The Norwegian band Superlynx has just released their sophomore album “New Moon” after three years of their debut “LVX”. This new effort is getting several positive reviews and the band is currently playing a lot of shows introducing more people to their Stoner/Doom sound with haunting vocals by Pia Isaksen, who is also their bass player. We talked to her as well as Daniel Bakken (guitar) and Ole Teigen (drums) about the past, present and future of the band. Enjoy!
RISE!: – Let’s start talking about the new album, “New Moon”, which has been inspired by the contrast of light and darkness, can you elaborate more on that?
Pia Isaksen: It was written in a period where all of us had recently been through or were in troubling times, and it has influenced our writing and our music quite heavily. But we wanted to focus not only on the darkness and the hard times, but also conquering the difficulties and getting through it, and coming to a new start.
Ole Teigen: In the personal aspect of it, it’s like overcoming your troubles, becoming stronger and accepting your weaknesses. In a more spiritual way, it’s about getting over yourself, looking at other people and the rest of the world with more compassion. We are like a big family. Even though we have different stories, we share a lot. It’s about becoming free from your own demons riding you, you kinda need to embrace them.
PI: The light and darkness thing also refers to the connection to nature and the universe. It’s like a symbol for the things we go through and want to overcome and it’s also about becoming light even after the darkest times. Light and darkness have also been almost a constant theme for us since the beginning.
R!: – You were talking about nature and Norway has a lot of it, of course. Are you inspired by the country itself in a way?
PI: By the country itself? I haven’t really thought about it. Not directly, but I think it’s affecting me as a person. Light and darkness has definitely an influence on me during the different seasons. And yeah, there’s nature all around and here in Norway we’re inside most of the time for six months because it’s so cold and so dark, and on the first days of spring we run out because it’s warmer (laughs).
OT: When we were kids we had three shitty videos on VHS, now we have Netflix and everything, so winter passes like a dream (laughs)
R!: – You just mentioned the connection to nature and universe. I’m wondering if you guys are into meditation and that kind of stuff…
PI: Yes, Ole meditates a lot. As for me, I don’t know if it’s correct to call it meditation, but I like to have at least a meditative attitude towards nature and music in a way. In different ways, I guess.
R!: – How long have you been working on this album?
Daniel Bakken: We started right after the first one was recorded. We started to write songs almost immediately and worked a lot more on these songs than what we did on the first album, approaching from almost every possible angle. It’s kinda frustrating when you feel you have something really cool and then you restart again with the same song and see if you can get something even better. But it worked out fine.
OT: One of the older songs is called “Breath” and I think we played that one at our first release party of “LVX”. But it had many more parts that were taken out and it had a different tempo. We played it through many stages with many build ups, transitions, it was totally different. It’s been a process ever since we finished the first album.
R!: – Did you record it here in Oslo?
OT: We recorded it a bit here and there. We recorded the drums in a couple of days in my job, we just went to the big room and filled it with the instruments and microphones. We had four days to record because someone had our equipments and didn’t get them back in time, so we had a lot of trouble and ended up with two days to record the drums in that place. Then we recorded the guitars at the rehearsal place, and bass and vocals in our home studio.
R!: – Pia, you’re a designer, so I guess you were in charge of the album artwork. What did you want to represent with the cover?
PI: I wanted the cover to represent the atmosphere in the music and the lyrics. Both the connection to nature and the inner meditative feeling were important, and the light and darkness also.
R!: – Nature is also visible on the video for “Hex”, where did you film the video and why did you choose this song in particular?
PI: We decided that “Hex” should be the first single and video quite early. It was like an immediate feeling. It was filmed at Jeløya, where I come from, which is a volcanic island, so there are lots of cool rock formations and to me it’s one of the most gorgeous places. I have a very strong connection to the place and we also wanted to have a big secluded location, so we weren’t disturbed by too many people.
R!: – There’s a song in the album called “These Children That Come at Us with Knives”, what’s that about?
