Metal Monday: The Oslo Metal Scene, with Shot At Dawn

posted in: Features


Residents of Norway, purveyors of the high five, all around awesome dudes; readers meet Shot at Dawn. In addition to winning the OurStage Metal Channel last January with their song “In Hoc Signo Vinces,” the group has been destroying venues around Norway. We wanted some feedback on the Oslo/Norway metal scene” where it was, and where it’s headed” from a band who is in the thick of it. Here’s what they had to say:

Munson the Destroyer: So, first off, let’s hear a bit about you guys and your music.

Shot at Dawn: Hmm… where to start?… well, first off we are six hungry, thirsty and horny Norwegian dudes trying to survive Norway’s cold winters by exchanging body heat in a cramped up rehearsal-room or on stage. It all started out in the early 21st century as a cover band and has now evolved to what is known as the brutal and merciless Shot at Dawn you see and hear today. We don’t like to put our music into any specific genre but can say it’s a mix of a lot of what has inspired us as kids and ‘grown ups,’ like death metal, black metal, classical metal/rock (a lot of 80s stuff) and more modern metal and hardcore and such. We do what feels good and natural to us, and that’s what makes it ours, and not at least fun!

MtD: Okay, now, give us a little explanation of the overall music scene in Norway (metal and everything else).

SaD: This is a hard one, but I’ll give it a go. Norway is a small country with only 4-5 million people in total, so every scene in music, and other stuff, is very limited and small. BUT there’s a lot of dedicated and brilliant people involved in it. The overall quality in the bands playing around our country is really high. But that doesn’t mean we’ll all make it. The Norwegian audience and market is a very tough one to convince and there are a lot of dogs out for the same small chewed-up bone. You can’t really make it as a metal band outside the underground scenes in Norway unless you travel out and get a foothold in the rest of the European markets.

MtD: How does metal fit in with the general public of Norway, and why?

SaD: I don’t think it’s any different from other countries, even with the whole black metal thing. The thing I’ve noticed though is that people, and especially parents with kids that are into metal, appreciate it as a good scene for kids to be because the Norwegian metal scene (excluding the fucked up narrow-minded guys you find everywhere) is a really open and including scene with a lot of great and awesome people helping each other out.


MtD: Do you think the trends in the Norway music scene are changing from the scene of old?

SaD: The trends here in Norway changes just as much as they do everywhere else I think, and there’s also those who refuse to let go of the old stuff and the way it used to be. And that’s cool too, cause the Norwegian and European metal scenes has had a lot of great thing going on through its time. But evolution is a good thing and everything needs a change and [introduce] new influences from time to time. You have to adapt, but still be innovative and creative about it. So in the long run, clinging to what used to be and refuse to change might just be the downfall of whatever its about. But in the end its all about following your own heart and head and what’s right for YOU.

MtD: So, it is no secret that Norway has a pretty famous black metal scene. Is that still the case? Have you Norwegians moved onto new metal style?

SaD: Black metal has been and will always be an important part of Norwegian metal/music history. The Norwegian black metal scene is still at large and has a great following in Norway and the rest of the world, and I think that is, and will be for a long time, what metal and music fans associate with Norway. But of course there other big scenes in Norway too, though they aren’t as acknowledged outside our country and defined as typical Norwegian.


MtD: What do you predict as the upcoming trends in the Norwegian music scene?

SaD: Well, here in Norway the trend seems to be that we adopt and develop trend much slower and later than other bigger (more populated) places. As the general public is concerned the stoner-hard-rock influenced bands have been the trend for a while. But what’s to come in both mainstream and underground scenes is hard to say. I guess we can look at what is developing in America and England today and say that some of that is going to be very influential in Norwegian music in a few years… cuz that’s how it works. But since we’re such a small country we don’t get trends at the same scale as other countries.

If I had to come with a specific predicament on what’s gonna be the new trend, I have to say I think, and hope, things are gonna be more 80s inspired.

MtD: So, how about playing shows? Are there a lot of placed in Norway for metal acts to play? Do you often feel it is necessary to venture of into bordering countries to play?

SaD: There’s ‘a lot’ of venues throughout this long stretched country, and the festivals are popping up everywhere. So there are places to play and tours to be booked, but the big problem is the small markets. So there’s really not much of a business to make out of it for the most of the bands. The Norwegian scene is a lot about charity and helping each other out. There’s this mentality with both venues and small, struggling bands that you’re lucky if you get to play for a bigger audience, so shut up and smile and don’t ask for anything more. And that is one of the things that is keeping the scene and bands underground, and in the worst cases, killing them.

As said earlier, if a band wants to survive and make a little money to keep it going, the best way is the highway. Hit the roads and go Sweden, Denmark, England and Germany.

To check out more awesome bands and artists, check out Bethany Leavey’s Model UN: Norway post!

Shot at Dawn’s music here on OurStage has been posted below for your listening pleasure.