Norway’s Teodor Tuff recently released their excellent second album “Soliloquy”. The album contains some of the most excellent metal songs that you will hear this year. Guitarists Knut Lysklætt and Christer Harøy took the time to talk to ThisIsNotAScene about the band and their album.
First of all the album is excellent! I personally had never heard of you guys before. Could you introduce the band to the readers please?
Knut Lysklætt: We are a Norwegian band, based in Bjugn, on the Fosen peninsula, across the fjord from Trondheim, Norway’s third largest city. It’s a community of 5.000 inhabitants, rich in music and culture. Our long term objective is to develop our own recognizable style of metal, and to bring our music to an ever increasing group of fans around the world.
The first album came about as a result of five childhood friends getting together drinking whisky, and then deciding to record an album. We had a lot of fun doing it, but, listening to it now, there was not a clear direction, and the production was way too soft.
Having done the first album, I knew that the band had more going for it, but the presentation needed to be more defined and to the point, as well as way harder. I wanted to take the band down the metal-route, and this was difficult with the first line-up, as it became evident that our musical interests were quite disparate. I was also keen to have the band participate more actively in the arrangement and productions of songs, in order to free more time to be creative.
After a friendly discussion about the group’s direction, our bass-player, lead guitarist and vocalist left the band (thank you for helping us get the band off the ground)! Luckily, within a couple of weeks we had found their replacements. Enter the Harøys: Christer Harøy (lead guitar), Rayner Harøy (bass) and their cousin Terje Harøy decided to join the band. During the first rehearsal we knew that we had something good cooking. All these guys are very proficient musicians, and they do not shy away from experimenting with the wildest idea, and pushing the envelope of the metal genre. The band has now found its way – and we are all pulling the cart in the same direction.
Musically you guys seem to be more like a traditional metal band with a few symphonic touches. How would you describe yourselves?
Christer Harøy: Well, I think our music is some kind of a melting pot, in the sense that all of us are inspired from different artists and music, and when we mix all those influences, we end up sounding like we do.
Like Knut Lysklætt (who writes most of the songs) is influenced by musicals, classical music, folk-music from the Middle-east, and hard-rock, while me and my brother Rayner like the heavier stuff, like NWOBHM, Thrash Metal, and progressive metal. So when the songs are fully arranged it sounds like a mix of all that.
Who would you say are the band’s influences? I personally hear a ton of Scorpions. Especially vocally.
Christer: Ahhh….I love the Scorpions, and so many other bands from the 80’s. The influences comes from so many different bands and different music. We all love bands from the 70’s, like Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Rainbow and so on. But also band from the 80’s, 90’s and 00’s. For me personally, I love almost every kind of music, but still it’s metal that really gets me going. I love the melodic metal from the 80’s, like Def Leppard, Van Halen, and the NWOBHM like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and so many more. Also the thrash metal bands like Anthrax, Metallica, Testament, Flotsam andJjetsam, and of course the progressive metal bands like Fates Warning, Dream Theater, Symphony X and so on. In Flames and Pantera are also one of my favorites. Guess I have mentioned 1/1000 of what I like here……hehehe. So many good bands and so much good music.
How have you guys fared sales wise? To my understanding you guys were on the Norweigen charts for the previous album.
Knut: The first album was commercially accessible – as it was more heavy-rock oriented. The second album is more of a metal offering, which, of course, gets very little airplay. We managed to enter the charts this time around too, with “‘Soliloquy”, so we can’t complain.
Are you guys aiming to become well known in N.America or are you more focused on Norway and Europe for now?
Christer: We try to get our name known in both Europe and the US. We have made some good contacts both in Europe and the US helping us out to promote our music. Since the album was released in January in Europe and June in the US, we’re currently more focused on the US now.
We’re also working on booking a European tour, so we will see what happens. And it would also be great to get the chance to play in N America.
I was really surprised by how hooky and anthemic your songs are. Most metal nowadays is more concerned about heaviness, yet you guys are similar to the Scorpions and Priest where you are heavy but melodic enough to get on the radio. Was this intentional?
Christer: Growing up in the 70’s and 80’s made us listen to very melodic music, so it feels very natural for us to focus on writing melodic music with loads of vocal harmonies. Still we also want to keep it heavy.
If we get a song on the radio, that’s cool, but that’s not the reason why we write melodic music.
What are the band’s plans to get more exposure in North America?
Christer: We’re hopeing to do as many interviews we can, and try to get some plays on radio and web-radio as well. And of course to play some gigs would be amazing. We really want to play ProgPower USA, but it’s hard to earn a spot on the festival. So many great bands play there, and it seems to be a really well-organized and well arranged festival.
What is the meaning of the band’s name? I was expecting to hear a bunch of muscle heads.
Christer: Hahaha. Well, the name is taken from a local figure from the country-side in Norway where we come from. I’ll let Knut tell you more about it.
Knut: Teodor Tuff was a farm-hand in Vallersund, the small village in which we all grew up. Teodor lived on an island, and he was rarely seen, except for Constitution Day, when he attended the parade, partially in hiding behind the farmer. Among us kids, Teodor had taken on an almost mythical status. As far as I know, no person has ever had the same name, so Teodor Tuff was one of a kind. The name of the band is a tribute to Mr. Tuff. Hopefully we can become one of a kind as well, with our own distinct style
Downloading: good for the band or theft? Explain why you feel that way?
Christer: I think it’s both. I appreciate that people like our music, and want to check it out, but it’s cooler when people pay for it. Music today is very accessible, and also cheap to purchase. Musicians invest time and money to record and release an album, so in that sense I think it’s theft.
Still downloading can help bands like us getting more people checking out our music, and make our name more known.
Is the band a full time gig or do you have day jobs? If so what do you do?
Christer: No, it’s not our job, though I wish it was. There’s less money in the business nowadays, so it’s way harder to make a living out of it. So three of us work as teachers, one electrician and one who is Chairman for a chain of clothing-stores.
Do you feel the whole notoriety attached to Norwegian metal by way of the 90s black metal has helped Norwegian metal or hindered it?
Christer: I think it maybe drew some attention to Norwegian black metal, but I don’t think bands like us have profited very much on it. But all respect to Norwegian black metal band. Loads of great musicians and bands.