New Violators
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New Violators


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The best kept secret in music


"The 10 Best New Bands At SXSW"

We all know that music should be about love, heart and emotion, but there's a place for it being about cocaine and speedboats too. That's our justification for liking Duran Duran, and we're going to apply it to these teenage Norwegians too.

One for fans of the Killers or Roxy Music. If you're looking for a band who'll make life sound like a John Waters film, then these guys are most definitely for you. - NME

"Project Norwegian Runway"

Per Borten is not interested in politics, but his grandfather was. "My grandfather, he was a prime minister from '65 to '71," Borten says. "Kind of a strange guy. Queen Elizabeth of England stayed in his house, at our farm. Basically the whole place was packed with paparazzi photographers, and still he got up at six o'clock in the morning and did what he usually did in the summertime—mowing his lawn in his underwear."
In a café in Trondheim, Norway, over the first couple beers of a dim afternoon, Borten looks more David Byrne than dynastic, with big, black, square glasses and a blond pompadour swept up and over, the sides shaved clean. It's four in the afternoon. Borten's just out of bed and still tired from the set his aspiring-to-big-things pop band, the New Violators, played the previous night—the inaugural evening of Norway's annual by:Larm festival, a home-team exhibition for Norwegian bands. Slumped over the table now, Borten is not wearing the tight white jeans in which he performed the night before.

"Said trousers are so tight that you can make out the shape of every last hair on his buttocks," wrote a reviewer at the local festival daily, under the headline "Too Young to Know Better." "His behaviour is lascivious, sexual, predatory, but lacks foreplay."

"That's a good thing, eh?" asks Borten (who looks like a debauched 28-year-old, which is approximately what he is), trying to make out the English. Without a record or a trip outside Norway to their credit, the New Violators are already the subject of an apparent backlash in their hometown. "Is this a good review or a bad review?" he asks one last time, staring at the newspaper in his hand. "The way I read this is, like, this is not a guy who's really enjoying himself."

Last night, out of the white cold and darkness, thousands of kids had come to Dora 1, a stalwart once-Nazi quasi-fortress built to house German submarines during the Second World War. Outside, tiny fires set up as guides to lead visitors around threw shadows across nearby buildings. Inside is a warren of concrete rooms, delineated by four-meter-thick walls.

When New Violators take the stage, the slapback on Borten's vocals careens across the vast enclosure. Onstage they are six, counting a deadpan, beautiful blond female backup singer. They are distant but not inert. Borten spreads his legs wide, lifts his hand to his ear, and sings straight up into the air; his bandmates, all dressed as well as he is, are silhouettes in the backlight, nodding their heads to the changes. The crowd, as if taking cues, nods too.

In the home of black metal, New Violators play Springsteen-sized, brooding 1980s pop, a cavalcade of sound blurry with familiarity. "My biggest influence lately might be Echo and the Bunnymen," says Borten, who sounds most like Morrissey when he sings (he claims he doesn't spend much time listening to him). "I like that first album. And David Bowie. And the Cure, probably. It's not more complicated than that."

Influences have proved so far to be more of a question for spectators than for the band itself. "Do you like Mission of Burma?" asks Borten. "That's why our song is called 'Burma.' " Another song's working title is "Robert Smith." Howard Gray, who helped produce the Cure's Head on the Door among other '80s rock, has lately taken the band under his wing. "I was there. I've seen all the bands; I've worked with them," is what he says, according to Borten. "And I can tell you this is not the sound of the past."

"I am open to new sensations" is the band's swooning rallying cry. Their songs are full of longing, sweat-soaked declarations of fleeting love, mainlined and boiled down: I want to make you want me. Dance the night away with me. Take me away, round midnight. The band's there to, as Borten begs, "Beat the devil out/Of the hot-blooded singer."

"All the jeans are from Dr. Denim," Borten says. "And shirts, shoes, coats, whatever." Stuck on fashion in our café: A Swedish clothing company evidently sponsors the New Violators. Later, I ask about the shirt Borten's wearing, just after the band's second set of the festival, early Sunday morning. Just behind the arms, up near the biceps, sprout what look like bat wings, two fan-like swaths of cloth that descend down and attach somewhere on the lower half of the otherwise normal shirt. He tells me it's "custom-made."

