INTERVIEW WITH BORKNAGAR
Questions answered by: Jens
The interview took place at the Inferno festival in Oslo, Norway on 14/4/2001
I understand you are going to studio in May...
I think it has been rescheduled, we postponed it for two weeks, so I think we will go to studio around 10th of June.
Will you go to the Abyss studio again?
No, we are going to use a studio here in Oslo, we will actually do the same thing Mayhem did with their last album, some recording in the studio called F. Downtown Oslo and something in the studio owned by the producer, but he will not produce our album as he did with Mayhem, he will be mixing the album.
How will the new album differ from Quintessence?
It is going to differ because we have a new vocalist and I think that is what people will hear the most. And I think that progression goes the same way... experience we get from playing live is also transferred into album, when we play a song live we see what audience likes.
Who wrote the music and the lyrics for this album?
Oystein has done most of the music as he always has. He makes the basics and the arrangements are made by the whole band, he doesn't make the keyboards or my guitar... The lyrics are not quite done yet I think this time Asgeir and Vintersorg are going to contribute on the lyrics, but mostly Oystein does the lyrics also.
Did you choose the title yet?
No, we are now in the process of discussing the title.
You have a new vocalist now - Vintersorg. I read you have had an audition for a vocalist, so what was the main reason you chose him?
The idea was to have an audition. But I think from the moment Vortex quit, Oystein has already decided, because he knew Vintersorg from way back. It's a fun thing actually, because now Vintersorg has told us that when Garm quit back in 1997, he was thinking about asking for the job.
He is from Sweden and the rest of the band from Norway, how do you manage to do all the rehearsals?
From the 6 of us only 4 live here in Oslo. Oystein lives in Bergen, so it is as long for him to travel as it is for Vintersorg. We could not have done this 10 years ago, but now the technology allows us to use MP3's and all that stuff... Oystein makes all the demos on Q base on computer and he transfers it over to Andreas - this is my idea for the song, you can work on the lyrics, vocals... Than he burns the CD and he sends it over to us in Oslo, and we rehearse it at home and than we meet... sometimes we can rehearse three songs in one day. We had very few rehearsals for the new album yet - it's like just testing the songs and when everybody will be prepared we will put it altogether.
You have a steady line-up now, but some of the members are involved in other bands as well. How do they manage to adjust their work?
It all comes down to coordinating and cooperating. It has been some collision now, because we had some gigs planed with Borknagar, and when I asked around, Vintersorg had already booked the concerts, and they did it first, so we couldn't play. And we will go to the studio now, so Spiral Architect needs to go later, than is Solefald... I think when we will be in the studio with Borknagar, Vinterorg will be rehearsing the new stuff...
Can you tell me something about Solefald and Spiral Architect, whose members are now in Borknagar as well?
Solefald is Lars' band that he started with one of his pals. Lars does the clean vocals, drums and keyboards and the other guy does the growling vocals, bass and guitars. They did two albums, the second one will be released very soon. They did a first album on Avantgarde and I think now they are signing the contract with Century Media. They did one European tour 2 or 3 years ago, but this is not a touring band, it is a studio band. Their music is very experimental. Somebody compared it to Motorhead or Acid (laugh) .... I do not know, it's really weird... sometimes it's like circus music and then it's straight forward black metal... all and all it's very dynamic, so fast, it goes from one specter do another...
Spiral Architect is Asgeir's. He does the drums there as well. It's a band that has been born out of progressive rock thing - Dream Theater and all that stuff... And they have taken it so far that is not progressive it's called technical metal. It's really musician's band, because they are extremely good musicians, all of them.
You already had the Northern European tour with the new vocalist, Vintersorg. What kind of feedback did you get?
Yes, we did Finland and Estonia, Lithuania -that was really great, amazing, because we had never been in Estonia and Lithuania before. I think more metal bands should go there, because audience was wild, they have gone crazy... And we were a little bit excited about Finland - they have quite a few concerts there, but we have never played there.
How did they accept Vintersorg as a vocalist?
That was very positive, he rehearsed the vocals and everything was going great! The problem Simen had -regarding vocals- was when we were on tour he had to play bass. To do both, he had to compromise by skipping some of the clean vocals and do growls instead and... sometimes people have said that songs have been changed because of that. Vintersorg is doing vocals like... as they are on the album, it's detailed. It's kind of a kick for us also. It was the second gig, I think, in Estonia where I... I walked on the stage and suddenly I've heard his monitor, we were playing "The Back Token", and he was singing the high parts on that song and I was shocked... I almost forgot myself, it was like: "Oh shit, what is he doing?" I had never heard Simen do that one more time after the studio. And we have played that song on the Cradle tour and in the US, he always had to compromise.
Have you ever considered using plural men's vocals, like men's chorus?
We now do that live. As I told you Lars is also clean vocal singer in Solefald and actually it was only a matter of rehearsing and now we had some time rehearsing it, so he is doing chorus and our new bass player Tyr have also been doing some chorus with Satyricon and Emperor, so now we have 3 vocalists!
You have said before you have planned some gigs, but will you do any before the release of the new album?
This will be the last gig before we enter the studio. As I've told you, we only did some rehearsals to check out the songs and the album needs many arrangements, so we need to work on that and we do not have time for the concerts. We will do one new song tonight.
When do you expect the new album to be released?
We hope we will be able to release it somewhere between the end of September and early October, but we already had to reschedule the Studio, so release will be postponed as well.
When your first album had been released, there were some plans for shooting the video as well. Do you plan anything like that now, for the songs on your new album?
The band really wants to do a home video. We have a lot of footage from this tour we did now. Video ...realistically I don't think Borknagar will ever be on MTV, they won't get any rougher I think (laugh)... Century Media doesn't want to spend a lot of money on something like that, maybe we will release a home video, but Century Media isn't that eager on releasing stuff apart from our albums, so we'll see.
Will you have a special show tonight? (The reason I asked was the Enslaved show yesterday - they were headliners of the first day and Borknagar of the second)
Not anything else than we usually do. We haven't played in Oslo since 1998. So we are coming now with this line-up, with Vintersorg... and here in Oslo Simen has a very good reputation as a singer so I think that everyone will be watching us and listening to Vintersorg's singing... We just need to perform. Did you hear Enslaved last night? Did you hear the great sound they had? This concert will show if we can play or not. I think we will be very focused, I told the guys that in my opinion this gig is the most important gig we ever did.
Is there any time you feel you need to distance yourself from music and if so what do you do during this time?
That's for very short periods. It's like... when I have this weekend, with massive 18 hours of music festival, I think tomorrow I will be in front of my computer... just with small eyes, playing some easy strategy PC game, drinking coffee, watching TV - I hope it will be some football match on TV tomorrow - I just need a few hours...
This festival has been a lot of work. When I am done here and we'll need to sort things out next week, when we will be done, I will go to Portugal for a week, I really like Lisbon. It's because I do not have anything else to do, it's not because I would need to distance myself. I will enjoy myself.