Hello, I welcome you to Metal Invader. Bergen is a beautiful place but dark and rainy, I could say that this is a place for a black metal band, however you chose a different path. If someone haven’t heard you before how would you describe your sound? Are labels after all so important?
We had a discussion the other day and landed on “Dark, captivating, progressive” as the most accurate short description of the band and what we are trying to convey. As we don’t adhere properly to any set genre it makes more sense to use a set of descriptive words rather than sort by categories where the band only fits halfway in. We consciously avoided both labels metal and rock as we feel the band’s current expression has a foot in each.
There is a gap of four years between your previous highly acclaimed album ‘The Tower’ and its successor ‘Stranger Times’. Why did it take you so long to create a new album?
Life sometimes takes up a good deal of space. Many of us had personal commitments that took extra focus between the two albums. Also, “The Tower” saw the band take a step up, not into the mainstream, but onto a level of recognition where we got more touring and gig offers. This lead to us spending way more time following up on the release of “The Tower” with shows, compared to our previous albums. With that in focus, songwriting for “Stranger Times” was delayed. When I work on new material I like to emerge myself in it, and be as free of distractions as possible. I’m not the kind of guy that can sit on a backstage or in a tour bus and write tunes. I prefeer the tranquility of an unoccupied room.
You’ve stated in a previous interview that ‘The Tower’ is the best album you’ve written so far. How difficult is to create an album worthy of the last one? Did you feel any kind of pressure?
One of course feels some pressure to surpass previous efforts. Luckily music exists in the sphere of art, so bigger and faster isn’t necessarily better. Objective criteria don’t define what is best. Two can be different and equal at the same time. I didn’t really set out to “beat” The Tower. I rather wanted to make something that was different but still made sense within the context that is Vulture Industries. And in that I think we succeeded.
What are the new elements you think that you brought to the new album ‘Stranger Things’?
I think “Stranger Times” have moved us further into the limbo between Rock and Metal, and firmly established the identity of the band beyond the path that we started with “The Tower”. I also think it shows a band that has grown in terms of songwriting, and can master both subtlety and contrast to a wider extent.
The new album sounds to my ears dramatic and stinks of despair a bit like what everyday life has become. Where do you draw inspiration from?
From the world as I see it. With this album I try to put up a mirror to our times. Brushing it up with some extra intense colors and making the edges a bit sharper so make it clearer and more interesting.
Would you consider you lyrics political in a sense? Do you thing that music is such a dynamic part of society that should get involved in political and social matters?
As an artist I see it as part of the package to have some obligation towards opening people’s minds and broadening their horizons. If not, entertainer would be a more suitable tag. The lyrics are political in the sense that they touch upon political issues. But rather than blurting out my own opinions and handing out my ideas on solutions I strive towards creating perspective, and have people make up their own minds.
Talk to us about the writing process for ‘Stranger Times’.
I’m not sure when it actually started, but the first seeds must have sprung within the year after “The Tower” was released. As is usual with us, it starts with some ideas appearing from unknown or vague sources. After fermenting for a while they start to grow and form into a set of organisms, some of which are destined to blossom and live, and some of which are bound to die, yet live on as an arm the substitute leg of a superior entity. At the point where we feel we have collected enough of these (often encouraged by a record label A&R holding a gun towards your temple), we see what we have and start sorting and finalizing the songs and see where that takes the album. This final process tends to be pretty intense and leave me a bit unsociable.
Avant-garde is a complex and conceptual metal subgenre, what makes your music so acceptable?
We never tried to be avant-garde, and honestly, I’m unsure if we ever were. It was a tag stuck on us by others, and I both find it to be a bit pretentious as a label and contradictory as a genre.
How have things changed for Vulture Industries over that time?
Since we released “The Tower”? The world has changed around us. It is both a brighter and a darker place. A couple of us have recently become fathers for the first time, which has been a great experience. At the same time there are global shifts that are hinting at a bleak outlook for us all.
You’ve embarked on a big European Tour and I’ve got to ask, what are the pros and cons of tour life?
The main pros of tour life is having the opportunity to travel a lot and see new and interesting places and people, and make friends all over the world. The main con is being away from family for long stretches at a time and having to sleep breathing other men’s farts.
…and since we are talking about tour life. You’ve recently had an accident on stage falling off from a crate of beers almost injuring a fan. What happened?
I like to keep the shows multi-dimensional. So instead of just remaining at my designated spot on stage I tend to stretch the boundaries a bit. At this particular night I was aiming for a higher stage, enhanced by beer crates. Regrettably I picked crates from different brands and they didn’t lock together properly, so when I tried to climb them they gave out under me and down I went. Luckily it was a Monday show, so not so crowded that the audience couldn’t dodge the falling crates.
You remain part of the Season Of Mist’s roster. So I guess this collaboration works for you?
They are nice and friendly people highly interested in music and by luck also skilled at making business out of it. We feel we fit well into their catalogue and have a very good relationship, so yes. It works well for us:)
Almost 15 years have passed. Can you remember the first time that you understood that Vulture Industries are here to stay?
When I was sitting at the backstage at Hulen, a venue here in Bergen (which is actually a cave) and came up with some of the guitar parts for “A path of Infamy”. Then I realized; this is something I’m going to be doing for a very long time.
What should fans expect from you on your live shows in Greece?
Something different and something profound, yet devilishly playful.
Thank you for your time. I leave to you the epilogue.
“Life is a state of mind” – Mr. Doctor