Interview: AWS about Norwegian metal, being an eagle and the connection between life and death. Plus a comment from Norway that is not about Rybak at all

Earlier this year we hardly believed our slightly challenged ear drums: Hungary had picked a metal band to represent them in Eurovision? And they even had a key change?

Being from the country that invented metal, we needed a chat, of course. A sunny afternoon in Lisbon, we rushed out of being interviewed by some Norwegian media and they rushed out of hair and make-up ahead of the dress rehearsal and we managed to meet half way between the press center and the venue with a very stricked, armed Portuguese guard looking over our shoulders.

– So, you truly are a metal band. Why the heck are you in Eurovision again?

– We wrote this song last summer and our manager said “let’s try this in the national final for Eurovision”

– Well good girl manager! Do you care about Eurovision?

– Not really. But it’s a fun experience. Music is the only thing that can bring people together. Now we are friends with the Romanian and the Slovenian delegation, and before that we didn’t have friends from Romania or Slovenia.

– And we’ll gladly be your Norwegian friends. Do you think it is important with metal in Eurovision?

– Yeah! The slogan says “all aboard”, and if everybody is eagle…

– Sorry to interrupt you there, hon. But we cannot all be eagles? That would make a mess aboard the arena

– …I always mix those words, sorry. If everybody is EQUAL, then every music star is equal. We hope to inspire others. We have been metal heads since we were kids, and we always listen to others. Now it’s our time to inspire anyone else.

– Repeat after me, please: We are all eagles in the eyes of the Lord (pic by Andres Putting)

– Done deal. How about Norwegian metal, do you like it?

– Absolutely. We used to mix Norway and Sweden, but now we know which country is the best: Norway. Our favourite band is Norwegian. Leprous.

– Erm, what? Sorry? (Note to self: Must read up on this. We only heard of Mayhem, and only because we had to clean up the mess after they threw a sheep head at someone in the student house where we were PR managers)

– Leprous

*Googles* – Oh, do you mean the highly successful Norwegian metalband that have existed since 2001 and are touring all over Europe this summer? *feeling smart*

– Yeah! Leprous! When we were angry children, we also listened to Mayhem and Dimmu Borgir and Burzum.

– Those poor parents of yours. Has Norwegian metal been important to other coutries?

– Absolutely. It’s the most important for metal music all over the world. It has a different atmosphere. It’s darker, but also more emotional and theatrical.

– And where is your crazy make-up if we may ask?

– This is as crazy as we get. If Hungary wins and get to arrange Eurovision next year, we will tell everybody there is no make-up and only live music, no playback.

 

– Just having an in-between life and death moment here (pic by Andres Putting)

– You are doing really good rehearsals every time, screaming your lungs out like that. How do you manage to save your voice?

– This special Hungarian drink. Unicum!

– Almost like us in EuroClub, then. We should join forces. Then again, you do not want to be celebrities?

– Nah. Metal musicians can be rock stars, not celebrities. We just want to be ourselves and talk to everybody. We don’t have fans, we have friends.

– What’s your song about?

– It’s a typical Norwegian theme, about death. Lead vocalist Örs Siklósi wrote it about his father’s death and about the connection between life and death. But it’s not so negative, it’s more positive because you have to know death and get over the death of your loved ones.

– Aww, you metal rockers always sound so angry and when we meet you, you are just the softest. Why?

– There’s a code: Chaotic on stage and cute in life.

– Quite the opposite of Portugal’s winner last year, then. Will we be seeing you in Norway?

– We want to come on a tour in Norway. But we promise not to burn your churches.

– And not kill each other, right?

– Maybe. In the future.

Comments from the Norwegian metal scene: – Cool to see straight-forward metal in Eurovision

It is nothing we Norwegians like more than getting foreigners to tell us that we are great, especially not when we also think they are great and might be famous one day, starting today. As true journalists we also needed a comment from the Norwegian metal scene, of course, which wasn’t exactly a walk in the park…sorry, church yard. Satyricon’s Sigurd Wongraven was very, very, VERY busy – making wine, probably, which he is mostly known for in Norway. Mayhem’s Necrobutcher was even more busy being an ass.

However, we quickly understood why Leprous was a favorite with the Hungarians when we reached their lovely guitarist Tor Oddmund Suhrke, who even watched the semi-final last night.

– I like the fact that AWS’ entry is straight-forward metal, not metal packaged to fit Eurovision. Of course they have the key changes, but it is still cool, Suhrke says. He is backed up by lead vocalist in the Norwegian punk band Nullskattesnylterne and radio host in Radio Rock, Torkil Torsvik.

– I think it is cool that Hungary avoids adding monster masks or other nick-nacks. It’s great to see musicians who believe so much in their music they don’t let clueless stylists make them unrecognizable. Instead they avoid the styling trap and gear up the pyro!, Torsvik tells us.

The Norwegian band Leprous likes to stand around on furniture from IKEA. Pic by Bjørn Tore Moen/Leprous.net

Tor Oddmund Suhrke says he doesn’t care so much what the genre is.

– I like the diversity in Eurovision, and I’m glad AWS add to that. It think it can open the competition to new followers, and also help the regular Eurovision fans open their eyes for new genres. I also think the competition has become more accepted among musicians from many different genres. In the 90’s and 00’s, when I grew up, I had the impression there were mostly song in the “eurodance” genre, filled with a lot of bad jokes, while I feel there has been a positive development since then. That being said, I can still understand why bands like Mayhem wouldn’t want anything to do with the competition, haha.

As GEE bloggers with a particular soft spot for those rockers who surround us, we couldn’t agree more. We heard AWS was already booked for the legendary metal festival Wacken open air in August, and we can’t see what happens while they are here.

While the metal of yesterday was based in Norway, it very well might be that the metal of tomorrow is found in Hungary. Or as of this very moment: Onstage in Lisbon’s Altice arena.

PS: Read AWS’ favorite newspaper:

Being true to their Norwegian heritage, of course AWS likes the local newspaper from Rock City Namsos, Namdalsavisa. Read it here, where Guri blabbers on about the Italian entry. Or see them cheering for Namdalsavisa here:

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