For the second time Oslo Psych Fest will take over the city and bring people a mix of psychedelic sounds from all over the world. This years they expanded and will have stages at both Vulkan and Pokalen (plus a pre and after party at Revolver). The festival will take place between the 4th and 7th of September. There is really no reason why you shouldn’t be there.
The lineup is massive: On Thursday Ulver (NO) perform “childhoods end”, Quilt (US), Spindrift (US) and special guest Very Bad & The Funnymen (NO) will support. On Friday Kåre & The Cavemen (NO) headline with White Hills (US), Naam (US), Holy Wave (US), The Apricot (NO), Al Lovers Sacred Drugs (US), and Grumbling Fur (UK). Saturday Hawkwind (UK) will do an extended set, with Electric Eye (NO), The Movements (SE), L’obscurité (SE), and The Mysticates (NO) supporting. A pre party on August 30th will feature the return of Maribel (NO) while the after party on September 7th will feature The Low Frequency In Stereo (NO). Both will take place at Revolver.
Bad Sounds spoke to Ben Sand, the main booker behind OPF about this years festival:
So you’re back for another round. What made you want to do this again?
Good question. After the amount of stress and hassle of the impending arctic storm the day of the festival last year, with multiple bands (esp the Danish ones, and Wolf People) worried they may not even make it, it finally all worked out and ended up being an important landmark in the Norwegian music scene. Therefore we thought, why not give it one last go and see if people really are into this here.
What have you learned (to do and not to do) from last years festival?
I should say “book too many bands” but we’ve gone ahead and outdone ourselves this year. It all just means extra catering, extra drinks, hotels, backline, variables, so I think more than anything if there is a next year (the jury’s out so far) then it will be much more manageable with almost no bands flying in and just booking bands on the road. It gets so expensive and messy flying in people with airport pick-ups, extra baggage, backline, etc. The costs skyrocket.
You seem to be even more ambitious this year, with several stages and a larger budget. Can Oslo support such a large festival for psych music?
Lets see. The thing was, we wanted to have it in a smaller venue, but when bands like Ulver and Kåre & The Cavemen confirm so early on in the process you are forced to move to bigger locales. I personally would have prefered to keep it smaller and therefore less risk, but now that we have plunged in at the deep end lets hope we remember how to swim.
How much work goes into setting up a festival like this?
An obscene amount. And there is always that nagging doubt that you forgot something important or a plane will get cancelled and ruin the whole thing. There are so many emails, check-lists, contracts, suppliers, backline issues, transport, hotels, food, riders, special requests (mostly for weed), volunteers, posters to hang up, websites to update, invoices, info sheets, agents nagging for something or other, all whilst I am still the booker at Revolver Oslo full time. So it’s been a heavy month.
How did you choose the bands for this years festival?
Kåre & The Cavemen and Ulver we really wanted, and so we approached them early (since Ulver were originally interested in playing last year but couldn’t) and got them to confirm so we built the festival around them basically. Then we managed to get a lot of our favourite bands who were on the road at that time and wanted to play, so it all fell into place rather nicely. The only real heart attack moment was finding Saturdays headliner. It took a long time to work out the practical issues, so I was very relieved when we could finally announce Hawkwind.
Which bands are you most excited about for this years events?
I always enjoy seeing White Hills. Ulver’s performance promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime thing, Kåre & The Cavemen are always great and Hawkwind I haven’t seen in over 10 years. Also curious about the smaller bands like Les Big Byrd, L’Obscurite and Grumbling Fur. Holy Wave and Naam… ah… it’s hard to choose.
Is there more national and international press interest this year vs. last?
Well, we have the Huffington Post sending a woman over from Brazil to cover the whole festival, so thats pretty cool. Norwegian press has been slow to the boil as usual and most won’t realize it happened till its over. We hope some editors pull their finger out and try support the underground scene, and help us at least break even. Its all our risk this time around.
Do you have hotel deals for out of towners this year?
Yes. The people at Comfort Express Youngstorget have been amazing and are offering good deals on rooms if people book there explaining that they are going to Psych Fest.
You’ve put on psych fest promoted Oslo Psych Night shows for a while now. What other OPN shows are on the horizon?
Well we just announced the return of Silver Apples today which is amazing. We have Pink Mountaintops, The Cult of Dom Keller, La Luz (with Toby Dammit from Stooges DJ-ing with his friend Lenny Kaye from Patti Smith Band), Jex Thoth and of course not forgetting our Oslo Psych Fest vorspiel with Maribel and Nachspiel with The Low Frequency in Stereo. Both nights should be awesome!
Why should people come to Oslo Psych Fest this year?
Because its not just about getting drunk and falling asleep under a tree. Come here to see old favourites but also come with an open mind to experience something new, we have hand picked all these bands and all of us stand for them. Whatever that means….
Will there be a psych fest volume 3?
That remains to be seen. It depends how many gray hairs we all have by the time this is over, and if we have to pay off the debt for the next 20 years. So before you go ahead and text us for a guestlist, just remember if you do we might be working it off for the next decade. Cheers!
Check out info and links to sound from all the bands below:
Maribel released their first album Aesthetics in 2009 and became one of the leading underground bands in Norway. The follow up Reveries in 2012 was distributed world wide via Norwegian-Canadian label Splendour and the band got well deserved international recognition. Third album Bronze is to be released later this year and Oslo Psych Fest vorspiel will be the bands first performance with a new line up and new songs.
