Norway - Full Moon 31 - 04/30/99|
The Loch Ness Mouse
The Mouse that roared!
If you study this moonth's main courses, you'll notice a review
the debut album Flair For Darjeeling of Høland's
(Heyland's) brave sons of The Loch Ness Mouse. Høland is a
small community 50-60-something kilometres from Oslo in Norway,
The Mouse consists of Morten Holmqvist (bass), Emil Nikolaisen
and vocals), Jørn O. and Ole Johannes Åleskjær
and vocals). We met them somewhere in cyberspace; merry power-pop
and freak-beat are the passwords.
First of all: congrats with an excellent album! How do you
now that the CD finally is out?
Morten: Very happy and satisfied.
Ole: Just very good.
Jørn: And it's a relief to be able to answer "Yes" to
question that people have been asking for two years now - "Is the
The album seems to have been a long time in the making. Can
you tell us a little about the recording process?
Ole: The recordings were done on Robert Birdeye's eight
most of it in his living room. A very nice way to record, when you
about it... Birdeye himself and Clancy B. Grass IV coached us
the sessions, which were spread out in time, from the summer of
summer of 98.
Jørn: Birdeye was just walking around in the
humming, most of the time satisfied with the first take, while
Ole: ...due to his more than 20 years in the business, very
focused, wanted to bring it to an even higher grade of perfection,
Birdeye was also always interrupted in the middle of his seafood
By the way, you can read about the sessions in Clancy's essay
Pepita Sessions, which now is to be found on the Internet, too,
A Picture In My Grandmother's Book and Vespa 50
originally recorded for your debut 7 inch EP From The
Countryside way back in 1993. The former was also included on
Perfect Pop Compilation CD. Apart from being great songs, why
them for the 3rd and 2nd time?
Ole: It felt natural to do so, since the album sort of sums
period 92-98, and we wanted it to be as good as possible.
Does the album refer to anything besides the tea drinking
mentioned in several of your songs? There are few sitars, tablas or
Indian influences here...
Ole: Yes. Darjeeling up in the Himalayas is India's most
important tea district, known for it's delicately flavoured tea. But
another idea behind the album title Flair for Darjeeling: Most
our lives, Jørn and I have lived just some 50 meters from the
so-called "Urskog-Hølandsbanen"'s old line, a narrow gauge
line that ran through the Høland-countryside between 1898
1960 (56 km long, I think). From our window we could overlook it's
path (that, since the railway was closed, is a road, significant, of
amongst other things, for it's lack of sharp curves ... and we could
how it came out of the wood and ran down to where its last station,
Skulerud, used to be. The station area (126 m. above the sea level,
remember right)), with it's old crane by the lake, is just a couple of
meters south. So that narrow gauge railway sort of ran like strands
the past and through our own lives and our beloved Høland-district. Darjeeling in the Himalayas is also the end station of a
gauge railway. And that's the connection. The tea, but most of all
distant geographical point, that makes "the things here stand
so clear". So there you have it. Also there's a short sequence
box of Tea from Darjeeling in the Swedish author Göran
Tunström's novel Juloratoriet. Interested readers/listeners
check it out.
Speaking of the lyrics, most of the songs seem to fit nicely
'story of my life, so far' theme, from happy and scary childhood
(Double Whammy!, A Picture In My ...), via the teenager in
(15th Floor, Judy, The Joy Must Never End ...) to the more
homecoming to your beloved Hayland. Was it
Ole: Oh, that's a nice remark on Hayland, and
all wrong, but from our point of view, well, our reservations to your
Jørn: But "childhood memories" is a good
Ole: ... our reservations are as follows: Hayland is
perhaps the song that comes closest to being autobiographical of
ones you mention. But, man! Double Whammy!? What kind
kids do you think we were?? To take this song as an example, our
childhood memory was just a vague background for it, the
that song is something different And the story's made up, you see.
agree that the three other songs you mention very much deal with
feelings connected to being young, if not quite "teenager in
(I Was A) Fan From The Start at least used to be about The
Tables, the grandfathers (and -mothers) of the Perfect Pop scene in
How important has this scene been for your development and the
of the album?