Borten, who writes all of the New Violators' songs, says he hasn't heard of Lansing-Dreiden, New York's own fashion-forward, '80s-synth-pop worshippers, though that band recently remixed recent Vice signees 120 Days, the New Violators' fellow Norwegian countrymen. But the band is already wising to the same image-is-everything, fashion-ain't-music critiques lobbed at their Stateside counterparts. "It seems like this person"—Borten has returned to the confusing, jeans-obsessed review—"feels that the New Violators are more like a fashion package than really inventing something new," - Village Voice - New York

"Oya Festival - Travel Diary"

The most surprising stars of Club Night, though, were the New Violators, led by vocalist Per Borten. My girlfriend described Borten as a "Vanilla/Morrissey hybrid"; later, when he sang "learn to love my misery" during a three-part harmony, we realized her description was more than visual. I spoke to Borten a couple of days later and he said Morrissey isn't an influence: "He's a wonderful singer, but I don't own any Morrissey albums. I could say that my biggest vocal influence is Alan Vega and our sound is influenced by Gary Numan, but you know, everyone would say that these days. Probably, if you mix "Born to Run", "Love Will Tear Us Apart", and "Let's Dance" by David Bowie you're somewhere close. Sporting a blonde pompadour and dressed in scandalously tight white jeans, white t-shirt, and cubed eye-wear, Borten isn't just the charismatic frontman: He writes every note of the New Violator's infectiously ripe anthems. I was equally impressed with multi-tasking, progressive-rock keyboardist Håkon Marius Pettersen's back-up vocals and bassist Gjermund Landrø's Michael Anthony-style driving and crying. Borten was all over the place: He sang with a finger in his ear so he could hear better, waved his arms around like he was falling into a trance or a swoon. I was told time and time again over the weekend that Norwegians don't dance, but that night, people went ape shit.

The Trondheim quintet, comprised of three bands that broke up last year, has only been together a few months but already possess an incredibly distinct sound. The 28-year-old Borten isn't unknown: He previously sang and played guitar in Cadillac, a group infamous for its loud live sets and chugging through songs like "Pigfucker". "This pop music has always been a part of me," Borten told me. "I was 12 years old and listening to the Cure, but to be honest, I don't think I had the balls to do it before now. People familiar with Cadillac might think it's fake, but it's not...the day that I fake music is the day that I kill myself."

Borten shares his name with his grandfather, the Norwegian prime minister (1965-1971) who died at 91 last January and is fondly remembered for, among other things, mowing his lawn in his underwear while Queen Elizabeth was visiting his farm. That rebellious, well-bred lineage adds a great detail to the New Violators back story, but really, this group's good enough that Borten should easily sidestep grandpa's shadow."

Brandon Stosuy 10.10.06
- Pitchforkmedia

"Pitchfork Track Review"

A recent trip to Norway's Oya Festival delivered countless great moments, but nothing bowled me over more than the New Violators' raucous late-night set at Mono in downtown Oslo. Sprinkle Ziggy Stardust era-Bowie over anthemic melancholia reminiscent of Junior Boys covering OMD covering Louder Than Bombs. Repeat.
The end results are, well, louder than that might suggest. But for now you'll just have to trust me, because "Burma" is the only available track. The 3:33 anthem features a Russian-debutante rhythm and a girl, his "favorite sinner," "tattooed in melodic scars." Or, "stars." It's hard to say, but either way, the image is lovely. Even when the band finally kicks up a dust storm, Per Borten croons suavely, no emo-via-Bono yelps. Stretching out the midnight tableau, a run-for-the-finish-line chorus takes some time to arrive: When it does, it shows with New Order keys and hop-skip drums.

I'm placing a lot of emphasis on a single dose of elegant pop from an unsigned band, but judging from the live show, and the strength of the entirely engrossing set (not a single dud-- and I'd never heard them before), they could blow any number of more established art-stars out of the water - Pitchforkmedia

"Band To Watch: New Violators"

New Violators don't have an album out just yet, but the Norwegian quintet -- sextet, if you count the phenomenal female back-up singer accompanying them last time out -- should be a hit when they set foot on U.S. shores early next month. We've heard a number of their recordings, most in demo form, and have seen them live three times: They're the only Norwegian band to truly knock ours socks off two festivals in a row. 120 Days, who?

Beyond straight-up great songwriting, vocalist/songwriter/frontman Per Borten packs more charisma than a dozen fledgling new wave crews, hearkening to a less rouged, Scandinavian Ziggy Stardust -- macho, fey, theatrical, romantic, icily removed ... and sporting boxy glasses. Despite his blonde pompadour, a crooning Morrissey voice, and the Violators' stadium-sized chops, the day after a Trondheim gig a bemused UK journalist spent 3/4 of an article in the by:Larm festival newspaper analyzing Borten's skin-tight pants, and the effects they had on local teenage population. Very Footloose, no?

