Biography

The settlement of Smeerenburg on Amsterdam Island in north-west Svalbard is Europe's northernmost outpost. At a latitude of almost 80°N, Smeerenburg was the centre of the Dutch whaling operations in the north from 1614 to 1660. The name Smeerenburg literally means "blubber town", and the boiling of whale blubber into oil was the main activity. During this process, some of the oil was spilled on the ground and mixed with sand and gravel. After some hundred years this mixture hardened into Spekkbetong, meaning “Blubber concrete”. We believe that the production of Spekkbetong was more important than the actual making of whale-oil.

Life in Smeerenburg was hard. Hundreds of people died from drowning, freezing and hunger. Remains of their bodies can still be seen all over north-west side of Svalbard . In fact, life was so brutal up there that the Dutch government had trouble to find workers who wanted to go there. They tried to solve it by offering pardons to prisoners serving life sentences if they would go whaling in Smeerenburg for one season. But, no one volunteered...

...Except from four scurvy bastards from Longyearbyen. They changed the name of this outpost to Schmeerenburgh and moved it two degrees south. They replaced meat-axes and boiler-kettles with drumsticks and guitar-amps. They replaced ropes with cables and the saltwater and whale oil with beer and whisky. The production of Spekkbetong remains, but the recipe is slightly different. Add a huge amount of grunge-drum and metal-bass with equal parts of punk-guitar riffs. Spice it up with harmonized screaming and just a hint of alcoholism. Now, there's first class blubber concrete for ya'.

This is Schmeerenburgh:

Ketil Rønning - Vocals
Mads Sandvik - Guitar
Haakon Sandvik - Bass
Jeff Holmes - Drums