HELLO GUYS! „BLOT“ IS OUT AND VERY IMPRESSIVE. ARE YOU CONTENT WITH EVERYTHING? HOW ARE YOUR FEELINGS NOW AFTER WORK IS DONE? Deep relief. That’s the first thing that comes to mind, because we’ve been working very hard with this album. It’s also great to see that people enjoy the stuff. THERE HAS BEEN AN IMPORTANT CHANGE IN YOUR LINE UP: YOU ARE NOW RESPONSIBLE FOR THE VOCALS WHICH MEANS IT SOUNDS A LOT MORE AGGRESSIVE. WAS THIS INTENDED FROM THE BEGINNING? WHAT IS RAGNAR DOING NOW? HAVE YOU TRIED TO GET A NEW SHOUTER FROM THE “OUTSIDE” OR HAVE YOU BEEN FIRST CHOICE INSTANTLY? Yes, we had been thinking about it for a while, but we never had the intension of bringing in a new guy. I did some backup vocals on “Norwegian Native Art”, and I also did that stuff live and it sounded great. We wanted to get some of our former agression and energy back, and for that we needed the grim vocals. I think Ragnar took the bad news quite nice, in spite of his hard work for the band. He is now working for a booking company in Oslo, and he’s also Gene Simmons in a Kiss cover band called Firehouse. YOU DO ALSO HAVE A NEW LABEL (TABU RECORDINGS). WHAT ABOUT YOUR LAST “NATIVE NORTH”? I THINK THEY WERE NOT CAPABLE OF DOING AS MUCH PROMOTION AS NEEDED?! DO THEY STILL EXIST ANYWAY? AND WHAT HAPPENED IN THE LAST THREE YEARS IN THE BAND? TRULY A LONG TIME IN THE SHORT LIVING MUSIC BUSINESS… Well actually, Native North Records was our own creation and I think it worked out just fine in the beginning, but it turned out to be a real financial drain after a while. The financial struggle we had with the King Diamond tour was pretty hard to overcome, but we managed to do it still. The label is unwinded now. It was simply too much work. One of the reasons this album took a while, is simply that when Native North Records ceased to exist, we actually found ourselves without a deal. And suddenly I had to be comfortable with the vocal part as well. I hope people still remember us. DO YOU HAVE MORE ARTISTIC FREEDOM NOW THAN IN YOUR TIME WITH CENTURY MEDIA? We actually had complete artistic freedom on Century Media. We didn’t feel they were trying to influence us in any way, in fact. Maybe it could look like that from the outside, when listening to “Odin Owns Ye All”, but we’ve always had and we always will have complete control of our own music. Personally, I wouldn’t be able to make music based on other peoples opinions. I HAVE READ THAT YOU WANTED YOUR SOUND TO BECOME “HEAVIER” AND NOT SO MUCH “FOLKLORE”. DO YOU FEEL SOMEHOW MORE MATURE NOW? I think that our songs and our sound definately have become heavier, but still I think that “Blot” has more folk elements than “Norwegian Native Art”. In fact, I don’t think all that much of the musical development of Einherjer. Exactly how our next album should be and so on. As long as it sounds good and it feels right, we can use it. There are no limits really. AND YOU ALSO STATED THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO WRITE LYRICS ABOUT OTHER STUFF THAN VIKING THEMES BUT YOU ARE “TRAPPED” IN YOUR OWN HISTORY. IF YOU COULD AS YOU WANTED WHAT WOULD BE THE TOPICS YOU’D LIKE TO DEAL WITH? Well, I don’t think I phrased it exactly like that. It’s just that if we really felt like writing about something else for a change, we’d have to do it in a different band. Einherjer are completely dedicated to these topics, and we can’t use other stuff. I really don’t write too much lyrics, and if I should, I wouldn’t even know what to write about if it weren’t for my history and our mythology. If I had a lot of important shit to say, I’d rather write a book. WHICH LYRICAL CONCEPT STANDS BEHIND “BLOT”? WHAT DOES THE TERM “BLOT” MEAN ANYWAY? There is no main theme on the album, but lots of fragmented stories taken from The Elder Edda or the Norse Sagas mainly. “IronBound”, “Wolf-Age” and “Venomtongue” for example is a trilogy concerning the deceiving god Loke where he finally chooses his side. Loke was of giant-race and turned his back on the Gods, and he was bound to a rock with the bowels of his sons, for there to stay until Ragnarok. One of my favorite stories, is the one concerning Starkad the Old. He was also of giant-race, and according to the legend, he became three hundred years old. I’ve learned that german people understand “Blot” as “blood” and that’s only natural, but “Blot” is in fact an old heathen ritual or sacrifice if you will. It took place a lot during the viking period. YOU PRODUCED YOR ALBUM YOURSELF, WHY WAS THAT AND WHICH EXPERIENCES DO YOU HAVE MADE IN RETROSPECTIVE? We happen to know a guy that owns a studio nearby, and we felt ready to do it ourselves this time, because we were familiar with most of