Well, okay, the pants are skinny, but as even Sir Project Runway had to admit, the band's also, well, equally tight: New Violators can echo the Hold Steady in their frantic, technically sick keyboards and Springsteen-style lighter-lifters, but also add a "Bizarre Love Triangle" or two and some
show-me-how-you-do-that-trick melancholia. Soulful Sixteen Candles swagger-pop?

Knowing we're fans, the band gave us one mixed and one unmixed demo from their most recent recording session as well as an older version of "Burma" -- all destined, in one way or another, for a future platter.

New Violators - "Angelina (demo)" (MP3)
New Violators - "Burma (demo)" (MP3)
New Violators - "Runaway" (MP3)

- Stereogum

"SXSW: The Sterogum Puppet Show"

Tough to gush about your own show, but we're going to anyway. The rest of the bill was phenomenal. We were psyched to have one of our absolute favorite new bands, New Violators, and the party-starting synth-poppers Lo-Fi-Fnk round out the bill, along with YACHT on the ones and twos. There are precious few bands that we care to see over and over, but count LFF among 'em -- bringing the best of their synth-and-sample, "I Wanna Be Your Lover"-era Prince sounds on "Adore" among other Boylife treats. And seeing Per and New Violators for the second time in a few days (first was at their US debut at Tonic last week) still ain't enough for us. Unabashed '80s era New Wave, with massive hooks and the frontman of the year. If you're in New York, catch 'em at Pianos next week (Merc's already sold out!) Some MP3s, if you missed 'em last time.

New Violators - "Runaway" (MP3)
New Violators - "Angelina" (Demo) (MP3)
New Violators - "Burma" (demo) (MP3)

- Stereogum

"New Violators @ Mercury 3/20 - Oh My God I Can't Believe It"

It seems we are having a run in luck with shows here at The Music Slut...

Last evening at the Mercury Lounge was unbelievable for a multitude of reasons. First, the New Violators put on a really fun set to start the evening off.

They reminded me distinctly of a Norwegian Duran Duran, complete with the all white outfit and flock of seagulls hair style. Their sound is undoubtedly derivative, but they are fun nonetheless. Lead singer Per Borten is pure camp while the smiling drummer is whom really stole my heart away.

Per spoke with Zach Baron of the Village Voice March 5th about New York and why he doesn't own a pair of white shoes (we were wondering at the show):

"If there's one place I might want to move to, it's probably New York," Borten says. "It's so big that you can be alone, you know?" In Trondheim, he says, "you might get a strangling sensation every once in a while." And "you can't wear white shoes either," on account of all the snow.

The crazy Norwegians will be at Pianos in NYC tonight at 11pm. Starting off the Pianos line-up is Middle Distance Runner at 7pm, whom I've heard good things about.

Stereogum made the group their Band to Watch February 21st and have some mp3's up.

MP3: New Violators- Runaway (thanks Scott and Amrit)
- The Music Slut


Still working on that hot first release.


Feeling a bit camera shy


New Violators is a newly formed 5-piece from Trondheim, Norway, which, following an already legendary first show at Oslo’s Mono Club during Summer 2006, has quickly become THE name to drop in Norway. Armed with a sound situated somewhere between ‘Born to Run’, ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ and Bowie’s ‘Let’s Dance’, the band has already attracted the attention of various tastemakers including Pitchforkmedia’s Brandon Stosuy, who anointed them his favourite Norwegian find at one of this summer’s festivals.

Despite being young, the various band members hail from previously successful Norwegian bands. Driven by a collective desire to combine anthemic choruses with memorable live performances, they have already seen their limited edition self-released track ‘Burma’ rotated heavily on Norwegian radio.

Pitchfork is particularly impressed with lead singer Per Borten’s stage presence: “Borten was all over the place: He sang with a finger in his ear so he could hear better, waved his arms around like he was falling into a trance or a swoon. I was told time and time again over the weekend that Norwegians don't dance, but that night, people went ape shit.”

Following an extremely successful trip to SXSW (4 shows - the NME named them one of the 10 best new bands at the event) and NYC (3 sold-out shows) in March 2007, this year will see the band record their debut album and tour relentlessly across Europe and the US.