As the creative driving force behind one of Norway’s biggest ever bands, Øystein Greni has very much put his personal stamp on Norwegian rock music in the past two decades. Both in the years before Bigbang had their major breakthrough with the album «Electric Psalmbook», and up until the present day, the one and only constant in the band’s many different incarnations has been songwriter, lead singer and guitarist Greni.
From being underground favorites in their hometown of Oslo, Bigbang were suddenly thrust upon the national scene when the unique single «Wild Bird» was play listed on leading Norwegian radio. In its path an impressive line of classic albums and hit songs such as «Girl In Oslo», «To The Mountains», «Swedish Television», «Saturn Freeway» and «The Oslo Bowl» has followed for Bigbang, who long since have established themselves in the premier league of Norwegian rock.
The band has been a forward thinking creature ever since the early days, and many respected journalists in Norway agreed that their ninth and most recent album «The Oslo Bowl» was their best effort to date. They also praised Greni and his band mates for not resting on their laurels, neither musically or sonically. National daily Klassekampen went even further in their praise, citing the album as one of the best Norwegian records of all time. The release was topped by a major Norwegian tour, culminating in the capital of Oslo’s biggest indoor concert venue, Oslo Spektrum.
At the festival of Slottsfjell in the summer 2014, Greni played a solo show at famous venue Total, which was a delightful experience for artist and audience alike. The intimacy of a solo concert showcased the entertainer part of Greni’s musical abilities, and created a framework which suits many of his songs just as well, if not sometimes better, than the band format they were originally presented in. It’s safe to say that in the future you can definitely expect more from the solo artist Øystein Greni.
In addition to a glittering career as a musician, Greni also has a past life as a skateboarding champion. Before he seriously injured his knee in his late teens, he was crowned European champion for amateur skateboarders, and later signed a professional contract with the brand New Deal. Shortly after, however, the skateboard was traded for a guitar and Bigbang was born. A lot of the energy and punk attitude from his years of skateboarding fortunately passed on to his music, even though the skateboarding sub-culture might not be the most obvious of influences on Bigbang’s music for the untrained ear.
Øystein Greni has always been open to new ideas, and in the past few years he’s collaborated with artists such as the American pop singer Lissie and Norwegian folk act Valkyrien Allstars. Alas, one can expect more of these types of exciting musical kinships forming in the future. In addition to playing himself, Greni has also found the time to host his own radio show on leading radio station NRK P13. In «Grenitimen» (translates directly as «The Greni Hour»), he invites fellow musicians and other interesting cultural personalities to speak in depth about music and life in general.