COCKROACH AGENDA – Thrash until death: Live report and interview
The Fire Walk With Me festival in Oslo 28th of July had legendary Behemoth (PL) as headliners with Vreid (NO), Kampfar (NO) and Mongo Ninja (NO) as supporting acts. However, a early opening slot was offered through a competition for bands wanting to get a chance. The jury consisted of Silenoz of Dimmu Borgir (NO), Sindre Solem Nekromantheon (NO), Jarle from Amber Booking, Simon from Indie Recordings and editor of Norwegian Metal Hammer Guro Juul Andersen.
Over 70 bands sent in their songs, and from this horde of metal maniacs, one band came through: Cockroach Agenda from Fusa, just outside Bergen. They started up in 2008, and have managed to put some an EP, and have plan for another issue nowadays. All members are still under 18, and thus represent the next wave of Norwegian metal to emerge.
I asked Sindre from the jury what his impression of Cockroach Agenda is.
Sindre: I think these guys stirs up the underground, and make us more established band to sharpen up. They are clearly onto something, and they’re tight live and have that raw sound. The vocalist reminds me of stuff from Nasty Savage, which is a rare inspirational source in the Norwegian metal scene. I expect a great show!
The slot open for Cockroach Agenda this evening was early, just 15 minutes after doors opened. I glad to report that the Norwegian metal crowd was queuing up outside well before 20:00 and rushed in to catch Cockroach Agenda play.
The band did a short set with only four songs: untitled 1, Undying Sphere, Untitled 2, Armies of Spite. See, some material so new that titles were yet to be finalized! Luckily, the sound production was taken seriously at the venue, thus providing Cockraoch Agenda with a decent sound to present their songs. And it’s thrash metal that these guys play.
What kind of metal is this? Well, it’s thrash, allright. Raw and fast thrash metal, and given their status as newcomers, everybody into thrash should keep up to date when and if these kids continue to evolve and get experience.
Cockroach Agenda is arguably one of the most interesting bands rising behind established Norwegian thrash metal acts such as Nekromentheon, Obliteration, Deathhammer, and the blackened Nidrosian thrash death crew Cleaver and Chton.
It’s also very good to see that booking agencies and venues give new bands the chance to be heard and seen. Amber Booking / Fire Walk With Me gained some extra metal karma this evening. Hails!
I got the chance to talk to Cockroach Agenda after the show, and here are their thoughts on plans for 2012, Fusa metal scene, the competition they won, and sources of inspiration:
Bård Inge Nygaard / bass
Cato Bakke / guitar
Andreas Fosse Bakke / vocals, guitar
Daniel Tveit / Drums
So, Cockroach Agenda! Tell me about the band!
Andreas: Well, We’re located in Fusa, just outside Bergen. We been started up in 2008, and been playing since.
Daniel: Bård and me knew each other, and Cato and Andreas were already acquainted, and we were all into this horrible music. So we decided to hook up and see what happened.
Bård: We started making songs quite early. They were crap songs first, but then it got better and better. We play because its fun.
Cato: And we will continue to play as it’s rewarding. No use going on, if it’s not fun anymore.
You won the Fire Walk With Me competition to do the support act for tonight’s festival. What are your thoughts on that?
Cato: We had not expected it. It was awesome, and we had not expected it. Given the people that were in the jury, that’s just cool, you know.
Andreas: It’s really cool that those guys like our stuff. Bands like Nekromantheon and Obliteration are favorite bands of every one of us, so that’s just great.
Because it is thrash metal that you guys play, right?
Bård: Yeah, but we listen to other stuff as well, for example death metal and old hard rock and stuff like that.
Cato: We don’t aim to sound like a thrash band, though.
Well, what kind of a band are you, then?
Bård: A thrash metal band, I guess (laughs)
Andreas: Fusa Metal! (laughs)
Cato: No, don’t say that, we sound like some gang of farmers!
Bård: But we do practice at a barn, right?! (laughs)
So, what the best thrash metal album?
Andreas: Well, that has to be Dark Angel with Darkness Decends.
Bård: Pleasure to Kill with Kreator! It’s the good, old classics, you know.
I also hear a lot of Slayer in your songs.
Andreas: Reign in Blood is THE album – it’s as simple as that. (laughs).
Daniel: Yeah, but we haven’t heard that much on Slayer, we just sound like that.
Do you have any full album out yet?
Bård: We have put out an EP on a digital format, and we`re completing this 7" these days with two songs "Underdying Sphere" and "Armies of Spite". It’s just around the corner. And it is already out on digital formats, on Spotify and WIMP and iTunes, and all that.
What’s the metal scene like one hour out of Bergen in Fusa town?
Cato: Our little brothers, they play instruments and are into metal! (laughs). Beyond that, nobody.
Andreas: Then you have Iscariah (Stian Sørholm), the guy that played bass in Immortal in 2002. We know him, and he helps us out. He has some of the backing vocals on the songs on the 7" coming soon. He has helped with promotion and stuff like that.
Bård: But mostly people in Fusa are into crap country music.
But you have Bergen, famous for its black metal heritage and a lot of metal bands. You haven’t thought about going in that direction?
Daniel: No. We are not that into black metal, so I don’t think so. There are of course a lot of great metal bands in Bergen, but we don’t notice that as we live outside the city.
What are your plans in the year to come?
Andreas: We’ll just take it as it comes. No special plans beyond that. But we have this gig 28.07.12 at Garage in Bergen. Together with Blodhemn, a black metal act from Bergen, they’re good.
Bård: Well, one plan is to record a full-length album. We wanna get that done.
Do you have the logistics ready? Studio and all?
Cato: We have an arrangement with this guy in Bergen. He should be able to get the sound that we want.
What kind of sound are you looking, then?
Bård: Dirty, kinda like the direction of the sound on the 7". It turned out like we wanted to, soundwise. It’s recorded at the barn where we practice. Ole Eikeland (bass/Djerv) had the equipment, so he recorded with us. He also helped us out with the pressing and that stuff.
Cato: We’re have put the EP that we did behind us. We won a competition at Eggstock, and got 16 hours in a studio to record something. I guess they weren’t experienced with our kind of music.
Bård: We held up out cellphones playing thrash metal, and said this is the sound we want (laughs)
Daniel: The EP doesn’t sound that well, but it was a lot of fun to do, you know. The 7" is better.
What kind of album has the right sound, as you see it?
Cato: The latest Obliteration is awesome.
Daniel: You have many bands in Norway with cool productions. It shouldn’t be too much of ‘triggered sound’.
Cato: Yeah, like Execration, Obliteration and Diskord. And the lyrics mean a lot as well. Like with the Execration album, where you can put on the songs and follow the lyrics. That’s cool. Not sure what it all means, but it’s cool.
What kinda of lyrics do you go for with Cockraoch Agenda?
Bård: I guess it’s about thinking for yourself. Not being used by others. Ways of using power, controlling people. That kinda stuff.
So, thanks for the chance to talk to you. Wish you the best for the coming year, and hope the see the full-length album out soon.
Andreas: Thanks! It was really cool to get the chance to play here tonight, and we aim to get that album out soon.
Thanks to Jarle/Amber Booking with interview logistics!