Normally a debut record marks the first steps of a band into the big brutal world of music. Very often it might be a strong beginning, but shows enough space for future progress. In the case of Norwegian indie-pop band TEAM ME their 2011 debut To The Treetops! was already close to perfection. Here was an ambitious piece of songwriter pop a band like ARCADE FIRE could be proud of. It makes us wonder – if a debut record is already that ambitious, what else can we expect from the future? Whatever it is, we are already excited. The band is currently working on the new record and NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION had the chance to talk with this group at this year’s Immergut Festival. Topics include the current album process and festivals in general.
You were touring a lot last year. How does being on the road influence you as a band?
Well, the last week has been really amazing because we were traveling around in a bus and we never did that before. And traveling in a bus means that you can go to sleep whenever you want to. It is especially inspiring, because you can sit there on the road with your laptop. It is really practical for working on new songs and ideas. You’ve got so much more time.
How do you get around on tour if there isn’t a bus?
We have a van and we usually fill it up with too much gear. Then we have to drive ourselves, but don’t get me wrong: we love this kind of life. However, touring in a bus was something special and totally different.
The whole thing started with your debut two years ago. Did you ever imagine that there will be so much success?
Honestly no. It was a surprise for everyone who is involved in the project TEAM ME. We were signed to this small label in Norway and they loved the songs, and we had 100 percent freedom during our work in the studio. We were able to do everything we wanted. They were just like ‘this might be a bit over-produced’. So, we were kind of surprised that it was working in Norway and then even more when we found out that it works everywhere. It is just amazing. And pretty interesting, because it came to light that there is not just one specific audience listening to our music. For example, also our mothers are into the band or the kids of our friends. So age doesn’t play a role [for our fans.]
Was there a special moment of realizing the potential of your band-project? Or was it a process?
It is a continuing process. There are cool things happened and immediately after, there is another cool thing happening and you’re not really able to digest the one cool thing before the other things happen to you.
“We’re going to release TEAM ME albums as long as we live”
Currently you’re working on new material. Do you write songs on tour?
It is not really writing songs. On tour we’re editing and working on already written ideas, developing them and do some arrangements. We program some instruments like strings or drums, but afterwards we play it all by ourselves in the studio. We don’t like to just put programmed instruments on our records. And, of course, on tour we’re trying out new songs.
How do you manage the process of songwriting in a band consisting of six people?
Usually it all starts out with an input from Marius. And then we try out to play it live and then we’re able to figure out what works and what doesn’t. It is a different approach than it was the last time. Previously, the demos were so much closer to how the album actually sounded. So, the main idea was there already. This time around we just take some ideas and demos, put them into the rehearsal room, just trying something out. We’re not planning so much like we did in the past. It is more a band-collective feeling.
In another interview you said, that you would like to compose more by using the piano. What about this plan?
We bought a piano, a really cheap and crappy one, which sounds quite old school. And actually we’re writing songs on it. A lot of the new songs are written on the piano and for us they sound quite different.
Are there currently some details about the new record?
We’re really into the process right now. We’re going to have some studio-time in the next few month. Maybe we can aim for spring 2014. It is our second album, that it is really hard to figure out: exactly how much time it will take. We’ve only done this once before. The first time we stayed in studio for two months and it was just like chaos. We will see what happens this time. It has got to be perfect in our own way. It has to sound what we want it to sound like. It has to have this special feeling for us. On the other hand we have to remember that this is just a little post card from our time right now. We’re going to release TEAM ME albums as long as we live. For that it is important to get it out in time and to start working on a new one. Because our third album is going to be a triple album and there will also be a movie involved, a musical…
Do you have some kind of a survival tip for being on a festival?
You have to wear rubber boots, because if you run out of plastic cups, you can always use your rubber boots to drink your alcohol from. You should always take some mango shampoo with you, because it smells quite tasty. Seriously, you just have to enjoy the music and the people. And there is something special about this festival, because everyone seems to be so happy. Even if it is a cliché, festivals are about peace and love and having a good time. It is not about what shoes you wear or if you have a stylish haircut or fancy mango shampoo. For some people, being on a festival means to show which cool clothes and style you have. We especially noticed this at some festivals in Norway.
What is important to take home after visiting a festival?
A hand full of beautiful memories. Hopefully you’ve met some great people you can stay in touch with. Yeah, you’re future husband or wife can be here – or your new favorite band.
What do hope and passion mean to you?
Wow. That’s deep. Well, p is for passion. Puh! Passion is to do what you like most and don’t let anyone else tell you, what to do. And hope is a good thing to have. Maybe – to sum up – hope and passion is what helps you to go on in life.