WELCOME TO TRANSYLVANIAN FOREST ZINE!!! Its a honor! (how lovely??? hehehe Kristoffer at Chernobyl rules!!!)
1) How long have you been making music or been involved in music for and why?
Some friends of mine and I started jamming around 1996. After a friend of mine taught me a couple of Sepultura and Metallica riffs I was pretty much sold. Before that I had no interest in instruments at all. Actually, after music class at school I told myself I would never hold a guitar in my hands again, unless it was with the sole purpose of destroying it. We were inspired by bands such as Morbid Angel, Sepultura, Samael and Enslaved, and we were pretty much self taught. We took the name V:O:I:D. In 1998 we split up due to military service and all of us moved in different directions. In 2000 I started working with some ideas on my own. I got a lot of help from a friend of mine, the master mind behind the legendary black metal band Manes, so I got started using drum machines and different music programs. That took the music in a far more experimental. Around that time I hooked up with Eddie and another companion, and we started a band from the remains of what was discontinued in 1998. We did a few demos, and it was great to see things finally shaping up and sound decent. Unfortunately the vocalist at that time was involved in a car accident, so he had to split. In 2002 Eddie and I formed V:28. It was pretty much a continuation of V:O:I:D, but with a far more focused musical vision. I was getting more confident writing music, and things headed in a more industrial and mechanical direction. Later that year we recorded the first V:28 demo, Time Is Empty, which lead to a contract with Vendlus Records. I’ve always been very interested in music, but at the age of 15 I had no intentions of making music on my own. I guess it was something that just came along with the increasing interest in music.
2) What bands have you been in and what can you tell us a little bit about each one?
V:28 is by far the most important and ambitious band I've been in, and is definitely my biggest achievement as a musician. The band was formed in 2002 and discontinued in 2008. We released a trilogy of albums with the concept of the World coming to an end. The concept wasn't you're average "epic apocalyptic story", but more an insight into different aspects of it, trying to reach the listener and get them to portray their own vision of it. At the end of the bands existence Cold Meat Industry released a V:28 remix album with different artists remixing and interpreting our tracks. We did several shows, most of them in Norway, and in 2008 we did a farewell tour, where we also hit the European continent. The tour concluded with a special show in our hometown, marking the end of the band. www.v28.com and www.myspace.com/v28band
Kristoffer Nyströms Orkester is a collaborative project between Peter Nyström (Megaptera, Negru Voda, etc…) and me. It wasn't planned at all, but was a result of a jam session after a gig he did in Norway the summer of 2005. The jam session ended up as our debut album, brakeHEAD, and was released by Malignant Records in 2006. We just finished with our second album, entitled Overlook Hotel, which will be out in October 2011, first as a limited edition vinyl and later on as CD. Both formats will have unique tracks, making both formats mandatory! Definitely a release to keep an eye out for! www.myspace.com/knoprojekt and www.malignantrecords.com
In 2008 I got in touch with Leech of Navicon Torture Technologies, and we hit of quite well. We did a collaboration with NTT and KNO, and as a result a new band was born; Suffering Bodies. The process of making the music has been long and a bit “on and off”, but I think we’ve ended up with a great result. There will be a MCD out on Annihilvs Power Electronix later this year. www.annihilvs.org
Plague Machinery is a sort of solo project of mine. It’s a sort of “playground” where I can experiment and do stuff I normally wouldn’t do under any of the other projects I’m involved in. I’ve done a few remixes and some collaboration under that moniker, but it’s nothing I’m using a lot of energy at the moment. The last thing I did was a track featured on the Negru Voda CD “Våld De Luxe”, which was released the spring of 2011. www.soundcloud.com/oustad (also a lot of other projects I’m involved in)
Last but definitely not least is Öeth. A band formed by Nordvargr (MZ.412, Folkstorm, Econocon, HH9, Toroidh etc…) and Ulvtharm (MZ.412, Econocon, etc…) and me back in 2009. It’s been on hiatus since then, but the beast is finally moving! The music is very powerful, electronic and industrial. A vital injection of balls into the alternative music scene! www.nordvargr.com
3) What is the music scene like in your area?
