AFTER SO MANY EXCELLENT ALBUMS, WHERE DO YOU GET NEW/ FRESH INSPIRATION FROM? My inspiration comes from my life and my thoughts. I am lucky to experience a lot, and I actively search for changes and „weirdness“ in my life. To experience light and darkness, to test my strengths and ununcover my weaknesses. I try to draw inspiration from how I feel, from how I experience and then to generalize and make it more open. Even though the music and lyrics is inspired from our inner universes, we want to keep it open enough so that other people can put their own colour and taste to the experience. IS IT IN ANY WAY IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO FULFILL THE EXPECTATIONS OF YOUR FANS WHEN WRITING NEW SONGS? Not directly, I must say. Of course, we always deliver our best. I’d sacrifice just about anything to keep on writing music. It is in my mind all the time. We rehearse hard, and fight all the time to get production etc. But if ask if we think about how people will like the music that we make; then no. That would fuck the whole thing up. I think it is exactly the honesty and uniqueness that people appreciate in the first place. I know we do. WHICH DESCRIPTION WOULD FIT YOUR ACTUAL MUSIC STYLE BEST? Dark Energic Epic Extreme Metal. WHICH MEANING HAS THE SOMEWHAT “STRANGE” COVER TO YOU? HOW IS THE RELATIONSHIP WITH THE ARTIST WHO ALREADY DID THE “MONUMENSION”-ARTWORK? We feel very privileged to be working with Truls Espedal. He made a fantastic artwork for „Monumension“, but this time I think he is even deeper into it. It is difficult for me to explain the cover, he had very free conditions to make it from his associations from our music and our discussions with him on the lyrics etc. For me I see a paradox between the dark, grotesque „below“ holding endless possibilities and the lights, safe and limited existance „above“. For me this holds a very beautiful truth; the true creativeness and birth of the ideas we see in the world of lights comes from the darker places. HOW WAS THE RECORDING PROCESS OF THE ALBUM LIKE? We started making the songs for „Below the Lights“ shortly after finishing the live-playing and promotion for „Monumension“. Then we pre-produced in our studios, the StrangeHagen Dungeons. The actual recording was really great this time, we had a great co-operation with both Pytten (Grieghallen) and Jørgen (Duper Studios) from day one. The planning of the producrion was well thought-trough this time, so I feel that we really achieved a result close to our ambitions and hopes. Once again the many analogue wonders of Grieghallen and Duper made it an organic affair just as we like it! DON`T YOU THINK THAT YOU PUT ONE OF THE MOST COMPLICATED SONGS AS OPENER? OR HAVE YOU EVEN DONE THIS ON PURPOSE? Hehe, I guess we pretty much disagree about that.. I think „As Fire Swept Clean the Earth“ had a very streamline-shaped structure, and we wanted the listener to have a chance get in a state of mind for the more diverse and „strange“ elements of the album. We felt like it and did it. We try to minimize the intellectualization of our doings, to keep the channel between the Enslaved-subconciousness and the real world as open as possible. ANY REASON WHY THE TEXTS ARE NOT PRINTED IN THE BOOKLET? WHAT DO THEY DEAL WITH? The reason for them not being in the booklet is simply because the designer-team behind the booklet thought this would be the most estetic solution. We wanted to give them total freedom, that’s why we gave them the assignment in the first place. Anyways they can be found at enslaved.no. The lyrics are very open and abstract (as we discussed earlier on), to allow room for individual experience. They deal with topics most near to us; life, death, love, sorrow, runes, magick, darkness and the „unknown“ factors of existance (the dark matter of the personal universe). CAN YOU TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT THE NEW DVD “LIVE RETALIATION” AND ESPECIALLY ABOUT THE BONUS AUDIO TRACKS? I REMEMBER THAT YOU PLAYED THE AWESOME TRACK “VIKING METAL” ONLY ONCE ON A TOUR WITH MARDUK, WHY IS IT PUBLISHED NOW? Yep, it was recorded live in Cracow, October 2002, and contains a full live-set with old and new material (up to „Below the Lights“) plus a cover of Autopsy’s „Retribution for the Dead“. The bonus songs are unreleased tracks. Some stuff from the „Mardraum“ era, a pre-production of songs that appeared later on „Frost“. And of course „Viking Metal“ recorded live in Canada 1995. We simply put it there because the fans asked for it! We had the tape (thanx Kristoffer!) and so many people asked for a release of it.. The point of this song was that it should only appear on the 1995 live tour, and now we had a chance to include it on the live-dvd ARE YOU INTERESTED IN POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS? IF SO WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE NEW AMERICAN POLICY AND GEORGE W. BUSH? I am interested of course, but as a private person not as a muscian. Enslaved has never and will never be used for political purposes. But feel free to guess how I feel about Bush, Saddam, Aron and Arafat. A hint: They can all **********. HOW IS YOUR CONTACT TO DIRGE REP NOWADAYS? Good, of course. He moved from Bergen to Oslo, so of course we don’t see so much of him as we wish too. He is still a great friend, and we see each other everytime we travel to see gigs and so on. And of course make calls to exchange madness and disillusions. HOW FAR IS YOUR SEARCH FOR A NEW DRUMMER OR WILL YOU USE SESSION MUSICIANS? Right now we are very happy with using Ca2 as a session drummer, we’re borrowing him from Re:Actor (new band on Nuclear Blast). We’ll see how long that works smoothly and take it from there. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE NORWEGIAN SCENE AT THE MOMENT? Very potent, creative and growing. We have very strong old names, and a few new ones, but they will come I am sure (just check out 1349 and Orcustus, and you’ll know what I mean). Also the live-situation is excellent, with major festivals popping up in all parts of the country. Be sure to go to Hole In The Sky in Bergen 28.-30. August 2003! WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE MOVIES AND BOOKS IN THE MOMENT? For Books: „The Universe in a Nutshell“ and „A Brief History of Time“ (Stephen Hawkings), „Cosmic Trigger“ (Anton Wilson) and „The Karamasov Brothers“ (Fjodor Dostojevski). Movies: „Mulhollan Drive“, „Donny Darko“, „Lord of the Rings 1: „The Fellowship of the Rings““ and „Lord of the Rings 2: „Two Towers““. ANY LIVE ACTIVITES FOR THE FUTURE? ARE YOU ALREADY WORKING ON NEW MATERIAL? Yep, we are working on tours for USA/ Canada/ Mexico as well as Europe for the moment. We’ll start the touring year with the Milwaukee Metal Fest in the USA 30.-31 July 2003, followed by Mexico, then Norway in August/ September and then Europe! Be there, be ware!