Oslo Scene Fixtures: Kenneth Storkås (33)
Both on stage and behind the control panel: Kenneth Storkås is an important piece in the Oslo punk rock machinery. From his home base of Endless Tinnitus studios in the Gamlebyen neighborhood he helps new bands record hard hitting demos at affordable prices, and put on excellent cramped shows that can leave the wall-to-wall carpet sweating. It is time to put Kenneth aka Mr Møkk to the Bad Sounds Spanish Inquisition.
1. Kenneth Storkås. Who? What? Where? Why?
I am 33 years old, father of Ebba (6 years old). I do live sound and studio sound and I play guitar in Knuste Ruter and Bøyen Beng. Been livin’ in Oslo since 1999. I hang at Vålrenga and in Gamlebyen. Why? That is a good question. I ask myself that from time to time. Has to be because it is sweet.
2. Most people know you as Møkk or Mr. Møkk (Filth or Mr. Filth). How did you earn that nickname? Is that a trade secret?
Ha ha! It is no trade secret. I used to write a fanzine called MøkkaBlekka (The Dirt Rag) under the name Mr. Møkk. That is the short version. The long one starts with how the zine got it’s name. It was back in Moss, 1995 or something. We were bored and up to no good. Me and my best friend had gone through an exciting round of “who can go the longest without washing” and I won! We had this extremly childish hang-up where we tried to take shits in the most weird places. We are talking holes at the mini-golf course and coke bottles at the fast food joint where we used to hang. It branched out into drinking lukewarm piss at parties, cutting ourselves and breaking stuff. Then we discovered GG Allin….. Shit (quite literally). He kind of tied it all together.
Møkkablekka was an imporant part of this pubescent bodily humor. A buddy came up with the Mr Møkk moniker, it tied in with all the other nicknames present in the punk scene. It was normal with names like Skabb (Scab) and Ole Odør (Ole Odeur). My mom always thought it was strange when people called and asked for Mr Møkk. Or when we recieved a packed adressed to Mr Shit.
3. Are you an original Oslo citizen or are you a wandering nomad like the rest of us?
I come from the city of Moss and I will always be a weirdo from Moss. If you ever meet a Moss citizen you will notice that there is always something strange about them. It has to be the smell.
Editors note: The city of Moss is infamous for it’s distinctive smell due to chemical factories in the area. As for the people, let me just put it like this: Last time I went to a squat festival in Moss(attended by bands translated as The Dwarf Porn Club and Dead Otter) the after-party sent a man to the ER in a coma. A jealous Swede knocked him out cold with a movie projector. Party hard.
4. Where did your interest in music start? Do you remember the first record you bought and the first gig you went to?
My musical interest started with Bruce Springsteen, fed to me through my father. When he died, I inherited all of his records. I was eight years old and the Boss was pretty much my world. Then I discovered the entire Judas Priest discography in his collection! From then it was all classic rock like Sabbath, Lizzy and AC/DC. It moved forward through Guns n Roses (mostly because of Slash…cough..) and grunge bands before I discovered The Replacements and my best friend bought a Sex Pistols CD. Then it was all about sniffing hair spray and doing the crazy pogo in the bedroom. When it was my turn to do the next discovery, I got a hold of Fresh Fruit for rotting vegetables from Dead Kennedys and an Ebba Grøn-collection.
I can’t remember the first gig I went to, it was probably at the local youth club with some crappy cover band. When we were old enough, me and my friend would catch a ride down to the venue “Kråkereiret” in downtown Moss. There we got to see the local punk band Skinn og Bein (Skin and Bones), they really blew our minds. We would later start our own band with their drummer. We called ourselves Kollaps, unaware that the name was already taken.
5. Tell us a little bit about Endless Tinnitus. What is it? How did you get involved? What happens there these days?
The location that houses Endless Tinnitus has a long history. Two guys called Eystein Hopland and Ulf Knutsen started a studio there in 1977 and called it Endless Studio. I got acquainted with Michael Dimmitt who ran the studio in the late 90’s/early 2000’s. In 2001 I was offered to rent the place for a month, a good deal since my band wanted to record some music and try to do the entire recording process by ourselves. Dimmitt moved back to the States in 2002 and offered up the studio for sale for 80 000 kr. I contacted my friend Ole and one more guy and bought the place with plans to try to make a living out of it. Me and Ole still run it, but we lowered our ambitions pretty quickly. It is not easy making ends meet when you try to run a studio. These days it acts as practice space for six bands, studio and venue. I guess you could call it a music collective.
