TIDAL RISING: Sløtface’s Name Is Pronounced Just How You Think It Is
With TIDAL Rising we’re constantly showcasing new music from our favorite up-and-coming artists across all genres, and each week we pick one artist in particular to shine our spotlight on. Meet this week’s TIDAL Rising Artist of the Week: Norway’s Sløtface.
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“I’ve filled my quota of boys with acoustic guitars/but more are born every year,” Haley Shea sings on Sløtface’s single “Nancy Drew,” reflecting the weariness of a music community and industry flooded to the gills with sensitive testosterone.
Sløtface, pronounced “Slutface,” is part of the rising tide of bands that don’t quite subscribe to that formula (and that tide is pretty mighty). Forged in Norway, the band (featuring Shea on vocals, Tor-Arne Vikingstad on guitar, Halvard Skeie Wiencke on drums and Lasse Lokøy on bass) sings about the idiocy of feminine ideals, the nostalgia inherent in childhood sleepovers and a Nancy Drew that’s more nightmare than ingenue.
The band formed in 2012, having released a handful of EPs over the ensuing years. Their debut LP, Try Not To Freak Out, drops in September via Propeller Recordings, and it sounds kind of like if Paramore met the Donnas and decided to start playing punk houses.
Consequently, we’re proud to announce Sløtface as this week’s TIDAL Rising artist. Read on for an interview with the band, and keep an eye here for more from the Norwegian pop-punkers.
So your band was originally called ‘Slutface’? Why did you choose that name — and why did you change it?
Lokøy: We chose Slutface because we thought it was super fun to call ourselves that. To call your band ‘Slutface’ seems like the obvious thing when you are sixteen years old. It’s all about rebellion and doing whatever we want. The last thing we wanted to do when we started out was to set boundaries for ourselves, and the name reflected that attitude.
And, at a later point when Haley’s lyrics got more political and we learned more about feminism, the name started to feel more political and punk to us. It opened up opportunities for us to talk about important issues in interviews.
When media asked (and still ask) about the purpose of the band name, our goal is to make people aware of what the word ‘slut’ really means. It also felt like a band name that could have been a part of the riot grrrl movement, which is a big influence for us.
Sadly, Mark Zuckerberg is not a fan of cool band names and blocked festivals from promoting us on Facebook. It’s madness, and all the algorithms limit artists’ creative space. So much music is processed through social media, and not necessarily physical print as it used to be. To be blocked and censored on those platforms makes it very hard for bands to reach out to people.
We realized that the name would make it hard for us to spread our message to a big international audience. So we decided to change the spelling of our name by replacing the U with the Norwegian letter Ø. It’s still pronounced the same way and so the message is still contained. It’s just a small modification.
Shea: The name started off as a joke. We wanted to be a bit more provocative and less ‘nice’ compared to other bands in our scene. But as we learned, and wrote, more about feminism and tried to be more critical of the ways women are often portrayed, we thought the name had a good, ironic sting to it, as the media especially tends to focus on women as sex objects and not as people.
What’s the best band name you’ve ever heard?
Vikingstad: Acid Cunt. They are from the West Coast of Norway and they are ace.
You have a track called ‘Magazine’ that’s, in large part, about the lies magazines tell women. What magazines did you read as a teen and what dumb shit did they teach you?
Vikingstad: I read tons of guitar magazines, and they tried to teach me different guitar stuff. After three years of practice, I found out the best way to learn guitar is to play in a band.
Shea: It’s not so much about specifically magazines as it is about the generally unrealistic ideals our society presents when it comes to how we look. I don’t remember reading very many magazines as a teenager; there is a Norwegian one called Julia that I remember. My favorite was a magazine called NYLON that I discovered when I was thirteen or so. That was the first time I felt like I bought a magazine that valued me as a person for more than my looks, as more of a creative person.
The track ‘Pitted’ seems to be about the songs you listen to before going out. Can you list a few songs that have very specific purposes for you?
Vikingstad: ‘California (Tchad Blake Mix),’ Phantom Planet. If I’m tired of touring or never being home, it always lightens my mood. The song represents the original dream I had starting out as a musician.
Lokøy: ‘Dancing Anymore,’ Is Tropical. We played a gig at a barn party in the middle of nowhere a couple of years ago and after we played the gig we went to bed pretty early. When we woke up at 10 a.m., people were still partying, and the owner of the barn (and the guy who was supposed to drive us to the train station) was completely fucked and had just gone to bed.
We saw no other option than to take his car and drive to the train station ourselves. At one point we felt like criminals, and that’s when we cranked the song on the stereo. Later, we, of course, told the car owner where we’d left his car and the car keys.
The song ‘Slumber’ is all about the joys of being a kid and having sleepovers. Do you think it’s hard making friends as an adult?
Vikingstad: Yes. So many people are very focused on their education and jobs (which is a good thing), but it feels like people are in a hurry sometimes. I mean, when you’re finally allowed to do whatever you want, I think you should for at least a couple of years.
Lokøy: In Norway we also have a culture of not speaking to strangers (unless you’re hiking or drunk), which makes it a bit harder. I also think that it has to do with the fact that we’re traveling so much at the moment and mostly just seeing the four of us. Although we get to meet new and cool people on the road, it’s not necessary going to lead to a serious friendship.
You mention a lot of American teen culture on your record. What are some Norwegian staples in film, TV, etc.?
Vikingstad: The book and movie called Mannen Som Elsket Yngve or The Man Who Loved Yngve has meant a lot to us as a band. Both book and script is written by Tore Renberg and the movie is directed by Stian Kristiansen. It’s about some teenagers living in Stavanger, playing in bands and exploring youth. It’s really, really good. Beatles by Lars Saabye Christensen is also a fabulous book about kids growing up in Oslo in the ‘60s and early ‘70s. It’s about four kids (often represented as the members of Beatles)
Anxiety is a big theme on this record. Do you feel like you have to be anxious in order to make music?
Vikingstad: I’m pretty anxious all the time. I always have stuff I want to do, but never enough time to do them. And I think that means yes. But only because angst is a thriving force for me. Mic drop.
Lokøy: I mostly feel anxious when we’re too busy with other stuff and don’t have time to make music.
Shea: No. Our music is about a lot of different things, but for this record I wanted to focus on exploring anxiety, as it’s a feeling I’ve been experiencing and thinking about a lot that I think a lot of people, especially in their twenties, deal with.
Can you take a photo of your surroundings for us?
Lokøy: We are at Heathrow and are lucky enough to get to hang out at the lounge. We’re doing office stuff (the dark side of the band life) and drinking champagne!
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