It takes 8 hours for a passenger ferry to cross the strait of Skagerrak. That's exactly the amount of time it takes for a healthy nap, 5 smokes, 2 book chapters, 3 dances in the on-ferry nightclub, 240 euro spent in the duty-free on booze and cigarettes emblazened with scathing warnings, and getting kicked out of the on-ferry nightclub.
We start the trek to Oslo by parking the van in the bowels of a massive ferryliner. 7 stories tall and packed with sleeper bunks, smoking lounges, and various flavors of nightclubs and pubs, tiny delis and a casino. We make our way to the top, drop our bags, and everyone crashes or wonders off to explore the ship.
The cool kids all head straight for the nightclub, complete with videoscreen lavalamp animations, discoball, and a cover band of guys in their 50s called "Happiness Dance Band." We load up on litres of Carlsburg and lounge in style for a couple hours. Then we raid the duty free for booze and smokes, cheap here but worth their weight in gold to the ripe nation of Norway.
When we disembark it's already dark in Oslo. We meet with our host and promoter Yenni, and his friend Tor. Everyone hops in the van, with minimal static from the harbor police, we're on our way to Yennis to drop off gear. Then straight to Endless Tinnitus Studios, a 30 year old punk/hardcore recording studio close to the harbor in Oslo.
We and No More Art are recording a few songs there tonight. We meet with Kenneth, the engineer, who's a really friendly and laughable ginger. We set up and like usual, No More Art goes first.
Tor: "Authentic Nowegian food? Have you ever eaten whale?" Whale meat is only legal to purchase in Norway, Japan, and for some Arctic Alaskan people. "Fuck no I ain't! Where can I get!?" Tor and Yenni walk us to a small market, and Ben plunks down 40 euro for a pound of whale flesh. Stalk back to Yenni's and Tor cooks us an insanely good veggie meal. Refusing to touch it but giving Ben good tips about whale prep: just pan-seer it, it'll taste like fishy-liver-garbage no matter what you do.
Back to Endless Tinnitus to do our part, Kenneth is encouraging and we kick through our songs before midnight comes. Then back to Yenni's to goof off and sleep.
Day 6 (December 31st): New Years Eve / Show at Endless Tinnitus
We head back to the studio after breakfast and mix over the tracks a few times, then start to clean up the studio space and get ready for the show. They only have shows about 4 times a year, and the space is about as big as a typical american basement show.
As a new band on our first trip through Europe, we have to find more to ways to make money than just records and t-shirts. Luckily: booze, cigarettes, and everything is astronomically more expensive in Norway, so the scam is to buy them cheap on duty free, sell them fair at the show. It's New Years, everyone's going to need to get very drunk.
The show went great, and ended just in time for a hail of fireworks and trash smashing outside. Everyone screaming Cocksparrer and circling burn barrels. Drugs and imbibing, screaming and steady snow. We were all dizzy and upside down, falling on each other and getting lost and recognizing the faces we should know better. At one point Ben is startled by Jorn from Mayhem while trying to wake up Shaun, who, despite the amphetamines is sternly passed out in the mixing room. Grinning ear to ear, and everyone is spitting champaign. Sleep doesn't come until 8 AM the next day.
That day we will drive 15 hours across Sweden, if we can find everyone in the morning.
TOMORROW: Swede and sweaty...