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BORKNAGAR (JENS F. RYLAND)

HEY JENS, HOW ARE YOU? WHERE ARE YOU AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE 10MIN. AGO? 😉 Heeey, inspiring approach! I’m fine thank you, I have two small kids and they keep getting the flue and the last one also made it into my own system, but today I feel good again! I’m currently at school actually, I’m attending a class in 2 hours and just sat down to write you first.   FINALLY “URD” WILL SEE THE LIGHT SOON. WHAT ARE YOUR FEELINGS ABOUT FINALLY HAVING THE ALBUM COMPLETE? I can say that I have never been this confident and excited about an album before. We had a bit of turbulence, change of label, change of lineup and so on, but now it is looking up. Compared to the previous one which took longer to record and even longer to release, it feels smoother. But I also know that this album has taken much more work than anything we have done.  ALTHOUGH “UNIVERSAL” CAME OUT JUST IN 2010 MANY FANS AGAIN WERE AS CURIOUS AS SCEPTICAL ABOUT WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN IN THE BORKNAGAR-CAMP. WHAT IS SO SPECIAL ABOUT THIS BAND? The “Universal” album was actually delivered in early 2009 from us to the previous label we had, and by the time it was released Øystein already had several songs written for “Urd”. The short time between them wasn’t our idea so to say. I’m not sure why people would be skeptical, it’s still 1,5 years between the releases, something that’s not a short time for a band who never plays live. The special thing about this band must be that we go our own ways, we don’t follow the masses.   WITH SIMEN (ICS VORTEX) COMING BACK TO THE FOLD MANY FANS FEARED ANDREAS (VINTERSORG) MIGHT LEAVE. HOW COULD YOU KNOW THAT COMBINATION WOULD WORK SO BRILLIANT? Friendship. Mutual respect of the others musicianship. With age comes confidence and you learn not to see others as a competition, but as a source of inspiration, self- development and growth. There’s room for all of us in this band. And I am confident that we also have created a spectacular album with this kind of setup.   BOTH ARE WELL KNOWN FOR THEIR AWESOME VOCALS. WERE THERE ANY “EGO-PROBLEMS” BEHIND THE SCENES WHO WOULD SING WHICH PART ETC.? (AND WITH LARS YOU HAVE A THIRD GREAT VOCALIST IN THE BAND) No, I would say quite the opposite, they were all very focused on making room for each other. It’s about musical understanding, knowing what works where and how to make the music dynamic and challenging, something these guys master very well.  AFTER GETTING EVERY LINE UP-CHANGE FIXED, HOW AND WHERE DID “URD” START AFTER “UNIVERSAL” ENDED? Øystein just kept working as he always does and after a while the first demos started arriving. I think Øystein probably wrote 15-16 songs for this album. The lineup changes after Universal wasn’t all that big a deal, and I can’t say it has been with “Urd” either.   “URD” PERFECTLY COMBINES THE METAL-, PROG-, EPIC- (LET’S SAY EVERY) FACETTES THAT WERE ALWAYS A TRADEMARK OF BORKNAGAR. IS THIS MAYBE THE BEST SONGWRITING YOU EVER DID? Obviously I’m going to boast that this is a result of the band developing in this direction. The songwriting, the recording, the production is a result of experience and developing musicianship. This time we also had some incredible help with the mixing process from Jens Bogren and Fascination Street which also gives the music the kind of last touch it deserves. I would say that we have always produced music with a lot of detail and dynamics, but it has been hard to hear up to now. I call “Urd” the revealing album, the production is good enough for every detail to shine through, and if it sucked you would hear it… WHAT IS THE LYRICAL STORY BEHIND “URD” AND HOW LONG DID IT TAKE THE THREE GUYS TO WORK OUT THE VOCAL-LINES FOR THE SONGS? The lyrics swirl around our usual themes, a song like “The Earthling” is a very obvious Borknagar lyric. I admit that I was also kind of curious to find out how the actual selection of the vocal lines would work out this time, but it just happened naturally in a way. The song files bounced back and forth a while and suddenly it was all done.   “URD” ALSO MARKS THE BANDS RETURN TO CENTURY MEDIA. HOME SWEET HOME? 😉 It was kinda bound to happen, he he. I think we all needed a break from each other anyway and then we can return with strength to a label which seems to have renewed themselves. And most of them know who we are anyway and only short introductions are needed before we can start working.   WITH DAVID KINKADE LEAVING THE BAND AFTER THE RECORDINGS TO NOW PLAY WITH SOULFLY MANY FANS EXPECTED THE RETURN OF ASGEIR MICKELSON FOR THE DRUMS, STILL BEING AROUND KIND OF ALWAYS 😉 Asgeir Mickelson still holds a significant position within Borknagar, no doubt about that. He and I are involved with the Artisan project, Simen is recording some vocals for Asgeirs own project, Asgeir even did the photos for Urd for us! But Asgeir has more or less retired as a drummer and was never in the picture. His motto being something like; „What I can’t do from the coach will not be done!