July 2, 2020 Interview – Yngve Andersen of Hot Nuns & Blood Command
Norwegians know a thing or two about Punk Rock. At least, this can certainly be said for bass and drum duo Hot Nuns. While their ‘day job’ is with the exceptionally eclectic outfit Blood Command, Sigurd Haakaas and Yngve Andersen spend their free time impersonating opinionated Hot Nuns. Or, well, performing under the attention-grabbing moniker.
On May 15th, the pair delivered their latest 4-song EP, Rude, Dumb, & Anxious, a fun collection of energetic tracks that often borders on modern Pop-Punk due to their infectious nature. To celebrate its release, along with the arrival of the brand new single “Got What You Wanted,” Bassist/Vocalist Andersen recently sat down to discuss the EP, whose main theme he jokingly calls “losers looking and longing for love,” along with covers, Punk Rock, Blood Command, and more.
Cryptic Rock – Okay, the first two questions are blatantly obvious: Why call yourselves “Hot Nuns” and why are you not wearing latex nun’s outfits in your press photos?
Yngve Andersen – We wanted to be called “Hot Cops,” actually. We got the idea from the show Arrested Development. The name was already taken by this small Indie band—who have now changed their name to careerist—so we had to settle for Hot Nuns instead. Glad we ended up with Nuns, as we may have suffered the same fate as Isis the band did some years ago. There is no more depth to it than the fact that it’s a hilarious band name. We will never use the obvious sexy nun thing in our artwork, though. Shoot us if we do! It would be lame if the Sex Pistols had artwork of guns fucking.
Cryptic Rock – This is true. Bad joke. Okay, so Hot Nuns’ sound is pared down Punk that’s only drums, bass and vocals. What inspired the idea of stripping everything down to the basics?
Yngve Andersen – First off, we just wanted to play more together than we already did. We’re historically the ones in Blood Command who never want to turn down a gig. We just wanted more to do when the others in BC are too busy with life. A bass and drums Punk duo was the natural choice, as I’m originally a bass player, and it is frankly an instrument I do way better than my ‘main’ one, which is guitar. (Laughs)
Bass and drums is all you need, and it’s fun to just be two people in a project—easy logistics. We’ve been listening to some cool drum and bass duos for some time, like New York’s Japanther and Norwegian duos La Casa Fantom, The Mormones and JABBA. The lack of guitar in those bands is something you never really miss, and we wanted to recreate that kind of thing with this band. It’s fun to have something to play around with that’s not too serious and that no one really expects anything from. I think most of our friends were shocked we even dared to sing.
Cryptic Rock – It all works perfectly and makes sense. Okay, so in your press bio you briefly mention the no-frills approach of Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier. Was it intentional to choose someone who is controversial?
Yngve Andersen – We kind of regret to have said that now, because we came across as way more pretentious than we intended to. We love Lars von Trier’s movies. Antichrist (2009), Dancer In The Dark (2000), The Idiots (1998), and Dogville (2003) are all amazing movies, but the intention of name-dropping him was just to explain the stripped-down-ness compared to other bands with more instruments. Like if some Stadium Rock band is Michael Bay with explosions and an over-the-top soundtrack, then we’re Lars Von Trier with an actor and a camera. I don’t think we are ever gonna be a band that uses controversy for the sake of just using controversy—that’s not us. We’re not Shock Rockers.That said, we hope to get to turn some stones with our so-called art, though.
Cryptic Rock – The analogy makes perfect sense, actually. To return to the music, for those that do not know, who are some of the band’s collective influences, musical and otherwise?
Yngve Andersen – A lot of Punk bands that started up in the late ‘70s like The Damned, Ramones, The Boys, Pure Hell, Nomeansno and Dead Boys. We want that rawness and that pulse in our songs. I don’t know if it’s actually there, but that is what we try for, at least. (Laughs)
If you know your Punk Rock history, I think you should be able to tell where we steal some of our stuff from. We take inspiration from all over the line, though, but a lot of British influences like Sleaford Mods, PJ Harvey, and Depeche Mode are heavily there when it comes to vocal lines and rhythm. Garage Punk has been a major inspiration when it comes to sound and tricks.
I guess I could go on and on forever about this because we’re inspired by everything. Death From Above and Royal Blood have shown us that normal people also listen to this stripped down stuff, so they have played a small part, too; but we’re not too much into any of those bands, really. It was La Casa Fantom and The Mormones who opened my eyes to this bass and drum thing.
Cryptic Rock – All of the influences come together to create a sound that works wonderfully. So, to dig deeper into the music, clearly “Rude, Dumb & Anxious” is not a description of the band, but rather a commentary on those who like to shoot their mouths off. Was this inspired by internet trolls?
