Murmansk combine dark-toned melodies with walls of sound, wrapping their songs in echo and feedback. Even though the bands sound partly leans towards shoegaze, it also has a more violent and straightforward side to it.
Known for their intense and energetic live performances, they have toured with bands such as Liars, A Place To Bury Strangers, Kinski, dEUS and Zombie Zombie. They open up the TLOBF sponsored all-Nordic “Ja Ja Ja” Club Night which is taking place at The Lexington, London on 27 January. More details (including full line-up and ticket details) can be found here.
For people out there that have never heard of you, give us three reasons why they should?
It’s loud & quiet, dissonant & melodic, brutal & soft – those might be the reasons; elements that seemingly cancel each other out but still somehow manage to coexist.
Tell us a little about where you’re from: do your surroundings affect the music that you create?
We all were born in small Finnish towns and moved to Helsinki only later. I guess you could say there’s a certain melancholy and sense of isolation about growing up in places like that, and that it may translate itself into the passive aggressive minimalism that our music sometimes is – but I suppose that in itself is not that different from any of the Nordic countries. It is more about the combination of people you work with. I don’t think this bunch would write happy-go-lucky reggae songs even if we lived someplace warm and sunny.
If you could have played on or written any song, what would it be?
We all are quite keen on soundtracks, so it might’ve been nice to write music for i.e. some 80’s horror film.
How did the band come in to being? And where did the name come from?
Murmansk started out in 2003 in Helsinki after a long night in a bar, bassist Olli is the only founding member left, people have come and gone during the years, but the current line-up feels like the final one. That night was also the origin of the name, and it just stuck. But as time has passed, it has come to stand for the general mood of the music we make. Just ask yourself: what kind of associations/images does that name bring to your mind?
What is the most memorable gig you have played, and what can we expect of your live set at Ja Ja Ja?
There have been many, the whole Russian tour that we did last winter was pretty memorable, sleepless nights traveling on cold vans, trains and planes, packed houses and very warm people somewhere in the Ural region. At Ja Ja Ja you’ll hear noise, melodies, and, (hopefully) moderated chaos. And maybe also a new song that’ll be on the album we’re currently working on.
If you were asked to curate your own Ja Ja Ja night, which three acts would you choose and why?
Beta Satan: A very interesting band from Denmark that (hopefully) are releasing new material sometime soon.
Jaga Jazzist: One of reasons why Norway is musically such an interesting place these days.
Circle: this is one of the most confusing contemporary Finnish bands.
We’d like you to make us a Nordic themed mix-tape. Which five tracks would you choose?
Some golden oldies from each country that would all share some mythological theme. Or just something that messes with all possible preconceptions towards Nordic countries and the music here.