Ole: There's an acrostic in Fan From The Start that
of addresses the song (easier to find for those of you who have the
lyric-sheet, I guess.). The song was an attempt to capture that feeling of
coming home with, and having discovered, The Tables' Shady
Whims & Obstacles. This must have been around 1990. And
discovered TV Personalities and Deep Freeze Mice a little earlier,
was a major inspiration when we started, the whole Beach Boys-love of
ours and the 60s pop-psychedelia thing came later on. Jørn
happened to bump into Sandy Shore of The Tables. When we
the Pop Festival at Månefisken in February '93 (having
band in the autumn of '92), we had already achieved more than we
hoped for at that stage, really, not to mention when we supported
another favourite band, The Bartlebees, at Rock All later that year,
with The Tables' Reg Trademark playing the bass for us. So we just
very grateful (as we still feel grateful about all the things that have
happened to us, it's been a blessing). The Perfect Pop scene has
lot to us, and Bartleby incomparably much, in many ways through
years. When it comes to the making of the album, as we've already
spent all that time in The Tables' (now) drummer Robert Birdeye's
apartment, using his equipment, talents and time, listening to bits
record-collection. It's been a blessing. And our producer, Mr.
Grass, is of course also sometimes associated with The Tables'
guess we could reveal his real name, but to put it this way: I prefer
to). Now, on the other hand, it should be emphasised of course,
JUST being associated to a SCENE is in itself not much, what
you have something to BRING.
What came first, the band name or Edgerton
Ole: The band name came from Bryan, way back, while
Edgerton Underwater Strobe Camera is fairly new,
Jørn: The hen came before the egg.
Ole: The story in that song is based upon an incident that
happened in Loch Ness in the 70s, described in (later a BBC
believe) Nicholas Witchell's book The Loch Ness Story,
borrowed from Bartleby just a couple of years ago.
How and when did you team up with the brothers,
Morten: Ole and Jørn are old friends of mine. One
talked about some songs they had made. I played the bass and
we were a band. This was back in 1992. After a while Bryan
play drums. So Jørn played the guitar instead, and from there
Loch Ness Mouse was born.
Bryan Hayes who was the drummer on most tracks on the
left a couple of years ago and was replaced by Emil Nikolaisen, I
But there was a third drummer involved at least at one gig last
year, wasn't there?
Ole: Right, and if you had looked up to the engineer's
you would have seen a smiling Emil twisting the knobs for us. He
problems with his one hand at that time actually.
Jørn: That third guy was Tommy Akerholdt, a young
friend of ours who knew many of the songs anyway, so he stepped
Ole: And he's a brilliant drummer, as well.
Jørn: We also rehearsed with him for another gig in a
called Sørumsand. We came there, carried up our things, but
promised PA and sound engineer just weren't there, so we had to
our things again and drive home. Anyhow, Sørumsand used
the other end, the other last station, of the same narrow gauge
line mentioned before.
Ole: So it would have fitted in so nicely, but...
Jørn: There's a little piece of the line left there in
Sørumsand, a veteran railway, transporting tourists. I guess
weren't ready for the museum yet, the story of the LNM didn't end
We raised our heads and moved on.
Ole: Back to your question: There have been some
curious personell-changes during these 7 years, but at the same
LNM WAS very much Bryan. Morten and us brothers the first 5
and HAS now for two and a half years very much BEEN Emil,
and us brothers.
I overheard someone at one of your gigs last year saying
seemed to play the same old songs at each gig. Have you written
new songs after the album was recorded?
Morten: That is funny, I used to tell Ole that no one pays
attention to the songs anyway, guess I was wrong.
Jørn: Yes, we've written new songs. One each
that makes three since the Darjeeling-tapes were completed.
Ole: The narrow gauge railway back then wasn't fast
either, but there was a lot to see along the way!
Any plans for the future? When do you start recording the
Morten: It would be cool to play in other parts of Norway
other countries as well. We really like to play live.
Ole: Yes, we've played a lot live, and hope to continue
so. It's a blessing. We're extroverts on that point, I guess. We
move on also when it comes to new recordings (and we're leaving
catalogue of old songs behind, actually, as we're releasing a
10 or 15 more songs recorded on 4 tracks between '95 and
Well, thanks a lot for all the time and energy you put into
interview! We wish you the best of luck with future projects,
You can always get in touch with The
Copyright © 1999 JP