in-depth With Espen Follestad For Pete’s Sake.

By Ed

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https://reactrecords.bandcamp.com/album/north-atlantic

FPS Are back with a new record North Atlantic on React Records with as much energy, heart and power as ever after the untimley passing of singer and Hardcore legend Peter Amdam. Being a friend of the band and having met the guys in Oslo not long after peter’s passing I couldn’t imagine id ever be writing about a new record. But its here and its incredible, what follows is a watts app conversation me and Espen had over a couple of weeks on and off when we had time away from work,  Almost totally unedited.

Ed: Hey Espen 

How’s things dude?

Ed: Enjoying the Norwegian summer?

Espen FPS : Hey Ed,  im good.yeah, summer is starting to hit this part of the North Atlantic. Enjoying every minute

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Ed: What did you think of Norway’s effort in Eurovision last night?

Ed: Haha

Espen FPS : Haha! I’ve got to admit I’ve got no clue regarding that.

Ed: Yea I hate that shit but my mrs watches it and I was in the room haha

Ed: Norway were bad

Espen FPS : Didn’t see Eurovision as being your cup of tea. Your an enigma

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Espen FPS : Haha

Ed: I’ve been called an enigma before actually

Ed: So anyway

Ed: New song up

Ed: Tell me a bit about that

Ed: O shit how was that show with Burn?

Espen FPS : Yeah, pretty pumped about it. It’s taken a little while to get to this point, and now it’s out there. And pre orders for the entire 12” goes up on the 25th of May. This whole record was supposed to be an entire new LP that we started pretty much right after the first LP.

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Espen FPS : I have to admit it was a lot more heavy then I thought it would be. For the last 2 years the band has pretty much “lived” inside our insulated cell rehearsing and writing for this record. then all of a sudden you’re in front of people again ,friends & family and for me that hit me in a way I wasn’t really prepared for , personally .

Espen FPS : Burn were great though

Ed: In a good way or an anxious way or?

Espen FPS : I think we played ok but the “show “ was lackluster.  I got a feeling of anxiousness and sadness. You know, my friend, our friend wasn’t there with us

Ed: I guess it kind of felt like you were writing finishing something that had to be done that was started with pete but then not thinking about actually having to play out with it.?

Ed: When you were all rehearsing I mean

Espen FPS : I guess everything wasn’t fully processed, yeah.

Ed: Yeah like o shit now we are playing these songs after it all

Espen FPS : The technical side of the band ,writing, playing. That part is 100% done. Good sorted. I , speaking for my self, think I just hadn’t really thought about how it would be to be up there playing again and “be the band ”

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Ed: Yea man that figures.

I guess I may have thought FPS wouldn’t continue in a way, like last time I saw you all the guys were very positive about continuing and stuff and I was siked but I just couldn’t really get my head round it. Do you know what I mean?

Ed: Looks odd in text

Espen FPS : I see what you’re saying. And I get it , you know. Pete was such a big character. So much heart, and I don’t have any problems with how FPS might have been seen as “his band” . So I think a lot of people might have had to twist their brain a bit to wrap their head around the idea of North Atlantic and the rest of us continuing the band, as FPS.

Ed: Did React know early on that you would be continuing?

Espen FPS : Evan, react, they are great man. It was given that FPS next record was to be react released, then Peter left us. When I contacted Evan again and told him that I had continued writing some songs, the band was rehearsing and we would hit the studio again. He said “I’ll put it out” no demos heard , nothing. That gave us the extra boost to rally up a storm and pour our hearts into this recording. I think it comes across as well. A real emotional, honest and HARD ep’s worth of songs.  Evan did tell me though that at first he had a bit of a hard time seeing how this would be.

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Ed: New song is fantastic total vibes

Ed: Heart and soul man

Ed: A few people have asked me who sings now is it was it a secret?

Espen FPS : Yeah. That’s my feelings towards the song also. Total heart and soul. Vibes through the roof.

Ed: Like people who would know this stuff you know what I mean?

Ed: Most have been like is it Espen..? Or is he playing guitar??

Espen FPS : Well, no secret regarding the vocals. I think very early on when we decided to keep going it was gonna be us. We’re the crew, you know. We’ve been playing together since sportswear, Arne , Kim and me. Øyvind has been there all along also. There is a chemistry there that I think would get skewed if we brought in some other guy or girl to sing.