The scene for rock and metal music in my area have been quite active in periods, while close to dead in other periods, but there’s always been a core of key persons keeping the flame alive. Arendal Rockklubb, the local rock club, is celebrating its 30th year anniversary this year, and it’s actually the oldest rock club in Norway. They’re also releasing a double vinyl featuring artist that has played an important role for the scene over the last 30 years, and I’m glad that V:28 were asked to take part on the release. The release is set to mid December this year, and I think the vinyl is limited to 250 copies.
4) What is your favorite performance on stage? Any funny behind the scenes stuff?
I think the release concert for the SoulSaviour album is the best show we’ve ever done. Not technically, far from it, but the atmosphere and crowd was just insane. It was in our hometown Arendal in Norway, which hadn’t had a decent metal gig for many years, and apparently there was a strong need for it! The gig we did at the Hole In The Sky festival in 2003 was very special, sharing stage with Samael, Enslaved, Satyricon, Gorgoroth to mention a few. Luckily we had the honor of playing on the opening night, so we were more or less keeping the after party going for the next three days, ending it with killing off one of the most expensive trees in Bergen. I think that became our trade mark in Bergen, haha! The World Wide Bombing Tour in 2008 was also a dream coming true. Touring across Europe was something I wouldn’t have missed for the World. Meeting fans that had followed us for many years gives an extra kick when performing. We also had a very pleasant stay in the Champagne district when we had a few days off, so we got to experience some of the best out of the French kitchen. And yes, they do eat frogs… and so did we. The farewell gig in Oslo together with Enslaved was also very special. They are great friends, and our debut concert was together with them, so ending it that way felt very cool. They cycle is complete! While you’re on the road you develop the strangest kind of humor, end up in situations weirder than you could ever imagine, meet all kinds of strange people and at times it feels like you’re on an audition for the next generation of The Twilight Zone.
5) Alright, I got your CD SoulSaviour from a teacher of mine, a computer teacher, 6 or 7 years ago, he said "I got this for free at a music festival. You will like this..." I said, hmmm, I hope! lol! Then I got on the bus, went home, went in my basement, threw your CD in, and BAM!!!! Been a fan ever since! But it seems you don’t have a lot of known followers to me in the USA??? All my friends got into them because of me. I have yet to find ONE guy that knows them that haven’t got to know you guys through me... not one! lol am I the only New Yorker that knows you guys? There must be more, but I haven’t met one person yet, they all say “hmmmm… who’s that?” or they say “hmmm… sounds like that drink to me”. Morons, haha! It must be hard to get a wide spread bombing across all countries is it?!?! lol
I’m really glad you’re doing your part of getting the gospel spread in the USA, haha! It’s a tough job getting the name out there and you have to have a lot of resources, primarily money, to get the job done. Personally I hoped for a better promotion from the label, and there are limits to what you can do yourself. All of us have a “normal” day job, so time is a limited resource as well. However, it seems like most of the people we get to are really dedicated, and I prefer a few dedicated fans rather than tons of superficial ones.
6) What can you tell me about your project "Kristoffer Nyströms Orkester" and what does it bring to the table musically, and how does it differ from your previous band V:28? I’m excited to hear this project.
Kristoffer Nyströms Orkester was the result of a jam session with me and Peter Nyström, like I told earlier in the interview. The whole process of composing is very different from that of V:28, which was way more structured and didn't give that much room for improvising. In KNO the focus is almost 100 % on the atmosphere, and there are no melodies... Then again, V:28 has a very cinematic and atmospheric feeling to it, so there are definitely some resemblances too. For me personally, KNO was a breath of fresh air, as I'd been working exclusively with V:28 for about four years and it was a completely new way of approaching music. The first album just came along as we improvised, and neither of us had any visions or ideas on how things would end up. Actually, it wasn't until some months later we realized we should complete the recordings and send out a promo to a few people. The response was overwhelming, and Malignant Records offered us a contract immediately. People should check out www.malignantrecords.com during October for updates and samples.
get cd here: Kristoffer Nyströms Orkester - Brakehead (Malignant: TumorCD25) COPY PASTE URL http://www.malignantrecords.com/search.mpl?cat=1&alpha=K
7) What is "Suffering Bodies"? A new project or band as well? It sounds like an old school death metal band just from the name.
