An interview with Årabrot

If any band deserves to be named after a landfill site it’s Norway’s Årabrot, a demented slagheap of noise-rock that’s about as vicious as they come. Pull on yer rubber gloves, get the Toilet Duck handy and read on…
“We started out young and bored in the summer of 2001. The result was a 7” and the birth of Årabrot – basically a snotty, abrasive garage noise band with the intention of becoming the loudest Norway had ever produced.” So says frontman Kjetil Nernes, and with a string of EPs and three shattered albums in their wake you’d be hard pushed to say they hadn’t met their goal, with latest offering ‘The Brother Seed’ loaded with more boss-eyed menace, lumpen repetition and flailing grabs for the throat than you’d ever dare shake a stick at. Still, a lot has changed in the nine years since the band first attached its suckered mouth to the noise-rock underbelly, with genre titans Pissed Jeans having brought the genre back home to roost and any number of lesser acts dropping names like Rusted Shut and the Brainbombs as though their credibility depended upon it. Has Nernes, in recent times, seen more acceptance of the band’s unwelcome advances? “Not really,” is his rather blunt response, “I still see a lot of question marks and frowns in Europe, as opposed to complete understanding to where we’re coming from in the States. What I do  see though is the enormous effect Sunn O))) has had in bringing drones to the average metal crowd. All of a sudden people are actually interested when we’re playing the same riff for half an hour.” With the band’s influences (think 90s AmRep violence mingled with early industrial clanks) on display like cankerous war wounds talk turns to the band’s native Norway, perhaps most famed musically for gifting us a wealth of corpsepainted talent. Given the band’s malignant aura, has the dark spectre of black metal had any impact on Årabrot’s sound and how, if at all, does the band see itself fitting into the contemporary Norwegian music scene? “Some black metal bands, like Mayhem and Burzum, have been a great influence on us,” says Nernes on the first point before addressing the latter: “fitting into the current Norwegian scene has proved pointless and impossible. It’s not really anything we’re focusing on.” Indeed, making a safe little nest for themselves appears to be the last thing on Årabrot’s agenda, with Nernes already several steps ahead where the band’s future is concerned: “I’m already working on new material. Not for the follow-up to ‘The Brother Seed’, but the one after that. It’s gonna be heavier, with slower, longer songs. I’ve worked on this project for almost 10 years and I have a pretty clear vision on its progress – hopefully by the end we’ll be able to stand out as a great, genuine sounding alternative rock n’ roll band.”