Norwegian noise rock duo, Barren Womb bring the house down in a big way with high energy music and thirst to live life to the fullest and take no prisoners. The band chats with Pana Markides about their latest album, Lizard Lounge and being a DIY band.
By The Hard Baroquer
Barren Womb is a noise rock duo made up of drummer Timo Silvola and guitarist Tony Gonzalez. Hailing from Tromsø in northern Norway, they’ve been together for nearly a decade and have put out seven albums in that time and toured extensively.
When I initially heard Barren Womb’s latest album, Lizard Lounge, I immediately felt it scratched the same itch that Dillinger Escape Plan have left vacant, if we leave out the math metal element – and by that I mean there aren’t enough bands out there with the frantic energy that Barren Womb showcase in their music.
With that in mind, the band answered a few questions for THB about the challenges overcome in their latest LP, touring in the post-apocalypse and keeping each album sounding fresh – and their responses are exactly what you’d expect from their music – funny, frank and socially aware in a huge way, making this a really fun interview to put together!
Tell our readers about the history of Barren Womb…
We met many, many moons ago in the northern settlement of Tromsø and have been thick as thieves ever since. After some initial jamming in local bands, we relocated to Trondheim where we started the hardcore band Like Rats From A Sinking Ship.
After four years of relentless touring that band fell apart, so we continued on in duo mode as Barren Womb. We are both left-handed, flat-footed individuals playing right-handed instruments, and have used these unique gifts to our advantage on countless releases and tours since then.
Talk to us about Lizard Lounge… is there a message in the album? What is the album title referring to?
Lizard Lounge deals with a lot of different subject matters: apathy, cancer, conspiracies, death, depression, destruction, diabetes, incels, rednecks, and meth addiction, to name a bunch. All in all, a real feel-good record in terms of lyrical content.
If there is a unified message or theme, it’s that we need to start taking collective steps away from our current path of ignorance if we are to have a future at all. The title itself, part shadow government and part Hunter S. Thompson acid paranoia, basically reflects the waiting room that all of us reptilian-brained meat bags call home.
If there is a unified message or theme, it’s that we need to start taking collective steps away from our current path of ignorance if we are to have a future at all.Barren Womb
Where does the inspiration behind the lyrics in Lizard Lounge come from?
It comes from all over the place, really. The media, the anti-media, personal experiences, politics, philosophy, music, books, friends, family and loved ones, jokes, pop culture – from living our lives and being in the world, basically. Seeing as the world is even more broken and fragmented than ever before, it doesn’t seem likely we’ll run out of things to yell about anytime soon.
Seeing as the world is even more broken and fragmented than ever before, it doesn’t seem likely we’ll run out of things to yell about anytime soon.Barren Womb
What was most challenging about making the Lizard Lounge record?
We’ve always experimented wildly with our music, but the freedom afforded by a complete lack of limitations has sometimes come at the expense of focus and coherency. This was something we wanted to address and rectify with this album.
A lot of tireless work has been poured into figuring out what works and what doesn’t, carving out a framework to experiment within. Being a two-piece automatically gives us a certain sound, but we felt a need to further define ourselves beyond this label. It’s been a re-calibration of sorts, a process of discovering what makes our band good and playing to those strengths. In the end, it has made us better song writers and most certainly benefited the album.
It’s been a re-calibration of sorts, a process of discovering what makes our band good and playing to those strengths.Barren Womb
Lizard Lounge came out May 22nd, which is pretty awful timing, globally speaking. Has that impacted how the band has been able to promote the LP? How are you navigating this?
Like all other bands in niche genres, we rely heavily on touring to promote our music. Being on the road is also something we enjoy immensely, and it gives us a sense of purpose and meaning. It’s a bummer that we can’t tour immediately to support the album, but there are WAY more important things to worry about in the world right now. Anyway, live shows will come back in the post-apocalypse, and when they do, we’ll hit the road with a vengeance!
Even without shows, Lizard Lounge has been getting more attention than any of our previous albums, which is a pleasant surprise. We’ve been waxing poetic about the end times for nearly a decade, perhaps that has struck some kind of nerve now that the end actually does seem to be nigh?
Even without shows, Lizard Lounge has been getting more attention than any of our previous albums.Barren Womb
Your music is loud, exciting, and filled with the unexpected – how do you ensure a new LP is as fresh as the albums that preceded it?
We put a lot of effort into crafting our songs and still get excited when we stumble upon something new. Staying curious and obsessive helps keep things fresh, as well as the challenge of not plagiarising ourselves or others too much. That sense of childlike discovery is key.
Seven albums in nine years is quite prolific – how do you manage to produce music at such a fast pace?
Writing as a duo certainly helps a lot. We have quite similar taste and generally agree right off the bat, and the ideas we can’t agree on get shut down pretty quickly without the need for big debates. Our highest priority is serving the song, this is not a vanity project.
Our highest priority is serving the song, this is not a vanity project.Barren Womb
With nearly a decade of history behind you, what have you learnt that other bands can learn from?
Never give up. Even if your music sounds like dog shit tacos, there’s a subset of people out there that happen to go crazy about dog shit tacos, guaranteed. Give it time and you’ll find your audience.
You’ve been described as ‘DIY’ – can you elaborate what that means with regards to Barren Womb? What advice can you give bands that also go the DIY route?
DIY for us is waking up by falling down from a loft, knocking over a bunch of amplifiers, one of which hits your band mate who’s sleeping on the floor in the head while the rest fall over you (all because someone bought you too many beers and also turned off the lights), then immediately pissing yourself and falling asleep in the puddle, then playing 10 gigs in a row with a concussion, fractured ribs, pissed jeans and big smiles on your faces.
The best advice we can give is to be kind, have fun and try not to die. If you’re not having fun with the music, and not treating all the wonderful, passionate people you’re fortunate enough to meet through the scene with respect, you’re probably better off doing something else. Oh, and always bring a towel.
The best advice we can give is to be kind, have fun and try not to die.Barren Womb
If your music could change anything about the world, what would it be?
If music indeed had the power to change anything, it would be nice to eradicate egotism. It lies at the root of so many of the fundamental problems we are experiencing today (inequality, injustice, entitlement, privilege etc.) and has now by far outlived its usefulness.
Lastly, what can an audience expect at a Barren Womb gig?
An intense, explosive blast of doomsday rock played at high volume.
Before I say so long and thanks for all the fish, Listen to ‘Cemetery Slopestyle’, the opening track off Lizard Lounge below.
Barren Womb are
Timo Silvola – vocals, drums
Tony Gonzalez – vocals, guitar