Sheesh. Bands from Trondheim. You wait for ages then two come along at once…
We are originally from different parts of Norway, but we met and founded Mondo Bear in Trondheim.
How did you meet?
Erik and Vebjorn attended the same school for a year, and created a project together when they both moved to Trondheim after that year of school ended. Sondre and Erik are friends from high school, and Vebjorn knew Anders through some mutual friends.
How long have you been playing as a band?
Mondo Bear began sometime in 2018, as the culmination of another project by our drummer Vebjorn and singer/guitarist Erik. With two new members, Anders on guitar and Sondre on bass, we quickly started writing these longer, slow songs. Most of the process was taking song ideas and adding some kind of ambience and atmosphere to them. Using different effects to carve out a sound that we felt happy with. The first album is a collection of the first songs we’ve written together that we thought sounded good enough for an album. It’s an amalgam of our different tastes in music.
Before you get sick of being asked… Where does the band name come from?
Like most bands we really struggled finding a cool name. When we first started out, we were called Take Us Up. Luckily we had the insight to ditch that moniker and go for something “cooler”. Mondo, is a California surf term, meaning big or huge. It’s also used by a couple of stoner/psych bands. So the California connection made sense because our lyrics at the time seemed to orbit around the ideas of fame, death and crime. Concepts that are very present in the California/Hollywood mythos, as well as having a song on the album called Hollywood. Bear.. because bears are cool. And our sound feels huge and maybe sluggish at times, and while often steady and calm, carries the potential for some violent outbursts
What are your influences?
Most of our influences are the greats of the 60s and 70s. The more contemporary stuff is quite varied. Erik, our singer/guitarist has an affection for Lana Del Ray and Pink Floyd while the rest of the band is into anything from old school heavy metal to jazz, krautrock, fusion,soul/rnb, etc. We believe that having such a wide variety of influences, makes us able to create new and interesting music for our listeners.
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
Lots of energy and “vibeyness”. The reason we write these long songs with driving motifs and lots of ambience is because that’s the kind of music we enjoy. So for any fan of rock, psych, jazz, there’s something new and exciting to be found in our music. A live show is usually a really simple but engaging affair. We’re not really a very showy band, so we try to make the music do as much talking as possible. Luckily it’s music that seems to get people into a good groove and vibe. We improvise and play around with the songs a bit, so it’s never quite the same hearing the recordings and seeing it live. Which I think is some of the fun part with this kind of music
Do you have any particular lyrical themes?
Our debut album is partly a concept album, which follows the story of our protagonist. A person lost in the search for fame, riches and recognition; ending up challenging the law and coming to terms with his own mortality.
What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?
When playing live shows we tend to focus on creating an atmosphere where people attending our show can relax and feel like they are joining us on our musical trip. We feed off our audiences energy, and use this energy to deliver an intense show changing from long, floating, psychedelic trips to heavy riff-based pop songs.
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?
When we played Eat The Rich in Trondheim last year, we filled the alley behind a restaurant with tons of musical equipment and lots of people. Having the undivided attention of the tightly gathered crowd as we started our first song, and watching people really enjoying our music, is the greatest thing.
What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc.?
Collectively, as a band, we probably own way too many pedals to list here. Our sound is dependent on heavily delayed and reverbing guitars with some heavy fuzzed bass, it is a passion of ours to create new and exciting tones with our instruments, and pedalboards, as an extension of said instruments.
What are your plans for 2020?
We just released our debut album H, as in Hollywood, and right now we are putting in the finishing touches before our release concert at Tyven the 13th of March. We are in the process of booking a small release tour this fall, and plan on going back to the studio early winter.
If you were second on a three-band bill, which band would you love to be supporting and which band would you choose to open for you? A chance to plug someone you’ve toured with, or a mate’s band we’ve not heard of before!
Supporting a band like Pond or King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard would be a dream come true. I believe in naming two norwegian bands, so opening for Motorpsycho together with Kanaan would be a night to remember.