“ But I find it awesome that people want him back, it’s a respect he deserves.  INSTEAD YOU RECRUITED BAARD KOLSTAD, AN AWESOME YOUNG DRUMMER! BESIDES BEEING THE MAYBE GREATEST DRUM-TALENT NOWADAYS, HE IS A BIT YOUNGER THAN THE REST OF THE GUYS. I WOULD SAY AGE IS AN IMPORTANT FACTOR ESPECIALLY FOR GETTING ALONG FOR FUTURE SONGWRITING AND TOURING… Baard Kolstad is a very talented young man, but he has an approach to the music industry that is very different from much I have seen this far, also compared to my own. I think he is very aware of how to get around and he’s acting like a serious professional networking and representing himself in a very mature way. There’s no rock star attitude there, no booze and drugs and bragging about women and shit. He’s a pro musician from day one. This guy will go far and I believe Borknagar is a good band for him at this point to learn the ropes.  TALKING ABOUT TOURING: THERE ARE JUST A FEW FESTIVALS CONFIRMED SO FAR? WHAT MORE CAN WE EXPECT? If it was up to me, a world tour!! But it’s not. I’m being voted down…  BORKNAGAR IS NOT JUST A BAND, BUT ALSO A FAMILY WITH ALL OF GUYS WORKING TOGETHER IN OTHER PROJECTS, TOO (JUST TO NAME ICS VORTEX’ SELF TITLED BAND). OTHER MUSICIANS WOULD PREFER TO KEEP THEIR BANDS SEPERATED TO AVOID PERSONAL AND MUSICAL CONFLICTS. HOW DOES IT WORK WITH YOU GUYS? I think at this time we are very much able to sort out our differences without there being conflict. Øystein is my brother-in-law, Simen is my best friend, I can get rather worked up and our discussion can get heated, but this kind of friendship isn’t torn down that easily.  ANOTHER PROJECT IS CALLED ARTISAN, AGAIN WITH YOU, ASGEIR AND VORTEX INVOLVED AS WELL AS MUSTIS (FORMER DIMMU BORGIR). WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM THIS PROJECT? I’m not sure what to do with that project to be honest. I haven’t had time to work anymore with that after the „Road to Khitai“ movie because Borknagar and ICS Vortex have taken up as much time. Also, the lineup isn’t carved in stone. Not sure who will be a part of the future projects. I know Mustis really wants to do something…  ALSO ARTISAN IS CALLED “A METAL SOAPBOX”, A WEBPAGE WHERE ALL OF YOU GUYS ARE POSTING BLOGS AND STAY IN TOUCH DIRECTLY WITH THE FANS. HOW IMPORTANT/ NECESSARY ARE THOSE TOOLS (FACEBOOK, TWITTER ETC.) NOWADAYS? Oh, don’t get me started… I know there are those who disagree with me here, but I don’t believe you can promote a metal band these days without at least using FB, then all the other platforms comes naturally as you grow. The Artisan blog is an experiment in the way where I’m trying to figure out if the audience would be interested in a band blog, and the response is positive. The most important experience is that the audience is more interested in the actual band activities then all my personal blabber, but that wasn’t all that shocking hehe. And if I had some more band activities I would keep the Artisan blog more active also. I was testing just a few weeks ago to post pictures on Twitter and FB while we were playing live with ICS Vortex in Helsinki, was fun. Very good response also.  Then again, with the kind of direct connection you have to your audience with Social Media you need to be careful and think about what you do. There are already some grave and ugly examples of people who embarrass themselves or their bands with the wrong use. Or some are just not aware of the consequences, did you see Moonspell cursing Air France on their FB page after a cancellation and it almost started an online riot… OTHER TOPIC: I’VE READ YOUR POST BASHING THE XBOX360-CONSOLE FOR JUST BEEING GOOD TO PLAY STAR WARS LEGO WITH THE KIDS. AS AN XBOX-GAMER FOR MORE THAN 5 YEARS I WON’T START A DISCUSSION NOW 😉 (I AGREE ITS NOT A PROPER SUBSTITUTE FOR A PC). BUT WHAT GAMES ARE YOU LOOKING FOR IN 2012? DIABLO 3? LoL, you got that on yeah! I’m a sworn PC gamer, but I was hoping I could at some point stop with this ridiculous expensive hardware and start playing games on a console instead, but that failed crucially. I’m the kind of gamer who stays with my games for a very long time, I keep reusing them as I grow tired of one. After buying both Star Wars; The Old Republic, Battlefield 3, Skyrim and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 this autumn I really doubt I need any more games for a long time. Then suddenly I found World of Tanks! I also have Civilization 5 and Total War game I keep playing. Not aware of any more games in the near future I’ll be looking into no.  LAST ONE:  IMAGINE YOU HAVE THE FREE CHOICE TO WORK/PLAY WITH ANY ARTIST DEAD/ALIVE… WHO WOULD IT BE? Oh man.  Dead; I want to learn playing a 12-sting from Stevie Ray Vaughan Alive: There are some musicians around I would really like to work with if I got the chance; Ihsahn (Emperor) or Devin Townsend or perhaps my alltime fav vocalist Tony Martin? THANKS FOR YOUR TIME! GOOD LUCK WITH “URD” Thank you!!! And if you haven’t already; Come to the dark side!

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