Man the Machetes: Interview With Christopher and Erlend

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Man The Machetes Band Photo

Back in November, Rock Sins were lucky enough to catch up with Christopher and Erlend of ‘Man the Machetes’ when they were over in London supporting 36 Crazyfists at the Camden Underworld.

So why the name Man the Machetes?

Christopher: Well, throughout our time as a band we’ve gone through many names.

Erlend: We’ve gone through so many name changes, first we were named ‘Belly Flop’, that name was not very good. After that we decided to call ourselves ‘Sudan’ and that’s really not good. So we went to Canada to record our album and our producer, his name is Erik Ratz, he told us our name sucked and we had to change it and we used to really love this album by Blood Brothers called ‘Young Machetes’ and we liked the sound of it. Something with Machetes? Man the Machetes works.

This is your first time in England, are you hoping to come over here more?

Erlend: Hopefully, yeah, hopefully. Hopefully, we get some tours, we’re just doing two shows in London with Crazyfists. This one, and the one next Monday.

Christopher: Get nice and warmed up.

You got any shows in-between?

Christopher: We’re doing a show at the Old Blue Last.

Erlend: Yeah, but its secret so don’t tell anyone, it’s a bit under the radar.

Christopher: It’s a bit of a… err… hipster joint I hear.

How do you think your set went?

Erlend: Its kind of a tough crowd and kind of uncomfortable to begin with. So the second half of the set, that I liked.

Christopher: Its very hard, very tough crowd and I was positively surprised. Because we were expecting 20 or 30 people and there were a lot more.

Erlend: No-ones heard of us and we’re the first band playing.

Christopher: Its much better compared to Norway because in Norway people go out to drink and they don’t show up until the last band have started walking on.

Norways hardcore scene is expanding onto an international stage, largely due to bands like Kvelertak. All these bands have got a lot of different influences, you guys have got more rock’n’roll influences.  Do you think this is because of open-minded Norwegian culture?

Erlend: Maybe, I don’t know. Yeah, Kvelertak did it first but I think there are several bands mixing genres nowadays. We’ve done the black metal thing, we’ve done the indie thing and we’ve got to come up with something new.

Christopher: Many bands in Scandinavia like Satyricon and Turbonegro tend to get their influence from rock’n’roll.

Erlend: Its too cold in Norway and we need something to scream at.

Why do you think Norwegian bands are moving onto a larger stage?

Christopher: When it comes to music in Norway, Norwegians tend to get onto trends a bit later than other countries to perhaps during the last couple of years so in the last couple of years more Norwegians have opened their eyes to hardcore music and hardcore bands thus propelling them out internationally.

Erlend: Maybe there is some kind of appeal of Norwegian bands.

Is there quite a strong hardcore scene in Norway, its always been associated with black metal, but is Hardcore the new ‘thing’?

Christopher: yeah man, a lot more hardcore bands lately. Bands like Social Suicide, many, many hardcore bands that will get more and more famous around orway and perhaps internationally.

Erlend: Its quite a small music scene so people know each other and they help each other out and some people play in five different bands.

Do any of you play in other bands?

Christopher: No, we’re just Man the Machetes. At the moment!

You recently released your album, hows the reaction been?

Erlend: Good, I think

Christopher: In general we have received positive reviews. I thinkw e have more attention in Norway, maybe because it’s such a small scene. In Norway unfortunately we have this self-proclaimed ‘cultural legion’; who decide what is and isn’t going to be famous in Norway.

Erlend: People have brought into us far more overseas,

Christopher: When we released the album we got reviews from Italy, from Germany, from Mexico. We got only a handful of reviews from Norway. I don’t know. That’s their problem!

36 Crazyfists are quite an ostensibly metal band, do you think theres a lot of crossover potentional for Man the Machetes?

Christopher: I think 36 Crazyfsists are a band that embrace a broad audience. They have a broad mix to their music, they embrace metal, they embrace hardcore and a tiny bit of pop there in the melodies and I think it is the same with us.

Erlend: We don’t have much criteria for choosing material, we just play what feels natural to us as a band. 1: We don’t sit down and discuss, “well today we are going to play jazz.” The five of us all love energetic music so we just play what feels natural to us.

Christopher: We’ve all got our tastes in music, like, you’re a punk fan

Erlend: and the other guitarist is a rolling stones fan  and plays blues a lot.

Have you got any plans for the near future?

Christopher: Mainly we want to play as many gigs as possible, maybe try to write some new stuff in the process. Plotting and scheming to release a new album.

Thanks for speaking to us,

Christopher: You’re welcome.

You can check out a review of Man The Machetes performance with 36 Crazyfists at The Underworld right here. Any further updates from the Man The Machetes camp will be reported on Rock Sins as and when we receive any news.