Allow me introduce you to Tainted Souls, a Norwegian rock band from Oslo. I had the great pleasure of interviewing them after we became fast friends on Twitter and Facebook. Why am I making Norwegian friends online, you ask? Good question; the answer: I am 3/4 Norwegian, 3rd generation in America, I keep in touch with my family in Norway and I will be visiting there again this April. I am a card-carrying Sons of Norway member and currently working hard to learn Norwegian by taking language classes with Ms. Sissel on Saturdays, reading the Aftenposten newspaper, listening to the radio on NRK.no and watching these awesome Norwegian videos on YouTube.
I am also passionate about music and helping people promote their bands. It’s no secret how much I love Pearl Jam, Eddie Vedder and the grunge music of the ’90s. One of my favorite radio stations on SiriusXM is Lithium, which features my all-time music faves. When I first listened to Tainted Souls, I totally thought Morten’s voice sounded like Eddie Vedder’s and I knew I had to interview him.
Who are Tainted Souls?
Well, we are four Norwegian guys, Tor Arne on drums, Rune on bass, Bjørn on guitars, and myself on vocals. The name Tainted Souls comes from our idea that we are all born “clean” and that who we are today is the sum of all our experiences… that we are all “tainted” by our experiences in life.
It all started wit Bjørn and I meeting at an audition. He auditioned for my band at the time, and hearing him play that guitar, made me realize I needed to go in a different direction, so I left my band and together we formed Tainted Souls.
How do you write your songs?
Well, it varies actually. Sometimes a new song can be born while we’re jamming in our rehearsal studio, and other times it can come out of individual work.. Like if I write a new poem and Bjørn puts the basic riffs and chords to it before we all meet up and jam it into a finished song. And of course sometimes Bjørn sends me something he has come up with and I write lyrics to it. I ask him about his thoughts or if there are any words ringing in his head while he’s playing, and then I write lyrics to try to match that.
Do you all write?
Yes in a sense, we all contribute, I usually have the lyrics and vocal lines, Bjørn has the chords and riffs, Tor Arne and Rune lays down the drums and bass and the we do the final arrangements together.
How do you come up with the lyrics?
That all depends. I like sitting in cafes, just watching people, and often I write about people or situations I observe. It can be anything really, take “contemplate” (on the Mercury Mind album), that song is based on a couple I was watching at a cafe in Oslo. I also write a lot that is based on my own life and experiences, like “Pale” and “Get Up”.
Do you ever experience writers block?
Absolutely. Sometimes finished lyrics come flying out, and other time it can take weeks to finish something I’m working on. I then usually get out of the writers block when I make a new observation, or by putting everything away and go play with my kids for a while. Some of the words for “get up” came while watching the Paralympics.
I find inspiration in our fans (I read everything I get), in my kids, in everyday life, and in watching and listening to my idols and icons. Who? Eddie Vedder, Jim Morrison, Dylan…the list goes on…
I am addicted to Pearl Jam, but there are a lot of bands that influence us. Pearl Jam probably influences me more than the others, so our music is influenced from lots of bands, as we all bring our passions and ideas into the process of writing.
Have you ever met Pearl Jam?
No, unfortunately not. I flew over to Seattle just to feel and observe and “be” before we recorded the album “Mercury Mind”… and went through three major and in-depth security checks in the process… So one can say I will do anything!
What are your plans moving forward?
Well, right now we are focusing on marketing and promoting the album at home as well as outside of Norway, primarily the U.S. and Europe. We’re getting pretty good reviews and feedback in the U.S., UK, France, Netherlands and Eastern Europe and we’re focused on going to these areas, in addition to getting into the festivals in Norway.
Can you tell us a little bit more about your creative inspiration in Norwegian?
Oslo-bandet Tainted Souls er sterkt influert av grunge-rocken som startet i Seattle U.S., og har en vokalist som flere ganger har omtalt Eddie Vedder som nærmest å ha “gude-status”, og som dro hele veien til Seattle for å “kjenne på følelsen” før de gikk i studio og spilte inn albumet “Mercury Mind”. Da er det vel også naturlig at de tok kontakt med WA-jenta Lindy Neubauer for å få til et intervju. Å gå rundt der, fra fiskemarked til klubber, høre band og snakke med folk, gav Morten enda mer følelse for Seattle – og Vedder. Og masse inspirasjon han kunne ta med i studio og på scenen.
Thank you to the band for allowing me to interview you! Maybe they’ll proceed their idols and play Live at Benaroya Hall soon! I hope you enjoy their music as much as I do. Farvel for nå!