EMQ’s with THE FEDERATION
Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Fosen, Norway based Rock/Metal band The Federation. Huge thanks to rhythm guitarist Pål Vegar Leth-Olsen for taking part.
What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
We are a rock/metal band (not very sure what we are really) called The Federation. We come from the middle of Norway where the most exiting spice available is salt.
The band started out in late 2018. Started out as a cover band with the intention of maybe writing some original songs. Now we have released our debut album, released our first music video and are currently writing for the next album.
The band consists of 5 guys with receding hairlines and a great fondness of gravy.
Magnus Helmersen – Vocals
Ørjan Vingen – Bass
Pål Vegar Leth-Olsen – Rhythm Guitar
Thomas Strand – Lead Guitar
John Roger (KingJr) Leseth – Drums
How did you come up with your band name?
We were throwing different names on the table and we were working with a designer at the time testing out ideas. Then he came up with the logo we are currently using. We thought it was cool, so we needed to figure out something with the letter T and F. We almost went for Troubled Few, but since we are Norwegian it was a little difficult to say, so we chose The Federation.
What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
We are from the middle of Norway in a region called Trøndelag. The area has several big bands, but the biggest international band is probably TNT (10 000 Lovers). I think also Bokassa had their start in this area. Other than that, we have several big national acts. The local rock/metal scene is very healthy. There are plenty of bands in the area and we all get along great. However, as in most other places in the world there are a lack of live scenes to play. So it’s always difficult to get gigs.
Fortunately, we are hitting a certain level, popularity wise, so we usually get the gigs we want.
Other bands worth checking out in the area are Prospect, Soaris, Divided Multitude, Axe Toss and Blodsmak.
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)
Our latest release is ‘Flesh Gazer’, a single recorded and filmed in the rehearsal room. Mixed, mastered and released by us. We are a DIY band and at the moment, as many others, doing everything ourselves.
Our debut album, “Hungry Sleep”, we also did ourselves. We rented an old school and recorded almost everything there. Then we went to my home studio and recorded overdubs etc.
‘Flesh Gazer’ (Live from TF HQ)
Who have been your greatest influences?
There´s so much different stuff that each and everybody likes in the band so hard to really say something specific. We got; Pål, who is the main songwriter, is a metal head, Thomas likes Guns N’ Roses and that sort of thing, KingJr has a love for Stained, Ørjan loves funk, Magnus has a love for a more power metal sort of thing. The combination gets really weird.😊
What first got you into music?
I’ve always been into music, didn´t play any instrument before I was 18 when I first picked up the guitar. Metallica – ‘Black Album’ was a turning point for me personally, the distorted sound of the guitar was a life changer. After that I was all rock/metal.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
Oh, that’s a difficult one. But I think we would choose the guys in Kvelertak. The way they produce and the setting of the mood in their songs is brilliant. I’m a riff guy, basing everything on “the money riff”, but Kvelertak is doing so much more.
Other than that, it must be Tom Rikard Ostad in Blodsmak. His songwriting skill is off the charts.
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
Wacken in Germany, Lollapalooza in the States and 70,000 Tons of Metal at sea.
Wacken and Lollapalooza for the sheer number of people attending, 70,000 Tons for the experience and meeting up with likeminded.😊
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
We haven´t received any gifts as of yet. The vocalist has had several offers in the physical kind of way, but that kind of doesn’t count.😊
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
Thank you for sticking with us and all the crazy stuff we are doing, Thank you for the support, looking forward to seeing everybody again.😊
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
Dimebag Darrel, without a doubt. He wasn´t done yet, he had so many more face ripping riffs left in him and went WAY to soon.
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
The thing I like the most is the freedom to create whatever I want. To just sit there for hours struggling to come up with a riff or a melody, and the intense sense of proudness when you find something that just nails it. It’s a rare feeling, but oh so worth the struggle. When you find something that hits the spot with an audience who have never heard the song as well is absolutely awesome. The highs are so high, the lows can´t compare.
The thing I hate the most is after the show, when we have to rig our gear down. We usually take 30 minutes after the show to talk to the fans and just live a little in the awesome feeling you have after a show. But after about 30 minutes we start wrapping cables and carrying amps. That’s the most boring thing we do.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
Another difficult one, cause there are so many problems. On our level we aren’t really deep inside the industry yet, but we are getting a taste of it, and it’s a little sour. One thing is the industry itself, the constant struggle of payment, ownership, distribution etc etc. This has been explained so much by people who are more into the business than us, so we leave it at that.
One thing that we are seeing on our level is bands who “cheat” themselves to popularity. Buying likes, views and what not. You can´t blame the industry for being crooked when you don’t play honestly yourselves. Because this is a struggle. Struggle to get gigs, struggle to figure out social media to get your music out there, struggle to understand the financials etc etc. It’s a part of it. It’s like getting a six pack, if you want it, you need to hit the gym hard.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
Dream Theater – “Scenes From A Memory”. That album was an absolute EAR opener!
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
Vinyl, any day!
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
I have two for different reasons.
First was with my old band where we got to play with the biggest symphony orchestra in Norway, KORK. And it was broadcasted on the biggest TV channel in Norway, NRK. The production of that gig was immense, and the feeling when you have a symphony orchestra backing up the riffs is a “holy shit” feeling!
The other is a festival in Norway called Totsåsrock. We were one of the first bands to play so we didn´t think there would be as many people, and there weren’t. But after playing the first song the place was packed and everybody was digging the music and having a good time.
It’s so much fun when you are the outsider, and just kill it on stage 😊
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
I’m a sound technician as well as musician so I would probably just do that more. Now I don´t get to do it that often.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
Lemmy Kilmister –-Cause he got stories to tell.!
Big Mick – Cause of the stories from a technician point of view!
Stephen Hawking – Cause it´s Stephan Hawking!
Christopher Hitchens – Interesting bloke!
Joe Balaguer – He´s guitars are gorgeous!
What’s next for the band?
Next up are several festival gigs in 2021, then we focus on the new album. It´s going to be heavier and more technical. And then, hopefully, we get to tour abroad a bit. God damn Corona destroyed any hope of travelling in 2020.
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
We try the best we can to use Facebook, Youtube and Instagram. But we are old bastards (31-40 years old), so we are struggling to keep up with the technology. 😊
Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?
Biscuits god dammit!
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Thank you again for having me, and please check us out if you wish!
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