Underground music in Tromsø – An interview with the local musician and event manager Truls Norbye Olsen

Although Tromsø is often described as ‘Paris of the North’ with a vivid nightlife, underground music is yet not often found in the bars downtown. Underground music, with its various facets of all kind of genres, comprises the separation from commercialized mainstream music, and the concerts provide the listeners with unusual, nevertheless fascinating sounds. Often, the visitors are able to stay after the concert and talk to the musicians and DJs.

Text: Cora Lisbeth Dieterich

Truls Norbye Olsen, who himself is an active musician in three underground bands and therefor has a lot of contacts to the scene, found the label ‘Fanden i Troms’ and organizes the visits of underground musicians to us up here in the North.

Why did you become active with a booking label here in Tromsø?

I started a booking label called Fanden i Troms, and I thought about starting it because there is a lot happening in Tromsø, the cultural scene is really big, with the film festival and music. But we don’t have a lot of underground music for more hardcore and just different sounds, for example psychedelic music. I have been touring a lot, and I know a few people so I could use my knowledge and my contacts to book bands here and make this a cool place to go.

That is why I wanted to talk to Utropia, because there are so many students in town, and surely some of them like underground music or are interested in discovering new stuff, but they do not know the scene here. I wanted to make something so they could take a look, and visit some concerts in town.

I am just showing new, different types of music to the people, because I really want to inspire especially the younger generation, maybe even musicians to just do it themselves.

What events are coming up in the near future?

The first concert was Next Life (on the 1st of October) and warming up is a band from Tromsø called Banaan. It was a special night, Next Life is really awesome, they are two guys from Oslo, playing hard electronic mixed with Nintendo music – and they have been playing a lot in Europe and are kind of big in the scene. Banaan is also inspired by Nintendo music a bit, so it’s like a gaming night. And there was also a local DJ coming, one of the Quiz masters in town. And then there a four other concerts coming up, in November and December.

What type of music are the bands your booking for Tromsø playing?

Well, it started with Hardcore and Doom and stuff like that, but that is because I knew a lot of guys playing this kind of music, but I also want to have more like Prog-Rock, Jazz and Psychedelic Rock.

Are you only booking bands from Norway?

No no, I am starting to try to book bands from Sweden and England. But it is hard, as the plane tickets are far more expensive, and the bands I am booking just play for zero, they just get the ticket costs back and they stay at my apartment for the night.

Since when are you organising events with your booking label?

I started in December last year, and we had some concerts before in the summer, and now there are some upcoming concerts over the winter. A lot of concerts take place in Bastard Bar, I like the place, it is close and small and has a really nice atmosphere.

So as life is about getting inspired, and try out new things, give Truls Norbye Olsen, underground music and the Bastard Bar a try! You can also find information about the concerts and the bands playing on the facebook page ‘Fanden I Troms’.