6. Three essential records that capture the spirit of Oslo?
- 10 år på pur faen (live at Blitz)
- Jokke og Valentinerne – Frelst
- So Much Hate – Seeing Red
7. You never get rich when you do punk. How does the future of the genre look? Download codes? Cheaper releases? Smaller labels and limited pressings?
If you wanna get rich, you gotta play metal. The underground punk scene has always had it’s own economic model. I don’t know much about labels and pressings and the like, so I am clueless about the future. I hope records will continue to get pressed no matter what.
8. What bands are you in? Can you do a lot of touring as a family man?
I play guitar in Knuste Ruter and Bøyen Beng. It is not sweet or easy to tour as a family man. I spoke to a guy in the hardcore band Bane a couple of years ago, they toured for nine months out of the year. Their hauls were usually three months at a time. He told me that his girlfriend had given birth when he was on tour. Situations like that make you a touring musician first, not an father. It is really hard to combine the two. My daughter is six, and she stays with me pretty much all of the time, so a 10 day tour once a year is about all I can do. I am happy with that. It would only be hard to decline if the offer of a sweet US-tour would come up. I have been denied a visa to the United States before, so if I got the chance it would probably be Immigration that would stand in the way more than the family commitment.
9. Older and more bitter or still young and promising?
It depends on my mood and what day of the week it is. Older and bitter the first few days of the week, in the weekends I don’t have child responsibilities I can get quite youthful. I am probably not promising. Never been promising come to think of it. Usually I never think more than one year ahead. Thought that would change when I became a father, but it didn’t. Not yet, anyways. It works best to take a month at a time.
10. What is the best thing about the punk scene, what is the worst?
We should start with the worst. The depression and the angst. There is way too much of that, and it comes out in a way in a way that taps your energy. A lot of complaining and apathy. Very few have that fiery passion of hate and contempt. There is more mild annoyance, distaste and distancing yourself. The people are toned down, mellowed out. It is really passive and paralzying. It keeps us from gaining new impulses and moving forward.
The best is all the opposite. The spirit to go get ’em, the camraderie, and the joy. There are so many good people in the scene. They are open, wise and skillful. I like the idea that most of them think it is okay to be poor and broke. Hey, at least you are broke together. In the rest of society being broke is not okay, it is almost an insult. Costs just keep climbing and people throw money around. Let’s look at the Romani people for instance. They are by far the poorest people in Norway right now, and society hates them for it. That makes me really angry. To me it seems like the Romani are at ease with their status, they make it work. Don’t get me wrong, it is not cool to be oppressed and be in economic need, but unlike our society, they accept it. When most Norwegian see Romani it makes us feel bad, makes us feel guilty. And we are not making their condition better, we criminalize them and hound them. It has clear comparisons to the treatment of Jews during World War Two.
11. How do the people of Oslo treat their scene and each other? Holier-than-thou? Shit talk online? Supportive and creative?
Oslo has elements of both major city and the countryside. I mean, we are all rednecks who moved into the city from our small towns, but live in a city that is big enough to allow us to choose our own little gangs and groups. These groups always tend to have a musical anchor of sorts. There is certainly a lot of trash talk, ridicule and dissing, but I think most Oslo rockers treat each other okay and back each other up. I hope more bands across the board get together and collaborate in the future. It is cool to do things togeher.
Oh, there is certainly a lot of hating and criticism going on, but it mostly consists of hating the big mainstream hype and backing up the small unknowns. I can get behind that. The Internet shit talk… I don’t know if I should laugh or cry. The web brings out all the idiots in every gang.
12. Best concert memory from Oslo? Most embarassing artist you have seen on stage? Here is where you can bring the beef!
The most embrassing thing I have ever seen is Ronny Pøbel at Blitz. I think his lyrics are awful, to me it becomes a punk parody. That he is associated with the genre of punk is quite insane in my book. I have talked to him about this, and he got sad about it. He is a nice guy, and I would not have been so harsh if he had played under a 1-2-3-4 rock and roll-banner, I guess I have other standards when it comes to punk rock.
Best memory has to be So Much Hate at Råkkern in 96 or something. It was one of the first gigs I went to in Oslo. I was a die-hard fan, the played a killer show to a packed room, sweat ran down the walls. Then the pigs showed up, two of them. I remember that a whole bunch of people at the show just turned and started to stare them down. The cops quickly retreated to the first floor. I went out to get some air and saw two really frightened piggies who tried to get in touch with police central on their walkie-talkie. The cop car had been heavily dented, both lights and all the windows had been smashed. After a few minutes a tow truck appeared and quickly removed the cop car and both coppers from the scene. It was an almost unreal experience for me. That night really changed my world view.