When I heard the phrase “A rockabilly, a hard-rocker and a metalhead get into a bar…” I felt an irresistible urge to figure out the end of this story. I mean, it can only be good, right?
The GRUMPYNATORS are four guys from Copenhagen with very diverse backgrounds – two guys come from the rockabilly scene, one guy from classic heavy metal, and one guy from hard rock. Imagine a mix of Social Distortion, Motörhead, and Stray Cats supercharged with adrenaline and testosterone, and then you get Grumpynators.
Their third album ‘Still Alive’ is the epitome of rock n roll. Not the genre but the lifestyle. The kind of sound that reminds you the revolutionary freedom that is generated by music. Limitless, original music that does not conform or fit in pre-cut boxes.
Remember when you were young, excited, care-free and ready to grab life by the-you-know-what? Well, these guys do and they will show you how.
Hi guys! Welcome to the Chelfom. This is going to be a get-to-know-you kind of party because I find the entire concept fascinating I would love to know the masterminds behind this masterpiece of music.
So let’s dive into a randomness of questions, grab your drink of choice (that’s mandatory, I don’t think you’ll be able to bear with me sober.)
What were you known for in high school?
- Christian: I would love to say that I was the cool guy who got all the chicks, but in fact, I was a nerdy dreamer, with glasses, that just had started to play the guitar a year before I entered high school. I was a funny guy, who hated all kinds of sports and was great at making mix-tapes.
- Jakob: To be the only who was into rockabilly in school
- Emil: Being kicked out of rehearsal room because we played punk, which the Principal didn’t like.
- Per: Nothing… I never went to high school. But if I have been there, it would have been known as a strange shy (some would have called it arrogance) long haired wannabee metalhead, who knew more about hair product than the girls.
LET’S FIGURE OUT YOUR STRIPPER NAMES. YOU KNOW, JUST IN CASE YOU NEED A FEW EXTRA $ TO SUPPORT YOUR UPCOMING TOUR. YOUR STRIPPER NAME IS THE COLOUR OF YOUR UNDERWEAR AND THE LAST THING YOU ATE. GO.
Christian: Black Taco
Jakob: Blue Taco
Emil: Red Salad
Per: DarkBlue Danish
You have a gun to your head and one phone call to one of your band mates. If they answer and remain calm you are free. Who are you calling?
- Christian: That would probably be Per… Sorry Oelund brothers
- Jakob: Christian. As long as we avoid certain topics, he is good at staying calm
- Emil: Christian. His pulse is so low, we are wondering if he’s Still Alive
- Per: Christian (dut, dut.. Sorry, the person you are trying to call, is not available. Please leave a message)
Musically speaking what are you currently attached to right now that if it was taken away you’d feel less of yourself?
- Christian: My preferred poison has always been hard rock from the seventies and eighties, like AC/DC and Led Zeppelin, but right now I’m actually listening a lot to Bay Area trash bands like Testament, Exodus, Megadeth and Metallica. I totally love that.
- Jakob: The fun of playing live. I love the interaction when we are having a party with all who attends. It is like one party. We just happen to be on stage
- Emil: Concerts, both our own, but also the one’s with real bands
- Per: Out playing live and all around it. Traveling, setting up, sound check, excitement before entering the stage, feedback from the audience, the afterparty and just being happy about it all. Musically speaking, I listen a lot to Gojira at the moment. Such energy and nerve in every song. I do like our own stuff as well and listen often to that as well.
I someone paid you $1 million to get a song title tattoo, what title would you chose?
- Christian: I would get ANY song-title tattooed for that kind of money, but “Born to lose – live to win” by Headcat would probably be my choice.
- Jakob: Still Alive
- Emil: I walk the line
- Per: “Still Alive” because that’s how I live it..
With such a diverse background, what’s holding you four together?
- Christian: We actually have a lot in common. We come from 4 different backgrounds musically, but we all listen to rock music basically, we are close in age and we all have 2 children each…. And we are basically just good friends that have a good time when we are out having beers
- Jakob: The fun of being together. We are not just a band. We also meet to be together without the music
- Emil: Friendship, social arrangements, tours and fun being together
- Per: I have known Jakob and Emil for many many years, and we have played together in other more unserious but always super fun and joy able context, and always with mutual respect in every possible way. I didn’t know Christian before joining the band, but he is the same character as the rest of us, so as a person, a perfect match. Alongside all that, I guess we all enjoy having lots of fun, on tour, recording and just hanging out with each other. Everyone contributes to the friendship in one way or another, so that have been the main glue for me.
