The Greenland Whalefishers

Interviews | Mar 28th, 2005

How did the Greenland Whalefishers get together?
Arvid, Agnes and Twosheds started up in 1994 by Arvids initiative. How they got together? Well, Arvid and Twosheds are brothers, so I guess they have been together for a long time. In their then 7-11 jobs they worked together with Agnes. They got her going and things got rolling.

You joined the band in 2000, was it hard fitting in with the band at first?
Earlier I have played mostly metal music so as a musician I had to “get in” the groove with this kind of music, but I think it went ok. Still learning….Personally in was no problem at all. I get along fine with all the members. It’s a fun gang most of the time.

In the past, Greenland Whalefishers seemed to have a lot of problems within the band, with lots of members coming and going throughout the years. Are you surprised the band is still together & playing music?
Members coming and going is a problem, but for a long time now we have had a stable line-up. I guess when you have a core of dedicated guys who really believe in the music we’re playing, you manage to deal with the problems which are bound to come up when you from time to time live with 6 other persons 24 hours a day, in strange and unusual places.

Has Shane MacGowan or any members of the Pogues heard your
music? If so, what do they think?

First time Shane heard our music, it actually took three songs before he realized (I guess this was not only because it sounded familiar…) that it was not himself singing. Anyway – he liked the stuff a lot. This was about 10 years ago. We played at the “Holidays in the sun” festival with him in Morcambe, England in 2003 and we are playing support for him and The Popes here in Bergen this May.

Is it tiresome getting compared to the Pogues all the time?
It is of course a compliment, but yes…..

What do you think is your strongest and weakest song?
I honestly can’t say what is the weakest song. Take a look at the set lists on our web site and see what songs never appear. Don’t know what is the absolute strongest either but here are some of my personal favorites (in no particular order…):
Johnny Lee Roth
4 season song
For bitter & whisky

I don’t really know too much about the Norwegian music scene, how is it compared to other scenes in Europe or North America?
I’m not surprised you don’t know too much about the Norwegian scene. It’s a small country in spite of what we like to think ourselves. But when we talk about live music and bands I actually think Norway has a lot to offer. There are many really good bands and musicians, and the scene is pretty varied. Talking about records, radio and TV playing, the whole fucking country is drowned in crap – eurodisco, new R & B, dancehall, fucking boy bands etc., etc., I’ll stop here but could easily go on. Guess you have the same situation in the states, but luckily you have more radio channels etc.

Are ABBA and Ace of Base some of your influences? No seriously, what bands have influenced you personally/the band?
There are a lot of influences in the band and most of us have a very different musical background. I vary from punk to country music. Personally I listen to heavy metal most of my time, though it may be difficult to realize that when you hear our music. Since Arvid writes most of the stuff it is his influences which is most prominent: Punk/Rock, Ramones, The Clash, Rancid a.o.(and Ace of Base of course…).

What’s your feeling on file-sharing? Do you think it’s cool for fans all over the world to share your music for free?

I’m speaking only for my self here – not fronting any official view of the band (though I think at least some of them agree). I think file-sharing is great (as long as you buy our records also) Seriously – for a band like Greenland Whalefishers I think we have a lot to profit on fans sharing our music. It’s a great way to spread the good word.

You guys recently just got back from a Japanese Tour. Have any funny tour stories?
I don’t know how funny it was – rather disturbing actually, and it happened on the plane from Germany to Tokyo. Free beer and booze has its effect on the whole band, but more on others. After a couple of hours flight a member of the band who shall remain anonym, stood up from the seat “in his sleep” and wanted to take a piss. Still with earplugs in his ears and connected to the seat, he put up a hard fight to break free. Finally he won but then found his way to the quarters of the stewardesses, ready to relieve himself… luckily I was awake and could rescue the frightened ladies in distress…

Do you feel celtic music will ever be popular enough to be
heard on mainstream radio?

Yes, probably. However with the punk/rock approach Greenland Whalefishers has, I don’t think we will be on Heavy Rotation for long. That is no problem for us except that the royalty money would come in handy…

Can you teach me some Norwegian curse words?
Of course, here are the most common ones:
Helvete = hell
Faen = damn/fuck
Kuk = dick
Fitte = cunt
Raevhaal = asshole
Jaevel = bastard
Good luck!

Are there any plans for a new album or an U.S. tour?
We’re actually working on a new album right now. Can’t say anything about when it’s finished, but probably this autumn. A US tour is very high on our list of things we would like to do. The problem is that we haven’t had any decent offers yet for the states. So this can be an appeal to promoters and agents in the land of the free: we’re ready when you are!

Who are some celtic/folk/punk bands that you would love to tour with?
If the opportunity would come to do some gigs with Dropkick Murphys or Floggin Molly, we wouldn’t turn them down.

Who would win in a drinking contest: Arvid or Shane MacGowan?
If you ask who can drink the most, I guess Shane would win the contest. If the question is who can get most drunk, Arvid would kick his arse anytime…

A lot of bands are putting out DVDs of their live shows, do you think that’s something Greenland Whalefishers will do in the future? (if so, please make the DVDs region-free please!)
This is probably something we will do – and we’ll try to make it region-free. Actually there are plans about releasing some of the Japan shows on DVD. If these will be region-free is up to the Japanese company. Don’t know but time will show.

Where can fans buy your Cds online? Are your CDs sold in the US at record stores?
The best place to do it is through the official web site:
Or you can use other web pages – there are a lot and I don’t have full overview but
USA: or Japan

Do you have anything else to plug? Final Comments?
Well as I mention earlier we are working on new material for the moment, and it should be something to look forward to. And agents and promoters in the US should get their wallets open, and then we are ready!!! Cheers to our fans and to you Bryan!!