It's not every day you come across a band whose line-up includes a tuba player, but then Norwegian five-piece Broen, aren't your average, everyday band. Formed in Oslo some three or so years ago, Broen, like the proverbial rolling stone, have been gathering fans from across all reaches of their homeland on foot of their highly melodic yet indistinguishable sound, and humour tinged "en pointe" street-smart lyrics.

Having successfully released their debut album in Norway, Broen turned their sights outwards, releasing two singles, 'Iris' and 'No, My God' internationally. As chalk is to cheese, so are these two songs to each other. Where 'Iris' is a luminous and delightfully melodic affair, whose golden hues and breathy harmonies hide its darker lyrical introspection, 'No, My God' is an extroverted if lugubrious omnivore. All ambivalent Gemini personality, it plods its swaggeringly cheeky mastodon way through a series of patchwork sketches that range from zany sunshiny pop to urban.

This antithetical duo, the Ernie and Bert of the Broen catalogue, both feature on the band's international debut EP, Yoga, which has just been released via Propeller Recordings. A 4-track goody bag of musical flotsam and jetsam, Yoga is quite the eye opener to the extensive range of Broen's talents. In advance of its release, The 405 caught up with three out of the five constituents of Camp Broen: Anja Lauvdal, Lars Ove Fossheim and Heida Mobeck, tuba ninja!

We kicked off the convo by discussing the 'Broen fundamentals'.

Why did you choose the name Broen, (or Bridge), and what was your goal in coming together?

Lars: When we were discussing it, we thought it was a nice word, with a nice sound, well, at least in Norwegian, and it's just one word, which was a big thing, at least for me. So many bands have a whole sentence for their name, but in the end, it gets compressed into one word.

Has having the same name as one of the biggest Scandi crime dramas worked to your advantage?

Anja: [Laughs] Well, we didn't know about in the beginning. It came out at the same time that we formed the band which was really unlucky.

True but also lucky because your band and that programme will pull up together in any search engine so ultimately people looking for the programme will find you as well!

Heida: [Laughs] Yeah, it will make our name easier to remember because it's already known.

Musically, what does the Broen collective want to achieve?

Anja: Musically, it becomes more and more obvious what our aim is. I think at the start we weren't really sure where we were going. We just wanted to make our own music. We had played a lot together in various bands and had so many musical ideas floating around that we formed the band.

Heida: That process was the aim, the process of improvising and making music together, and from that we are developing our own distinct voice, which we think is a really nice way to make music. It should never be about trying to be like someone else, it should be about finding your own voice.

You released Yoga as a full length album in Norway in February 2015. Why did it take so long for you to release it internationally and why was it cut down to a 4-track EP?

Lars: That was down to marketing, but we're happy with the song choices. They're four really nice songs.

Why those particular four songs?

Lars: The EP has a certain span that reflects the album.

Anja: Our first album (Broen are currently working on their second), contains almost all of the songs that we made throughout our history as a band up to that point. We felt that the four songs we chose, represented some different parts of that.

Would you agree that the growing movement in Norway towards producing music that's almost indistinguishable, is good for the progression of music, both Norwegian and in general?

Anja: Yes. It's a very good thing.

Heida: I know it works against marketing, but it makes it less of a commodity and is more about the music.

What about comparisons with other bands, does it help or hinder?

Lars: (It's frustrating) when the only thing media talk about is what the music sounds like and who it sounds like, when they don't seem to have the tools to describe where the music was coming from. The other band I'm in, Snøskred, were recently compared to an English rock band who I've never previously heard of and who stand for all the things I hate about music. The way Broen work is probably the opposite to what the industry wants and the market is doing.

Heida: Yeah, [laughs] we don't want to be popular.

Where do you think the music is coming from?

Lars: We keep getting asked "Who do you want to sound like?" I don't want to sound like anyone. I want to sound like us, our sounds.

Anja: It's not an aim for the music to fit into the market or to be similar to another band, that has never been an objective of ours. You take all of your influences and try to make something that makes sense for yourself.

Heida: We get inspired by a lot of things, music, nature, art, politics and society.

Lars: We're all Norwegian but have very different backgrounds. What we do have is a common or collective sense of what constitute good ideas, and how we want things to be. We're interested in the process of making music.

Anja: Musicians who've played together for a while, develop a sort of combined consciousness, with a combined memory. Incorporate that with our different influences in that one moment to create, that's the way in which we developed.

Heida: We like very different music yet we often find it has the same ideas and values that we like ourselves. Trance and Norwegian Folk music can have the same rhythmic elements, the same good ideas and expressions.

Getting back to the EP then, talk to me about the four songs, how they were recorded, what approach you took in the studio?

Heida: It was a very hard process, because we started working with a producer but things went in the opposite direction to how wanted, so we had to literally record all of the songs (the full album as released in Norway) in one day and get our sound technician to mix it.

Lars: We're a band who make the songs together and we constantly develop them, especially live. I think that's the strength that we like to play songs that are always in development. Our live sound is most important for us.

The four songs on the Yoga EP are very different. How do they think that people will react to a song like 'Iris' juxtaposed with a song like 'No, My God'?

Anja: What do you think?

Well, I was immediately blown away by 'Iris', but it took me a long time to warm to 'No, My God'. When you first hear it you don't really know what's going on because it jumps from one style to another, but when you listen to it properly, you discover all these layers, and it becomes obvious how good it is. You can let 'Iris' float over you, but you have to listen properly to 'No, My God'.

Anja:"That's interesting. It's definitely more special.

Whose idea was it to put a rap in the middle of 'No, My God'?

Anja: It just came through a jam. Sometimes we create the songs as we play them. It's like instant composing, pretty spontaneous.

It'd be remiss of me not to ask about the Tuba!

Heida: Before I studied jazz, I had been studying visual arts. I wanted to try something different, took my creativity to the instrument and discovered how fun it was to create sounds with other people.

Lars: John Lennon put the tuba down when he said, "I'm an artist, and if you give me a tuba, I'll bring you something out of it."

Heida: Yeah, but that's me.

So where does the tuba's sit within Broen's music?

Heida: It's more like what is my place, my dynamic within the group.

Lars: The way we look at it, is that the instruments are equal. The tuba isn't just the bass player because it's a low instrument, it's a solo instrument, a chord instrument, it can be everything. Marianna's voice is also an instrument, not completely in the same way, but to a large extent.

Anja: Yeah. She can rap, she plays a lot of drums, and, she's very rhythmic, very strong, an unbelievably good vocalist.

Who decided that Marianna should do the selfie/phone footage for the 'No, My God' video, and from where did the idea stem?

Heida: She actually did it without our knowing and the idea stemmed from the songs lyrics.

Lars: 'Iris' is about having small problems that are blown out of proportion and it's the same with 'No, My God'. Then there's the self-obsession with problems that really aren't that big when there are so many other things happening. Personal problems are important problems, it's not about neglecting your own problems.

Heida: It's also about how people go out and put on the smallest dresses ever, and drink, and how that makes them feel good about themselves. I do that also [laughs].

If you were to describe your EP, what would you say about it? Sell it to me!

Heida: Welcome to our first steps into becoming Broen. Please join us, there are a lot of exciting things coming soon.


Broen's international debut EP, Yoga, is available now via all digital channels.