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Ed: O yea for sure it makes 100% sense

Ed: Especially with what’s driving the record

Espen FPS : So Arne and I took it upon ourselves to deliver vocals. It’s pretty much ended up being a 50/50 deal

Ed: Would be lost if some random person was fronting FPS

Espen FPS : Yeah. It gives it that intimacy and sense of urgency.

Ed: Fuck Sportswear were good

Ed: Haha

Espen FPS : It’s like the memorial show we did for Pete. We brought some of our friends from other bands and decades of touring together. And we could easily have done something with one of those guys also. But then we would not be FPS.

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Espen FPS : Haha!the wear.

Ed: The Wear indeed

Ed: Memorial show went off, who did you have over singing and jamming?

Espen FPS : Let’s see I’m my brain works still.

So guests on vocals ,

We had Hans, from me and Kim’s first band, rectify . Pete from Stockholm and the band between us. The first Swedish sportswear fan as we jokingly call him. Jose from Abinandah and out of vogue 

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Trond from Onward. I think that’s it 

Then we had Dan Frankowski damage control and eyeball fame on Guitar ( he was in FPS a hot minute too) Truls from Onward on Drums, Olli original Onward drummer also on drums and our long time friend Andreas from JR Ewing , one tail one head on guitar and bass .

Ed: Fucking rad what a show!

Espen FPS : I think that’s a complete list. If I’m wrong I may have just made an ass of my self, sorry.

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Espen FPS : Yeah. It was an insane night.

Ed: Wasn’t the dude from turbonegro there?

Espen FPS : Tony?

Espen FPS : I think both Knut and Tony were there.

Ed: Yea I thought Arne said he might sing a bit

Ed: I see him at a few shows here

Ed: He sang when GB played a while back

Espen FPS : Yeah, he and Peter corresponded a bit in the early 90’s I think.

Espen FPS : And after he joined turbo he and Peter hung out every now and then when he was in Oslo. One family man. The HC Family. Love that.

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Ed: Yea that’s awesome

Ed: So how do you guys approach writing the songs in FPS?

Ed: And who gets involved

Espen FPS : Songwriting in FPS now works pretty much like it’s been all along since back in sportswear. Usually I’ll put together like 75% -90% of a song ,record it at home with 2-3 guitar tracks, mail it round to the boys then we go through it at practice . Then we try some variations of it, Arne will get some ideas for bass, Kim will go through some different ideas for drums and then Øyvind Will come in in the next round with his lead and flavour bag and put the icing on the cake. We then normally would hand it over to Pete for him to write the words

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Espen FPS : That’s what’s different this time round. Me and Arne got together and listened to our demos and started picking songs we had ideas to. Then we wrote for “our” song and helped each other finish it. We also went in to the studio with two unfinished songs this time round, lyric wise, which we’ve never done before

Espen FPS : Turned out that worked pretty good for us as well. Arne did lyrics for the song End it All on the spot and I did Every Moment

Ed: Wow on the spot that’s rad

Espen FPS : I think in many ways that was the biggest hurdle to get past. Peter had a way with words. So that is some big shoes to fill

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Espen FPS : Yeah. It took about all of 20 min to finish the lyrics to those two songs

Ed: Right on

Espen FPS : Juices were flowing

Espen FPS : Creatively. I think you must know the feeling drawing as well.

Espen FPS : Sometimes, boom, you just get it done

Ed: Yea I can imagine that feeling but in a different context

Ed: I wish I could be there for something like that at some point

Ed: Would be special I reckon

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Ed: That’s what makes Hardcore so different from other music

Espen FPS : Yeah. It exhilarating when it works like that.

Espen FPS : And you know, Olle and Per who owns the studio they are hardcore dudes as well. They know what’s going on and can facilitate that process so good. The only other time I’ve had that kind of experience in a studio was with Don Fury when we did the sportswear LP

Espen FPS : He knew exactly which buttons he needed to press to make sure we kept going in the right direction.

Ed: Tell me a bit about that process at don’s

Ed: Love the old stories

 Espen FPS : It was an experience. It’s like you were allowed to take part in some old important museum installation piece. You could feel the history in the walls. This was the old studio on spring street, where you went down the stairs on the side of the pavement. The first week Don, me Arne and Kim were working through the songs and Ray was coaching Pete through a small writers block upstairs in Don’s apartment above the studio

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Espen FPS : Ray really wanted to push Peter to go beyond what he did on the first two 7″ and I think Peter delivered big time! During the recording of the vocals Ray was in the booth with Pete jumping of the walls doing those classic early Ray fist poses to get Peter amped and go all out.