OT: It’s about Donald Duck (laughs). Nah, it’s about the Manson Family, some hippies that ended up with some twisted ideas. I find it kinda interesting that these kids that were really into peace and love and enlightenment were somehow rejected by society and found each other having some kind of unity in hostility. The hostility kinda grew in the group, they found something really dark and scary, and they acted on it. I find that interesting in a way, it’s not something I admire, I feel very sad about it, I think the whole thing is tragic. The banality of evil is kinda intriguing, people are laying smashed in the face and blood everywhere and kids and dogs laying dead on the asphalt, you gotta look, you know? It intrigues you, you get interested even though it’s very banal, it’s still fascinating when you have this peace and love, enlightenment, spirituality and freedom, all those good things, and then it’s not that at all. It’s pretty fucked up.
R!: – The band was formed in 2013, how did you guys meet each other?
PI: Me and Ole have been playing together from 2008 or 2009, we had a band called Loveplanet in which we played until 2012, then the band was put on ice, but we felt we wanted to keep playing together and we had some new ideas and were inspired to start a new project. Then at first we were just jamming a bit. The idea was to just remain drums, bass and vocals, but we knew Daniel from before and then after a little while we met him and talked about playing together and jamming. It was instantly, the first time we said “you should be in the band”, it was a very instant thing.
OT: We did a concert with Loveplanet and Daniel walked by…
DB: I was actually just landing from a tour with Nebelhexe. I was a bit restless and went out to look at the city and I walked past Paragrafen, and I heard music coming through the window and I thought “this sounds pretty cool”, so I just went it and they were on stage, so I just had to go over and say “Hi and thank you for a really good gig”, and afterwards I went to have a beer (laughs)
OT: After that you said at some time that Loveplanet was the best band in the world and that means something to me, you know? (laughs). So when we were thinking of a guitar player, it was “oh I know someone who understands Loveplanet, so we speak the same language”, because it’s not for everyone (laughs)
R!: – How did you come up with the name of the band?
PI: Superlynx? I can’t remember exactly how we came up with the name, but we did want a link to the nature in our name because of our lyrics. The lynx is a very big and fierce hunter, but it’s also shy and very rare, so it kinda fit the raw and big, but also the careful and shy. It suits our music well and also the link to nature and animal realm. It’s also the fact that the lynx has the most luminescent eyes of the cat and the best night vision, so there’s the light again, not to mention the star constellation called Lynx. We thought it fits well and it sounds good.
R!: – Part of the band is from Oslo and the other from Moss. Were you born in these cities?
PI: No, none of us were born in Oslo actually, but we met here. We have our base here, but I’m from Moss, Ole is from Tønsberg…
DB: I was born in Elverum and grew up in Fredrikstad and Stavanger.
R!: – So do you understand each other with the dialects?
DB: Yeah, we do, sometimes at least (laughs)
PI: Mostly, they’re very similar.
R!: – How did you get into metal and what was the album that got you into Doom Metal in particular?
OT: You know? I think that’s a band called Stormride from Croatia, they played a gig in Oslo and they have a really good album. Can’t remember the name now, sorry (laughs)
DB: For me it was “Sweet Leaf” by Black Sabbath when I was 12.
PI: For me Black Sabbath was also a big influence, and then Pentagram, also Saint Vitus was one of the first Doom bands I listened to. I also listen to a lot to bands like Neurosis, that kind of more droney stuff since many years ago. I think that’s maybe the way I got into Doom.
OT: I was really into Black Metal for many years. To me it’s like Classical Music, Black Metal, Jazz and Blues, I’m not very into the music that I’m playing myself, but there are some bands that are really cool.
DB: Back in 1989 when I listened to “Sweet Leaf” for the first time, nobody talked about Doom, it wasn’t a thing, it was just heavy music, then they started with all the definitions. So it’s more our love for heavy music than Doom as a genre really.
R!: – You’re probably one of the most active underground bands at the moment because you’re playing a lot of shows, you have even played in Bergen recently, is there any difference between the regions in Norway when it comes to infrastructure or response of the audience?
OT: Depends on the venue I think, on how well is advertised. If the people at the place recognize the music, if they’re aware, they come to the concert with a different attitude I think. If the promoters do a shitty job, I think we have much harder job to convince the audience.
