Wrote nine queer songs with the husband

Tom Hugo Hermansen and Alex Olsson’s project “Ut av skallen” (Out of the shell) will be premiered in Kilden on 24 August.
By Torgeir Eikeland, Fædrelandsvennen August 10th 2021
Translated by Karina Brandt, August 11th 2021

KRISTIANSAND: – Forty per cent of queers in Sørlandet (Southern area) wish they could be more open about their sexual orientation than they are. We hope this project will help make it a little less dangerous to stand up, says Tom Hugo Hermansen.

Indsæt billed: Tom Hugo Hermansen and Alex Olsson’s (t.h.) songs will be premiered by the band, Regnbuefamilien. Photo: Jacob J. Buchard.

The Kristiansand artist has received NOK 150,000 from Cultiva to write and perform ten songs with queer content. The project is called “Ut av skallen”, and the donation is part of Cultiva’s third corona investment. It has diversity and digitization as its main focus. The songs will be premiered in Kilden on 24 August during Skeive sørlandsdager.

On his Facebook profile, Tom Hugo writes this:

Keiino songwriter

“The idea was to make a bunch of songs inspired by queer stories. Because: The majority of lyrics have love between cis-man and cis-woman in focus, so making nine songs where the main characters do not belong to the majority population, may help to make differences safer ».

Hermansen and Olsson believe that those who do vandalism on the rainbow achieve nothing but giving more buzz to the gay cause. Photo: Jacob J. Buchard.

The lyrics are written by Hermansen’s husband Alex Olsson. Olsson is also part of the songwriting team of the rather successful group KEiiNO, and Fædrelandsvennen meets the two at the rainbow installation on Torvet. The rainbow has been rammed five times since it was set up three weeks ago.

Same-sex parent couples

– I do not know if this is particularly bad because it is in Sørlandet. I think such a rainbow would have been exposed to vandalism also elsewhere in the country, and it is not easy to say if there is anything worse here than elsewhere, says Alex Olsson.

He has previously completed a master’s degree with the theme same-sex parents in Sørlandet, and one of the songs in “Ut av skallet” is based on this.

Neither Alex nor Tom Hugo finds it very unpleasant that resentment towards their orientation is expressed as rainbow vandalism

– We also experience a lot of support for the gay cause. Just look at the turnout that has been on the Pride train. And then we have a group that is strongly opposed. They are the ones who stand a little in between, at least we belong. It may be related to the southern way of life, Tom Hugo wonders.

lyricswriter Alex Olsson (closest) completed a master’s degree in same-sex parenting in Sørlandet. PHOTO: JACOB J. BUCHARD

Curing the queerness

He observes that attitudes towards queerness have changed quite a bit in recent decades and that it has become considerably easier to be open about this than when he himself was a young person who tried to “cure the queerness”. He believes that much of the opposition is expressed in Christian conservative circles, and one of the new songs is about that.

– We were invited for a coffee visit with two well-adult men who told their story about this, says Alex Olsson.

– These were two who had tried to live an ordinary family life in Christian environments, where there was no room to live as a queer. Then they found each other in adulthood, and that’s the story we’re telling. The two are guests of honour during the concert in Kilden, says Tom Hugo.

Should be good

– We are not quite ready with the title of the song yet. It should be the best possible when you have to tell someone else’s story from reality in this way, says Alex. He says that his and Tom Hugo’s own story has also become a theme in one of the texts.

The songs in “Ut av skallet” will be played by the band Regnbuefamilien in the Multisalen in Kilden on 24th of August. The performance will be streamed and made digitally available, and the next day the same concert will be played at Brød og Sirkus in Oslo.


Multisalen in Kilden August 24th

Regnbuefamilien performs “Ut av skallen” (Out of the shell)

Tom Hugo – vocal
Alexandra Rotan – Guest vocal

Julie Falkevik Tungevåg, keyboard

Markus Maaren Bastøe, guitar
Bjarne Lindblom Severinsen, bass
Tommy Jacksonville, percussion

Kjell Åge Stoveland, bratch

Financed by Cultiva, Norwegian union for composers and lyricists, the text-author union and TONO.