Bergen's Great News explain why using solariums was a vital part of the band's creative process in making their debut album Wonderfault.
The activity is often associated with skin aging, cancer and sunburn, but for us it's been vital.
During winter the sun goes down at 3pm, that is if you're lucky enough to see it at all. We need to fake our summers, and sunbeds are essential to us.
We started the band in Bergen, one of the darkest and rainiest corners of the world. It's a beautiful city on the west coast of Norway when it’s sunny, surrounded by mountains and the sea. But the high mountains make the clouds pile up over our heads and therefor it rains, a lot. We believe it rains about 238 days a year, but if you see a tourist brochure you will only see pictures of our famous harbour bathing in sun. The truth is that it doesn’t only pour down for one or two hours, it can last for entire days. Each year national media cover Bergen’s “rain records”. One of the records we’re trying to break was set in 1986 with over 100 days of rain in a row. The upside of the bad weather is that it makes us spend time inside creating music. The cliche about the Bergen music scene is this; the bad weather turns into long studio sessions sheltered from the rain.
It's estimated that 5-10% of the Norwegian population suffer from SAD (seasonal affective disorder) during the dark winter months. The lack of sunlight may in the worst cases make people go into a serious depression. We recorded the album in our own studio during winter, it had us focusing on joyfulness to keep our minds away from the darkness outside. Also we spent time contemplating on things not being perfect, but still that doesn’t mean life is good. It became our strength realizing that not being perfect actually can be pretty good, and that’s one of our most important messages to whoever picks up our record, imperfect is good enough.
In between working with our recordings and working in bars and studying we hiked up Mount Floyen, one of the best activities you can do here. The fresh air clears your mind and offers power to new ideas and good conversations . And on the way down, it is perfect to do some tanning in one of the many solariums in the city.
Even [Kjelby, singer and guitarist] has a hang up with solariums and tanning a lot he’s often mistaken for being from somewhere more south in Europe. When we discovered that the lady featuring in our latest video “Told”, who also were so kind lending us her flat for some of the shots, had a private solarium, Even almost moved in. What a dream! Being inside a solarium is almost like being in a sci-fi film, it's warm and futuristic. You can lie there contemplating, and you feel totally re-energized better after the session’s over. It gives Even the boost to make some of the tracks more colourful, reminiscing over the good times in the sun during summer. There’s no better time to walk around in the city the first day of spring. People enjoying the first “utepils”, a well known term in Norway that means the first outdoor beer that year. The temperature has nothing to say.
We hope we can make some people happy and give them some of that fresh air, the feeling of a “utepils” and the ultraviolet boost we got making this record.
We dedicate this record to our previous drummer Lars Henrik, who went on to be a lawyer. He stopped by our studio to during the recordings to spread his mellow humor and joy. Sometimes when we’re asked to funny interviews we still ask Lars to take care of it. He’s hilarious. Life is Wonderfault.