Suffering Bodies is a collaborative effort between Francesco Gemelli (Eidvlon) and Leech (Navicon Torture Technologies, Theologian, Körperwelten, Love Is Nothing, etc…) and me. The music is extremely heavy electronic drone based black metal with industrial themes combined in a bitter cold ambient soundscape. Keep checking in at www.annihilvs.org for updates!
8) What has the online world done for you and what has it done good promotion wise for all your bands? Has it been a good outlet for sales, and fans and contacts in which you couldn’t get unless otherwise, or is it the opposite?
Hard to say. Obviously the internet makes promotion easier, but then again you have tons of bands “struggling the battle” which makes it easier to drown in between other bands. I guess it all comes down to the work and resources you put into promotion and getting the attention you deserve. Normally hard work pays off… even in the music industry, hehe!
9) What do you think of the generation of today? iPods or hard form? It seems we are getting our ass kicked and being called old men if we own a vinyl.
Hard ware! Period! One of the many problems with the mp3 and streaming format is that people tend to skip back and forth between tracks, artists and albums all the time. That way you lose what I consider to be the ultimate listening experience; the continuity and entirety of an album. Most of the music I listen to requires the listener to listen to the album from beginning to end to get the whole picture. That being said; a lot of the main stream music is made in order to become one hit wonders and "stand alone tracks", but normally that kind of music doesn't interest me. Also, people should keep in mind that artists, record labels, producers, etc. are dependent on getting paid for the job they do, just like any other job, and therefore I think it's important to support the music industry, mainstream or underground. If they don't get paid for their work, they cannot continue making and releasing music. There’s also the visual aspect of having the hard copy. I myself still enjoy picking up a vinyl or CD and read the liner notes, lyrics etc. when listening to the album. Nostalgia de luxe!
10) What bands have you played with and enjoyed sharing the stage with?
Enslaved, Samael, Red Harvest, Code, Gorgoroth, Satyricon, and Cadaver Inc. to mention a few.
11) What is life like in Norway and how did you get involved in music? You grew up during the black metal scene, if I am correct, or was this later in your life because you’re older? (early 90s)
Life in Norway is great! Great welfare, job opportunities, schools and so on. I have no reason to complain even though we all have some things that we want to change. That being said, I think it’s important so see things from a greater perspective from time to time. I was always very fascinated by music, but when I discovered Metallica in 1989 I was pretty much sold. From there I explored the extreme metal genre and it was actually by accident that I got into black metal. I was tape trading with a friend of mine and he was supposed to send me some Morbid Angel stuff. Which I thought was pretty insane in the early nineties. When I got the tape it was with the now legendary Emperor and Enslaved split EP. I had to give it about 20 listens before I started to get into it. I think there were only about five people from where I lived that listened to black metal in the early nineties. All the church burnings and murderers got a lot of attention in the media and black metal was definitely a big taboo at that time. So in a small city there wasn’t much room for tolerance and I guess most people listening to black metal felt a bit alienated, even though one were only into it solely for the music. Along with the metal music I’ve always been very fascinated by electronic ambient music. The fact that black metal, especially Emperor and Enslaved had a lot of these eerie atmospheric electronic elements opened many doors for me. However, one of my greatest discoveries was when a friend of mine sent me a tape with various Swans tracks. It was some sort of missing link, and everything just felt 100 % right with Swans. Best band in the World!
12) What style or guitars do you play that you enjoy the most and how long have you been a “guitar guy"?
