IN THE SPOTLIGHT: MOTORFINGER

Q&A With Guitarist Tommy Fossli

12 May 2018 by Ron Willemsen

Recently HeadBangers LifeStyle teamed up with the nice people of ReverbNation to give 5 new promising bands or artists a chance to extra promotion and exposure. We were overwhelmed by the number of bands that submitted their songs. Believe us when we say it was hard to choose because there were many promising bands and artists between them. At the end of the day we received 1250 submissions and reached almost 800.000 people. Now it’s time to put the winners in the spotlight. The first band we want to introduce to you is MOTORFINGER from Oslo, Norway



This Norwegian quintet proves that in music it's not about re-inventing the wheel but about writing good songs and having fun. They took elements from legendary grunge bands like Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, Mother Love Bone, Nirvana, Helmet and let's not forget Audioslave but managed to give their own twist to it. They always sound melodic and in Maurice Adams they have a great singer. Guitarist Tommy Fossli of Motorfinger took some time to answer the questions HeadBangers LifeStyle came up with.

,,The grunge sound is something that we all love to the bone.''-Tommy Fossli

Let’s start with an easy question: Why should people listen to your music?
,,If you like that 90’s grungy vibe you will definitely like Motorfinger. Not that we strive to sound like a 90’s grunge band. This comes naturally since we all grew up with listening to awesome bands like Soundgarden, Nirvana, Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam and all those guys. Well, we grew up listening to bands like Iron Maiden, Slayer, Metallica as well, but the grunge sound is something that we all love to the bone.''

What do you want to achieve with Motorfinger?
,,First of all we want to create music we like ourself. To get that ‘Holy shit, this is cool’-feeling when we rehearse is priceless. Second we want to experience cool stuff. We are not in it for the money, we are in it for the adventure. To play live is a fantastic feeling. It really is a band of brothers and after a show we are closer than ever.''

,,I love to see that reaction on peoples faces when I am up on stage.''-Tommy Fossli

What makes you different from other bands in the genre?
,,Well, I feel we bring an authentic sound to the table. Not this pompous over-produced sound. We like it real and what you hear on the record is what you get live. But then again we are more a live-band than a studio-band. People that see us live for the first time stand there with a big smile on their face and come over to us after the show and are baffled that they haven’t heard about us before. I love to see that reaction on peoples faces when I am up on stage.''

Describe your music in 3 sentences maximum?
,,First things come to mind is attitude and energy. We bring so much attitude to a show that you feel cool just watching. If you feel a little energy when you listen to our music it will blow your mind to watch a live show. The energy is awesome. We love to play shows when the stage is at he same level as the crowd. When we are right up in the face of the audience and we transfer our energy to them. That is insanely cool. I would also like to think that when you listen to a Motorfinger track you easily hear that this is Motorfinger. That we have our own sound despite our influences.''



What made you decide to (also) release your songs through platforms like ReverbNation?

,,There are a lot of platforms out there to choose from. ReverbNation is one of them. These guys run a very professional site, not just with presenting the band but with opportunities for unknown bands to get in touch with promotors, publishers, booking agents, labels… you name it. Not easy to get in the door on a lot of these opportunities since there are thousands of bands competing for the same spotlight. But without the site we would never even be in the consideration for most of this. I remember back in the day (when I was about 15-16 years old) when I played in a death metal band. There was a really big community with people sending each other cassette tapes (demos) and flyers about their bands. By post of course..hahaha. It took a while to get a response.''

,,We don’t have a management so we have to figure out all PR strategies ourself.''-Tommy Fossli

How important are social media and the internet for spreading the name of Motorfinger and how do you use it?
,,Internet is of course good for spreading the word about Motorfinger but it takes a hell of a lot of time. Time that I would have liked to use on creating music. But all in all playing live shows is the main channel to getting other gigs and getting connections in the biz. Social media has also given us a lot of gigs. In social media people often seek bands for gigs and then it is easy to send a presentation of the band and get in touch. If they like what they hear/see we might catch a great gig. It doesn’t cut it to just promote a new album or music video on our own Facebook page. Ads is a thing you have to put in as well. We don’t have a management so we have to figure out all PR strategies ourself. It is not easy and very time consuming. It would be great to have all the focus on the music but we probably use 50% of the time online promoting the band. Most actively on Facebook.''