PI: Apart from Oslo where we played a lot, we have been in other places only once, so we don’t have a good foundation to say if it’s a coincidence or if this place is like that. Sometimes we’ve been surprised like in Bergen, I think it’s the first time we’ve seen people singing the lyrics to our songs just three weeks ago. And we don’t know anyone.
OT: That was the day after the release, so how did they know? (laughs)
PI: Sometimes a lot of people show up, and sometimes not so many. We don’t know if it has anything to do with the whereabouts, but we’ll see…
R!: – How many times a week do you rehearse?
DB: Three times a week. Sometimes we have a small break like we had now.
PI: Yeah, now we had a break of almost two weeks, but that almost never happen. Sometimes we need to take some time off to get some relax time once in a while and the other stuff, but we like to play a lot.
R!: – Is it difficult or expensive for an underground band in Norway to get gigs?
DB: It’s very expensive. The financial part of it is very hard in the beginning and I think almost every single band had to invest a lot before seeing anything coming in, but it all depends if you really wanna do this or if you want to have it as a hobby. It’s an investment going around and play for the people. It’s also planning the economy how comfortable you want to travel. You can do it very cheap and be very uncomfortable or put some more money and be comfortable (laughs)
R!: – And is it difficult? I mean, there are lots of bands and maybe the venues are fully booked sometimes…
OT: I don’t know what it is, but the festivals and Netflix and everything are fucking ruining our cultural life. You have to pay insane amounts of money to play at a club, so if you really want to do this, you need to invest all the time as Daniel said. And everyone else involved in the gig and in the process get some money, but for the bands is always pay to play. There are lots of great bands in Oslo who sound excellent, but it’s so sad to see that few people come to their shows and to play at a decent venue costs a lot of money. I see no hope.
DB: It’s like the budget for a gig, it’s a break-even. You need to attract a lot of people, you have to pay a lot of money to actually make anything. It’s more about how much it costs to play. People show up, yeah, but sometimes just a few, then you lose money. Sometimes there’s a lot, then maybe you have like 1000 to 3000 NOK and that needs to be divided between ourselves. We’re not in it for the money (laughs)
PI: It’s very cool that there’s so many good shows in Oslo, you can go to a concert almost everyday if you want. In one way it’s a really good thing, the downside is of course that it’s difficult to get people to come to all these shows. It’s a two-sided thing.
R!: – Bands in general sell more merchandising than albums these days, but how is it for you? You have your albums available on CD, Digital and Vinyl, which format sells the most in your case?
PI: I would say vinyl here in Norway at least.
DB: In our gigs we sell mostly vinyls and t-shirts I guess. But whatever the label sells, I have no idea.
PI: I think that in Germany they sell more CD’s, so it’s probably different from place to place.
DB: In America it’s the same, they sell more CD’s than Vinyls.
R!: – So here in Norway the tendency is to sell more vinyl…
PI: At least that’s our experience.
R!: – It’s interesting to see how the different markets work nowadays…
DB: And cassettes are also selling, but I think that’s pure nostalgia. The cassette fits pretty well in the obscure Black Metal genres with dirty sound and all of that.
R!: – You’re going to play at Inferno and Høstsabbat this year, one is the most important metal festival in the country and the other one is a perfect festival for your style, so what are your expectations?
PI: In both festivals we have a chance to play for people that are outside of our normal crowds, and maybe don’t know us very well, some might be there to see us and many might be there just to see what band is playing, so it’s exciting. We hope to have a good time.
DB: They’re going to be good gigs. Both festivals attract people from outside Norway, so they’re really good for us to show ourselves and what we can do. Verkstedet is a small stage but we played there so many times, so it’s gonna be good. And Inferno has a really professional production, so it’s gonna be fun too, to have your own monitor and everything. That’s very rare, I think the last time we had that was at Midgardsblot, so it’s top-notch professional production. Looking forward to that.
R!: – Thanks a lot for the interview! Any last words you want to say to the readers of RISE!?
PI: Thank you very much!
OT: A big support to everyone who’s active and doing what they believe in without expecting to get fame and fortune.
LVX – 2016
New Moon – 2019
“Center of the Sun” (2016):