- Words Cal McIntyre
- Photography Olav Stubberud
Norwegian rapper and self-confessed "prettyboi", Pen Gutt, makes music that comes from the heart whilst making you move to it.
Pen Gutt is the breath of fresh air in the rap game you never knew you needed. An introvert at heart, Pen grew up in a quiet and off-kilter town in Norway attending Christian Summer Camp.
Fast forward to the present day, the buzzcut rapper quietly roars of confidence and romanticism in “Hold Deg I Varmen”, his debut LP that we have been impatiently waiting for. Truly a unique artist in many ways, Pen Gutt perfectly amalgamates rap with the airy and atypical Norwegian Folk music. Two things you wouldn’t usually put together, however, Pen seems to do so with ease and comfort.
Diving into philosophy, Pen began throwing himself into the human condition regarding the absolute fear and necessity of death but decided to shine a dreamy melodic light on our fate with his woozy beats and honey-like flow. The project combines the musical tastes of Pen Gutt along with his producer Samkopf, – “everything from Death Grips to Aphex Twin to 1950 Scandinavian musicals to Jpegmafia to Charlotte dos Santos” – and also owes a great deal to the Japenese anime series “Neon Genesis Evangelion”.
Pen’s music is entirely hard to define – wavering between the battles of light and dark, nostalgic reflections on life, death, heartbreak and love. One thing’s for sure, Pen Gutt the pretty boy makes rap from the soul.
What was it like trying to break into the Norwegian rap scene?
I had to prove myself, but I think the most important thing I had to do was to not care about how things went, cause I’ve made this music from my heart, of my own interest, and that trumps being accepted in the music scene.
You’ve said that Lana Del Rey is one of your favourite artists — if you met her what would be the first thing you say?
“I FUCKED MY WAY UP TO THE TOP, THIS IS MY SHOW”.
What’s the strangest dream you’ve ever had?
This life I’m living right now, this is a weird fucking dream.
What do you enjoy about being a musician and what do you hate the most?
I enjoy making music with Samkopf, hate to never be completely satisfied and always have to reach for the next peak.
What overall message do you try to convey through your music?
I try to express all the different emotions we possess, to let people know how complex the human experience is.
It can go from complete euphoria to being paranoid of your own friends on the same day, and these are the shifts in emotions I try to express.
If I told you right now you could travel to anywhere in the world for free — where would it be and why?
Maybe Bali, just to relax and listen to the sound of trees waving in the wind.
Apart from the obvious, what does it mean to be a ‘Pretty boi’?
It means you have to treat people pretty.
If you could compare yourself to any animal what would it be?
A Jaglion!!! Look it up.
You’ve somehow made your way into Area 51 and been abducted by aliens but can only take three songs with you to play on repeat for the rest of your life — what are they?
The Rolling Stones – Sympathy For The Devil
Lana Del Rey – Video Games
Hans Philip – Dagdrøm (1)
What can we expect from Pen Gutt in the future?
To star in a big-budget Norwegian movie.