Poster Boys: Making Rock Real Again

“Everything goes in circles,” Emil Haglund, vocalist and guitarist for power pop band Posterboys, said. “I think it’s time for some rock and roll.”

Posterboys, based in Oslo, Norway, are bringing energetic pop rock to the forefront of an electronic dominated music scene.

The band is comprised of vocalist and guitarist Anders Løland, drummer Trygve Dyrstad, bassist Stian Engen and Haglund. Posterboys cite Big Star, Teenage Fanclub, Dinosaur Jr. and Wilco as their inspirations.

The men of Posterboys ooze charisma and cool determination as they play their single “Best Friends” and unreleased single “Never Get Along.” The songs are packed with swaggering guitar riffs, energetic drum and Løland approaching the vocal delivery with a chill punk mentality.

The band also records and produces all their own work independent of a major studio. Posterboys have released two singles, “Hopeless Case” and “Best Friends,” and have finished recording their debut album along with an EP and a second album.

“In this recording process we are deciding everything ourselves,” Løland said. “We are recording ourselves. It feels like the freest way to do a recording.”

Løland said being a young musician in Oslo is hard. It means Posterboys hear criticism often from the rock community elders with more recording experience. “They say what to do in order for the song to be better,” Løland said. “This caused us to stumble away from our original ideas.”

“We’ve all had experience in the past going to the professional studio paying a lot of money then suddenly people outside the band start commenting on what we should do and what we should not do,” Dyrstad said. “We agree with ourselves so it just ruined everything when a different person said something and we were just like no.”

But the Posterboys agree that they have to do what they are good at to reach their full potential and make music with substance. By making music that actually means something to them, Posterboys try to set themselves apart from the Oslo pop music scene, which Løland said is too trapped in seeking only catchy hooks.

“I remember when we were mastering the first album,” Dystad said. “Another band’s mastering technician had this great catch line: ‘There’s no room for democracy in the studio.”

Posterboys now make their music entirely by themselves in order to ensure the product is something they are proud of and is true to their spirit.

“All the other bands are very produced,” Dyrstad said. “They play on a metronome you have all the arrangements set in stone and you have to do it exactly right. This band is the absolute opposite. It’s kind of just counting to four and hoping for the best.”

“And even our flaws could be a good thing,” Løland said. “It’s not about being perfect. It’s about energy”

Posterboys embrace their mistakes, even saying that if you listen closely to their songs you can hear the tempo of the song rushing or dragging. Incorporating these flaws gives the band character and their music real authentic emotion.

Posterboys see themselves as a beacon of potential for the live music scene where most musicians aren’t even using tangible instruments. “It’s weird because 10 years ago we would have been one of many bands but now the electronic music scene has been blown out of proportion,” Løland said.

It seems that Norway may be returning back to its roots as rock music once again becomes more popular. Given that one can’t talk about the Norwegian music scene without the mention of black metal, it is suiting that the trends should shift back in that direction of loud live music and bands like Posterboys.

“There’s room for rock again,” Dyrstad said.