ (Best start preparing for the hangover already, right?) ‘Every Weekend’s ‘I’m A Baby Seal’, (’cause every weekend I’m clubbed to death” and er… that’s one killa rhyme in Norwegian, I swear); Liturgy—‘High Gold’ (Brooklyn Black Metal, hereby approved by cold Norsemen. Who would have thunk!); Rye Rye/Crookers—‘Hip Hop Changed’ (been preparing for gigs to this track all summer, not about to stop now…); Rolling Stones—‘Play With Fire’ (bring it on, Eyjafjallajökull!); Årabrot—‘Solaranus’ (Bringing the ass to Iceland.)
By Rebecca Louder