Greenland Whalefishers: Norways Pogues (Jun ’02)
Greenland Whalefishers released an unbelievable great CD this year called “Loboville”. The following interview was conducted via email with Arvid (vocals) and Stig(six strings)
(S’n’O) How did a bunch of guys in Bergen, Norway get involved in playing Irish/Celtic punk music? What is the history of the band?
(GWF) It started many years ago with the two brothers Arvid and Gunnar jamming together and listening to Thin Lizzy, the Pogues, and the Dubliners with some more trad. Irish music. Then Arvid started writing songs and got together people who couldn’t play at all. Agnes e.g. had never touch a tin-whistle in her life, same with the instruments Gunnar is playing. The rest of us could a few cords. With a lot of rehearsing Arvid manage to form the band he wanted which might have been more difficult if he had choose experienced musicians.
(S’n’O) What’s is the reaction to the band and your music at home in Norway (home country of Aha)?.
(GWF) In Norway we’re not well known at all, especially compared to Aha. With a population of 4,5 million we’ve sold around 3,000 copies of Loboville. But we’re a popular live band and play around 50 gigs a year, which is quite good for an amateur band in this country.
(S’n’O) While I did like the earlier GLW CD’s and thought they were pretty good I never expected your last release “Loboville” to be as brilliant as it is. How did GWF get so good?
(GWF) Nice of you to say that. Lots of rehearsing, Arvid is a good songwriter and leader of the band; he works very hard with us. Also we feel that Loboville IS Greenland Whalefishers. I guess that’s it.
(S’n’O) All the reviews of “Loboville” I read have been great, what has been the fan’s reaction?
(GWF) I’ve never heard back from anybody who didn’t like it. But then again fans know what they want they buy the stuff I reckon.
(S’n’O) How do you feel about comparisons to the Pogues and especially Arvid’s Shane MacGowan comparisons?
(GWF) It’s no doubt that we are influenced by the Pogues also, but we never tried to copy anyone. Arvid’s voice sounds like Shane’s but you can’t do much about the voice can you. We didn’t like it much in the beginning even though Shane is like God to Arvid. Now we don’t care.
(S’n’O) I know there is a tour of Italy coming up soon, have the band any other plans to play outside Norway? Any plans to play the USA?
(GWF) YES. It looks like a US tour of the east cost coming up in October. Walter F. Wouk, who is a fan of S’n’O, is helping us out. I’d say it’s has 90% chance for happening.
(S’n’O) Will “Loboville” be getting a US release ever?
(GWF) Yes. First one who contacts us about it will get the deal.
(S’n’O) What bands do you listen to? Is there anyone you’d recommend to S’n’O readers?
(GWF) The Clash, White Stripes, Dropkick Murphy’s, Thin Lizzy, Rancid, Eastfield, DSS are bands worth a listen to.
(S’n’O) Is there anything else you’d like to say?
(GWF) Arvid feels sorry bout the death of Dee Dee Ramone but then again glad for all the good music from him. RIP.