How and when did you guys meet?
,,Well, this is a friend of a friend mash-up. We didn’t hang up any posters seeking members. I have played in several bands in my youth. I grew up with Ihsahn and Mortiis, from the black metal band EMPEROR, who I played with in different bands. Then I had a 10-year break from bands while going to the university and working. Suddenly the urge came back to play in a band. I knew that a friend of a friend (Jonas Dale) played the drums so I asked him if he wanted to join me and jam some cover songs. He agreed and he also knew a bass player (Morten Felumb) that would like to join us and jam. I had earlier lived with a dude in a collective (Jon Anders) when I was a student that I knew played the guitar. I asked him to join. He agreed on one condition: if his friend could come along and sing. Ok, great! We had a full band. This vocalist was more of a bluesy guy so we had to make tracks fitting his voice. So our genre was way softer than we would like it to be. After a while he chose to quit the band. Our drummer knew about a great singer (Maurice Adams) in a badass groove metal band called BREED. Those guys were a very serious band, but our drummer approached him and asked if he wanted to hang out with us and jam. And he have stayed with us since that day. With his powerful voice we could play whatever came natural to us. And that was grungy hard rock.''



Any new material yet?

,,We are always working on new material. We have some cool tracks already, but we wait until we have some GREAT tracks that reflect us and a sound that we can be proud of. When we have enough tracks for an EP we ship it. We have just released a brand new music video for the track ,,Sunflower'' from our latest release 'Evilution'. Even though this is not a brand new release we feel that this track deserved a music video.''

How important are the lyrics for the band and what are they representing?
,,Maurice does all the lyrics. I compose most of the tracks and then the rest of the guys add their stuff on top of that and then we get the Motorfinger sound. We don’t interfere with what Maurice write since it is mostly personal stories.''

,,Being ambitious in the music biz is a bad idea.''-Tommy Fossli

How far would you go for success?
,,Hehe. Would we sell our soul to the devil for success? Nope! Being ambitious in the music biz is a bad idea. If we wait for the big break we will all be very bitter guys up the road. You have to know the right people and be at the right place at the right time. There are a hell of a lot of insanely great unknown bands out there which bust their balls off to make it. We all have day-jobs and families. We take one day at the time and play all the opportunities we get. That’s what it is all about; just having a good time. Not seeking world domination.''

What drives you as a band?
,,The good old answer is to create good music. Not to re-invent the wheel. I get slightly pissed off when a reviewer writes that “we have heard this before”. Yes, you have heard these arrangements before. We are not here to be trendy, we are here to rock. Yes, we have our influences from great bands in the 90’s. But so did they. All bands have their influences. And once in a while there is a band that does things very different then everybody else. But that’s because it’s in their DNA. I don’t believe they do it just to be original, it comes natural. It comes natural for us as well… from all our influences.''

,,We are pretty serious about our music but don’t take ourself very serious.''-Tommy Fossli

Your biggest achievement so far?
,,It’s actually our three EP’s. We called our first EP ‘Best Of’ since we didn’t know how long this band would last. We are pretty serious about our music but don’t take ourself very serious. We love how for example Foo Fighters use a lot of humour in their music videos. We don’t have the cash to be funny in our music videos, but if we had we would put every penny in it to do that. We gave it a shot in the music video for the track ,,Double Rainbow’’. Check it out on YouTube. Last summer we opened up for the pretty famous guys in UGLY KID JOE. That was very cool. Nice to hang out with musicians that the week before played for 60.000 people at Wacken and hear a bunch of stories. It was also very cool to play at the Marshall Amplification factory in Milton Keynes, England. Get to meet a living Marshall in the flesh. It doesn’t get any more rock and roll than the Marshall brand.''



How do you get your live shows?

,,We get our gigs through all the channels. Either we do our own show and split with another band or play support for other bands. Or we get booked by festivals since the booker likes our music. Or we contact the right people at the right time to get gigs. Many are pure luck. Earlier I submitted Motorfinger to a lot of talent competitions just to play shows and reach out to people that might not come to a Motorfinger show. It is a great place to make contacts and for “important” people to see Motorfinger.''

What can people expect when they come to see a Motorfinger live show?
,,They can expect to have a really good time if they are into a bit grunge. There are many haters who dislike grunge because it killed the 80’s glam era. But if you put that aside and just come for a good rock show you will leave smiling. You will feel energized lusting for more. We always stay after the show for pictures and talk to everybody.''

What is in the agenda for the band the upcoming months?
,,Next up for Motorfinger is the RockStream Festival at 23rd June in Norway . We would love to play more abroad. So if any bookers in Europe, or the universe, are reading this don’t hesitate to book MOTORFINGER to your next gig or festival.''
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