Toschie from Audrey Horne talks Bergen and Michael Jackson

On last week’s Metal Hammer Radio Show we were joined by the frontman from acclaimed Norwegian hard rockers Audrey Horne. Toschie stopped by to talk about his local music scene, the King Of Pop, Twin Peaks and more. But if you missed it, you can check it out now!

Your album Pure Heavy is exactly what it says on the tin, as they say. Correct me if I’m wrong, it’s a bit of ’70s stadium rock. Is that right?

“Yeah it is. We’re a band that plays the music that we love playing and it’s very much influenced and based on a lot of the music that we grew up listening to, and that was basically stadium rock, most of it.”

**So, what and who did you grow up listening to then? Who did you aspire to be when you first wanted to take the stage? **

“The first thing was Kiss. Kiss was like the door opener for me. Not just the music, it was the whole thing, the whole larger than life thing. I basically saw that and was like, ‘Wow,’ they were out of this world. Then later on it was Van Halen, Mötley Crüe, I don’t remember, but my mum told me, at one point I came into the kitchen and showed her the Shout At The Devil artwork and said, ‘Mum, this is what I’m going to be when I grow up,’ and she looked at it and she was like, ‘Wearing high heels and women’s clothes and make up, right, I don’t think that’s a job.‘”

It can be.

“It can be, of course, it can be actually the world’s oldest trade I’ve heard, but the point is, this sort of music is what we grew up listening to and that’s what inspired us. It was Van Halen, Mötley Crüe, and then of course older stuff like Zeppelin, Deep Purple, which I found later on.”

So, basically, really big riffs with a pop sensibility, is that an accurate assessment of what it’s all about?

“It is, it is. You know when we write music it always starts with good riffs, but we’ve always had this policy that, if you can’t write a good melody line on top of it then the riff has basically no value, unless you make an instrumental album. We always look to David Bowie and The Beatles, and those bands and artists. We think that you need the pop sensibility, you need that to make a good song basically.”

You can’t see this, but Toschie’s actually wearing a Michael Jackson t-shirt. Do you count yourself a fan or is that ironic? What’s going on there?

“No, it’s not ironic at all. I’m a big fan, he’s done some amazing albums and he was an amazing artist.”

Do you think because of all the, you might say, weirdness that came later, he’s kind of underrated as an actual artist, because you look at some of that early footage and, I mean, he was kind of God like on stage.

“He was, and I think, of course the craziness and over the moon madness that he turned into took away the focus from the really, really amazing artist that he was. His albums Off The Wall and Thriller, and Bad also I think, they were amazing albums and if you’ve seen some of the film they made,_ This Is It_, he goes on stage and how fast he grasps things, even just the dance parts where they’ve been rehearsing for months and he comes in and it takes him 20 minutes and he’s on top of his game. It was just amazing, he was a really, really good artist.”

**When I first heard Audrey Horne I was just startled because I think like many people I’d always made a lot of possibly unfair assumptions about the Norwegian music scene and the kind of music that was coming out of there – possibly expecting it to be some kind of black metal. What I discovered in Bergen was a real community, obviously Ice Dale was a part of the band, you know, it was really emblematic of just how many different walks of life and musical styles come together to create what Audrey Horne is. **

Now, is it like a special community there? It really felt like there was a scene, is that still there? Does that still exist in Bergen?

“It does and actually. The thing about Bergen that makes the music scene so good and so vital in many ways, is the fact that there really are no borders between genres. People hang out with pop musicians and metal musicians, and jazz, indie, rock, whatever. I think that makes it a very open-minded community, so people are not afraid to collaborate and do cross-over things. I think people want to see other bands do good and help other bands to do well. It is a very, very good community there and it’s still very much alive.”

One last question and you’re going to have to forgive me right, but it’s down to your namesake. So, there’s news that they’re going to be re-doing Twin Peaks, they’re resurrecting the entire series. How do you feel about that man? Does it need a reboot?

“Let’s put it this way, they did the same thing with The Destroyer album with Kiss. I bought it of course and I listened to it, and you can find something in there that’s a bit different, but it didn’t make it better than the original.”