Teodor Tuff

Interview date

09 Avril 2012


Blaster of Muppets


Interview K. Lysklætt et C. Harøy (by mailer)

Hi, thanks for answering the following questions for the French webzine Aux Portes Du Metal. First, can you quickly introduce the band and tell us a bit more about your enigmatic name? What does Teodor Tuff stand for?

Knut: Teodor Tuff was a farm-hand in Vallersund, the small village in which we all grew up. Teodor lived on an island, and he was rarely seen, except for Constitution Day, when he attended the parade, partially in hiding behind the farmer. Among us kids, Teodor had taken on an almost mythical status. As far as I know, no person has ever had the same name, so Teodor Tuff was one of a kind. The name of the band is a tribute to Mr. Tuff. Hopefully we can become one of a kind as well, with our own distinct style.

Teodor Tuff has undergone very important changes, in terms of line-up and musical direction. Did you consider changing the name of the band for a while?

Knut: Of course not! See above.

Can you tell us a bit more about these changes? It’s not usual to see a band change that much from one album to the next.

Knut: The first album came about as a result of five childhood friends getting together drinking whisky, and then deciding to record an album. We had a lot of fun doing it, but, listening to it now, there was not a clear direction, and the production was way too soft. Having done the first album, I knew that the band had more going for it, but the presentation needed to be more defined and to the point, as well as way harder. I wanted to take the band down the metal-route, and this was difficult with the first line-up, as it became evident that our musical interests were quite disparate. I was also keen to have the band participate more actively in the arrangement and productions of songs, in order to free more time to be creative. After a friendly discussion about the group’s direction, our bass-player, lead guitarist and vocalist left the band (thank you for helping us get the band off the ground)! Luckily, within a couple of weeks we had found their replacements. Enter the Harøys: Christer Harøy (lead guitar), Rayner Harøy (bass) and their cousin Terje Harøy (vocals) decided to join the band. During the first rehearsal we knew that we had something good cooking. All these guys are very proficient musicians, and they do not shy away from experimenting with the wildest idea, and pushing the envelope of the metal genre. The band has now found its way – and we are all pulling the cart in the same direction.

For the previous album, your roots seemed to be in the 70’s Hard Rock. What would you say your main influences were for “Soliloquy”?

Christer: For this album I think influences came from different places. With me and Rayner with our metal-background, mixing it with Knut’s influences from musicals, classical music and hard-rock, I think we came up with something sounding a bit different.

Tell us about the special guests on this album? Did you get to meet most the artists who played on your record? How did the different collaborations happen?

Christer: Actually, we didn’t meet any of the guest-guitarists during the recording process. I’ve met Martin Buus and Mattias IA Eklundh before, but only communicated through e-mail; sending files and so on during the recording of the album. With Jeff Waters I sent an e-mail, and later sent a MP3 file, and he also returned the solo on e-mail. I played with Ida Haukland in Triosphere, and she’s a good friend of mine, so she joined us in the studio in Trondheim. Tonje is my sister and Rayner’s cousin, and I’ve been writing and recording some demo-material with her, so she also joined us in the studio in Trondheim, recording both lead –and backing vocals. Rayner and I play with Eskild Kløften in Divided Multitude, so we asked him to add some keyboards on three tracks. For mixing the album, we travelled down to Jacob Hansen’s studio, and we felt that we needed some extra backing vocals on some tracks. So Jacob added some background vocals on the tracks. What a man!!!!! Great producer and singer!!!!!

It’s funny you invited guitar players such as Jeff Waters (Annihilator) or Martin Buus (Mercenary) because both of them actually play in (a bit) more brutal (thrash or melodic death metal) bands than Teodor Tuff…

Christer: I guess both Annihilator and Mercenary are heavier and more aggressive than Teodor Tuff. I am a big fan of both bands, and a big fan of both guitar players as well. They are brilliant technical wise, but they also have a great sense of bringing great melodies in their solos.

Do you have any opportunities to go on tour to promote this album?

Christer: We’re working on some European dates/tour for this autumn, but nothing’s set yet. But hopefully we will be doing some gigs in Europe during 2012.

Who would you love to share a stage with? What would your ideal tour be?

