Pom Poko are ‘pure Norwegian punky sweetness!’ Having toured the UK last September and played a set at Sound City Ipswich, they are back on tour taking in several countries and hit our region in both February and April. Hayley gets to speak with Martin Tonne, the guitar player, ahead of the tour.
HC: Let’s begin with you telling us how you got together and decided to start a band:
Martin: We had a gig to play at a literature festival and we decided to make all original punk songs (at least that was the plan, don’t really know if we succeeded) for the gig. The literature festival people weren’t thrilled, but we had a great time and just decided to continue making music together.
HC: Who does what in the band?
Ragnhild – lead vocals
Martin – guitar
Jonas – bass
Ola – drums
HC:Anyone in your family musical?
Martin: Kind of musical, yes, but no one in my family can actually play very much except me. But my dad is a music lover for sure!
HC: Your sound is pretty fresh, how would you describe it?
Martin: Maybe full of energy and quite close to being ugly but never really getting there!
HC: Have you got similar musical influences?
Martin: Yes, we love a lot of the same music, like mathy/noisy rock bands and lots of African music.
HC: What’s your song writing process? Who does what, or is it a collaborative process?
Martin: It’s 100% collaborative. We write all the songs together, which is very nice, because then everyone is equally on board with all the music.
HC: Which song do you most like to perform, and why?
Martin: I like the song “If U Want Me 2 Stay I’ll Be Happy 2 Go” because when we play it live there’s a lot of room for improvisation and crazy stuff.
HC: Has the ‘Year of the Covid’ changed the band’s direction/thoughts/motivation?
Martin: Hmm, not really, I think. It’s just reminded us that we like playing live a lot!
HC: You hit the UK in September 2021 with a tour – how was that for you?
Martin: Amazing! It was the first tour in suuuch a long time, and touring the UK is one of our favourite things in the world.
HC: You kick start another tour at the end of this month with a gig in Cardiff and visit 4 different countries – do you have a favourite venue/country you would like to back to?
Martin: Well, there’s lots of different places we love. We had an awesome time in Hebden Bridge this last tour at a small place called Trades Club, we really love small and cozy clubs with music loving people running them.
HC: How do the fans differ across the countries you have been to?
Martin: Well, British/UK fans are quite a lot better than most Norwegian fans, I think. The gigging culture and interest in live music is much better in the UK, in Norway people have a higher threshold for going out and seeing a show.
HC: Anything unusual happened at a gig?
Martin: We’ve had a fire alarm go off in the middle of a show (in Leeds), I had to leave the stage to pee once (in Wurzburg in Germany), and we had to put plastic over our pedal boards at a festival in the mountains in Norway because it was raining so heavily onto the stage.
HC: Do you think it is easier or harder these days to be a in a band?
Martin: I think it’s very lame these days to be in a band that relies on touring to make money, because touring has been bad for the whole of Covid…
HC: Any new releases coming out this year?
Martin: YES! We have just released a new single ‘Enduro Corner’ and a whole EP a bit after that! Will include a Bach cover among other things.
HC: When you are not making music, what hobbies do each of you enjoy?
Martin: Me (Martin) and Jonas (the bass player) love climbing, Ola loves basketball, and Ragnhild is a very talented seamstress (if that’s the word for someone who is good at sewing?)
HC: What artist/group would you like to support?
HC: Any special skill outside of music that we don’t know about?
Martin: Jonas is almost a doctor!
HC: What was the best concert you went to when you were younger?
Martin: I saw Belle and Sebastian in Spain once when I was quite small, that really kick-started my love for live music.
HC: What’s the biggest problem you’ve had to overcome so far?
Martin: We had to go home after our first gig when we were on our first American tour in 2020, because of Covid. That really sucked!
HC: What do you enjoy most about being a musician? What do you hate most?
Martin: What I love most about being a musician is to be able to work with and practice something that’s both very serious and very not serious at same time. What I hate most is musical snobbery!
HC: What was your favourite activity/event in 2021?
Martin: Our UK tour 🙂
HC: What would you like to do differently in 2022?
Martin: Mostly play more gigs! And maybe have more time to write new music.
HC: What’s the least cool thing you’ve done recently?
Martin: I fell on the ice quite hard yesterday. That hurt in a serious way.
HC: What’s your favourite word?
Martin: hmm… That’s actually impossible to say.
HC: What’s your go-to karaoke song?
Martin: “Too Little Too Late” by JoJo.
HC: What cartoon character do you most identify with?
Martin: Both brothers in Phineas and Ferb.
HC: What album has got you through some hard times?
Martin: “Satan i gatan” by the Swedish singer Veronica Maggio! The best pop album ever.
HC: What have you been doing to entertain yourself while on lockdown?
Martin: Playing lots of video games 🙂 And writing music!
HC: Who is your favourite superhero?
Photo Credit: Jenny Berger Myhre