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Atrox

It's going to raise some eyebrows, this new album by Atrox. One will say it's a hotchpotch of styles and other, amongst which myself, will dig in and discover a beautiful album. More than enough reason to get in touch with guitarist Rune Sørgård for a little chat about line-up changes, musical influences and a remarkable album.

By: Frank D. | Archive under industrial / ebm

band imageIt is virtually impossible to categorise Atrox. I described your sound as an avant-garde melodic kind of goth-industrial. Without wanting to put a label on you, how would you describe your music yourself?
First of all I would like to thank you for the opportunity to answer your interview and letting people get a chance to know the new Atrox a little better.

No problem!
There has been some major changes regarding the line up and musical style for Atrox the latest years. Rune Folgerø has claimed the mike after Monika Edvardsen left the band just after the release of 'Orgasm' in 2003. Rune F. has added some extremely versatile and powerful vocals to Atrox, giving us a new dimensions to conquer musically. Also I returned to Atrox after having a 4 year long break. I moved to Sweden back in 2001 and lived there for almost 7 years.

The first and the last two years in Sweden I was a member of Atrox. I could not keep my creativity at a halt while living in Sweden, so I continued to write material. And in 2005 I talked to the drummer Tor Arne about getting back in the band, and this finally gave me the opportunity to present the new material I had written to the Atroxians.

I had prepared a lot of music for the guys, and also introduced a new way of writing music for Atrox. I wrote all the music for 'Binocular' on my computer. This was also a great thing for Atrox as we could co-operate through the internet. I would send song to the rest of the band, letting them prepare and rehearse the material, and finally I would come to Trondheim, and we would rehearse a bit more and then record the song.

Regarding how to label Atrox I must say that I´m not a fan of labels, but I see the need for trying to label music. It´s not a bad thing, it´s just that it very often fails to be correct. But again, people have different referances and listen to different kinds of music, and very often this results in a vast variety in labels being put on Atrox.

Avantgarde is a good label, melodic suits Atrox well since we most of the time have multiple melodies supporting the main melody. Goth is not a specially fitting label though, I know some people who put the Goth label on us in the early days, especially with the Mesmerised album (Head Not Found/1997) Back then the label Gothic could be used with some success, but nowadays I don't think there is much of the gothic references left in Atrox. Industrial could be applied if you refer to the usage of samples and electronics on 'Binocular'. But still, Industrial is not a very good and well describing label to put on Atrox. If I had to put a label on Atrox it would be Schizoid Metal, or just Metal... he he

What's the most ridiculous description of your music you've ever heard or read? Apart from mine of course!
Ohhhh, we haven't really gotten that many reviews for 'Binocular' yet, and all the reviews have been very good so far, and none of them have been really off on the description either.

But labelling music is a very personal matter. You have to use your own references to put a label on what you are hearing, and if the person who labels the music's taste and preferences is totally different to what mine, of-course the description is going to be non-logical and not very accurate by my standards. Words that I like to use when describing Atrox is: Multilayered, powerful, melodic, retro-futuristic, contrasts, symbiosis and perspectives.

The album 'Binocular' has just hit the streets. It's the fifth album in twenty years, that's not a high rate of production. Are you guys such perfectionists or is there some other reason for that?
Atrox have always been somewhat troubled with a lot of line-up changes, and this has resulted in some delays regarding to getting songs finished. It takes time to constantly having to rehearse with new people and teaching them the songs. But I guess you can call us perfectionists, at least in the sense that we never let anything just slip by without first having thought hard and long about it. There are no musical coincidences on the new album, it all planned and thoroughly constructed to fit the plan. The process of getting a song from my head on to an album involves at least four stages. First I work very long with a new song before I present it to the other guys, I guess while working with a new song it get played about 300 times, so it has to be a good song to come through the needle eye and out to the next level.

Secondly comes the rehearsal stage, here we collectively arrange and adjust the song to get a more perfected sound for the song. Very often this is the part of production where vocals will be applied. After rehearsing comes pre-production. I record all the instruments and go back to my computer to start mixing the mechanic and organic sounds together. I regard this part of the process as the most important, and usually this is the stage of getting a song finished where things start to happen to the structure and sound. By this stage I've probably heard the song 600 times.

Finally comes the recording and mix in studio. Since we already have set all the details for sound and constructed the song in forehand, the recording phase in studio is done quickly. As always, the mixing and producing of the album is what takes most time in the studio. As you can see, getting a Atrox-song ready is a long and hard road to walk down. But of course it rewarding in the end and a lot of fun during the process. Having said this, I would like to state that it will not be 5 loooong years to the next release. We are already long into the preproduction of the next album, so I guess we'll have a finished product by the end of this year.

One of the strangest and remarkable tracks is 'Headrush Helmet' which starts as this folky Doors-like adventure, but turns slowly into an industrial jewel. How did do you write a track like this?
I like to use a lot of vibraphone and moog in the songs, so the somewhat deranged start of the song was constructed upon the vibraphone and moog, and I later added some accordion to complete the sensation of being a deranged bomber in a worn down circus! Later Per played the accordion in the studio, and he also came up with the “breathing” sound heard in the build-up. Excellent! 'Headrush Helmet' is also a good example of the usage of mechanical and organic material mixed together. The samples and programmed stuff go alongside with the Hammond and the rest of the band to create a prefect mix of schizoid metal.

I guess everybody has his own favourite albums. What if you got stuck on a deserted island and, between you, you only could take 5 albums with you, which albums would that be?
OHHHHH, that's a hard question to answer... But, let's see...
Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon
Yes – Fragile (mostly for the song 'Heart of the Sunrise')
Burnt Friedman & The Nu Dub Players – Can't Cool
Fredrik Thordendal – Sol Niger Within
Mr. Bungle - California

What are your plans for the near future?
As I mentioned earlier, we are in the process of preproduction for the next album at the moment. It's working out really good, and we are narrowing in on an even better sound and material for the new album. Atrox have not been seen so much out on the road playing live in the past, but we are going to change this with 'Binocular'. We are ready to conquer the world with this album. The material really kick-ass when we play it live, so we want to go on tour and play live as much as possible in the future.

Is there anything else you want to share with our readers?
We are working on getting some really cool merchandise at the moment, so if there are readers out there who want to buy an Atrox 'Binocular' T-shirt, within short time you can go to our website www.atrox.no to place your order. Otherwise, just make sure you pick up a copy of 'Binocular' and enjoy the ride.

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