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Theatre Of Tragedy interview (03/2006)

With: Lorentz [Keyboards]
Conducted by: KwonVerge
Published: 30.03.2006

Band profile:

Theatre Of Tragedy

- First of all I'd like to thank you for the interview and also for your recent appearance on Athens, Greece!

Thank you very much. It was great to be back in Greece. Really enjoyed it.

- How did you find the Greek audience and what's you opinion on your appearance? I personally liked the way you performed, the only problem I noticed was your sound that wasn't as good as someone would expect, but that wasn't your fault, right?

There were some problems with the soundsystems during the whole day. One just need not to focus on that and concentrate on playing. But that apart it was very nice to play, except for one of us sadly was a bit too heavy on the Ouzo, but I think everything was ok. The Greek audience is very appreciative and therefore extremely fun to play for. Hope it won't take too long before we are back for our next concerts.

- My only complaint would be the fact that you didn't play something from "Theatre Of Tragedy" and that you played only "And When He Falleth" from "Velvet Darkness They Fear", I was expecting more compositions from those two albums. But you paid great tribute to "Aegis" with "Cassandra", "Lorelei", "Venus" etc so you paid back in a way.

We were supposed to play songs from that album as well, but it was set up as extra song and since nobody seemed to want a extra songs we didn't play it. Sorry about that. We try to play songs from our whole career on our live shows. On our tour now we will play 2 songs from VDTF and many songs from our new album. But also songs from all of the others as well.

- The bass lines where pre-recorded on your live show? I didn't notice someone playing the bass guitar, that's why I'm asking. Have you found the ideal person to feel the empty space of the bass guitarist?

After changing 4 guitarists and going to have one session guitarist for the tour now, we don't feel like
"rehearsing" yet another member to the band. It would be absolutely best to have a live bass player and a full member on bass. But heck we are 6 people already and all the work that comes with rehearsing no one feels like doing it. The bass on the album was recorded by an extremely professional guy. He played everything in one day and it was the best bass I've ever heard.
As for the liveshow. The guitartech on side of the stage really liked some of our songs and took a bass in hand and played along just for kicks.

- We will talk more about Nell as the interview flows, but I just wanted to state that she interpreted the songs where Liv Kristine Espanaes used to sing in the most appropriate way, respecting the original vocal lines but also lending to the songs something of her own magic. Is there a plan of a DVD or live cd on the flow with Nell on the vocals so that more people will bear witness of how your older songs sound with Nell on the vocals?

Thank you, I will tell her you said that. She will be happy. If everything goes well on the tour and the album goes well there might be an opportunity to make a DVD, but we need everything to be tip top before we do it. We don't want release a DVD just to release it. It needs to contain lots of good material and produced in a decent way.

- Almost 3 years have passed since your latest full-length release, "Assembly", I guess we must be prepared for something really good and something different after such a long time of waiting. Tell us a few words concerning your forth-coming album.

We really put ourselves back to basic. We tried out making the songs in the simplest way possible in order to keep the atmosphere more to the original idea of the song. We also played around much more in the rehearsal room instead of programming every bits and piece. SO it was yet another different way of working, but it was a good way for us to produce the songs and work with them.

- What should someone expect from the atmosphere of "Storm"?

It is much more of the good old ToT atmosphere on the songs. I think we found a bit back to the melancholy which has always been known to ToT, but the album sounds very dark and modern at the same time. I think people will pe positively surprised when they listen to it.

- Two of the three songs you played live, "Fade" and "Storm" if I recall correctly the names, were two beautiful and emotional pieces of atmospheric metal music and made me have some really big expectations from the band. And now that I know how Theatre Of Tragedy sound with Nell I have no fears about the female vocals, not that I had, but I was curious how Theatre Of Tragedy would sound with her.

If you liked these songs you will definitely like the album. Much of songs are in the same vein as these. Nell produced some fabulous vocals for the album so I guess you are in for a treat.

