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Wobbler

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toroddfuglesteg View Drop Down
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    Posted: December 13 2010 at 13:13


Wobbler is a Norwegian symphonic prog band that was formed in 1999 in Honefoss, Norway. The line-up consists of Lars Fredrik Froislie (of WHITE WILLOW)on keyboards, Kristian Karl Hultgren on bass guitar, Martin Nordrum Kneppen on drums, Morten Andreas Eriksen on electric and acoustic guitars and mandolin and Tony Johannessen on vocals. This group is strongly evocative of KING CRIMSON, GENESIS, GENTLE GIANT along with newer symphonic prog bands like ANGLAGARD and ANEKDOTEN with a dash of Scandinavian folk and classical influences thrown into the mix.

I got in touch with the band for an update on Wobbler and to get their story...... so far.


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


Your biography has been covered in your ProgArchives profile so let's bypass this. But why did you choose the Wobbler name (a very effective type of fishing lure) and did any of you have any background from other bands before you formed Wobbler ?

Lars: I wouldn’t say there’s a deeper meaning behind it… I remember Martin and I was looking thru the dictionary, and we simply liked the sound of that word. We had no idea that a fishing-thingy was also called just that, so it’s got nothing to do with fishing or any other physical object for that matter. We were more thinking in terms of the wobbler-motion, which could describe our music, the musicians and the instruments (those who have played a vintage mellotron or a minimoog will know what I mean).

Morten: Kristian and I have played together since we we’re kids, and so did Lars and Martin. We’re all from the same place more or less, so eventually Lars joined one of our bands, and when Wobbler was founded Martin was the missing link.

Who were your musical inspirations?

Lars: We all were very much into prog rock from the late 60s and early 70s: King Crimson, Yes, Gentle Giant, Genesis, PFM, Museo Rosenbach, Banco, Marxophone, VDGG, Univers Zero (ok, it’s late 70s/early 80s), Gracious, Jethro Tull, Cathedral (the american prog-band, also late 70s), Il Balletto di Bronzo, Gryphon and so on. Then there are of course the 90s prog-bands like Änglagård, Anekdoten, Landberk.

Martin: The Italian 70’s prog scene and the Swedish 90’s scene were important for me. I also listened to a lot to black metal at the time we started out.

Please give me your (long or brief) thoughts and lowdowns on......


Hinterland from 2005

Lars: This album could have been much better if the tempo and intensity had been more right. There are some killer-riffs that are not really working too well on the version that’s on the album. We had never been in a studio before, so we really didn’t know that much how things worked. But still there are many magical things on that album as well of course! I plan on re-mixing this to adapt it for a vinyl-release. So many plans, so little time…

Martin: I agree with Lars. Personally I think lots of the music is fantastic, but the compositions aren’t at the same level as the music. We didn’t manage to communicate the intensity of the songs, but it still fun to listen to the album.

Morten: It was an ok recording in a nice studio (Lydkjøkkenet) Much effort was put into the mixing of the album, as it turned out to beat the previous record for number of recorded tracks per song with a little over three thousand.


Afterglow from 2009

Morten: Here we did all the recordings ourselves. The fact that the material was old and that the first recordings were made in a dark room that was damp and very cold wasn’t too inspiring. Eagerness and optimism came back quickly when things began to fall in place, but there were many a dark moment in the recording.

Lars: The material on this album was made at the same time as the Hinterland material. So it’s kind of a Hinterland part II. Again the compositions are flowing freely and wild like the forest. I feel this has a much more raw sound (perhaps too raw?) We could for instance only record 4 tracks at the same time, so drums are done old-school-style; 2 overhead microphones, 1 snare- and 1 bassdrum microphone. Most of the other instruments were done with one shure sm57. So the mixing was quite a challenge… Anyway, I feel that where Hinterland was down and stretched things more out, this album is up and hyperactive. Also it’s got more of a medieval feel I guess. It’s intended for LP, hence only 35 minutes long (which isn’t so bad compared to PFM’s per un amico and Yes’ Close to the edge which are about that length). Both Hinterland and Afterglow was made when we were in our teens, so I’m excited to hear what people will think of the third album, which I feel is much more mature (in a good way).


A new album is more or less completed. What is the name, what is the release date and what can we expect from the new album?

Lars: We haven’t decided what it’s called yet. I’m guessing it won’t be released until May next year. This new album has a very good sound, the songs are very good and our new vocalist has really lifted us to new heights. I feel things finally came together on this album; the combination of good songs, recorded the right way, the right sound, tempo and intensity… To see the latest development in the studio-progress I’d recommend our studio-film-diary on youtube. Here’s our latest: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPa_tzda-wM

What is the lyrical topics on your albums and how is your creative process from coming up with a theme/riff/idea to you get it down onto an album?

Lars: It has changed over the years. In 1999 I could walk into to the forest and make whole songs in my head, and afterwards present the stuff to the band and we would develop it from there. Now I find it easier to make demos in my studio and present a new song that way. I find it easier to hear if something works when you’ve got all the elements there (drums, guitar, bass, vocals and keys). The songs still get developed on rehearsal of course, and the only bad thing I guess is that there aren’t that much left to chance anymore. There still are some cases of course, but before I began recording demos, I would present a riff only on the keyboard and all of a sudden someone could play something I hadn’t thought about and turning it into something totally different. Morten and Kristian work in a totally different way, since they haven’t got a working home-studio, so they still have to present their riffs and songs on rehearsal like bands have done for thousands of years.

