After releasing ‘Blot Ilt Taut’ you returned to confirm what was expected: your love for Bathory’s music and legacy that legendary Quorthon left behind after departing early from our world (last month it was his death’s 12 year anniversary if I’m not mistaken). What does Bathory mean to you after all?
To me he changed my world of music. I remember the first time I heard Bathory, I was listening to Hammerheart at Ragnar’s place and I couldn’t believe the atmosphere he created; I had never heard anything like that before. He took grandiose epic music to a new higher level for me.But it’s not just me you know; he had a huge impact on the whole extreme metal scene with both the blackened albums and the epic ones. Quorthon was a pioneer and visionary, I think that extreme metal would have sound differently today without his legacy that influenced the whole scene.
Also, should we suggest that everything that concerns ‘Blot Ilt Taut’ is a break from the songwriting field? Your production is remarkable with interesting and sometimes excellent results both for Ereb Altor and Isole.
I never take a break from the songwriting field. I was composing new material for both bands while recording the Bathory tribute. I think it even might have boosted my inspiration.
Upon listening to Nattramn I couldn’t help it but noticed a walk back to clean vocals, even though black metal does vaguely its appearance there. Personally I enjoyed the turn from Gastrike and forward where the music got heavier and the soundscaping linked me to ‘Blood Fire Death’ as much as black metal in general, but in my point of view that made a few sourer. Do you consider that you followed a circular road and steadily you return to the start? Tell me a few things about recording,mixing and producing the record (a question rather boring but much expected lately).
I never had a masterplan and a predictable path to follow, I´ve just followed my inspiration that lead me on this path. But it’s no big secret that the epic music with clean vocals is closer to my heart than the black metal style. On ‘Fire meets Ice’ and ‘Nattramn’ I tried to blend both styles as seamlessly as possible. The latest years we have created the albums by the same formula. I start with a pre-recording of the album myself, it’s kind of the way I write songs and it’s a rather long procedure. Then I present the album and the songs will be run through what I call the “shit-filter” where I get feedback from the other guys. Then it’s time to alter the compositions and try to remove all flaws before actually recording the album for real. ‘Nattramn’ was recorded and mixed in Studio Apocalypse by Jonas Lindström and mastered at Fascination Street by Jens Bogren.
In my opinion your first two albums, mostly the first even though the second is important as well, are landmarks for the band. Tell me about everything that happened for your vision to transform in flesh and bones.
The first album is almost solely built by old “Forlorn” songs which didn’t really fit with the approach Isole had at the time. Songs with a touch of Viking Metal blended with Doom Metal. The second album is more of a mix of fresh compositions and old material. Ragnar and I decided that we should start a side-project with a desire to follow the path of Quorthon. At first the intention was to make only two albums but Ereb Altor as you know by now is still around and is no longer a small side-project, we recruited Tord on drums and Mikael on bass guitar and became a full band.
You are inspired as many of you generation and musical family from the pre-christian Scandinavian pagan traditions. What does this whole era mean to you and what’s your stance on Christianity? Do you read historical books or other genres?
Yes, I am interested in history and I read historical books and visit historical places especially from the late Iron Age. Scandinavian people were exploring the world and we had a rather big impact on large parts of the surrounding world during that time. It’s a part of our legacy and I think the Norse Mythology is fascinating. Ereb Altor lyrics are also very inspired by later folklore and myths as well. We have some nice dark legends, ghost stories and other unnatural stuff that interests me.
Christianity is also an interesting historic subject and had a huge impact in Scandinavia. Sweden became a united country because of Christianity. Although I’m not a Christian believer and Ereb Altor will never write songs about Jesus, I prefer to dig deeper in the old myths and stories about darker elements which I think are far more interesting.
Are there any plans for a tour or just shows here and there as you announced on you band site? How do you manage to combine the dutys of both Ereb Altor and Isole?
We have been on tour this spring with Månegarm and Skyforger and we are aiming for another tour in the spring next year. Then there are festivals and single shows in between. Isole is going on tour in September and at least I and Ragnar are doing 2-3 tours every year and it’s sometimes hard to get our schedules to work. You have to sacrifice some other things in life to be able to do this, it’s a priority thing.
Any news about the new album and if there are any do you want to share some with our readers?
All I can say is that there will be a new album.
The Isole chapter: now is a good chance to tell you that ‘Alone in Silence’ is one of my favorite songs of the last few years. I find the songwriting excellent. I believe that ‘The Calm Hunter’ was better in comparison with ‘Born from Shadows’ even though as before your 3 first albums are out of contest (especially ‘Throne of Void!’). Give us a small summary of these years. Will there be a new album?
‘Alone in Silence’ is actually an old Forlorn song and it was not meant to be on the album, therefore it’s kind of cool that it’s your favorite! I agree that ‘Calm Hunter’ is better than ‘Born from Shadows’, to me it’s probably our best effort along with ‘Silent Ruins’. I hope that we will do a new album; we just need to find the time, inspiration and energy to do it, because there is no point doing something half-hearted.
Which bands from the scene do you like in particular and in general? What are the sounds and records you consider as “must have” for your collection?
I mostly listen to the old classic bands and consider them to be the best still. Bands such as Candlemass, Black Sabbath, Solitude Aeturnus and Bathory.
Tell me all about the way you perceive epic music in full. Do you listen also to other genres beyond metal? Is the epic feeling a result of a particular musical patent or is it traced to other genres far from classic heavy metal?
Yes, I listen to all kinds of music as long as it’s good. To me the most important ingredients are melancholy, darkness and heart, and you can find that it all kinds of genres and music. One of my main influences comes from our native folk music for instance. To create good music in my opinion you need to have dynamics and atmosphere and one way to boost this is to implement other things than just full throttle distorted metal music.
At time I can distinguish a vibe of demise in the lyrics of your songs, ‘Our Failure’ for example, and in general I get the feeling that you flirt with the idea of the end or whatever that means. Do you believe that there’s a life beyond death or everything ends when our hearts stop?
It’s important to me that the lyrics somehow reflect the music. Since we are almost only doing songs in minor key and a dark atmosphere it’s inevitable that the lyrics also have a dark content. I don’t believe in life beyond death, we will simply have to wait and see what happens when the time comes.
Any plans for the immediate or future to come? You can close the interview as you please. Thanks a lot for your time. Ereb Altor stood by me many times the last few years. Your albums deserve to be in the pantheon of Viking metal right next to Bathory!
We are trying to get as many good gigs as possible meanwhile new material are taking form in the dark pit we call “Studio Apocalypse”. Thanks you! We will do our best to keep the flame alive!