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The Laundry - discordant hardline Christians

We discovered this young Norwegian rock band at the Straight Out Of Vennesla - festival 2006 in Kristiansand (Check out the report here). Also our colleagues of Powermetal got fascinated by the voice of their singerīs voice. Even tough his attitude, which got revealed during the interview, appealed strange to me...

The Laundry are: Martin Wikstöl (vocals), Stian Omdal (guitar), Lars Olav Stien (guitar), Ole Jakob Asland (drums) and Kim Øydna (bass). We wanted to know more from Martin about his band and found out that living in the "Bible-belt" for those guys isnīt a reason for rebellion like for the other bands in Kristiansand...

Please describe your band, band members and yourself briefly.
We play melodic rock music with a pop attitude and I guess our music is quite catchy and easy to like. As for the band members we have very different ambitions. Stian and I want to become full time musicians, while the rest of the band is playing on a hobby basis. We are more than just a band. We are buddies. The music plays a major part in our friendship.

When and how did The Laundry get together?
We started playing and making music together when four of us met at a trip with a local church outside of Kristiansand in September 2003. Everyone knew the others were really into music, but we never expected to form a band that would keep on playing for three years that weekend. As a Christian person I believe that God brought us together and that it was his plan for us to rock. I think God made rock īnī roll and because he wanted to use it to bring his great message to the people through music.

Why and how did you choose the name The Laundry?
Thatīs a kinda stupid story actually. The band was founded as “Foundation”. One year ago we had to change the band name because two other bands had the same name. Itīs harder than I thought to come up with a new name so one day I said to myself. Ok, Iīll close my eyes, take a spin on my chair and the first thing I look at is our new name. I closed my eyes, and when I opened them I looked directly at the laundry lying on the floor. In a way I strange story, but itīs how it happened.

Please describe your music style with your own words.
Itīs melodic rock with catchy melodies.

Who is writing the songs and what are your lyrics about?
I write the lyrics. I write about stuff that concerns me. For example about the screwed up world we are living in today. How people suffer and that itīs our work to do something about it. Both you and I can make a difference. I also write texts about my personal saviour Jesus, even though I realize people might judge the band because of it. Thatīs sad, but personally I canīt perform singing lyrics that I donīt believe in or that doesnīt mean a thing to me.

Does The Laundry have a message?
Jesus died for your sins because He loves you. Heīs offering you an everlasting life if you believe in what He did for you. His love for you is greater than we can imagine. Thatīs our main message.

Do you sing in English only? If yes, why donīt you sing in Norwegian?
I only sing in English. Itīs more natural and it sounds better. I actually think itīs kind of sad, because the Norwegian language is fading. Iīm a national romantic and I want the Norwegian language to stay strong. I guess Iīm doing the quite opposite singing in English.

Do you have a website? I couldnīt find any.
We had one, but itīs down for now.

How old are you guys and what are you doing beside The Laundry?
Stian is 19 and starts studying music this fall.
Ole Jakob is 18 and a carpenter.
Kim is a carpenter and is 18 as well.
Lars Olav is 21 and (guess what) a carpenter.
Iīm starting my third year studying for a bachelor degree in music and am 21.

What is the next possibility to see you live?
We are doing one concert at Lauvås, outside of Kristiansand soon, but more plans are not done yet.

Now, some not band related questions:

Would you like to get the Euro as well, or are you happy with Norway being not a part of it?
Iīm really glad weīre not a part of Euro. We are more independent that way. I want our own government to control all the political issues concerning our country. I think the Euro has to much power and to much influence on their members.

What do you think is achievable with music?
I donīt think the music has boundaries. You can do anything with music. Itīs up to yourself and what you do with it. Music is a language everyone understands. I think the world would be a terrible place without it. Music helps people get through the day. Music is feelings.

What is for you the most nonsensical or bizarre band at all?
It varies from day to day because there are a lot of dumb ass bands, but now itīs a stupid band called “The Players”. A band of four Norwegian pro football players. None of them can sing and they sell records because they do music videos just in their shorts. They are just about looks and itīs not music, but just a commercial product that sells.

If you had one wish free, what would you do with it privately?
Wish to get ten more wishes.

Are you getting involved with other projects – musically or socially? Or both?
Yes, I have a lot of musical projects. I sing in a gospel choir, I am founding several new bands, I am working with a career as a solo artist and I also have other smaller projects. Iīm planning moving to New Orleans to work with music there.

What are your expectations for the future?
I have decided to succeed with my musical career, not because of the fame and the money, but because I love doing music. I love singing on a stage and doing it fulltime is the only great goal I have in life. Itīs the only thing I want to do.

Thank you for this interview!
Thank you and sorry for the delay!

Usually the interview would have stopped here, but as Martin already mentioned the delay of his answers, the reason for it was coming right afterwards…

Why did you quit the band?
The level of ambitions in the band was so different from member to member. Me and Stian rehearsed a lot and wanted to do music for a living and the others played as a hobby. That led to me loosing my motivation with the band. It has also led to the band not developing as much as it should. I feel like weīre the same band now that we were a year ago. I felt like the band took a lot of time, time that I could spend better by quitting the band and do something else music related.
Author: Samira Alinto, Photos: Caroline Traitler
Date: 2006-08-14

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