Just to give those of us who are unknown with your band a bit of a reference point or two: How would you describe your music?

Lars: I guess you could say it sounds like 70s symphonic progressive rock. I personally just call it skogsprog (forest-prog), much inspired by the Norwegian nature. And of course we use lots and lots of classic vintage instruments like Mellotron, Chamberlin, Moog, Arp, Hammond, Clavinet, Rickenbacker bass and so on. No midi, samples or digital sounds.

Morten: Until now, each song may well be described as a journey where you will be guided, led, lid and tossed. And as in so many journeys in life: when you've just sat down and thought “where did this begin?” -you are at an end and can embark on a new one. In other words, inspired by the bands mentioned above.


Norway has a very impressive prog rock scene at the moment which is quite big outside Norway and almost unknown in Norway. The same goes for your band Wobbler who is quite big abroad and mostly unknown at home. What is your take on this situation?

Lars: It’s a bit  like the black metal-scene perhaps… But we haven’t really tried that hard to get known either. We hardly play live – though that’s going to change now. Also prog rock is still a taboo among most music-journalists, so it hasn’t really gotten any attention on that front either

Morten:  We've known from the beginning that prog is not a very widespread genre in Norway. It is not necessarily in all other countries either, but those who like that kind of music will find it no matter where they/we may be, mainly thru the internet. And we are very grateful and surprised at all the good response from response so far. 

You have played some festivals abroad. How were those experiences?

Lars: Really great! To play in Germany, on Freakshow in 2004 was very scary. We had played live perhaps two times since 1999 before that gig, so we were very nervous. It was a disaster when I think back on it. Here we were playing before Univers Zero! There were technical problems (specially the moog) and it didn’t help that we couldn’t hear ourselves – which again was because we weren’t used to playing live and didn’t know how the monitoring really worked… NEAR-fest went much better and was a dream come true. We had time for a sound check and had learned a thing or two since Freakshow (like always bring a tuner for the minimoog). The last few gigs have been really great, and like I said, we plan to play more once the new album is out. To do a tour would for instance be cool. We’ve always just done one concert wherever we’ve played, and then waited for months before the next one.

Morten: Our experience is that prog festivals abroad are well organized in relation to the technical, sound, stage crew and lighting, as well as the royal treatment of artists in relation to accommodation, logistics, food, and not least the toilet paper and drinks.


Are any of your members involved in any other bands or projects?

Lars: I’ve got a band called In Lingua Mortua which one reviewer so gracefully called “King Crimson goes black metal”. I’ve been playing keyboards in White Willow since 2001 – a new album is on its way! Morten plays in a band called Thunderbolt. Kristian plays in Spirits of the Dead. Andreas is in Father Robin and formerly in Lukas Kasha. Martin plays in Angst Skvadron and recently joined Tussmørke.

Besides of the new album, what is your plans for the rest of this year and next year ?

Morten: The plan is to finally get the album finished and then release it asap. Then there will be gigs. We’re playing at the Terra Incognita prog-festival in Quebec in May 2011 which we’re looking forward to. Hopefully even a tour eventually.

Anything you want to add to this interview ?

Martin: Thank you for the interview !


Thank you to Wobbler for this interview

Their PA profile is here and their homepage's here



Edited by toroddfuglesteg - December 13 2010 at 13:23
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mellotron Storm Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 13 2010 at 13:55
Ahhh that was great ! Good to hear from the band and that a new album is on the way.I will always have fond memories of when i first got "Hinterland" and the time i spent listening to it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Man With Hat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 13 2010 at 14:33

Good read. Thumbs Up

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote avestin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 13 2010 at 14:47
I love this band (and Lars' other projects), thanks for the interview.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote memowakeman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 13 2010 at 17:35
Excellent band. Fell in love with them since I first listened to Hinterland.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CCVP Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 13 2010 at 18:38
Originally posted by memowakeman memowakeman wrote:

Excellent band. Fell in love with them since I first listened to Hinterland.


Same here, but Afterglow is my favorite by them.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TheGazzardian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 13 2010 at 19:19
I fell in love with them with one listen to Afterglow - have yet to acquire Hinterland though. I'll probably buy it at the same time as the new album. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CCVP Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 13 2010 at 19:35
Originally posted by TheGazzardian TheGazzardian wrote:

I fell in love with them with one listen to Afterglow - have yet to acquire Hinterland though. I'll probably buy it at the same time as the new album. 


I must confess that Hinterland is a bit too fat for me. The album is great, but it just have too much information. If it was smaller or the ideas were better worked out, it would have been the masterpiece of the decade, seriously.

i'm on high hopes for the new album.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Truth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 13 2010 at 19:36
I fell in love wth Afterglow as well.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sleeper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 14 2010 at 14:49
A great read, thanks. I'm seriously impressed with their production skills if they can get the bass to sound that good from a single Shure SM57!
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