Ed: Hahaha no way that’s so rad

Ed: I bet pete was so siked

Espen FPS : A special time.

Espen FPS : I think that moment, for Pete, that was it man. The absolute childhood hardcore fantasy come through.

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Ed: For sure I don’t think you can get better than that being a straight edge hardcore band from Europe

Espen FPS : A young skate rat with Youth of today stickers all over your board. Then 10 years later your in the studio with the guy whose words and band changed the way you go about life.

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Ed: And being big YOT fans

Ed: Exactly

Ed: The ultimate

Espen FPS : It’s like hitting the ball out of the park. Home run, baby.

Ed Haha yea man

Espen FPS : We were pretty young at the time as well. So it was a big deal for us. Truly grateful for the experience. And Don was an absolute Ace as well.

Espen FPS : What a guy.

Ed: I remembered something recently actually when I was asking Arne about how you guys were getting all your records and shirts and stuff back in the day, when it was hide cash in a letter and mail it off to rev

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Man..

Ed: He was saying how it was all so cheap for you Norwegians at the time

Ed: I love that

Espen FPS : Yeah. Man I’ve stuffed and lined so many envelopes

Ed: You guys all ways had the best merch in the old zine pics and stuff

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Ed: That’s what drew me to ask him about it

Ed: Were you getting all your sneakers and polo and shit from the states too?

Espen FPS : Back in the early to mid nineties the Norwegian Krone was pretty strong and price on a lot of the collectibles was still “cheap”

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Ed: Or was there some classic shops in Oslo

Espen FPS : Oslo had a couple really cool stores. Mothership connection set us up with all the champions and cool gear

Ed: Yea I mean unless you kind of know about Norway or have lived in Scandinavia in general I don’t think people know it’s the good life. Especially if Norway

Ed: As you know I’m a big Norway fan haha

Espen FPS : It’s a very nice country to grow up and live in. No doubt about that

Ed: O yea

Ed: Some good shops for sneakers and bits now in Oslo but the prices are wild to me

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Ed: Like the stuff in the sale is what it is full price here

Espen FPS : Norwegian prices are tough especially if you come in from Europe . I think a lot of tourists get a bit of a shock

Espen FPS : You know , € 4,50 for a coffee with milk is a bit steep…

Espen FPS : Haha

Ed: Yea it’s high but only like London really

Ed: With that stuff

Ed Eating out too

Ed Apart from the obvious what’s North Atlantic about?

Ed: The name that is

Espen FPS : What is funny, talking about price and the “value” on something. The recording of this new ep cost exactly the same as recording that first sportswear 7″

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Ed: Really haha

Ed: That’s nuts?

Espen FPS : Yeah and when you compare sound , the 2018 edition def gives more flavor for the buck!!

Ed: Nothing wrong with the first Sportswear 7” dude

Espen FPS : So, North Atlantic, it’s obviously a reference to where we sit , on the globe but also I think we wanted to use it as an homage to the Beauty that’s forever present there. Waters give and take. Cliffs breaking  into the water.

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Espen FPS : At least that’s what I put into the title. It’s loss and hope in a grander scale

Ed: Still here still sincere I think you can see that in the title

Ed: And obviously a homage to Peter

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Ed: It’s your HC community too – North Atlantic

Ed: It’s killer actually

Espen FPS : Yeah. I think you can pull a lot from that title. Arne is the one who came up with it, it don’t think he really thought we’d end up with it as the title but it just fits it so well when everything is placed in context. Manning’s painting just iced the cake perfectly.

Espen FPS : Really excited to get it out on the 25th of May. So people can check the songs out

Ed What colors is it being pressed on?

Ed: Or can’t you say 😉

Espen FPS : It will be a 3 color package like the first LP. I’ll give you that ..haha

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Ed Ooo I will take that

Espen FPS : It’s a pretty good looking package

Ed: Haha

Ed Yea React do a nice package

Ed: Let’s talk a bit about Damage control

Espen FPS : Sure

Ed: When did you start, who started that band?