Mawhock and suits. Scandinavians don’t really enjoy standing out in a crowd but that’s not the case with you, is it?
- Christian: Well if you play rock music and don’t want to stand out in the crowd, you are probably in the wrong business. I think that it is important that people remember us, and that they get an experience, when we are out playing live, and they don’t do that if you show up in the same hoodie as everybody else.
- Jakob: I love the combination of a high quiff and a fancy suit. It like mixing things together. It also tells something about your personality – dare to be different.
- Emil: I like contrasts, so i.e. being nice and gentle off stage and then aggressive on stage
- Per: We actually enjoy being a part of a party/conversation on equal terms as everybody else. You need to give something of yourself in order to get something back. I don’t think this is standing out in a crowd, but people might see it that way. So I guess you could be right.
Describe your life with a movie title.
- Christian: My wife would probably say “The Man who wasn’t there” by the Cohen Brothers hahaha, but I think I will go for “Alive”.
- Jakob: Duck Soup
- Emil: National Lampoon’s Vacation
- Per: The Neverending Story. I could be Bastian. My magic book and fantasia is the music and the band.
What was the most and the least exciting part of making “still alive”?
- Christian: I think the most exciting part was the recording process in Medley Studios in Copenhagen where everything came alive – No pun attended. Soren, our producer, was very committed and participated a lot to the whole process. That was the best recording process I have tried so far. The least exciting part was probably when we had to cut down 20 songs, to the 10 songs we have on the record. That is never fun. Everybody has their small babies, and there will always be someone who fells a bit mistreated after a process like that.
- Jakob: It was great to have Søren Andersen to produce us. He got under our skin and could put words on and get us to do our best. The least part was the constant time pressure. It was recorded in a period of time, where I was very busy at work too.
- Emil: Working with Søren Andersen was really a good experience. Wish we had more time in studio.
- Per: Besides being in a studio with a producer(Søren Andersen), who have loads of good ideas, and is very skilled and dedicated and being able to get into the core of what Grumpynators is all about, was a great joy. Besides that, for me was how the songs evolved from a small idea and into this finished song. You might have an idea from the beginning how this finished song would song like, but every time it ends far off – in a good way I must add. It’s a creative wonderland recording, and I get high on it, but it can also be very hard on you because when the song is recorded, mixed, mastered and released, you can’t change it. The least exciting part was to pick the 10 best songs out of 20 which we have made. A hard process, when 4 guys have so diverse backgrounds and ideas. Everybody is extremely good on compromising, so even if the process was very tough, we learned a lot on a personal level going through this process.
Please brag to me about one thing you did in quarantine that you are proud of.
- Christian: Well, I have 2 daughters that is in the 0th and 1st grade at school. I managed to home-school them combined with delivering 8 hours of work to where I’m employed every day. I consider that quite an achievement! … And I have also written enough guitar-riffs for a fourth record with Grumpynators… Hahaha.
- Jakob: I managed to do a lot of meetings over the phone while taking long walks in the countryside. Not a big thing – just the joy of adapting to the situation in a positive manner
- Emil: I helped to get my son home from Australia
- Per: Stayed at home working, staying healthy and not gamble with the possibility to get and spread the virus to persons in high-risk groups, like my parents.
Should we expect a big European Tour any time in the near future?
Grumpynators: Touring is what we love the most, so with the release of our new album “Still Alive” in august and the fact that we have teamed up with Continental Concerts from Germany, will certainly make this even more realistic. We guess that the size of a tour depends on how well music lovers, the music press, our fans and followers will embrace the album. It all, of course, depends on how the corona pandemic is getting under control throughout Europe.
All I Want is that you’ll be Back on the Road Again and I’m sure all the Dream Girls and Monster Girls and your fans out there Feel The Same.
Your Sweet Psycho Sister Chelf.
Christian Nørgaard : guitar
Jakob Øelund: double bass
Emil Øelund: guitar, vocals
Per Fisker: drums
INTERVIEW AS IT ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON MHF MAGAZINE