I have a Hamer Slammer Series that I’ve been faithful to for over 13 years now. It’s a classic “metal guitar” and I’m very happy with it and fit my style of playing very well. I wouldn’t consider myself a “guitar guy” and I have no interest in showing off or “wank” my guitar. Over the years I’ve been focusing more and more on the sound and feeling rather than technique. I mean; who wants to listen to some everlasting solo when the song in itself it total crap?
13) What is your life like outside of music? Hobbies? Things you enjoy doing? Beer you like to drink? Just name it.
I've been mountain biking for many years, but the activity has been up and down, haha! Anyway, the last years I've been catching up on it, and it's a great way to get out in the nature, great exercise and great for recreational purposes. Also, I believe it's very healthy to be at one with the nature, not only the physical aspects of it, but also the psychological aspects. After all, that's where we all came from, and I think it's important to take care of it, rather than denying it (hello Christianity!). Besides that I like scuba diving. It's a fascinating world down there and it's awesome just drifting around weightless, like some sort of astronaut. I also have great interest in drinks and food, and preparing a better meal can be great fun. And most important; the chef needs to have a good drink or two along with the cooking to make it right. I enjoy many sorts of drinks, but I'm a sucker for "hand crafted" beer, and India Pale Ale being my favorite. Actually, we have a local brewery where I live, Nøgne Ø (translates: Naked Island), that has won a lot of international awards for their beer. And I can assure you; it's magic in a bottle! Try looking it up in the States, I know they do a lot of export.
14) What do you think the future holds for the apocalyptic year of 2012 if you think it is if any?
The phenomenon in itself is interesting, but I don’t think it’s “the end” as it’s been portrayed in tons of lousy Hollywood productions and family friendly entertainment. I’ve always had a fascination for doomsday prophecies, but I’m starting to get fed up by all the focus on December 21st 2012. One can interpret old scripts in so many ways, and I bet Nostradamus is laughing his ass off while “doomsday preachers” is using his writings for all it’s worth. What I do find interesting is that NASA has more or less confirmed some of the planets alignment that the Mayan Indians foretold if I’m not mistaken. Most people seem to fail in understanding the true meaning of the word “apocalypse”. It doesn’t necessarily mean “the end” or “the destruction of the World as we know it”, but rather “change” or “uncover”. What that holds, might be something we won’t notice until many years after it’s actually taken place. Mother Earth is dynamic, and change is something that shaped her into what she is today ever since her birth. It would be naive to think that that we are the “main character” in this play. We’re just a fraction on the universal time scale, like a blink of an eye on a human time scale. Besides that, the phenomenon seems to be a gold mine for power and money hungry “brain washing communities” to recruit new members.
15) What do you get out of your life today which seems different compared to how it was 10 or 20 years ago? Do you feel accomplished or feel you laid down the goals you ever dreamed of or strive for more?
Focus changes as you grow older, and as you reach the goals you set, there’s always new goals rising on the horizon. Things that was very important years ago aren’t necessarily that important today. That’s simply called living, and what makes life interesting!
16) Do you still work with LRZ?
I still keep in touch with LRZ, but we haven't worked together since the demise of V:28. We almost considered him the fourth member of V:28, and I'm eternally grateful for the excellent job he's done for the band. He's very skillful and in many ways we have the same way of thinking music, and when it comes to challenges he eats them like crackers. It's been a pleasure having him along the ride!
17) What can you tell the readers of this zine to do today to help you out with your music and who do you like to thank or give a shout out to before we close this interview and I am very glad to have you be part of my zine e-book in its final chapter. This zine has had a long run, the pdf document will be constructed and up for download (I’ll send you a link) just I feel it’s time to give it a rest, need to focus on my own music. I wish you great luck, and if there is anything you need, give me a whistle! ;) Thank you sir!!! You’re a influence of mine and a very talented guy. It’s been great and have a great move! :) \m/ SUPPORT THE UNDERGROUND!!!! \m/
Thanks for the kind words and the interview! Be sure to check out www.soundcloud.com/oustad for lots of tracks from my projects.