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Progressive Rock Interviews

Wobbler

Interviewed by Gary Hill

Interview with Lars Fredrik Frøislie of Wobbler from 2011

MSJ:

Can you catch the readers up on the history of your involvement in music – both individually and as a band?

I got my first Casio keyboard from my grandmother for my 10th birthday, which means I’ve played keyboards exactly 20 years next week. We started Wobbler when I was 17, which was with Kristian, Morten and Martin who I’ve played with in various bands a few years before this, and I guess this was the first serious band all of us played in. We sort of developed our music taste together. I also began a solo-project, In Lingua Mortua the same year, which is sort of prog rock meets extreme metal. Since then I’ve been involved with about 50 releases, both as a session-musician and various bands. Bands like White Willow (which will soon release a new album later this year), Xploding Plastix, Finn Coren, Shining (the Swedish band), Urgehal, Asmegin, Angst Skvadron to name a few. Lately Ketil Einarsen (from Jaga Jazzist, Motorpsycho, White Willow and so on) and I have been doing film-music (mainly documentaries) which is great fun. I also run Termo Records with Jacob (White Willow), and I’ve also done some mixing, production and recording of various bands.
MSJ: If you weren't involved in music what do you think you'd be doing?
I’d be an artist. Most likely a painter, but who knows. Maybe installation, though I think I’d find it too messy and too much physical work. 
MSJ: How did the name of the group originate?
Martin and I were just looking in the dictionary, and thought Wobbler had a nice ring to it. Short and rolls off the tongue in a nice way. We had no idea it was also a fishing-device, so we were just thinking about the motion – like that you can hear on an analog vintage keyboard. Plus we’re wobbly people playing wobbly music.
MSJ: Who would you see as your musical influences?
I listen to everything and anything can be an influence… In Wobbler our musical influences are mainly late 60s – early 70s prog rock. Bands like King Crimson, Genesis, Yes, Gentle Giant, ELP, VdGG, PFM, Museo Rosenbach, Banco, Univers Zero, Magma and so on. Also some 90s stuff like Änglagård, Landberk, Burzum, Thorns and Darkthrone. On Rites at Dawn I also think you can hear some Blue Öyster Cult-influences.  
MSJ: What's ahead for you?
We plan to play as much as possible live this year and next year, before we’ll start working on new material. I’ve got some material already, which is quite dark compared to Rites at Dawn.
MSJ: I know artists hate to have their music pigeonholed or labeled, but how would you describe your music?
When we started out we thought we played pure 70s prog rock with no compromise, meaning no modern gear, lots of Mellotron, Moog, Arp, Hammond and so on, a certain early 70s sound and production. But we were told we didn’t really play prog rock, since prog/progressive means it has to progress, and we were just regressive. So I don’t know. Personally I like the term “skogs-prog.” (skog=forest).
MSJ: Are there musicians with whom you would like to play with in the future?
There are so many great musicians just in Oslo alone, so I don’t know where to begin. Jon Christensen, the jazz drummer would be cool. Aaah, I can’t think of anyone right now. Except Robert Fripp, of course. Maybe Vangelis – also just to hang out with such a strange person (from what I’m told).
MSJ: Do you think that illegal downloading of music is a help or hindrance to the careers of musicians?
I guess both. Luckily much of our audience is fifty-plus who like the physical product. But we have much to thank for the internet, since we put out some demos on our web-page in 2003 which spread around and eventually led us to NEARfest and record-deal and so on.
MSJ: In a related question, how do you feel about fans recording shows and trading them?
As long as we’ve done a good gig and the sound and levels are OK, I have no big problem with that.
MSJ: If you were a superhero, what music person would be your arch nemesis and why?
Maybe Mecha-Streisand. No reason. 
MSJ: If you were to put together your ultimate band (a band you'd like to hear or catch live), who would be in it and why?
I think it would be a total overkill, but let’s put together a prog-big-band consisting of Emerson, Wakeman, Tony Banks, Steve Howe, Robert Fripp, Chris Squire, Steve Hackett, Bill Bruford, Mattias Olsson, a young Greg Lake and Jon Anderson all going ape-s*** and making as much sound as possible.
MSJ: If you were in charge of assembling a music festival and wanted it to be the ultimate one from your point of view who would be playing?
Air, ELP, Genesis (reunion with Peter Gabriel), Led Zeppelin, Jarre, Black Sabbath, Darkthrone, Thorns, Dungen, Shining, Änglagård, Magma, Fleet Foxes, Royksopp, Quincy Jones playing 60s bossanova, Ennio Morricone conducting his greatest hits, Motorpsycho, Kraftwerk, Goblin and King Crimson.
MSJ: What was the last CD you bought and/or what have you been listening to lately?
The last LP I bought was the new one from Fleet Foxes - very nice, both production and arrangements.
MSJ: Have you read any good books lately?
I’ve only read art history-books the last two years. Today’s material was Martin Meisel’s Realizations (Narrative, Pictorial, and Theatrical Arts in Nineteenth-Century England).
MSJ: What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?
The last one was actually in Ottawa at the end of May, which was a classical concert where they performed Rachmaninoff.
MSJ: Do you have a musical “guilty pleasure?”
It depends who I’m talking to. It’s a bit embarrassing to admit that I like rap and pop when I’m talking to badass black metal Satanists who assume I only like bossanova and old school black metal. If they found out I have Alicia Keys and Lady Gaga on my Iphone I guess they would …um … well I’m not sure what they’d, but maybe something…
MSJ: What has been your biggest Spinal Tap moment?
I think it was when I was having my first White Willow-gig, which was in France. I had hardly been outside my parent’s farm, so I wasn’t used to guards on the public toilets. This was on the train-station in Paris, so I freaked out, trying to find a normal toilet without any strange people who said something in French and stopping me as I tried to get in there. So I walked around for at least 30 minutes and eventually found a place. While seated on the toilet I took a look at the train-ticket and realized that was five minutes ago. So half the band luckily waited for me, and we had to be picked up by the arranger, who drove three hours each way and finally arriving at the concert place in middle of the night. The most embarrassing moment though, was the first Wobbler-gig in Germany, where I borrowed an unstable minimoog which I couldn’t hear in my monitor (which isn’t so good – especially when one song lasts 29 minutes). First after the song was done I could hear each of the three oscillators were more than one semitone off pitch – in each direction… I started using a tuner after that… The horror I tell ya!  
MSJ: If you could sit down to dinner with any three people, living or dead, for food and conversation, with whom would you be dining? What would be on the menu?
I guess it could be useful to have a chat with either Jesus or some other religious guy simply to find out what the fuss is all about. I guess it should be bread with lots of butter and wine . Maybe some pizza with Leonardo DaVinci would be nice. Or some grapes with Augustus or the slightly more crazy Caesar; Nero.
MSJ: Are there any closing thoughts you would like to get out there?
I can’t think of anything. Maybe because I just slept two hours last night. But thanks for the interview and feel free to check us out on www.myspace.com/wobblermusic or www.facebook.com/wobblerofficial    
MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.
 
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