Melbourne two-piece From Oslo are the latest grunge-punk outfit to hit the Australian music scene, and let us tell you, these dudes have got something pretty sick going on. Comprised of Joshua De Laurentiis and Joel Penman, the duo delivers powerful fuzzed-out riffs paired with catchy hooks and thumping drums that’ll make you believe that grunge isn’t dead just yet.
With their lead single ‘No Sound’ already making the rounds on triple j, a killer EP release and the almost-completed national tour under their belt, the band is well on their way to making a lasting impression on the Australian alternative music scene. We caught up with frontman Josh to chat all things band-related - have a geez below and to make the read an entirely immersive experience, suss out their EP here.
Your sound is pretty reminiscent of the ‘90s, and personally reminds me of bands like Soundgarden and Alice In Chains with some obvious modern vibes. Who would you say are some of your biggest musical influences?
Violent Soho would be a pretty big influence, mainly from the perspective of solid song structure, and that they're kind of champions of that resurrected '90s grunge style. But honestly I listen to so much different music, I don't even know what ends up coming through. At the moment I'm listening to a lot a garage kind of stuff like 'Human Performance' by Parquet Courts, Car Seat Headrest, and that new Strokes EP is gold.
What made you want to start the band? Have either of you played in many bands before?
Joel and I have played in a bunch of bands of varying styles in the past. We started this one because at the time we didn't really have much happening, and a two-piece seemed the easiest way to get something out there quickly. Every extra member in a band makes it exponentially harder to get your shit together for gigs and jamming and stuff... two people is just super easy.
Did you have an idea of what kind of band you wanted to start before you jammed, or was finding your sound a gradual thing?
It definitely took a while. It kinda started out with more slacker punk vibes a la Dune Rats, swung via a bit of Cloud Nothings and Japandroids before settling somewhere close to where we are now. In the early days the main point was to just soak up as many different sounds as we could so we didn't miss anything. The one thing we wanted to achieve was to make the music fun and loud, play hard and get loose.
Do you plan to stick with the minimal guitar/vocals/drums setup? It works pretty damn well. How do you compensate for the lack of bass?
There's never really been any plan in place, we just take everything as it comes, so I have no idea where the sound will be going. But I did know from the outset that in order for a two-piece to compete with a more traditional lineup I'd need a bass amp. From there, I needed to get an octave pedal so it sounds like there's at least a few guitars playing simultaneously, and then turn it up.
What was recording the EP like? Did you experience any major epiphanies/learning curves/frustrations?
Recording this one was actually really straightforward thanks to Jez Giddings, our awesome mate who did everything himself at Hot House (produced, engineered, mixed), where he's the house engineer. He had a good idea what we were after and knew how to get it. Back to the simplicity of the two-piece, we were able to move pretty quickly in the studio. Each time we went in we just grabbed some beers, hung out, and by the end of the night we'd have another song in the can.
How do you feel about your recent triple j airplay?
It's hard to get anyone to notice what you're doing, so having someone in your corner is a massive boost, and to get a little bit of support from radio is obviously a good start.
If you could recommend one guitar pedal for aspiring grunge guitarists to include in their pedalboard, what would it be? The tone on ‘No Sound’ is sick.
It's all about the fuzz. How I got my specific tone for 'No Sound' was running a POG2 octave pedal into a Way Huge Swollen Pickle. Most guitarists who have bass players probably don't need the extra octaves to fill out the sound, so I'd say just find the right fuzz pedal. I recently acquired a Frantone Cream Puff which has been out of production for ages so I'm super excited about that little guy. It's pastel pink and is incredibly pretty, but handmade and with the gnarliest sound... I love it.
So why the name ‘From Oslo’?
It was just a phrase that was rattling around in my head when were trying to come up with a band name and a good mate of mine from Oslo happened to be over in Melbourne.
What’s been the loosest experience of the No Sound tour so far?
The whole tour has been pretty loose... but probably the loosest thing that happened was at the first stop in Brissy. We were playing with The Strums and their bass player Helen [Stringer] headbutted Jai [Sparks'] headstock of his guitar then blood just started pissing out everywhere. She kept playing, ending up looking something like Jay Reatard on the 'Blood Visions' cover - actually one of the punkest things I've witnessed. Then she went to the hospital, got stitches in her forehead and kept partying. I don't think the guitar recovered.
What are your plans for the band in the future?
We haven't really thought ahead much at any point during this band. Pretty much if people keep responding to what we're doing i guess we'll keep playing tunes!
The Adelaide leg of the From Oslo tour will kick off tonight at the Crown and Anchor from 8pm, where they'll be playing alongside local legends Dilettantes, Young Offenders, and Tomorrow Rising. Make sure to head along and experience their riffage in full force!
You can find out more details via the Facebook event here.
Image via From Oslo's Facebook page