After the glorious release of 'Reaping the World Winds' things went terribly wrong somewhere. What happened?
Well, at first things started out pretty good actually. We had some material lying around to start our next album, so the first few months were very inspiring. Soon after Hammerheart were put to sleep/went bankrupt or whatever happened, Karmageddon Media took over the show.
Actually not much happened there either and in the end we simply decided to seek for something else. At that time we also decided to fire our drummer due to the fact that we felt that he wasn't really into the band. We then spent quite a long time searching for a replacement for Thunderforce. After some small eternity we got in touch with II13 from Kampfar, and he was with us at the Inferno festival, before he had to leave due to a leg injury and some other personal issues. We then had to go on another search, found another guy, StÃ¸lan from Grand Alchemist, and he joined us for a little while, until he severely injured his wrists, and was told by his doc that he must quit playing drums entirely to heal, so we were left without a stickman again.
At this point we were extremely fed up with the entire situation, we didn't have a label, pretty much not a single label were interested in what we were doing, and no drummers were to be found. Does the pain excite you? were put to sleep for a while, and we decided to focus on new material as this unfortunate 'break' was kind of forced upon us. In time Dark Essence Records took an interest in us, and we finally felt that things were moving again. We asked our long time friend Arghamon from Sarcoma Inc. to join us, kind of as a last desperate hope that we would enlist a drummer that could actually do the job and not die trying. He has been with us for well over a year now, and still he isn't complaining. That's got to be a sign that something is working. So, at long last we could take 'Does The Pain Excite You?' and get it back into shape.
What was the one thing you did and would, now looking back, do differently if you could?
Well, it is still a little too soon to say. The album has really just been released, and we are still pretty much happy with it. We are proud of what we have achieved with this piece. I guess if you would ask the same question in 3-4 months, then I would be much more likely to give you an extensive answer about all the things I don't like with the album. It is always like that with me, I'm usually very happy with what I have done just as I have done it, and then some time after we have progressed in some way, and then what we did before isn't that interesting.
The previous album was, for some, hard to grasp at first. This new album is a lot more straight forward. Do you recognize that when I say that?
Yes, I do agree to that, for the most part at least, there are things that are far more complex too, but in general it is more straight forward. It just turned out that way, it wasn't really a conscious decision that we made. We were however clear that we wanted to make a more aggressive album this time, and I think we achieved that. Our first album was a lot more melodic, which had much to do with Nesmoht's vocals of course. The fact that I have taken the duties behind the mic has automatically made the general feel of the new stuff a lot rawer. There's also less atmospherically stuff on this album, mostly to adhere with the more aggressive nature of the album, so that was just a natural development.
When I asked you back in 2003 what your plans for the near future were you answered "I am also writing new material for the next album". Now, you must have a garage full of material lying around or not?
Well, yes we do. Hehe. We have more material ready than we actually need for the next album.
At the moment we are in the process of selecting what songs to use and rearranging some parts here and there. There is still a lot to do before it is completed, but the basic musical endeavors are done. I guess that we will be entering the studio sometime early this autumn to start working on it, and then we shall see what happens to it. Things have a tendency of changing a lot in the studio process.
If you had to name two bands or artists which were a big influence on you. Which would that be and why?
Well, kind of simple question to answer really. The two bands that have meant the most to me personally through the years are Iron Maiden and Metallica. I remember once as a kid, not allowed to play the radio at night cause it disturbed my parents, just putting a cassette on record and turning the volume down, listening to it the day after, and two songs were recorded that I will never forget. 'Fight Fire With Fire' and 'Rime Of The Ancient Mariner'. I had no idea who the bands were, never heard of them, but they were such amazing songs. That spawned my metal career, and from there it just escalated more and more.
Some of the songs seem to put the world on trail. Is the state of the world in general a big influence while writing lyrics?
In some way I think you can say that. I feel personally that I write very non-politically. I guess life in general, and my life, thoughts and ideas. It's mostly imaginary things, but of course I'm affected by the world around me just as everyone else is. I'm not to comfortable writing lyrics in general, the written word isn't within my comfort zone, but it is a thing that needs to be done. I don't feel too comfortable having other people doing it either. 'Pin Point Dead Man Practice' was written by II13, our former drummer, and he was so involved in the band that this wasn't really a problem.
One of my personal favorites is 'CyberQueen'. It reminds me a little of Pain, but then more harsh. Can you tell me what the lyrics and song are about?
This song is a straight fantasy type song; in general at least, it is a small story about a meeting between the CyberQueen and the Devil. It's not a very deep song in any ways really. Also I incorporated my love for Jack Daniels into the song in the fact that they are drinking good ol' number seven. What they discuss or do, well, that is for the listener to decide, but I doubt that they talk about flowers. World domination perhaps? Who gets what? And why? Who knowsâ€¦
I think the song has developed into a very fine piece; it is very heavy, with some nice twists and turns.
The album is released. If you got the chance to go back into the studio and change just one thing about it, what would that be or do you feel it's the perfect album?
As the album is pretty new still, so I'm kind of satisfied with it, so far at least. To me, there will never be such a thing as a perfect album. I don't think it will at least. I'm sure that there always will be something that I can change, improve in some way. Small tweaks. It's like with a painting, you can always add those last brush strokes, fiddle just a little more. There are a few things that I'm not entirely happy with, but I'm not going to name them here. They are such minor details anyway that nobody would know anyhow, so it's no big deal. In the not too far future I'm sure I'm going to start thinking about the general sound of the album and so on, it's just a natural development. I think I will always be proud of what we achieved on 'Does The Pain Excite You?' but I will also hopefully think on the next album that we went a step further, if not it will be a sad situation, and we got to start thinking very differently.
Reviewers and metal heads all over the world will pass verdict on the album in the weeks and months to come. Does that affect you? Or couldn't you care less what is written and said?
It does affect me in some way. Not too deeply too, I get happy when I see a nice review, and it is kind of a confirmation that we have achieved something good, and it's good to see that people are on par with our views of what good music should be. Bad reviews, well, sometimes they can piss me off, but in general I'm pretty ignorant to it. I can't be worrying about that, we are doing our thing anyway, and a bad review isn't going to change that. What get's me most agitated are reviews that are poorly written, in the sense that they don't describe well what the reviewer is unhappy with. A statement like "this sucks" doesn't make much sense to anyone, and well.. you can imagine.
What can we expect from you in the future?
Well, our first goal is to get as many gigs booked as possible, and to enjoy the life on stage as much as we can. In the meantime we will continue to work on our new material, maybe even write a couple of new songs, get this structured and then head into the studio to record it. A video for one of the songs are also in the planning as we speak, so we will be sorting that out soon too. We will be pretty much busy all the time actually, no time for slouching.
Any famous last words?
"I've had a hell of a lot of fun and I've enjoyed every minute of it." (said by Errol Flynn, shortly before his death). I doubt that my last words would turn famous, but, well, thinking about it, it would be kind of cool. Seriously, I hope that we will be able to see you all on tour very soon, and that you will be content listening to our music. Drop by our website or my space and drop us a line or two, listen to some songs, and read about what's going on.