Hawkwind are an English rock band, one of the earliest space rock groups. Their lyrics favour urban and science fiction themes. They are considered a key link between the hippie and punk cultures. Hawkwind are primarily known for playing “space rock”, a hybrid of hard rock and acid rock that united the sonic power of the former and the free improvisation of the latter. Formed in November 1969, Hawkwind have gone through many incarnations and styles of music. Dozens of musicians, dancers and writers have worked with the group since their inception.
KÅRE & THE CAVEMEN
No introduction is needed! We are honoured to have these living legends of the Norwegian underground scene play at our festival this September!
ULVER (performing Childhoods End – Age of Aquarius)
Ulver (Norwegian for “wolves”) are a Norwegian experimental musical collective founded in 1993, by vocalist Kristoffer Rygg. Their early works, such as Bergtatt, were categorised as folklore-influenced black metal but have since evolved a fluid and increasingly eclectic musical style, blending genres such as rock, electronica, symphonic and chamber traditions, noise and experimental music into their oeuvre.
HOLY WAVE (USA)
“What stands out about Holy Wave is the sonic textures they apply to make their sound pierce through the smoke-filled haze that engulfs most psych bands” -Covert Curiosity. We are all very excited to have Holy Wave play their first show ever in Oslo!
WHITE HILLS (US)
White Hills’ core members are guitarist Dave W. and bassist Ego Sensation. Dave W. is the primary singer, but Ego Sensation also contributes vocals, and sings lead on some songs.
White Hills play themselves in the upcoming Jim Jarmusch film Only Lovers Left Alive, performing their 2007 song “Under Skin Or By Name” at a Detroit music club.
THE APRICOT (N)
The Apricot is an Oslo based Psychedelic rock group who has been playing together for several years. The members all have background from different groups, and The Apricot has been their musical playground alongside their other individual band projects. The Apricot released the album “A Forestful of Threes” in 2011, which became “New Album of the Year” in Shindig magazine, and was nominated to “Album of the Year” in Natt&Dag. The Apricot consists of Anders Tjore, Christian Engfelt, Peder Bernhardt and Børge Henriksen.
Spindrift is an American psychedelic rock band, created by singer-songwriter-composer-producer-actor Kirpatrick Thomas. Heavily influenced by The Doors, My Bloody Valentine, Hawkwind, Bruce Haack, and Chrome. They played a sweltering show at Revolver last year, but this time will be back with a full line-up!
Formed in Brooklyn, NY by John Bundy, Ryan Lugar, and Eli Pizzuto, Naam released their first self-released EP Kingdom in early 2009. Many people took notice and NAAM was quickly signed to the renowned Tee Pee Records. The bands second album “Vow” was released on June 4th of 2013 on Tee Pee Records. Naam are currently writing for their third album.
ELECTRIC EYE (N)
Electric Eye play droned out psych-rock inspired by the blues, India and the ever more expanding universe. On the bands inspirational mix tape, you will probably find songs from the The Black Angels, Wooden Shjips and Pink Floyd in Pompeii. With members from some of Bergen’s foremost underground bands, a couple of spectacular songs and live shows, the buzz about Electric Eye swiftly spread from Norway to music fans world wide.
THE MOVEMENTS (SE)
Psychedelic rock from Gothenburg, Sweden
Quilt are a three-piece psychedelic indie-rock band from Boston consisting of Anna Fox Rochinski (vocals/guitars), Shane Butler (vocals/guitars) and John Andrews (vocals/drums). They have released two albums through Mexican Summer, and EP and a handful of singles. The band have toured internationally. The band write collaboratively and share vocal duties. They were borne out a local improv scene and combine elements of folk-rock, psychedelica and dream pop
AL LOVER’S SACRED DRUGS
GRUMBLING FUR (UK)
Daniel O’Sullivan and Alexander Tucker are long time friends and collaborators. Both artists are veterans of the UK experimental underground: O’Sullivan as a member of Guapo, Ulver, and Aethenor (with Stephen O’Malley), and Tucker with imbogodom and as an eclectic (read: Yeti) solo artist. On their newest album as Grumbling Fur, Glynnaestra, they have crafted an avant-pop album assembled as one would a collage. This structural foundation is built up via an eclectic array of instruments, both acoustic and modified, to pulsating electronic sounds. Add to this mix the pair’s entirely modern shamanistic meta-narratives, and the result is a contemporary psychedelic pop delight. Grumbling Fur’s world is an innovative one, where every sound contains its own unique story, and is driven by the overarching melody and harmony. O’Sullivan and Tucker write pop songs for the sophisticated palate.
Norwegian legends return for some madness.
THE LOW FREQUENCY IN STEREO
Praised by the likes likes from David Fricke in Rolling Stone Magazine and Michael Stipe from R.E.M, The Low Frequency in Stereo has just released “POP OBSKURA” on the German label SPV. The band has been called the band with one foot in Pompeii and one in space. They have developed from being a searching instrumental lo-fi-post-rock band that Pitchfork dubbed ”Psych-Garage Dronemeisters” to a fullblown, focused and fresh sounding rock ensemble with great songs and a mix of dark atmospheres and catchy choruses.