Ed: Was it just all Norwegians?

Espen FPS : Damage control was a band Daniel frankowski started with Even and P.O . Once they kind of had the band on its feet they asked if I was interested in trying to sing for them.  Later Marcus from Sweden joined. Daniel is German but he’s been in Norway so long now that we consider him one of us.  He’s been here since back when he was supposed to join Sportswear!!

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Espen FPS : I think DC was 2001-2007

Espen FPS : Ish

Ed: When he was supposed to?

Espen FPS : Yeah. Daniel moved up here to join us in sportswear and we pretty much broke up the week after he came up. Never even got a practice. Just his luck that he also had a Norwegian girlfriend and another reason to stay after SW went down.

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Ed: Yea right haha

Ed: I remember being at a YOT reunion show at some university in London in 2003 and seeing some girl with a DC shirt on I hadn’t even heard DC at that point but it was the Tiger DC SXE shirt and I was like fuckkkk

Ed: Was straight on it

Ed: Haha

Espen FPS : Haha! We had a million shirts, seriously, P.O and Daniel were so good at coming up with shirt designs.

Ed: That one was so cool

Espen FPS : That Tiger one is awesome

Espen FPS : I still think I have that

Ed: New hardcore kids may or may not know you were also in Hands Tied with Tim McMahon, how did that happen?

Ed: You were even trying to stay in the states right and be legit right?

Espen FPS : Yeah, I joined Hands Tied a little while after Mouthpiece had ended. They had started HT but I think they were getting a bit of mixed feelings from then guitarists,former mouthpiece bassist, Sean. So , I was over I N.J visiting Tim and just before I was leaving for Oslo as my vacation came to an end we got talking about Hands Tied, their plans etc and Tim was pretty much “Do you want to join” ? Based on sportswear our friendship and likeness in choice bands etc I guess they felt I was the right guy in the band.

Espen FPS : I went home. Pretty much quit my job, packed, and was on a plane back to NJ.

Espen FPS : In the Time I was back home they’d also drafted Matt from contention fanzine and rain on the parade. I ended up moving in with him, first I the attic of his parents house in westchester PA and we then got an apartment in Philly on pemberton st.

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Espen FPS : We then dove full on into the band.

Ed Very rad it’s a shame I never got to see HT one band I truly love.

Espen FPS : Man, HT was good, I love the band both as a player and as a fan. When that 7” came out.. that was a really gust of wind in the sails of the classic HC movement. Kids were going nuts during our Euro tour.

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Ed I can imagine, you toured with TYF and OKD right?

Espen FPS : Yeah. That was the package. 3 weeks of touring through mainland Europe and Scandinavia.

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Ed: Fuck you couldn’t do that now it would be Germany,Austria Belgium haha

Espen FPS : As they were to fly back to the states I went back to Norway to sort through VISA application etc and then go back but the band collapsed within 3 or so weeks after they came back home. They did one show and that was that.

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Espen FPS : Yeah. Touring now seems “rougher”

Espen FPS : The positive outcome of me not doing Hands Tied meant going back and writing The Sportswear LP.  Also then going back and doing the first batch of mouthpiece reunion shows sort of closed the ring with playing with those guys. We’re still great friends to this day. Regularly in contact.

Ed: So let’s go back to FPS when are we expected to see a record release and release show?

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Espen FPS : Yeah. Well, digital release/preorder is going up on the 25th of this month. So not far off. Doing a show once the physical copies of the vinyl is here is also being planned. I don’t think that will happen before after the summer though. Oslo is pretty slow in July and with family responsibilities within the band I don’t think we even could make it happen before mid August.

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Ed I’d like to end our interview by asking what is your favorite Peter Amdam memory?

Espen FPS : Man, good question. I don’t know if I can pinpoint one specific memory as “the best ” more than anything is the whole spirit of Pete I think of the most, when I think of him. 25 years man..We were thick as thieves in the beginning, sort of fell out on some rocky roads for a little bit in the middle there , but still with admiration and respect, then the last part, nothing but love up until the end. In all that, intensity man. Live with intensity. What gets your heart racing, makes you wanna keep going, no matter what, what makes that flame burn a little brighter and stronger . Grab ahold, with pure intensity. That’s Peter. That’s the Memory.

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Edmasta: Lovely words brother.

Espen FPS : Thanks Ed

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