Broen are the Norwegian pop group who met at a jazz conservatory, the effortlessly melodic collective whose commitment to funk knows no bounds. Confused? Well, perhaps you’re supposed to be – after all, the best pop music isn’t meant to be understood lightly.
“We were all very happy and feeling adventurous,” drummer Hans Hulbækmo recalls of their initial meetings. “We wanted to move into a new musical direction, explore new territories. But it took a little while to find a kind of path.”
Soon, though, those nascent ideas began to coalesce. “After some rehearsals trying out different ideas we came up with the tune ‘Just Like Coco’, based on ideas by Anja og Heida. That song was very uniting for us and was our first big love.”
Songs tumbled forth, with new album ‘I <3 Art’ representing a fusion of glittering pop, deeply physical funk, brain-addled psych and so much more. “We’re a democratic band and we all have strong opinions on the music, so it’s not always easy to agree,” says Hans. “But the process is almost always inspiring in some way. We all contribute as composers, but lately we’ve made most of the tunes collectively through jamming.”
Improvisation is essential to the band’s live shows, with Broen seeming to reinvent themselves on a nightly basis. Taking this energy into the studio, the group allow this to filter into their songwriting process, seizing this spirit of endless invention and letting it invigorate them.
“It’s always difficult to describe our own sound, especially because we’re not interested in placing ourselves in a genre,” Hans says. “We try to make music we think is cool and interesting, and we’re really happy if people like it.”
“Of course we’re inspired by different music and a lot of other things, but the music making process is mostly really intuitive. We use improvisation both as a tool to compose together and an ingredient when we play concerts to make sure the music always feels as vibrant, alive and natural.”
With plenty more music in the pipeline - “We’re going to push ahead and make a lot of more albums!” - Broen are emblematic of the fresh energy in Norwegian music, acting as both a release valve and a safe place for outsiders, creatives, and other individual spirits.
“It’s cool that a lot of Norwegian bands are doing well!” he smiles. “The creative scene we’re a part of is great! I think it’s a growing tendency that people work together with a kind of positive energy and not so much envy. At the same time we’re all very worried about the negative development in the environment and politics. It makes us want to create more.”
Ultimately, it all comes down to the music. “We try to keep the music open, so that things can happen spontaneously,” he says. “The music is always evolving.”
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