WE (Interview)

by Scott Heller

From Aural Innovations #13 (October 2000)

WE are one of the most underrated bands around playing heavy stoner-space rock like Gas Giant from Denmark. Most of their releases are not that readily available in the US but we here at AI have been big supporters of the band from Norway. I had a chance to see and interview the band this summer at the Roskilde Festival (see review in Sept issue) and here is what they had to say.

Scott Heller: Can you just introduce yourself?

Thomas Felberg: My name is Thomas and I play in a Norwegian group called WE. We play spaced out psychedelic rock for the masses. We are happy to be here at this lovely festival in Roskilde.

SH: What do you think of this term Stoner Rock?

TF: This term Stoner is not a negative thing for me because I like being stoned. So for me it has always been positive. But this Stoner genre thing is maybe narrowing things in a bit from what was once like psychedelic doom, which is sort of what it was called before Stoner rock. St. Vitus and those other bands, when they were doing this and no one really cared. It is ok if people want to call it Stoner rock, but I don't feel like we are a stoner rock band, but we have a different view point.

SH: I agree, it is trying to narrow too many bands into a small area.

TF: Yeah. Well it's all about heavy, blues tinged psychedelic rock. That's what it is about.

SH: Are you guys working on a new LP right now?

TF: Yeah, we have written 34 songs now. Of course not all of them will end up on vinyl, but we are comfortable with our new stuff and it is sounding great. We have some really heavy shit and some more acoustic stuff like Led Zeppelin 3, also a bit not ethnic but more acoustic psychedelic sound. We can also promise some really heavy songs as well.

SH: How did it end up that you did a Blue Oyster Cult song?

TF: Oh... I am a huge fan of BOC from when I was a teenager. I grew up listening to that band and gradually convinced the other guys in the band over the years how great BOC is. 'Cause for me they are one of my favorite groups and Dominance and Submission is symbol for what we want to do right now. On your feet or on your Knees, here we come...

SH: Have you ever played that song live?

TF: Yeah. Only a few times in Norway. But we might feature it at a later stage and see what happens.

SH: I noticed on the From The Spaceways EP that you guys were heading into a more spacey psychedelic thing and the guitar effects were superbly recorded.

TF: That is all hats off to our guitar player (Don). He is quite a unique guitar player because he has a very no selfish approach to playing guitar. He don't play lead guitar, he plays guitar. He is also very good with tunings. He has all these strange tunings and actually almost every WE song it is his own special tuning which he won't say to anyone!

SH: I also think that one of the stand out identities of WE is the guitar.

TF: Yeah. It is true. It is nice to have a guitar player like that and not one who has to show off. Also, the guitar player and drummer are brothers so we have a tight connection. I grew up with them having known them for 16 years. So it is a real brotherhood. We love each other and we hate each other. It is really tight.

SH: So when did the synthesizer enter in the WE picture (they were playing around with one in the dressing room).

TF: We mostly fiddle with it for effects. WE are not going to feature synthesizers as a main feature in our group. We will use it for atmospheres. Live I always use a lot of delays and effects and way to make little soundcarpets underneath the band while they play, make it more spaced out. I would really like to evolve that effects thing. My main thing is to develop this whole wall of delays and have this sort of sorcerer effect and sort of come in work the delays as an instrument in itself. We are coming to that but we just need bigger stages so I can set the shit up.

SH: Did you read what the festival wrote about you guys in the little book?

TF: Yeah. I thought it was quite alright, except the thing about us playing since the mid 80s. If I had read it I would have gone and checked out WE. This is the biggest concert we have ever done.

SH: How often do you get to play live in Norway?

TF: Not very much because the distances are so vast. It is hard. You can't really go on a tour in Norway and play 6 out of 7 days because of the distances between cities and there is not enough clubs and we are only 4 million people. The people who like space rock it is not so much.

SH: Did you travel to Bergen to see GONG (played in April 2000, first show in Norway in 25 years)?

TF: Oh Yeah. I was there. It was brilliant. It was one of my all time best concert experiences. Of course I was very eager and all set when they came on. I had been preparing myself all day. We are all very inspired by GONG from way back as well. We pinched a few things from GONG back on Wooferwheels. I don't know if you found it on the song "Chase Vampire". Sort of a lift off of the Isle of Everywhere from the YOU album.

SH: It seems like you do about 2 years between albums.

TF: No, I think it is about 1.5 years. We are going to release an EP again here in November. Also through Drunken Maria. We were really satisfied with the way the 10" turned out and the guy is a huge vinyl freak.

SH: I have started a record label (www.burnthippie.dk) here in Denmark with some Danish friends and we are mainly releasing vinyl by space and psychedelic rock bands.

TF: Maybe you should release some WE.

SH: We would definitely consider it.

TF: The next album is going to be produced by Chris Goss. We toured with him last year supporting his band Masters Of Reality in Europe. We became very good friends with him and he is a great guy and friend.

SH: S he will come over to Norway in October?

TF: No, I think we might go over to the States.

SH: That would be a lot of fun. When would you head over there... October?

TF: No. probably a bit later like November and try to get the album out for April. Get the details together for the new label deal (the band will not be released on Voices of Wonder next time). We would like to try to get a bigger label to support us. Selling records is not the main issue but it helps the wheels go round. We would not do this if money was the object.

SH: How do you feel about people recording you live and trading tapes, etc?

TF: We have a real traders philosophy about that. We want people to record all our shit and if someone wants to make a bootleg go ahead. If someone wants to buy it, fine with us. We want it to be a bit like the Grateful Dead. I think it is a salute to the band if some one wants to record us and make a bootleg of it. We are just happy that someone cares.

TF: Any last questions?

SH: No. Any last answers?

TF: Thanks to Aural Innovations for supporting us. There are not so many American magazines that have written about us so far.

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