- How is the production of "Storm" going to be? Heavier trying to show the more metal side of the album or softer trying to strengthen the atmospheric side of it? Or something in between? Are you pleased with the outcome of the production?

We are very pleased with the production. The sound is exactly what we wanted. So the producer and mixer did a perfect job in order to bring this album to one of the best we have ever made soundwise. It is much more organic, punching and heavier than the previous ones. We kept it simpler, based most of the songs around drums, bass, guitar, piano and vocals. But added extra sounds where it felt necessary.

- The lyrical part has been a really important factor concerning your first three releases, yet, suddenly your lyrics became really simplistic and quite different on "Musique" and "Assembly". Are your lyrics going to be more affected and poetic this time?

It is more poetic this time, but quite simple and cryptic. It is much more metaphors in the lyrics and you can see the songs as 10 short stories coming together in a book.

- The role of Raymond on your two previous releases was specific and actually limited. I guess the time has come for him once again to play a more vivid role in the vocal part once again. Is there a chance of hearing male grunting vocals like on your first two releases? Will we have the chance to hear him interpreting in a more singing way?

Well Raymond is still limited to his own wishes. There are no grunts on this album as we only saw one song fitting to do grunts, but in the end it ended up with distorted vocals in order to keep things more on one track kinda.
Raymond always do whatever he wants and nobody actually knows what he wants so it is going to be fun to see what he comes up with in the future.

- How does it feel working with Nell? I think that the new chapter in the history of Theatre Of Tragedy is opening in the most appropriate way!

Yes, she is a dream to work with. Or better to say that it is hard work. She demands a lot and gives a lot. And it is very challenging and creative working with her, which is a good thing. For us boys in the band this has been a very good experience and we just hopes it will continue for many more years.

- Nell is only an interpreter or has offered to the band in the compositions as well? Also, will she continue with The Crest?

She is still in The Crest, but the workload is much bigger in ToT, so most of the time is spent doing ToT things.
In The Crest Nell is only a singer. But in ToT she is very involved in the songwriting with every member so there is much more work in the songmaking process.

- Recently you gave some of your songs for the PC game "Manhattan Chase". How did this come true? Is there any possibility in the near or far future to give some of your songs or compose new ones for a movie/another PC game or something else?

It would be a heck of a lot of fun to make music for a movies or game.
The Manhattan Chase we didn't know about. WE just got a message from Nuclear Blast that they licensed the music for the game. It was fun playing the game with your own music in the speakers. Cool!!

- Concerning "Musique" and "Assembly", a big part of the metal audience was disappointed with the change you made on these two albums. I, personally, think that they were two interesting albums where you harmonized elements from the EBM/Industrial scene with guitars. What¡¦s your point of view on the sound of these two releases and the feedback, positive and negative, you got? In my opinion an open mind and good mood for something different is needed to truly appreciate them, something that the metal audience is not willing to have some times.

The metal audience might be the hardest to get through sometimes. They all like to be so TRUE Metal that they cannot have anything fuck with their music in a different way. I might sound a bit harsh and fed up but we receive so much piss after releasing these albums. We needed to make these albums and I still enjoy them a lot, (for instance if you like driving your car in 100 km/h Assembly is the best album you can do it too.. ) But it was still the same guys just trying out new stuff as we have always done during our whole career until now maybe. WE make music for ourselves and ourselves only, if we would follow most of our fans wishes and record companies wishes we would still be making gothicmetal with female voices from Norway and have nude women with roses on the cover. I don't find that very exciting really.

- Back then in the 1995-1996 era you gave your light to something new (something that was existing in a primary form on parts of Paradise Lost's "Gothic") where male grunting vocals harmonize with ethereal female singing along with an intense dramatic and poetic aesthetic, atmospherically and musically. How did it feel being such an innovative act back then?

We didn't feel innovative, but very happy to have the possibility to record our own music and release it on CD. When we started out the scene was very small and since we had some success in the beginning we became "the new wave" People enjoyed what we were doing and soon many bands followed.

