Band of the Hour: Ex Norwegian
They're not Swedish, they're just into British humor.
By Rayme Samuels
It's not often that a band comes around with a completely new sound. Ex Norwegian manage to combine powerpop, classic rock and indie music to set themselves apart from what's already out there.
Members Roger Houdaille guitar/vocals), Michelle Grand (vocals), Carolina Souto (bass) and Arturo Garcia (drums) agree that Ex Norwegian's unique sound stems from Roger's keen musical intuition. "Roger has something I can't really explain. I used to say he came from another time. His songs have a simple sound to them that are catchy and almost addictive," says Carolina. "[Even] our sad songs sound happy, so there is also a twist of irony in our music."
Don't let the name fool you, this is not a Scandinavian outfit. The band's original name, Father Bloopy, didn't sit well with early audiences. During a crucial turning point this summer, Roger made the difficult decision to think of a more worldly and palatable moniker. Inspired by the British comedy Monty Python's Flying Circus, Ex Norwegian was decidedly the perfect fit for the foursome.
As for musical influences, each member has a different favorite, from Mos Def to Pink Floyd to David Bowie to The Strokes. What's more, the band all shares a carefree Miami upbringing along with unexpected collegiate ties. Miami Beach Senior High boasted a Rock Ensemble program that bore some of the city's most dedicated rockers to date. Under the tutelage of the legendary Doug Burris in different timeframes, Roger, Carolina and Michelle all developed their passion for performance. Arturo came in a bit later thanks to a connection on Facebook and mutual friends at the University of Miami.
Recently a fan revealed that their hit single, "Something Unreal," an infectious song with edgy guitar riffs layered over strong orchestrations and relatable lyrics, was the first music purchase they've made since the 90s. So it's fair to say that Ex Norwegian has the power to make people care about music again - a good thing, since they're currently recording their first full length album, Same Sex Different Day, set for release on the Dying Van Gogh music label, a side project of Roger's. When asked what reactions they hope to get out of their fans as their popularity grows, Michelle exclaims, "Happiness! I want people to listen to Ex Norwegian and smile -- a big cheesy one."
For more info visit www.exnorwegian.com.