Real Ones
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Real Ones

Oslo, Oslo County, Norway

Oslo, Oslo County, Norway
Band Folk Pop

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"New band of the day. No 255: Real Ones"

New band of the day No255: Real Ones

Paul Lester says: If you like richly melodic, psychedelic-tinged pop, then check these crazy Bergen boys

Monday January 14, 2008
guardian.co.uk

Real Ones come from the land of Röyksopp, Kings of Convenience, Annie and Sondre Lerche

Hometown: Bergen, Norway.
The lineup: Ivar C. Vogt (vocals, guitar, mandolin), Jørgen Sandvik (vocals, sitar, banjo, guitar), David C. Vogt (vocals, violin, guitar), Øystein Skjælaaen (bass), Kåre Opheim (drums).
The background: From the home of Röyksopp, Kings of Convenience, Annie and Sondre Lerche come Real Ones. They're five childhood friends straight outta Norway's flourishing musical centre who are still only in their mid-twenties and have a dual interest in Wilco and Ravi Shankar, the Jayhawks and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, ie West Coast harmony pop with Eastern/World Music textures. Basically, think Nilsson's Everybody's Talkin' with Shankar on sitar and you're almost there, or a whole album of George Harrison's Within You Without You with Byrdsian three-part harmonies. The Thrills did this kind of thing really well on their debut album but lost their way creatively thereafter, so if you'd like a piece of that richly melodic, psychedelic-tinged pop action, then check these crazy Bergen boys with their plaintive chord sequences and rhythmical approach to acoustic instrumentation. They've got it all, from tasty but plain fare (guitar, bass and banjo) to the spicy and exotic. Bouzoukis and jaisalmers, anyone? Or have you already eaten?

Outlaw, their forthcoming single, is a great introduction to the band: the elements are conventional, more or less, and yet there's something about the tricksy rhythm and stop-start pace that makes it difficult to categorise. It's like a Bollywood version of a country'n'western pop tune. Ballad of an Old Man, with its swirling Hammond organ sound and rousing chorus, has already earned Real Ones local praise, having been nominated for song of the year by the Norwegian Composer Association. Orlando is so expertly constructed, if someone told you it was a long-lost Crosby Stills & Nash B-side, you'd believe them. Disharmonic Ears is just a superb, fully-realised version of Real Ones' project to combine East and West. And Oh My sounds like you always dreamed Felt would, and if "Mad" Lawrence could ever be coaxed into doing a version of Come On Eileen, then this is how it might end up. They've even got one song, Everybody Feels Like Laughing, that goes, "Everybody's high on everybody else's pain", so the focus is as much on the malady - wait for it - as the melody.
The buzz: "Is George Harrison really dead, or has he just moved to Bergen?"
The truth: Bergen is the new Manchester. Only without the druggy troglodytes roaming the streets with simian menace.
Most likely to: Do a Norwegian version of My Sweet Lord.
Least likely to: Release a humanitarian triple concept album.
File next to: Magnet, Nilsson, Thrills, Pernice Brothers.
What to buy: Outlaw is released by Telle on February 28.

Paul Lester
- The Guardian UK


"Real Ones Outlaw"

In what is the freshest and most melodically joyfull outing of the week, the lads from Bergen in Norway maje a crackind debut. Maybe the snow-covered local landscape explains why they generate som much heat, life and summery propulsion in their music. But with reference points stretching from eastern Bollywood to American West Coast pop, Outlaw proves these Vikings are on the march - and they should be welcommed with open arms. - Mirror


"Boys From The Norwegian Wood"


Latest off the boat from Scandinavia are twang-mongers Real Ones, which is just fine by Barnaby Smith
Ivar C. Vogt, the hairiest of all the Real Ones, is a chuckler. He likes to chuckle. After finishing a sentence, he enjoys a good chuckle. It’s ever so sweet. He’ll make someone a lovely granddad one day.

Even if his jolly guffawing wasn’t just a natural habit he’d picked up from many years of good-naturedness, it would be understandable today. He has a lot to chuckle about, as Real Ones are increasingly finding friends wherever they go. A nice shiny deal has been struck with Warner for the release of their next album, while European and North American tours are inevitable. The other things you should know are that there are five of them, all childhood friends (heart-warming – worth a few chuckles for sure), they are from Bergen, Norway, and they play a music that is folk-rock to the very core. Lengthy psychedelic wig-outs mix with anthemic songwriting with three-way harmonies that have inevitably led to comparisons with monoliths like Crosby, Stills and Nash (fine, fair enough, if a bit ambitious) and the Eagles (a real kick in the pants), and curious lyrics evoking frontier America.

Over the past year or so, they have made a London home of the Slaughtered Lamb in Clerkenwell, the five of them huddled together in that small performance space in this cosiest of venues, Vogt chuckling away between songs.
Their three albums to date (all released in Norway) and finally this deal with a big-money label have been a long time in the planning.