- When everyone started lending elements or even copying your poetic gothic/doom metal era you had the guts to change. How did this change occur back then and how did it feel knowing that what you achieved became so influencial?

It feels strange to be seen as an influential band, also since many bands have bigger success than us it seems like strange to be mentioned as an inspiration.
We needed to change our way of expressing ourselves because that was the way we still could have the music exciting and fun. What happens happens, we put our own wishes first always, but we knew we would have reactions and of course it was not fun to be called sellouts and stuff like that. But we knew if we continued in the path we had earlier we really would have been sellouts, because then we would make music for others than ourselves.

- "Aegis" as an album is an ode to woman, a fragile, poetic and at the same time deeply atmospheric album, a piece of Art that seems to stand on its own in the world of atmospheric, generally speaking, metal. What do you recall from these days?

It was an album that we worked very much with. We started making songs more in the directions of rockmusic. And it was exciting to try, yet difficult in some ways. You need to get things to sound much more interesting because the the repetition of things occur much more than in complex metal songs. We also wanted this to be a concept album of lost love, both sound and lyrical wise. I think we achieved that, it is a very well worked through album.

- What I liked in the course of the band so far was that your "Theatre Of Tragedy"-"Aegis" period had a sense of older times, whereas your "Musique"-"Assembly" period had a more futuristic approach. Quite a contradictive course, showing two different sides of the same band. What should we expect now, what new lies up ahead for the sound of the band? Are there any fields unexplored for you that you¡¦d like to embody in the sound of the band?

This time around we were trying to find ourselves comfortable. Maybe more explore the idea of keeping everything as basic and simple as possible. And just work around the initial idea with basic instruments. Not explore too much within the musical universe of sounds, styles and technology. I cannot say what will happen in the future, but I have to say that we are very comfortable within this style we are now.

- Concluding, what's your opinion on some Norwegian acts that I will mention?
-Funeral: Never heard
-The 3rd And The Mortal: big inspiration for us in the start I like the first ep, first album and third album very much.
-Paradigma: Never heard
-Beyond Dawn: Liked the first album. The second had some very good parts but it became a bit too artsfartsy for my taste.
-Tristania: Good band, a bit too much of everything at times, but in general good.
-Trail Of Tears: Never heard.

- That¡¦s all from me, I wish you all the best and I really can't wait for "Storm" to come out and see you once again live in Greece, but as headliners! I have really big expectations and I think that the new album will bring a "storm" of emotions! Hail! End the interview in any way you like!

Thank you very much for taking time to make the interview. We are really happy that we could come down to Greece and play. Hope it won't take too much time for the next show. And keep the Ouzo away from us.. It is dangerous...!!!!

Many thanks to Lorentz, TOT and to Jérôme @ Underclass Music

Posted on 30.03.2006 by "It is myself I have never met, whose face is pasted on the underside of my mind."


Comments: 3   Visited by: 18 users
02.06.2006 - 04:34
Bitch Boy

Interesting. Also it's good news they're considering the possibility to release a DVD or live CD with Nell in the vocals performing TOT's older songs. In the other hand, I have great expectations for this coming album, but also I'm prepared for a desillusion

By the way, I found very funny the fact that Lorentz haven't ever heard Funeral or Trial Of Tears

Thank you for the interview.
03.06.2006 - 03:55

Interesting how they never heard of Trail of Tears...ahah.

humm, lets see...Theatre Of Tragedy changed the Gothic scene and sculpted to their own liking. at the same time, they shaped doom. yet it sucks how this band isnt half as famous as all other bands that came after this band and did the exact same thing as Theatr Of Tragedy, yet got more fame. oh well, shit happens i guess

now get on your knees and worship me!
-Zakk Wylde
08.01.2008 - 01:32

It is common in the Art world that some invents something new, either a technique or a concept, and then the follow ups have more success, cause they perfect it.

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