Let us introduce you to the weird and wonderful world of Pom Poko.
The Norwegian band meld earworming refrains, curveball grooves and exuberant riffs to create a raucous feelgood concoction, and brand new single ‘You’ll Be Fine’ (which you can hear below) is the perfect introduction to the four-piece’s trademark oddball sound.
Ahead of this week’s three-night London residency that takes in Sebright Arms, Thousand Island and The Old Blue Last, we spoke to frontwoman Ragnhild Fangel Jamtveit to get to know Pom Poko a little better.
‘You’ll Be Fine’ is off-kilter brilliance. How did the track come about?
“‘You’ll Be Fine’ came out of one of our jam sessions. We always make our songs together. I think this song started with the guitar riff in the verse that Martin came up with. After that Ola played a drum-pattern, Jonas a bassline and I sang a melody. Eventually it became ‘You’ll Be Fine’.”
How did Pom Poko start out?
“We started out when Jonas (the bass player) got a gig at a literature festival in Trondheim. At the time Jonas, Martin and I had a noise-trio playing improvised music. Jonas wanted to do something with the trio, but also wanted to bring me in to it to see what happened. We made some songs the day before the gig and played a 20-minute set where most of the audience left, but we really enjoyed it so we went back to our rehearsal space the same night and recorded some of them and signed up as a demo band for this festival in Trondheim called Trondheim Calling. And that was the start of Pom Poko.”
What inspired your name?
“We sat down to sign up for Trondheim Calling maybe ten minutes before the deadline, so we had to come up with a name quickly. For some reason I went on the Wikipedia site of Studio Ghibli and found the name Pom Poko and it became our band name. We hadn’t seen the movie Pom Poko, but saw it later that week and it’s really awesome and has inspired us a lot. So guess we got lucky!”
Who are the Top 5 biggest influences on your sound right now?
“We’re influenced by a lot of different music, but if we have to pick five influences right now it would have to be: Oumou Sangare, Deerhoof’s latest record, the label PC Music, Jenny Hval and Hella.”
Any other new bands that you’ve played with and would recommend?
“There’s a lot of great Norwegian acts now. Some of our favourites are Aiming for Enrike, Death by Unga Bunga and Hvitmalt Gjerde.”
And finally, what does the rest of 2017 hold for Pom Poko?
“We’re going to play some shows in Europe this autumn. First stop is Brighton and London, and after that Copenhagen, Berlin, and Amsterdam. We are really excited about that! We also have some shows in Norway that we are really looking forward to. We’re definitely a live band, so we want to play as much as we can and that’s also the thing we enjoy the most. We’re also releasing the music video for ‘You’ll Be Fine’ very soon, so keep your eyes and ears open.”