Lillehammer rock duo Andthepanda’ debut double single out now

Band photo and photos used in covert art: Photos by Al-X.
Cover design: Andthepanda/Begil Ragnarsen

The Danish/Norwegian bass and drum duo released their debut single Free Us + Sirens today via Fücking North Pole Records. Inge Morten Gustafsholm and René Rasmussen have a wide background in various genres from punk to stoner and with Andthepanda they create something really their own. Get ready for “bass with distortion, fast and heavy drums, melodic vocals and sweet harmonies”. Add here some gloomy and critical lyrics motivated by all possible problems in our society. “We’re probably never going to write a song about fluffy pillows and cuddly unicorns”, the band says. Sounds more than good to me 

So, listen to Free Us + Sirens on all streaming services and read the interview with Inge Morten Gustafsholm talking about the debut single, the band’ really cool name and more new music coming soon 

“So Andthepanda are Inge Morten Gustafsholm on bass and René Rasmussen on drums. How and when was the band formed?”

We already play together in the stoner band Siberian Tusk, and every now and then we would jam out some faster songs before and after practice. Can’t really pinpoint exactly when we formed, but sometime between the first song was written probably back in 2019, and our first show at Bånn Gass in 2020. 

“I just have to ask – what is behind the band’ name Andthepanda?”

The short answer is that we thought it sounded cool. The long answer is that my son has a panda teddy bear he used to carry around anywhere he went, and one time at carnival he won a hat shaped like a duck. He put the hat on his panda and sang “anda-panda” (and is norwegian for duck), which brings us back to the short answer: it sounded cool. Means absolutely nothing, but of course the panda has now become a very important part of our lives. 

“You both have played a lot of garage, punk, hardcore and emo with your other bands. What could you say about the Andthepanda sound?”

Not quite punk, not quite garage, not quite emo. Definitely not quite hardcore, however much we’d like to be. Bass with distortion, fast and heavy drums, melodic vocals and sweet harmonies, not really sure who to compare ourselves to. Having so few ingredients in the sound is an exciting challenge!

“Andthepanda’ lyrics are gloomy, nihilistic and critical. So what is your main message with your songs in this project?”

So far the lyrics have been about various problems we face as individuals, as a nation, as people as a planet. Anything from dealing with depression to facing the end of the world. We’re probably never going to write a song about fluffy pillows and cuddly unicorns. 

“Your debut double single ‘Free Us’ / ‘Sirens’ will be released this Friday. Tell me a little about the both songs” 

Most of our songs are not about a specific topic, but rather motivated by feelings and mental strain of dealing with unfair or unpleasant events and situations we’ve either been exposed to or experienced. Desperation, aggravation, depression, hopelessness, anger and anything else that’s sure to make people dance and cheer

Free Us is motivated by bureaucracy and oversimplified solutions to major problems that won’t be solved in one political term, and the hope that one day perhaps opposing politicians might actually be able to work together on complicated issues rather than put all their eggs in the baskets labeled “votes for the next election” and “my career after politics”. 

Sirens is motivated by horrible bosses and people who with unfair, unwanted and manipulative means grab both power and p*ssy, and how we as a society treat those who have the audacity to speak up about not wanting to be bullied by their bosses or sexually harassed by their leaders. 

“The single was recorded in the winter 22/23 at Studio 351, produced by Begil Ragnarsen and mastered by Jelöy Mastering. How was the working process and when do you think of releasing new music?”

So first off, we’ve got a couple more singles lined up and ready to be released later this year. Expect to hear them in early autumn. 

Begil is the vocalist and guitar player of our previously mentioned other band, and one of our very best friends. He’s got a pretty sweet setup in his home studio, and we were his first paying customers. Well, technically, we WILL BE whenever we pay. We were anxious to see how he’d handle producing something where he wasn’t the man behind the music, but he handled it great, and we’ve already made a deal on a couple more sessions so we can get enough songs for a debut album.

We didn’t really have any direct contact with Jelöy, but our friend Marius at Red Line Studio told us he uses them, and having heard his work that was more than enough for us to give them a go. We were almost skeptical when they returned the masters way faster than what we’d ever hope for, but the results were absolutely awesome!

Listen to Free Us + Sirens here: