A conversation with Kristoffer Vold of Lydia Laska
This conversation took place at a sidewalk café in Oslo, and during that hour, a young man in a red suit passed by, and a car with one of those special made license plates…the ones that cost about 9000 NOK, and it read “NO WIFE”. At least it’s better than “NO WI-FI”. But now we are going to focus on the band that Kristoffer Vold and Georg Osnes started up some time in 2002.
Interviewed by Svein Egil Hatlevik for ECP. Translation by Natasja.
Norsk versjon av intervjuet her
– What happened is that I left the military service to play in a band. I escaped the country, simple as that, and I went to Spain and started my band with Georg, says Kristoffer.
– We were really poor and were only playing. There were miserable conditions and don’t know how much I should say about that, because it is just so much – so fucking much. We lived like this for a few years and wrote songs, got drunk and tried all sorts. We were looking for a vocalist but finding someone wasn’t that easy.
– We played on the streets with acoustic guitars for a while when we were in Spain. It was what held us alive really, but we did not bother playing “Hotel California” and that kind of stuff, so we played Isengard and screamed along. We felt that people only gave us money so that we would shut up! So we travelled on to Amsterdam after a few months and screamed along to Isengard-hits there as well. We wrote a lot also, but we never played those on the street.
They were living in tents, car wrecks, abandoned caravans and at the beach.
– We were like Lady and the Tramp, but none of us were ever actually Lady, so we were more like two Tramps! We ran into a few vocalists, but most of them were not quite talented, but not as many of them were a good match for us. That was our exact problem, finding someone who would go well with the easy life. Most people want to play it safe. We had an Englishman on vocals for a while. Then we found a Scottish guy, a real hippie who was also easy going. He could actually sing and had great communication with the audience. We were standing in the middle of Dam Square in Amsterdam, and we had finally gotten this Scottish guy along, and he sang and entertained the audience. All of a sudden there were standing a lot of people in a circle around us. It was great! We raised 150 euros on one night, and that was quite nice. We were used to living on one-two euros a day, so of course we went straight to the bar and ordered the most expensive drinks. So the money was gone straight away.
– After a few years, I had to call my mum and tell her that I was broke and had lice and that she had to fly me home. “Yes, but then you are going to do your military service! Now you are going to fix your life!”, she said, so I answered her “ok, fine”. By then I had lost 15-20 kilos, but I never ended up doing the service after all.
The year after, Kristoffer and Georg moved to London in search of a vocalist.
– Of course, we didn’t know that Georg could sing, so we went to London, cause at least people could speak English there. We wandered around there for a couple of months, and that’s when it became a living hell. Our song “London” from our previous album, Krankenhaus, is about this period. Then, we became enemies, and I moved back again to Oslo. I thought about doing the band by myself, but then Georg came sweeping back from Stavanger a year later, and that’s when we found out that we like each other, for real, and that we could write songs together – as long as we didn’t have to live together. Then we recorded White Trash Attack in 2005.
So, you have recorded an album now. Why?
– We just can’t help it! Even though there has been a lot of fighting and bullshit, we can’t resist. We have kept in touch, Georg has been in rehab, and I have been waiting for him for seven years. Of course, I have considered replacing him, but luckily that never happened. I am glad we waited.
Your album is called “Ego Death”, but can you tell me something else about it? What is it?
– Oh right. It is a lot of old shame. One of the songs, “You”…I wrote that when I was living in Spain back in 2002, so there are a few very old things that we haven’t done anything with – never played it live either. In addition to that there are a few completely new things as well, so there is more than 15 years in one album, but it is also a pop-record, a mix of pop and black metal. There are a lot of weird things in there…it is personal, there are a lot of wars behind this. I have been living with this for so many years, so I don’t know what it is anymore, but I hope that it sums up most of what we are, in an unfiltered and uncensored way. I know that Georg thinks that a lot of the lyrics are so personal that it is scary to publish it.
There should be a bit of risk involved, they say.
– Yes, it is a big fucking risk, or – it is personal, at least. Also, I have written lyrics for the first time in years, and I can’t be worse than Georg, so it is all very…well at least there are no dragons or elves or future visions with robots in there. There is only “inner turmoil” here.
I have thought to myself a few times that Georg sounds a bit sad when he sings.
– He still sounds like that?? He has a fantastic mixture between something melancholic, something aggressive and something sweet. It is a culmination of a lot of make-up that drips and glitters. Georg gives everything. It is not fake. It’s all real. When he is singing in the studio, it really hurts me.
So now you are going back out and playing?
– I hope not. We are a bit traumatized by the first era, but there will be a release party, and maybe we will even play at our own release party. We don’t feel like traveling around in a bus and doing that thing. Maybe we will do one concert a year?
“Teslicity, Baby! is nothing short of a masterpiece. Without doubt the best song coming out of Norway in decades. Could it be any cooler? We bow in awe.”
– K:N (Årabrot)
“Lydia Laska is Norway’s best kept secret.”
– Kjartan Kristiansen (DumDum Boys)
“Not ONE bad song! (…) Rogaland’s best kept secret, LYDIA LASKA, is back!!!”
– Ivar (Kvelertak)
Teslicity, Baby! (2018)