Yngve Andersen – Well, yes, trolls too, of course, but mostly contenders in the ‘look good Olympics.’ And I’m not talking about political correctness here: I just know too many people who will say whatever just to fit in in any situation and to look good. I know they’re not smart enough to have thought through the stuff that comes out of their mouth or keyboard. No soul, no backbone, just a wish to be liked and no regrets if they toss someone under the bus while doing it. Fook that! I mean, I love people standing up for a good cause and who want to fight injustice, but if you do it mostly for yourself you can go die.
Cryptic Rock – Agreed. (Laughs) What went into the decision to cover The Boys’ “First Time”?
Yngve Andersen – I have loved that jam since I was a young teenager—I’m 34 now—and have wanted to cover it for ages. It’s such a good song. We posted it on a The Boys fan-page, and some of the songwriters actually commented on it and praised the version. We were star-struck as hell. I bet people couldn’t talk to us for a week. (Laughs)
Cryptic Rock – (Laughs) That’s wonderful, though, to get that acknowledgment. Were any other covers considered but scrapped?
Yngve Andersen – Ramones’ “Pet Sematary” and The Undertones’ “Teenage Kicks” were contenders, but First Time was clearly the winner of the three. The two other songs are great songs but very overdone. We wanted to create that “Oh man, I’ve forgot about that song” feeling. We are gonna do more covers as B-sides in the future, I think, but maybe not any of those two.
Cryptic Rock – Covers are always a blast but we love originals, as well. That said, with the EP being only four songs, the next obvious question would be if there are plans for a full-length record?
Yngve Andersen – There are plans for a full-length record. We have written eight songs or so for it, but before that is a new three-track EP that will be released in August. The first single, “Got What You Wanted,” came out on Friday the 26th of June. We can’t promise when the album will come out, but we will try to record it this year at least. You would think that writing songs with only bass and drums is easy, because it’s less to think about, but it is actually the opposite. Well, for me at least. The hardest band I have ever written for is this one. But before the album comes there will be 10 songs out, in total; all the EP songs combined. That should help with the waiting, we hope.
Cryptic Rock – Well, it certainly doesn’t hurt! So, traditionally speaking, Punk is a genre that tends to be very activist and its artists have a lot to say about the world around them. You don’t get too heavy into that on the EP, but are there any topics close to your heart that you hope to address in the future?
Yngve Andersen – Socio-politics—that’s our jam. Why do you say or mean the things you do? I don’t believe anyone, especially white, middle-class suburbanites with a lot to prove about what they know better than you. That’s the only political side of the band. We belong firmly on the left side of politics with our views, but our main theme for lyrics is losers looking and longing for love.
Cryptic Rock – Well, losers need love too. (Laughs) Aside from having fun, are there goals set for what you would like to do with Hot Nuns?
Yngve Andersen – Take over the world and make some cool records on the way to get there! Have loads of fun, try new stuff and meet new people. Maybe get to know Sigurd more. He still has some sides I don’t understand yet. Touring will be easier for us, as there are way fewer plane tickets and hotel rooms to be bought, so we hope to get a lot of that done when BC has downtime. Our only real goal is to have fun and make music together, really.
Cryptic Rock – That’s an honest goal, though. Now, as you mentioned previously, your ‘day job’ is with Blood Command, an amazingly eclectic band. Understanding that things are fairly uncertain with COVID-19, what’s next for the band? When the world returns to some semblance of normalcy, do you think we might see Blood Command and Hot Nuns in the U.S.?
Yngve Andersen – I don’t know how much I should announce, but Blood Command has an upcoming album. As everyone else, we have written tons of brand new songs under this isolation, so there will be much new material when all of this hopefully is over soon. We also have a European tour we want to finish; our tour with Kvelertak was cut short because of COVID-19 only two weeks in and it was supposed to last for six weeks. I hope both BC and Hot Nuns will get to play every part of the world. Also the U.S., but we don’t have anything planned as of now. If Coachella reads this: please book us!
Cryptic Rock – (Laughs) Okay, last question. If you are a fan of Horror and/or Sci-Fi films, what are some of your favorites?
Yngve Andersen – Oh yes, I love both! Hereditary (2018) is the best Horror film that I have watched in ages. Ari Aster knows what’s up! His movie Midsommar (2019) is also incredible.
Independence Day (1996) was like the second movie I ever watched at the cinema—the first one being Mrs. Doubtfire (1993). It is so pro-America, and America being the ones who rule the world, but I was 10 at the time and didn’t understand that then. I still can’t watch the fighter pilot scene where Randy Quaid crashes into the mothership, and yells cool stuff while doing it, without shedding a tear. My girlfriend gives me a lot of shit for that one. (Laughs) I waited 20 years for the sequel and it sucked! How could they do that to us?
I love the Alien movies, and especially Prometheus (2012) dabbles in everything I love. When does Alien 5 come out, by the way? That movie has been back and forth for ages now.