his studio equipment. If we were to do it in a different studio, the price would also triple probably. In fact, we could work there twice as long for a third of the price elsewhere. Personally, I’ve never had a more comfortable recording than this one. It’s ok to be able to go home after a stressful day in the studio. We’ll probably use that studio next time as well. THE SOUND IS CLEAR AND AGGRESSIVE BUT ALSO DOWN TO EARTH WITHOUT BOMBAST. IS THIS EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANTED FROM THE BEGINNING? Yes, I guess this is something what we wanted. We never go in the studio with a complete notion of what we want or how it should sound. This is something that developes after hours of ajusting the guitars and tweaking the drums. We have lots of detail in our music, so we need a clear and open sound to sort of emphasize everything. I don’t think it became too polished either, which was something we deliberately tried to avoid. AND WHICH SHORT TERM WOULD YOU USE TO DESCRIBE YOUR MUSIC TO AN UNKNOWING PERSON? I guess I would call it Viking metal, but that term is pretty vague for most people, but I guess I could call it epic and symphomic metal, with some elements of folk. I wouldn’t mention the grim vocals, because then a lot of people wouldn’t even try and listen to it. I AM VERY IMPRESSED BY THE INTRO WHICH SOUNDS POWERFUL! CAN YOU TELL ME SOMETHING ABOUT THIS PIECE OF ART? I THINK IT WOULD FIT PERFECTLY AS AN OPENER FOR YOUR LIVE CONCERTS! Well, actually it is the intro on our live gigs. We wanted to have an intro on the album that we could use live as well. I think it sounds very monumental and really sets the scene for our shows. The english title is “The Einherjer March”, and the song describes the final march of the Einherjer, Gods and giants towards Ragnarok. MY FAVOURITE TRACK IS “THE ETERNALLY DAMNED” WHICH IS VERY DYNAMICAL AND HAS GREAT RIFFING. DO YOU BUILD YOUR SONGS AROUND SOME BASIC RIFFS OR WHAT IS YOUR “STYLE” OF SONGWRITING? It all depends on the song. “The Eternally Damned” is obviously based on a single riff, and the song itself is very suggestive in nature. Usually our songs are build around a melody and some kind of groove though, and developed from there. We’re not really a riff based band, but rather use more complete arrangements. Our songs are usually composed of different themes and passages. CAN YOU TELL ME SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR PHILOSOPHY OF USING KEYBOARDS? YOU SEEM TO KNOW WHEN TO USE THEM BUT NEVER LET THEM DOMINATE YOUR SOUND. I hope I don’t break any illusions now, but the keyboards on both “Norwegian Native Art” and “Blot” are programmed. The new intro as well. On “Norwegian Native Art”, the end result turned out to be rather poor and somewhat “donkey kong”, because we didn’t know what the hell we were doing. But I think the quality has increased drastically on “Blot”. Maybe not as good as a real symphony, but better than most straight keyboards. I think it’s important to plan these arrangements thoroughly, because we play metal and we don’t want to sound like some synth band. Because all our music is composed on a computer, it becomes easyer to see the totality of the songs and determine what fits when and where. YOU MADE A VIDEO FOR “IRONBOUND”. WILL YOU TELL US WHAT WE CAN EXPECT TO SEE? AND WILL THIS VIDEO BE PLAYED ON TELEVISION? YOU ARE QUITE AGGRESSIVE FOR THE NORMAL PUSSIES IN MUSIC TELEVISION I THINK Yes, we did. It was shot in some kind of dungeon a couple of hours from where we live. The atmosphere is pretty dark and dismal, as it should be considering the song deals with Loke. We wanted to focus on the band, rather than weaving in some kind of story which most of the times just turn out plain stupid. It would also seem quite amputated, considering the song “Ironbound” is part of a trilogy along with “Wolf-Age” and “Venomtongue”. I’m not sure exactly what the plan is with this video, but I think it has been played on TV already, but I guess it won’t be on the Top20… MY FAVOURITE THREE NORWEGIAN “AVANTGARDE/ VIKING/ BLACK” METAL BANDS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN BORKNAGAR, ENSLAVED AND EINHERJER. WHICH KIND OF RELATIONSHIP DO YOU HAVE TO THESE OTHER ARTISTS? ANY CONTACT AT ALL? I can’t say I’ve heard their music lately. Personally, I don’t have that much contact with other bands at all. I had contact with Enslaved earlyer, but that was many years ago. AND FINALLY: WILL YOU BE ON TOUR IN GERMANY? I HOPE SO! So do I. Right no we don’t have anything planned really. We hope however, that our label are trying to figure something out for us, because we feel ready. THANX FOR ANSWERING THE QUESTIONS AND GOOD LUCK!