Aromatic Ooze Psych-Garage Rock from Tromsø, Interview

A Conversation with Aromatic Ooze About Their First Album

Aromatic Ooze is a psych-garage rock band from Tromsø, Norway. Formed when Alexander (guitar) and Christian (bass) connected at a party, they quickly expanded to include Kristian (vocals, drums), Lisa (vocals, keys), Jon (guitar), and Jakob (vocals, guitar). With influences from bands like Thee Oh Sees and Ty Segall, they produce an explosive, fuzzy, high-energy psychedelic rock. Their sound is rooted in the use of analog equipment, such as tube amps and vintage synthesizers, which gives their music a raw, authentic feel. In 2022, they released their debut, self-titled album “Aromatic Ooze.”

Aromatic Ooze’s Soundclound & Youtube

Can you take us on a trip back to the influences that led to the birth of Aromatic Ooze? How did you decide on the name “Aromatic Ooze”? What draws you to the psych-garage rock genre?

Aromatic Ooze started when Alex and Christian met at a party at a mutual friend’s place after a Mystery Lights show. We didn’t know each other that well before the show, but some time during the night we decided we were going to start a band, we planned our first practice the weekend after i think. We both had a love for bands like Osees, King Gizzard, Frankie, old 60s psych/garage and of course Mystery Lights. At the time I think it was especially Thee Oh Sees and early Ty Segall stuff that made us want to play psychy-garage rock, we just wanted to make all kinds of fuzzed out noises. After trying a couple of drummers Kristian eventually joined, Sindre and Lisa would join a couple of months after that again. The name Aromatic Ooze comes from the item in Dark Souls 2, mainly just because it sounds cool and we love From Software’s games. Today Aromatic Ooze is Alexander (Guitar), Christian (Bass), Kristian (Vocals, drums), Lisa (Vocals, keys), Jon (Guitar) and Jakob (Vocals, guitar). 

How would you describe the psych-garagerock scene in northern Norway when you first started out? What impact does the Northern Norway music scene have on your music?

When we started it was mainly bands like Sunshine Reverberation and Blót that played psych rock in Tromsø. Nonne had released a couple of singles at that point as well. The music scene in Tromsø is small but pretty diverse, it’s like everything from psych and garage rock to hardcore, doom and electronic music. We all tend to hang out so I guess that makes it more natural to experiment with different genres. The music scene is very open here and really encourages that type of stuff. We also have some great venues that support all kinds of rock music like Blå Rock and Bastard. 

What was the experience of releasing your first single, “Questgiver,” like?

I think we made the song right after Sindre joined the band, it was probably the first song we finished too. About 6 months later we would record all the songs from the first album in about 6 days in an empty house in Finnsnes. We borrowed recording gear and got our friend Karl from Heave Blood and Die to produce, record and mix for us. Sindre laid the baseline for the song with the basic structure, chords and text. Then we all made our own parts to go along with it. We were pretty hyped when releasing it as it was for many of us our first song available for people to listen to, so that was super cool. 

Can you walk us through the creation of “Cosmic Slumber”?

Cosmic Slumber started out as more of a The Doors-esque jam. Alexander had cut his fingers and showed up to practice with a Yamaha Reface organ. We didn’t really play the song much after that. It wasn’t until we went to “studio” we would play it again to see if we could do something cool with it. When we had recorded it we would listen to it over and over, it was definitely one of our favourites from that album, at least when recording.  The sound we got on the finished version is mostly thanks to Lisa and Karl doing a great job with the synth. The name for the song was inspired by Azathoth from the Lovecraft-mythos and how he has these creatures swirling around him playing flute to keep him from waking up.

What equipment do you rely on to create your sound?

I think our sound is more dependent on who we work with, our new stuff is definitely brighter and more pop oriented. When we record stuff we are pretty open minded and if something sounds good we just go for it. We do however love the grittier “analog” sound, so tape delays, tube amps and analog synthesizers are essential. On the first album we used a Selmer treble n bass 50 mk2 and Music Man Sixty-five for guitars, I would play the Fender Jaguar and Sindre used a Jazzman and japanese SG copy i believe. The bass was an 80’s Jazzbass played DI. We used a Korg ms-20 mini for most of the synth parts. On our new album we use the Selmer, but also some Vox and Fender for guitars. The bass was played through a 60’s Bassman. We used a Moog Grandmother for synths and also played a bit around with a Fender Rhodes that was laying around in the studio. The vocals would be played through various delay effects, notably a Space Echo unit and a vintage Memory Man pedal.

How did the recording process differ for your new single compared to your album?

This time we had some money saved up so we went to Kysten Studio here in Tromsø with Ariel as producer, recording engineer and mixer. We also ended up spending two weeks in total split into two sessions when recording this time, which kinda let us experiment more, both with the songs and instrumentation. We also put a lot more time and effort into making more melodic vocal melodies this time around. 

Aromatic Ooze 2
@ Aromatic Ooze

What was the inspiration behind your latest single “Have You Ever Seen the Sun?”?

We just kinda made it in the studio. We started off with the bass riff which borrows a bit from Kikagaku Moyo and their stuff in 7/8, and we just built on that. I don’t think we had any clear inspirations in mind when making the song. But we definitely looked to like Berlin-era Bowie when doing the vocals. We thought it would be a great first single because it’s so different from the stuff on our first album. 

What future plans do you have for touring or new releases?

We are releasing 2 more singles over the summer and a new album this autumn. We do have some plans to play around here in Norway to support the album. We are also working on some new stuff, so we will see what happens next year.

Photos courtesy of Aromatic Ooze

Last Updated on June 12, 2024 by retrofuturista

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