Seeing Norway’s the Megaphonic Thrift live is as much a physical experience as it is musical—an exhausting, exhilarating, volume-harnessing thrill that, through stretches, sustains its pulse and rumble throughout your entire body. (Try standing near a speaker for a stamina-testing, knee-weakening charge). On record, however, volume is somewhat less of a factor (though, of course, that depends how loud you keep your stereo); the group’s recent and beautiful debut, Decay Decoy (Sonic Unyon), reveals the songs’ rich Sonic Youth–fan nuances: intricate guitar interplay, honeyed vocals and a tumbling, rumbling low end. Here, two of the guys responsible for all that noise, guitarist/singer Richard Myklebust and guitarist Njål Clementsen, take our easy questionnaire.
Life+Times: What’s the first album you ever bought?
Richard Myklebust: One of my earliest cassettes was AC/DC’s Back in Black. A classic!
Njål Clementsen: Everything Must Go by Manic Street Preachers. I bought it by chance, actually, on a family holiday to Santorini [Greece].
L+T: What can you recall of your earliest musical memory?
Myklebust: My father playing the organ and singing.
Clementsen: My mother teaching me a Swedish folk song on the guitar. I thought those two chords of D and A minor were magic! Still do.
L+T: What music do you first remember meaning something significant in your life?
Myklebust: The first musical memory that really moved me has to be listening to my father’s old Beatles and classical-music LPs. I loved Beethoven. I remember thinking that it was amazing and weird that you could make people feel by making music: expressing what is inside your head and making them have their own experiences.
Clementsen: My mum has always been a huge fan of Paul McCartney. She took my older brother to see Wings when they played in Oslo, and they came back with a video they bought at the merch stand. I watched it over and over. Paul was God, and I could not get enough of “Live and Let Die.”
L+T: What is the loudest sound you can think of?
Myklebust: Airplanes, and A Place to Bury Strangers shows.
L+T: What movie always makes you cry?
Myklebust: Dancer in the Dark.
Clementsen: I tend to not revisit the movies that made me cry. Donnie Darko is intense, though.
L+T: What’s something people might not know about your album, Decay Decoy?
Myklebust: It was recorded backward.
Clementsen: It’s all silence done extremely loud.
L+T: Your band name comes from Guided by Voices’ frontman Robert Pollard’s side project Acid Ranch. What other Bob Pollard–related titles might you have considered?
Myklebust: Jane of the Waking Universe.
L+T: What role does volume play in the Megaphonic Thrift’s music?
Myklebust: It’s important. But so is melody.
Clementsen: Volume is the paint. But space is more important.
L+T: Complete the following sentence: “Being from Norway means I can always…”
Myklebust : Expect to wake up broke after a night out.
Clementsen: Claim not to be at war, even though we are at war.
L+T: It’s a rock & roll dinner party. You can invite three rock stars, alive or dead. Who do you invite?
Myklebust: I’m not sure why, but I think a dinner party with Woody Guthrie, John Lennon and Neil Young would have been a great night.
Clementsen: Bob Dylan—he could be a massive downer, though—Kim Gordon and Kate Bush.
L+T: What song do you wish you’d written?
Clementsen: Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game.”
L+T: What’s the last lie you told?
Myklebust: That I would do this interview yesterday.
Clementsen: That I wanted to write “Wicked Game.”
L+T: Tell me a secret.
Clemensten: Shakespeare did not write Shakespeare.