About Me

Interview with GrowN

Being grown for many sounds almost like “staying calm awaiting to die” but the Norwegians from GrowN prove that it doesn't have to be. Behind the “new” band there is none other than Clawfinger’s guitarist Bård Torstensen, and Harald Dose. Both of them have made their first record in three decades. But after all, good music is not a question of age.
On December 4th, “Stay Calm” was released, the first single from their debut album, which is entitled “For Life” and will come out on February 19th. Harald Dose and Bård Torstensen had a nice, funny chat with Metal Imperium, in which they showed us they are indeed very GrowN. Keep on reading… 

M.I. - Many people believe that being grown means “staying calm awaiting to die”. But you’ve proved them wrong. What’s the meaning of being Grown to you?

The "meaning" is that we have a lot of experience and spirit in the calmness of being old, and are free to do what the fuck we want with it, and in our case it means delivering good and powerful music 'till we are deaf or dead.

M.I. - Life experience and musical maturity can be the best breeding ground for fresh sounds full of heart and soul and rousing roughness. How much has life experience and musical maturity helped GrowN? 

We feel we have "bigger balls", more confident in a way. The kid is still inside us somewhere, but easier to control than when we were young. Everything we've been through all these years, both musically and as human beings, has an impact on the way the music comes out.

M.I. - Behind the “new” band is ex-Clawfinger’s guitarist Bård Torstensen. What are the main differences between Clawfinger and GrowN?

Bård: The music of GrowN is new old fashioned hard rock with big vocal lines, while Clawfinger has rap-metal as the core, but when I played a song for one of the Clawfinger guys, he said "It sounds like Clawfinger with a singer instead of a rapper". I guess I can't stop being who I am and avoid expressing music the way I do. If I tried to do it differently, it wouldn't be honest.

M.I. - This is Bård Torstensen and Harald Dose’s first record in three decades… how does it make you feel? Excited or worried? 

We are excited about it, and we certainly believe we still have it in us. Let's hope people feel the same way. The worrying isn't as strong as when we were young. Back then, it was like the whole life evolved around the success of the band, but now we feel like we have a safe platform outside that, even though GrowN means a lot to us both.

M.I. - On December 4th, “Stay Calm” was released… what were the reactions to it by the fans and media?

Reactions are very positive. Actually, more than we hoped for. I haven't seen a crappy review yet. If you have, please send us a link, to keep our feet on the ground. (laughts)

M.I. - The debut album, which is entitled “For Life”, will come out on February 19th. Why this title? Is “For Life” your dedication to music? 

It's meant to reflect both our dedication to music and the lyrics on the album. Even though we are not a "political" band, we still like to speak of issues in life. If we have the chance to convey something proper in the lyrics, why not do that instead of empty-headed crap?! Sometimes when I listen to bands, I feel like the lyrics have not been a priority in the writing process. I think a song should have both to be complete. 

M.I. - When Corona came at the beginning of 2020, you found each other in your hometown and rediscovered the love of making music together. Did the idea come up straight away or did it come up after a few jam sessions?

We've had the idea for some time, but the lockdown gave us time to test it out and realize it. Why not try to use such a depressing situation in a positive way instead of waiting it out?! We would have gone crazy just by sitting around waiting for gigs to happen again.

M.I. - You used to play together in THEO back in the 80’s. Is the chemistry between you two still the same or is it more intense and mature now?

Even if we still sometimes are “kids” inside, we are more mature and reflected persons (occasionally)  (laughts). This made the whole process very smooth and fun.

M.I. - Torstensen has said: "Over the years I have written down countless song ideas that did not go with Clawfinger. My heart beats for a wide variety of music styles, I can't control what creatively gushes out of me." Did you use these countless song ideas with GrowN?

Yes, I did. That was the whole point from the beginning. I wanted to make a band out of these song ideas for a long time.

M.I. - Five years ago, the guitarist allowed himself the fun and listened to all the old demos again, noticing that there were some really good approaches for really good songs among them. "My heart spoke to me and shouted loud and clear “SIMPLY DO IT! " Why hadn’t you used them before? Or time passed and you managed to listen to their full potential?

I didn't use them because my full focus was on making songs for Clawfinger, and I felt that these songs didn't fit in to that. I knew these song ideas had a potential. I've written them over so many years that I had time to forget about them. When I forget about a song idea and pick it up again, I'll suddenly hear it from a listener’s perspective. It becomes like a new song to me. That gives me the spirit to keep on working it, and finally finish it.

M.I. - The album has become a contemporary yet timeless piece of New Classic Rock: solid, down-to-earth and straightforwardly arranged. How complicated / easy was it creating this album?

It was an easy process, because we didn't have to mind the time. There was no rush, and we could work when we wanted to and use whatever time it took. If we didn't feel inspired, then fuck it! We have time!

M.I. - How did the recording process take place? Did you get together even with all the restrictions?

We more or less did the recording in our home studios (Haralds and mine). Sending files back and forth. A lot of time in phone discussing... 

M.I. - Who mixed and mastered it? 

Mixed and mastered by Bård Torstensen in his home studio...

M.I. - This is a typical case of follow your heart… do you think it is a good advice to people? One should follow one’s heart? 

Absolutely, yes! …but the problem for bands often appears on the "difficult second album". You've done something good, and the expectations somehow narrows your free creativity. 

M.I. - According to you GrowN is a name: “That suits us. We're pretty old now, after all. But it also shows that, even if we are really old, we have never lost our passion for this type of music.” So, basically, you’re old at age but young at heart, right?

Well spoken! (laughts)

M.I. - With your first single “Stay Calm” you provide not only a real rock hit, but also instructions for use during Corona. For those who aren’t aware, what instructions were these?

Stay safe, keep distance and this will be ok in the end... and when you get desperate and shit nervous of all the waiting, the contradictory of screaming: STAY CAAAAAALM!!!!!

M.I. - Like all other musicians, GrowN are deprived of your tour basis by the Corona crisis. How do you intend to promote the new album in such a scenario? 

It is of course difficult, but we do videos, use social platforms etc. We’ll also do some “live” takes for promoting purpose. We wanna go out there and play some gigs in 2022.

M.I. - Now that the vaccine is here... do you believe touring will be possible still this year? If so, are you already planning anything in that regard?

Maybe it will be possible to do some gigs second half of 2021, but everyone is waiting for the opportunity, so it will be hard… Still, we started preparing a show and will be ready when the time comes, but as mentioned... We believe in 2022.

M.I. - According to the press release, if the pandemic continues, this might be your farewell album as well. Why? 

It rather refers to the 30 years of separation. And if we have this frequency on our releases, it might be a farewell.. (laughts)

M.I. - Good music is not a question of age and stress is fundamentally counterproductive. Isn’t this a good way to help keeping you sane?

Sane?? There are some guys in white coats knocking the door now. They're coming to take me away (laughts)... To be serious, it was really important to have the GrowN project to stay sane during the first wave of the pandemic and, in normal life, music is what keeps us going. 

M.I. - Imagining everything goes back to normal soon, what do you want to accomplish with GrowN in the near future?

We wanna go out and play live for the people that bother to listen to our music. The fact that somebody cares of what we're doing, really means a lot to us. There's nothing better than experiencing that what we do matters to somebody else! We have plans for the difficult second album in 2050 as well. (laughts)

M.I. - Please share some final words with our readers please.

When this fucking pandemic is dead and gone, we hope we'll get the opportunity to come to Portugal to play for you guys! Hope to see you soon! Stay safe and sanitized!

For Portuguese version, click here

Questions by Sónia Fonseca