Let us begin with an introduction of DESPERADO.
Thomas: We are 5 individuals that play together in this band, and we have done so for three years now. We are not your youngest band, the majority off us is closer to our thirties, but this is not the first band for anyone. We all have been playing something since our teens. We started the band on the motivation that there were so many shitty bands in Norway at that moment. They all looked so bored and played shows with so little heart and passion. We wanted to rebel against that. Kick out the jams!
In your native country Norway you recently released your first full length, called “Thugs”, through Dead Letter Records. Are there concrete plans and partners to release the album in Germany as well?
Thomas: Yes, we are working on it, “Thugs” will be released in the UK by British label Stunted Records (Shellshock Distribution), and we would really like to get it out on some German label as well. Some DIY distros has it already. But hey, German labels, please help us out!
You and Eskild are former members of RIFU, another great Norwegian hardcore band. What have both bands in common and where do you see the biggest differences?
Thomas: We don’t feel that the bands have so much in common, besides that me and Oyvind from RIFU have been almost neighbors for ages. But we share a long history in the local hardcore community together, and have many sweet memories on tours and on each others concerts. And I guess we have the same silly humour, and drinking habits.
What were the reasons for leaving RIFU and founding DESPERADO?
Thomas: I quit RIFU because I did not feel like touring that much after a long European tour, while my four month old son was home waiting with my girlfriend. But I very quick got restless, and she asked me to please start playing music again, because I seemed so depressed when I did not. So I started to talk to some friends that also was getting really into screamo, and Eskild and I wanted to still play together because we have a very common taste in music we want to play and how to perform it.
Things kind of moved slow, it took about a year before we had a serious line up, but then we kicked our own asses, started booking tours, recorded and released an EP and things moved faster. That same autumn we had played all over Norway, many people came to our shows and we had a great time. I think Eskild kept on playing in RIFU a year further, but he got tired of jumping between tours.
How have the reactions on “Thugs” been so far?
Thomas: This album is more Nordic, darker and less American than our previous ones. The hardcore kids in Norway love it, probably also because of the fact that we don’t sell out, as some people have suspected us to do all the way, and many other hardcore bands do. I guess it is easy to judge a person when he don’t have the stereotype DIY look. But hey, you can have a lot of meanings even though you don’t have a dreadlock in your neck, 200 piercings in your face, and showers daily.
But seriously. If we would like to get rich on this shit, there would be a million more easy options than our path. But the response is great. On the first records it was the media that hailed us. Now the audience is doing it. And we get all this comments that people identify with our lyrics and musical expression. So we could not be more happy.
One of the most impressing elements about the record are the straight-to-the-point-lyrics. Where does the content of your songs originate from?
Thomas: I write the lyrics, but it’s about stories from our own lives and its ups and downs. A lot of personal shit have happened to us during the last years and this is an attempt to make short stories about it. And a lot of our experiences are like products of the society we live in, and how you as a human being get fucked over and over again by your surroundings. So the personal stuff ends up with a political edge I guess.
Which meaning has DESPERADO for you?
Thomas: We are very happy that we have this band, because it makes our lifes more rich by creating something by ourselves on our own terms. And the band get us places, to meet all this good people and experience wild stuff. But we all have a lot other things on our minds, and we have people that we share our lives with. But we don’t keep this as an egotrip, we try to share it as much as possible with the people we love.
Where do you see the stylistic roots of DESPERADO?
Thomas: That’s a lot. All from the very hard work that BLACK FLAG did with their band, to the wildness of the STOOGES, and the moment of bands like REFUSED. A band that have inspired me very much is YAGE from Cologne, they had their hearts and minds in the very right place. But what drives us most is the response by the audience. That’s what makes the effort worth it.
At the moment you are on a four week tour through Europe. Is playing in front of so many different crowds the reward for the studio work?
Thomas: It is a really bonus to get so much variety like this tour. Every country and towns gives a certain memory, and we have played everything from a Jazzclub with smiling audience in Prague, to violent German skinheads and their Squats, and trendy UK goth clubbers.
Which countries are you visiting during this period?
Thomas: We have almost spent the whole autumn in the van. We started off in the North of Norway in mid September; and crawled our way down for some weeks. Then we went to the UK for some weeks, and then mainland Europe, total 8 countries, including Spain, France, Germany, Austria and Czech Republic.
What are your impressions about the tour so far?
Thomas: It has been our best tour so far I guess. This whole year has been amazing. From last winter on a lot more people are coming to our shows in Norway, this summer we played all this festivals and hung out, and now this tour, where we get very good response every night. The best thing is that since “Thugs” is not official released in Europe, we get to do it all over again in 2007. What a bonus.
In Berlin you played in front of only a few people, but in spite of a short gig you gave everyone one hell of a show. Is the size of a crowd of any importance for you?
Thomas: As long as we got a reaction we are fine. If people hate it, it is kind of funny, if people like it and dance or smile, it is even better. We really love if people communicate with us between the songs. This is not so serious, so it is good to get some smiles going. But we have played in front of like 500 people and more, and gotten less out of it, than playing in front of 10 thankful people. You know, size doesn’t matter, it is how you use it…
What are your plans for the near future?
Thomas: We have a handful of shows left this autumn, then we have another Scandinavian tour coming up in February. “Thugs” will be released in March in the UK, and we will be back for another tour. We are also planning a European tour in April, hopefully with a release as well.
Any last words you would like to spread?
Thomas: Please check us out. We come in peace.