Norway's Sløtface Are Making Pop Punk Bang Again
On "Nancy Drew" the band reinterpret the teen detective as a superhero who dismantles the patriarchy of indie music's boys club. Hell yeah!
There's something special about Sløtface. Originally called Slutface – a name that they had to do away with after social media sites kept censoring it and causing them to lose out on shows – the pop punk foursome from Stavanger, Norway, bring a playful feel to hard-hitting punk. Their sound lands somewhere between the energetic scrappiness of bands like Joyce Manor and the syrupy sweetness of 90s bands like Letters To Cleo, with a little math rock twist thrown in, but to summarise using the modern parlance: it bangs.
Kickstarted by an obsession with American teen movies, Sløtface cut their teeth playing house shows to friends but, as one of the few non-metal or hardcore bands in their town, also ended up bagging support slots for big pop acts like A-Ha. They write songs about dismantling patriarchy, film music videos in the middle of protests against chemical waste being dumped in fjords and describe their debut album Try Not To Freak Out as the credits rolling on their teenage years. To put it bluntly: Sløtface care, but their sound is carefree – and that rules. We're premiering their new track "Nancy Drew" which you can get stuck into bellow, followed by a chat with band members Haley and Tor about important issues such as Tinder and man buns.
Noisey: Hello, Sløtface! Tell us about "Nancy Drew".
Haley: The song is about this superhero I tried to create that's based on Nancy Drew, who goes around trying to take down the patriarchy of indie music's boys club. The album is full of things we're worrying about, so I wanted to put some positivity and strength in as well.
There's a lyric that goes: "I've filled my quota of boys with acoustic guitars" – same tbh. What would a future utopia look like, in your eyes?
Tor: In our future utopia there will be more women playing music, so when people start bands it's completely natural to have a female drummer because you couldn't find anyone else. Also music journalists will spend more energy on writing about the music and performance than the genders, clothing and style of the ones writing and performing. Also less man buns, and more bands in general.
What's the worst opening line you've heard on Tinder.
Tor: As boys the worst one is "Hi you're handsome". It's very rare, but it happens. The problem is that you never know if it's a scam, or just someone being a bit tacky.
Haley: We actually wrote a whole song about this for the record that ended up being cut. I think the worst was when someone started by asking me what kind of animal I thought I would be.
You released a single last year referencing Empire Records and "Nancy Drew" has a similar vibe to Letters To Cleo whose music was in 10 Things I Hate About You and a bunch of other 90s films. Do you find yourselves quite inspired by teen movies?
Haley: We're very influenced by teen movies. I think they've just really stuck with me as models for what your teen years should be like, so all my good memories from doing typical teenage things come with the "this could be in a movie" label in my brain and sneak in to our lyrics. Our first songs were a lot about how I worried it could be a bit unhealthy to be raised on such high expectations for drama, but as we've gotten older I think I've learned to appreciate those memories for what they are and not obsess over unrealistic expectations.
Tor: When it comes to the music we also try to reference the stuff we were listening as kids. Green Day, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and stuff like that. I guess there's no way around it, it's kind of stuck in our heads forever. I don't believe we can shake off the movies and music you watched as a 13-year-old.
Could you tell us a bit about the punk scene in Stavanger?
Tor: It used to be really buzzing with punk and ska bands before we were old enough to know anything about it. When we grew up, the bands that put on shows for people under 18 were straight edge hardcore and metal bands, which meant our first experience with live music involved moshpits and close connections between stage and audience. Now the music scene back home is very diverse and a lot of young artists are doing really well across the borders, like Sigrid, Dagny, Aurora. Since the diversity of genres is so prominent, you'll find the same people going to a ambient electropop gig being at a pop-punk show the next day. Norway has just 5 million people, which means the music scenes in the different cities are small, but never single-minded.
You filmed a music video on top of a mountain where people were protesting against a mining company for dumping waste. Could you talk a bit about why you chose to do that and why you thought it was important?
Tor: The "Sponge State" video meant showcasing that young people are still out there protesting, trying to make a change for a cause they believe in. The most annoying thing I hear is people saying "Oh, I wish I lived in the 70s, where people actually cared about stuff". People are still doing it, and everyone can be a part of the change they want to make. To see 16-year-old kids organising the protest, sacrificing themselves, getting a criminal records, not being able to travel to the US, and receiving individually $1200 fines every day really put things in perspective. It's inspiring to see that young people still care, and are doing their best to make a world they are happy to live in.
How would you describe Sløtface to people who haven't heard you yet?
Tor: Four people trying to make punk pop again.
Anything else you'd like to add?
Tor: We're doing a huge tour this autumn on the back of our album-release. Like huge, huge. We're heading to Europe and Australia for sure. Hopefully the US as well. The upcoming album has all new songs, which means the set is going to be new. We really hope people come out and check us out live.
Nice. Everyone go check them out live!
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Try Not To Freak Out will be released on 15 September. You can pre-order it and find a list of live dates here.