“It started quite a long time ago here in Bergen,” says Vogt, traipsing through the streets of his home town on the way to sign off on some artwork. “Me and my brother, who plays the violin, and Jorgen (sitar, banjo, beard) formed this band. It’s been 15 years since we started.”

Bergen is by all accounts a rather special place – other bands from the city to receive attention in the UK and America include Röyksopp, Kings of Convenience and Annie and Sondre Lerche. Quite spectacularly situated on Norway’s South West coast amid the De Syv Fjell (The Seven Mountains), Bergen is the second biggest city in the country, despite having only a relatively modest population of 250,000. The oil industry thrives, as does fishing, while the town’s most famous son is one Edvard Grieg.

“For music, Bergen is really good because it’s small,” says Vogt, “You know most of the people into music, even if they play different styles. Our friends might play electronic music, black metal or whatever, but we still hang out in the same places and rehearse in the same studios. It’s an interesting place in that you’re allowed to do your own thing, and there isn’t one definite style of music that everybody plays.”

It would be easy to wax overly lyrical about how great most Scandinavian bands are. So we will: Scandinavian bands such as their countrymen the Lionheart Brothers, Danes The Figurines or Swedes the Shout Out Louds are the tip of an iceberg made up of all the impulse and purpose that much of Western pop has lost. Removal from the traditional hubs of the music industry is perhaps the key. Especially for Real Ones.

“People are allowed to do their own thing without interference from the media or the record company,” says our man, “because we don’t have any record companies in Bergen.
“If you want to get a record deal you have to go to Oslo or to London. Most people do both cos it takes as much time to go to London as it does to go to Oslo. That’s why so many of our bands have had a career outside of Norway, it’s just as easy going abroad as going round Norway when you live in Bergen.”

In fact, Real Ones have toured most extensively in Canada, with a few trips into the States. Over there, Vogt says, most people thought they were a Celtic band. In truth, they are pure pastiche of California circa 1970, complete with Eastern influences and a formidable array of stringed instruments.

With their three front-men singing close harmonies, Crosby, Stills and Nash are an obvious reference point that most critics have pounced upon. But apparently, Vogt was oblivious to them until relatively recently.

“It wasn’t a decision we made,” he says, when asked if the three-part harmonies were inspired by CSN, “because we grew up together and played together, it was natural that we sang together. We do most of the songwriting together as well and rarely speak about who sings the songs.

“I actually only bought my first Crosby, Stills and Nash album a few years ago, because a lot of people have said that we’re like them and I wanted to check them out, and when you hear their harmonies I understand what people mean… but there are so many artists who have done that.”

A good point – Real Ones’ derivativeness is hardly concealed. Vogt talks about Wilco and The Flaming Lips as musical kin, while all of Midlake, Vetiver and the Beatles (George Harrison in particular) are also of the same ball park.

When Real Ones first started, in their sunny youth they were purely a folk band because “it was really fun to play”, thus they stuck to cover versions. Beginning to write their own songs coincided with the discovery of the likes of the Wilcos and the Flaming Lips, whose influence dragged them to where they are today.

“The folk music was important for a while, but we also listened to all kinds of different music,” says Vogt, “so when we eventually started writing, this was the music that came naturally, and we didn’t try to force it in any way.”
And as for their new found home with the big-shot label, Vogt explains that his band had “done the last few albums on our own label, and we thought it was time to have more people help us out”, so Warner heard the album that will be out in Norway in June, and signed them up.

Next step: release a record over here. What with a wealth of material, 15 years of experience, a money-bags label behind them and a London following on the back of those Slaughtered Lamb dates, it would be silly to delay any longer.

Real Ones play the Electroacoustic Club @ The Slaughtered Lamb on 9 April 2008. - London Tourdates


Discography

"This is Camping" (indie) - NOR release 2005
"Home Withe The Girls In The Morning" (indie) - UK release Aug 2008 (NOR release 2006)
"All For The Neighbourhood" (Warner) - NOR release June 2008

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Bio

Real Ones are the latest, and arguably greatest, export from the burgeoning conveyor belt of musical talent currently flowing from Bergen, Norway.

Comprising two brothers and three lifelong friends, Real Ones are a jubilation that embody the spirit and sincerity of their home city with the gentle craft of folk-tinged, Eastern influenced Scandi-pop music.

Dual fronted by brothers Ivar Vogt and David Vogt, Real Ones have a habit of building melody upon melody and projecting them with the beauty and sweetness of three-part harmonies. Where acoustic guitars and tumbling drum sweeps weave with the lesser-known surreal sound of Eastern instruments such as the Bouzouki and Indian Jaisalmer violin, Real Ones are bringing a gentle touch of the East to a broader audience.

The songwriting is shared throughout the band but spearheaded by the brothers. It is a partnership built on a close friendship, and untainted by any sibling rivalry. Raised in Bergen, they met the rest of the band close-by at an early age and it’s a creative relationship that has blossomed into the dynamism that’s at the very heart of Real Ones.