Christer: Oh.......there are so many bands we would love to share stage with, and different kind of metal bands as well. It would have been an honour to share stage with legends as Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Rush, Judas Priest, but also more modern bands such as In Flames, Dream Theater, Nevermore... and many, many more. And the ideal tour would be touring the world, as a headliner with these bands as opening acts... hehehe.

Who wrote the melodies for the choruses? Some of them are quite peculiar and original in the sense that they don’t sound like the typical Power Metal chorus we’re used to, I’m thinking about “Heavenly Mana” for instance.

Christer: I wrote four tracks for the album, and Knut the rest of the tracks. Knut’s got a unique way of coming up with melodies that sound amazing, and sounding like nothing heard before. His wide range of influences makes him think alternatively. I love his way of thinking melodies and harmonies.

The three new members of the band all share the same family name: Harøy. There’s also a guest vocalist named Tonje Harøy participating in the record… Is someone in this family doing something not related to music?

Christer: Hehehe......well, we happen to be a family with many of us doing music. I guess we also could have involved three or four more of the family as well :)

You come from Norway. We actually know more bands from Sweden or Finland than from Norway. Is it more difficult for a metal band to exist in your country? Would you say that Heavy Metal is not as popular in Norway as it is in other close countries?

Christer: We’re not as many people.....hehehehe. I think that there is stronger fundament for heavy metal in Sweden and Finland. But, we have to remember that there weren’t many bands coming from Finland either, before it exploded with high quality metal bands in the 90’s. And now Finland got so many good bands, and the metal-bands topping the charts. A good country for hard-rock and metal. Sweden’s got a tradition for hard-rock and metal. Producing so many good bands from the 80’s up till now. In Norway we also have some really good bands from the 80’s and 90’s, like TNT, Stage Dolls and Conception. Then the Black Metal just exploded in the 90’s, giving us loads of famous bands as Immortal, Darkthrone, Mayhem, Dimmu Borgir, Satyricon, Emperor, becoming the biggest cultural export from Norway ever. In the late 90’s and up till now, bands like Pagan’s Mind and Circus Maximus also made an international break. So we’ve got bands coming from Norway as well, but not as many as in Sweden and Finland. And it also is a thing that the Norwegian press and radio don’t publish anything about metal. But the internet has given the public an easier access to webzines and magazines world-wide, so hopefully you will hear about many more Norwegian bands in the years to come. Hope this made any sense... hahahahaha :)

Your music is quite diverse and surprising. From the first track, one might expect to listen to a band stylistically close to Therion … but the rest of the CD has nothing in common with Therion. Is the element of surprise something very important for you?

Christer: I don’t think we aim to surprise. Knut came up with the intro, and he wanted it to be grand with loads of effects and a female choir. I arranged the guitars, drums and bass for it, and I think it ended up really cool. The rest of the songs can be kind of surprising I guess, as a result of the band’s variety of influences. Me and Rayner being fans of everything from melodic hard rock, but also bands as Pantera, In Flames, and almost every thrash-band in the 80’s and 90’s. Terje with much of the same, but also with his ears into bands like Audioslave. Both Knut and Knut growing up with 70’s hard-rock bands, and Knut Lysklætt’s desire for classical music giving the band an own sound.

Are there more surprising ideas you had but couldn’t use for “Soliloquy” and that you saved for the next release?

Christer: For this album, we have loads of ideas that we didn’t use. I guess Knut came up with 10 songs, that didn’t “make it” to this album. I hope and think we will use at least parts of it for the next album. Some of the parts are really cool.

What are Teodor Tuff’s plans for 2012?

Christer: Hopefully, we’ll be playing loads of gigs, and hopefully do a European tour. The wheels are in motion, and we are working on booking as we speak.

Here you can answer some question you would have liked me to ask that I didn’t think of.

Christer: Teodor Tuff, do you want me to book you guys for all the French Metal-Festivals like Hellfest and Raismes Fest?

A final word for your future French fans:

Christer: Want to thank all of you who bought the album, and all who’ve given the band a listen. We hope to visit France during 2012, and see you then :)

Venez donc discuter de cette interview, sur notre forum !