The Fernets cite classic acts such as Velvet Underground, The Who and Rolling Stones as their main inspirational sources. Fuse these 60s influences with some 90s Britpop elements and a solid dose of cockiness and you’ve got up-and-coming Tromsø outfit The Fernets who are now set to break out of the local scene.
Fuelled by Fernet Branca
Says The Fernets’ Eric Iversen: ’It all began in autumn 2003 when I and a mate started to write some songs while getting lubricated by liberal amounts of Fernet Branca – hence the band name. It took a year to find the right people and form a band but since then things have been happening really fast. We were selected as the Urørt (radio station NRK Petre talent contest, ed.note) band of the month in August 2005 and later in the autumn we won the ZoomUrørt finals along with Heros & Zeros. In March we’re set to tour Norway together – our first tour ever!’
The Fernets’ latest single ‘I Got No Time’ has been playlisted at the national NRK Petre station for the last few months. The band is still unsigned, a status that Iversen hopes will be changed in the wake of the outfit’s very successful gigs at the by:Larm festival: ‘Of course, we want to be signed. We believe strongly in what we do – we’ve come a long way in a short time and we’re not going to stop here. We’re 100% focussed on the band and frankly we feel that we’re one of the best out there!’
April will see The Fernets heading for the studio to cut the band’s debut album which is scheduled for release the following autumn. The outfit is also set to play a number of domestic festivals this summer.
Early February saw the cocky quartet playing two sold-out shows at the by:Larm showcase festival/music industry event held in their home town Tromsø. Wrote Norwegian daily Dagbladet in its review: “Armed with a healthy dose of arrogance, media savvy and an excellent live-package, The Fernets have managed to generate lots of buzz during by:Larm, and the Tromsø outfit could be set to enter the upper league of Norwegian music. The Fernets have both a knack for finding what will catch on as well as the smartness that is needed to come up with that little extra.”
Praising the local scene
The Fernets is one of many vital acts that have emerged from the Tromsø scene in later years. Iversen cites the city’s vibrant live scene as one of the main reason’s for the growth of the local music scene: ‘Venues such as Kaos, Driv and Blårock have been extremely important for bands of our kind. A club such as Kaos is invaluable – they’ll let unknown bands play and with an audience that is faithful to the club, the bands are guaranteed to have a crowd.’ Iversen also emphasises the importance of local idealists such as Blårock/Feedback Records pioneer and music journalist Egon Holstad as well as Bukta Open Air Festival director Robert Dyrnes. ‘Those guys have done so much to promote new and unsigned acts. They’ll book bands nobody have heard of, support them, generate publicity and help the band build a following. They’ve been really great.’
Simply the best
So what can the domestic audience expect from The Fernets during the upcoming tour? Iversen’s reply reveals a level of confidence and cockiness that’s a bit above average: ‘People will get the gigs of the year at Zoom – we’re simply the best and our concerts will be the undisputed highlights of the year. To be honest, we’re a bit fed up of the Norwegian tradition of modesty. We want to shout out to everyone that we’re a great band with fantastic tunes!’
Do the band’s ambitions correspond with the level of confidence we ask Iversen: ‘Our ambitions are as high as they can be’ he says. ‘The ultimate goal is to go massive internationally!’
The new Hives anyone?
Formed in 2003
Line-up: Eric Iversen, Knut-Bjørnar Ulriksen, Ariel Joshua Sivertsen and Rudi Nikolaisen
Winners of the Zoom Urørt finals 2006