Interview: Oslo Ess

Punk band Oslo Ess’s rock music is transcending audiences and country borders as they turn the humdrum into the spectacular.

“We want to tell stories about our lives,” vocalist and guitarist Asmund Lande said. “We kind of have a Bruce Springsteen perspective on it all, you know, like the working class perspective on it because that’s where we’re from.”

Oslo Ess’s humble approach to crafting driving punk rock songs brings the genre down to the level of the everyday person. Throughout the band’s discography and in their disposition, the men of Oslo Ess find beauty in the mundane and turn it into art that can be played for their audience.

“I want to try to make people happy, make them appreciate the little things in life,” Lande said.

One of the ways the band achieves this is through putting priority on the live performance.“You have to be there and feel the energy of the band,” Lande said. “It’s also very important for us to try to make every concert feel like the most important thing. You have to make it feel like the last concert every time.”

Oslo Ess’s charisma and ability to interact with a crowd in a live setting are both fundamental qualities that are attributing to their success now and in the future. Oslo Ess could easily find a market for their punk music internationally, given their American west coast punk rock influence.

The band makes their relationship with American culture explicitly clear in their upbeat, satirical, tongue-in-cheek anthem “Amerika.” With lyrics such as “Just across the pond there is greener grass and the whitest house you have ever seen,” Lande details the false glorification of American culture within Europe.

“From a European perspective, the U.S.A. is the big thing when it comes to culture, movies and music,” Lande said. “In the end I think we are doing quite fine over here.”

All of the band’s lyrics are sung in Norwegian by Lande. Many Norwegian acts sing in English in order to expose themselves to a larger audience but Oslo Ess embraces their mother tongue while performing. While this shows the band’s pride in their home country, it may also be limiting the amount of people who hear Oslo Ess’s heart-stopping riffs and anthems.

“The first advice would be to consider singing in English,” Per Ole Hagen, assistant professor of music at the University of Oslo, said of Oslo Ess. “I’m afraid so because I know people are concerned about if they don’t understand the lyrics.”

“Amerika” is a light-hearted jam that closes the band’s most recent album “Konge Uten Ei Krone.” While the song pokes a little fun, it also shows how certain American music has shaped the band into what it is today.

“We grew up with American music ourselves, like Rancid and the California punk rock scene,” Lande said. “We appreciate our cultural and musical influence also in that tune because that’s where our influences in music come from.”

Oslo Ess is poised to be successful in whatever endeavors they pursue, whether it is taking on the music scene Norway or the world.