Permafrost revisits pre-pandemic songs and a Depeche Mode tour on “Restore Us”

On December 9, 1987, Daryl Bamonte was on the road with Depeche Mode and decided to capture a moment in time during the American leg of the band’s Music for the Masses tour. Considered the fifth member of the group, Bamonte, who had played many roles for Depeche Mode over the years, and later became their tour director, archived the footage he shot for nearly 35 years before releasing them. digitize in 2019. In 2021, Bamonte revisited the film to help visualize Permafrost’s new single “Restore Us”.

Responding to the division and the need for a hard reset after an extended life in lockdown, “Restore Us”, which was recently released with two remixes – mixed and mastered by Paul Corkett – is one of three new songs. Norwegian post-punk rockers.

Originally formed in 1982 in Molde, Norway, by singer Kåre Steinsbu and guitarist Frode Heggdal Larsen, the band released their debut EP Godtment in 1983, and later added keyboardist Bamonte, as well as bassist Robert Heggdal and drummer Trond Tornes to complete Permafrost.

Now, for almost 40 years, Permafrost, which recently published its Eponymous EP 2019, remains relevant in these new times, while embracing more illuminating elements of the past. The group recently chatted with American songwriter about life and music in Norway, remote recording in 2020, and how a previous Depeche Mode tour returned to their music.

Comment “Restore Us” and your two other tracks, “Closed Eyes” and “”Fatal Woman”Start to come together. Have these older songs been fleshed out over time or mostly new?

Robert Heggdal: The three singles have been brewing for a few years. We would meet in Oslo for rehearsals and songwriting three to four times a year before the pandemic. These encounters were very creative and a lot of songs were created, but not really finished. With the pandemic we started meeting online once a week and with this new situation we suddenly became much more productive. We started to focus on songs that had been created years earlier and found a way to work them out from each member’s home studio.

AS: I love the old footage from the “Restore Us” video. He captures unseen moments. Tell me about the story behind and that of Depeche Mode Music for Masses tour, and why did you want to use it for that particular track?

Daryl Bamonte: I bought Alan Wilder’s old video camera for him, to capture a few moments of the Music for the Masses tour. We played in the USA twice on this tour and since the first leg in 1987 was less than three weeks the distances were too long to cover on the tour bus so we flew everywhere. This warm evening [on Dec. 9, 1987]I sat in the front with the very cool van driver to try and capture a bit of a document from America at the time, on the drive from the DFW airport to downtown Dallas. The tapes from this tour stayed in a bag until I finally digitized them in 2019. At the start of 2021 we were looking for ideas for videos for our singles and these sequences seemed like a perfect fit for “Restore Us”. The idea behind the song originated before COVID hit the world. It was a message to consider a hard reset for humanity, then COVID and other factors made it even more relevant, and the pictures seem to tell that story.

AS: When did you record the new songs. If during the pandemic, were there any difficulties in working remotely?

Trond Tornes: After creating a system where we could go online and listen to songs together once a week, we created a Google Account where we can share Logic Pro project files. Kåre cleaned out a closet and put on all his extra pillows and duvet for acoustics, bought his own mic stand and ribbon mic and There, a vocal booth was born. Frodo had already moved in with him, as well as Robert who has a studio of troglodyte men in the basement. Trond installed a drum set and offered the neighbors a bottle of wine whenever he had to play the drums. Daryl is our omnipotent guide and creator of melodic flavors. So now each member records their games from their home studios and uploads them to Google. We review the songs at our weekly meetings and discuss the structure and production. All coins were collected by Robert in Trondheim [Norway] where a pre-production mix was made. After some discussion, we decide on a version that we can send to Paul Corkett for the final mix. When we have received things from Paul, we [went] ‘Wow, that’s so cool’, a very childish kind of joy.

HR: Maybe the difficult part is not being together in the mixing process. When you’re in a studio, you can cut short chats that can take a few weeks to settle when you’re only online. The good part is that we don’t have to be together in a studio to record the different instruments. Each of us makes recordings whenever possible. And hey, we are already much more efficient than before “C19”.

LIKE: An album does not necessarily talk about a theme or a concept, but is there a particular common thread between these new songs??

TT: The realm of melancholy clairvoyance with a spark of hope is for some reason a common landing strip for our songs. The album we’re working on around 2022 won’t have a concept as such, but “Restore Us” acts as a benchmark of our overall philosophy as a band. Many of our songs are about being able to hold out despite the brutalities of life. Life can be, and often is, bleak, but we still have hope for humanity.

LIKE: Did the events of 2020 impact or change the meaning of these songs?

HR: “Restore Us” took on extra meaning when the pandemic struck. It was above all a reaction to the sad condition in which America was transformed in the hands of Donald Trump. Along with the pandemic and the horrific alt-right movement, this song is our humble attempt to spark hope for a restoration of the world. It surely needs to be fixed.

Permafrost (Photo: Sofie Amalie Klougart)

AS: Do the songs come together the same way they always have since the early days, or has this “process” evolved over time? Tell me how the songs fit together now.

HR: Usually Frodo and Kåre come up with new riffs and suggestions for new songs. The rest of the group then tries to put the pieces together to form new songs. We used to fight our differences in rehearsal studios. Now meeting once a week means we have fairly short cycles before we agree to move forward or make any structural changes which is less primitive energy, but we also learn a little within ourselves. featuring online.

AS: How does living in Norway influence music? Do you have the impression that there is something extracted from your surroundings in the music?

TT: Everything you’ve probably heard is true: Norway is windy, snowy, and gloomy in winter. This stimulates a melancholy state of mind that comes quite easily to most Norwegians. Other than that, Permafrost has always been inspired by British bands since its debut in 1982. Even the name of the band itself is taken from a song in the magazine {“Permafrost”, 1979]. It could in fact be that the Norwegians are closely linked to the mountains and fjords and the possibility of being all alone in the vast wilderness, which one might say materializes in Norwegian black metal and jazz. There are probably traces of that in our music too, although our first love and inspiration was with the British music scene.

AS: Almost 40 years after Permafrost now, tell me how you all feel about that time, and where you are now as a band.

Frodo Heggdal Larsen: We’re just the same guys we’ve always been. However, we now have better sound equipment.


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Grace D. Erickson

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