Hailing from Stavanger, Norway, brothers Martin and Kristian Tungland Rinde have formed the folk-rock group Poor Edward – does it count as a group if there are only two members? Founded in 2006, the duo has been sharing their unique and vulnerable sound with international audiences. We speak with Poor Edward about their new album No Record, cultural influences, musical achievements and much more.
OSR: What drew you to music?
Poor Edward: Our grandmother, who has her own song on the album, would play piano and sing. We have pianists, organ players, violinists, drummers, flutists, singers and dancers in our family. Almost everyone does something musical. Our father used to blast blues records on the stereo whenever he could.
OSR: What is the backstory to No Record?
Poor Edward: The album is a collection of songs written over a quite long period. We started out with 20 songs and ended up with 12 on the record. We tried to expand our horizons both musically and lyrically. Musically, we wanted to bring a more uplifting and outgoing vibe to the production. We tried to take more chances and challenge ourselves a bit not going for the most obvious choices.
Lyrically, every song tells a story though some less obvious than others. We tend to write the more blurry ones and this time mixing together both autobiographical and fictional elements. I think we are more about trying to communicate different states of emotions through words and music than telling explicit stories if that makes any sense at all.
OSR: Did you face any challenges when recording the album?
Poor Edward: It took a while longer than expected to record due to pregnancies. There were pauses in the recording process. Maybe it turned out to be a good thing because it let the material mature, like a fine Bordeaux.
OSR: Which is your favourite track on No Record and why that track?
Poor Edward: We both like the title track ‘No Record’. It is quite defining for the album and it’s a fun title for an album, no? This song has been with us for a while and it is kind of a tribute to everything great from the past that for whatever reason does not exist anymore.
OSR: Do you believe your Norwegian background influences your music at all?
Kristian: Yes, even though we get a lot of our inspiration from the American singer-songwriter tradition and Americana, I think there is a Scandinavian vibe to our music. It is probably due to the rain and the cold weather we have in Stavanger. I also think it allows us to break the moulds of our genre.
OSR: How do you feel your sound has evolved since 2011, if at all?
Poor Edward: The album from 2011, Time Is Gonna Change You, was definitely coloured by our father’s illness. I think, even though we struggle with other kinds of issues today, No Record is a bit happier in its attitude.
OSR: What is your greatest musical achievement to date?
Martin: Tough question. It was a big deal back in 2011 when our debut album came out and we were recommended and played on the radio by the legendary Norwegian radio host and DJ, Harald Are Lund. He was the biggest deal. Sadly, he is no longer with us.
OSR: What is your favourite smell?
Kristian: Fresh ground coffee. Might be a boring answer but nothing beats it really, except maybe fresh Norwegian strawberries.
Martin: I’d probably go for coffee too, and also scotch single malt whiskey. In whisky matured in oak barrels you can find all the good smells in one place – does that make sense? I mean, in whisky I smell wood, everything from the trees in the forest to the wood of my favourite guitar, coffee, smoke, berries, summer rain, you name it. Yes, I am a nerd.
OSR: Do you have any celebrity crushes?
Kristian: Yes, Jennifer Aniston since Friends episode 1, 1994.
Martin: Coming of age in the 90s and being exposed to pop culture I had a crush on Britney and Sporty Spice. That wore off a bit but I still want that tattoo Sporty Spice has got and I am planning to join the #FreeBritney movement. 😆
OSR: What do you think is the best way to discover music?
Kristian: The internet is wonderful in many ways. Music finding is one. I rely on Spotify but I also read blogs like Dust of Daylight.
Martin: Yeah, I read blogs on the internet. We have a lot of nice Norwegian bloggers and magazines like Dust of Daylight, Mitt Liv Som Erik, Popklikk. Also, I read international magazines like Pitchfork and Mojo. I use Spotify quite actively, they have some cool features for discovering new stuff. But yeah, it takes effort.
OSR: What do you hope people take from your music in general?
Poor Edward: Simply put, we hope people can get some kind of joy, comfort or inspiration from it. Know that you are not alone. Keep in mind that someone loves you!
OSR: Do you have any future plans?
Poor Edward: We would love to put a tour together and go wherever people will have us! We always write and I think we have at least one more album to make. And we secretly dream of maybe doing a gospel album.