Artists like Pink Floyd, Porcupine Tree, Radiohead, No-Man and Talk Talk definitely inspired Norwegian band Airbag. Their unique sound results in classic prog, symphonic rock with scenic sound scapes. Their music is introspective and full of atmosphere. However, if you like your progressive rock with heavy guitar riffs or much diversity then you maybe find this debut album a bit too soft or too mellow. Normally I like heavier prog rock, but after listening to this album a couple of times, I dare to say that I'm almost hooked on Airbag. I love those dreamy, breathtaking guitar solos in songs like Prelude, Steal My Soul and the marvellous Colours. Singer Asle Tostrup really has a nice voice, sometimes reminding me of Mark Hollis (Talk Talk) for instance in Safe Like You or Tim Bowness (No-Man) in songs like Steal My Soul or Colours. This album is perfect to unwind after a hard day?s work or for a rainy Sunday morning. Relax and let yourself carried away by this dreamy prog rock music. I can truly agree with a quote in Classic Rock magazine: ?Prog at its most chilled, honeyed and soothing?. Identity is a remarkable album that you can listen to repeatedly. It is a drug that slowly becomes an addiction!
***** Martien Koolen (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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Interview with Asle Tostrup of Airbag
"Prog at its most chilled, honeyed and soothing…"
(Text by Martien Koolen, edited by Peter Willemsen)
I can truly agree with the above quote of Classic Rock magazine. It perfectly fits the wonderful music of Norwegian five-piece Airbag. The band started in 1994, playing only covers then, but in its present form the band was born again in 2005. They released their own first full-length album Identity , a real beauty. The band definitely got their inspiration from artists like Pink Floyd, Porcupine Tree, Radiohead, No-Man and Talk Talk. Time for a short interview with singer and guitarist Asle Tostrup.
How were the first reactions and reviews on Identity?“In Norway the reactions were great and the reviews I read were rather good. To be honest, I don’t care if people are negative about the album, because you like our music or you don’t and that is just it. People who don’t like our music should listen to something else. I can handle nasty reviews as well; maybe the best thing to do is laughing at the people who write them.”
Could you please tell me where the name of the band comes from?“Yes, we had all kind of names for the band, stupid names, silly names, serious names, but none of them fitted actually. When we recorded our first demo, Radiohead released OK Computer. The first song on that album is called Airbag, so there you have your answer.”
Where did you get your inspiration?“We were mostly inspired by bands like Pink Floyd, Porcupine Tree and many other good artists. We all like rock, prog rock and some of us like heavy metal. I’m a big fan of Massive Attack, by the way. The music of Airbag contains prog rock, jazz and pop influences and many atmospheric sound scapes as well. Nevertheless, we have a tendency of becoming not too proggy.”
Who’s got all the ideas for the lyrics?“That is mostly Bjørn (Riis , guitars, vocals, edt) . He often writes about subjects he experienced in his personal life. But actually, you should better ask him about the lyrics...”
When I listened to the lyrics, I noticed they’re rather gloomy, not too positive. How come?“Well, if you say gloomy I disagree; we are not from Finland, ha ha… Perhaps our lyrics are more serious than those of other rock bands. We don’t want to write and sing about parties, girls and booze, but about the profound things in life. About all the challenges and difficulties we daily have to face.”
You used the internet to introduce the band by letting people download your mini album for free. What is your opinion with respect to downloading music?“I think that downloading is a good thing. It is a strong promotional tool especially for young beginning bands. Now that we have a record deal, I hope that people buy our album as well. We have the intention to make live recordings, so you can have them for free on the internet as well. Free downloading will be the radio of the future!”
Speaking of live recordings, is there any chance of a tour shortly?“Yes, we are now planning a tour and as a matter of fact we will be playing in The Netherlands next year.” (On the 27th of February 2010, Airbag will perform on the iO Pages festival at De Boerderij, Zoetermeer, edt)
What’s your favourite song on the album?“That is difficult to say, because most of the songs are rather old (...). At first, I liked Sounds That I Hear the best, but now I really love Steal My Soul, mainly due to the amazing Floydian guitar solo in it.”
Thanks for your time.You’re welcome.
Album "Identity" review
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