Interview Team Me: ‘Even Our Uptempo Pop Songs Have Sad Lyrics’

Jake May grabs the band to chat about their new record, influences, and sad songs.

Synaesthesia is a neurological condition affecting a small percentage of people which causes a kind of confusion of the senses, where the stimulation of one sense can effect an entirely different sense. For instance certain sufferers see vivid colours and shape appear in their vision when listening to particular sounds. However, it’s scientific fact* that anyone of a certain musical persuasion experiences that very sensation when listening to Team Me, regardless of whether they are synaesthetics or not.

It’s understandable. The Norweigian five-piece, who release debut album To The Treetops!’ through Propeller Recordings on 5th March, make an indie pop racket which is ambitious, vivid and full of life - forcing listeners to sit forward and take notice. Jake May grabs the band to chat about the record, influences, and sad songs.

(*not really, of course)

Your debut album is out in just over a month - how are you feeling about the release?
We’re really happy with the reception in Norway. We’ve gotten a lot of great reviews and people seem to be enjoying the album. Best of all, people are starting to show up at our gigs. Hopefully people will like it in other countries as well.

What should fans expect from your album in comparison to the music they will have heard from you so far?
The album is more alive and breathing and playful. We’ve produced ourselves, so we’ve just had fun and tried everything(!) we wanted to try for each song. We’re really happy with the result.

Your songs are very multi-layered and quite complex affairs - how does the song-writing process begin and work its way to the final product?
So far most songs have been written on an acoustic guitar, then worked out into a demo, to find out what kind of direction the song will head. Then we all get together and arrange and record and experiment together until we feel the song is finished.

You recently announced the departure of a band member. How have things been since the down-sizing from six to five, and how do you think the change might affect your future direction or even live show arrangements?
We still haven’t played any gigs after that happened. I guess it’s going to be a slightly different live show, but the music is the same anyway.

Why do you think it is that music from Scandinavia does so well in the UK?
I have no idea. Maybe Scandinavians are a little bit exotic to the British people? I think Scandinavian music is influenced by British and American music - so maybe we make our own ‘exotic’ version of that?

Norway is a beautiful country - do you take influence from your surroundings as much as you do from listening to music?
Absolutely! Maybe even more than music. ‘To The Treetops!’ is really inspired by Elverum, our home town, and what it’s like to grow up there.

How do UK shows differ from playing in Norway or across Europe? Do you get a similar reaction wherever you play?
Most shows we’ve played in the UK have been as support for The Wombats and their crowds were amazing! Very welcoming and gave a lot back to us on stage. I guess crowds differ from age, and whether you are support or headliner, and various other things, no matter what country your are playing in. But we usually get good feedback. Hopefully it’ll continue!

It’s been said of you in the press that it would be difficult to imagine you writing a sad song - do you think that’s fair?
It depends on what people mean that makes a song sad. We’ve got a lot of sad songs actually. Even the uptempo pop songs have got sad lyrics. So actually I think most of our songs are sad songs.

Beyond the album release and the tour, what else can we expect from you in 2012 and beyond?
We’re gonna tour a lot in 2012, both in Norway, UK, Europe, US and Japan. We’ve also recorded/finished some new music. But 2012 will be mostly touring and meeting new great people!

Team Me’s new album ‘To The Treetops!’ will be released on 5th March via Propeller Recordings.

Tags: Team Me, Features

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