Vulture Industries interview (12/2018)
|With:||Bjørnar Erevik Nilsen, Øyvind Madsen|
After attending Metal Gates Festival in Bucharest, I was about to attend Haywire Festival in Timișoara as well, which would mean I will have seen Vulture Industries twice, a week apart, so five times in total. We reached out to them to have a little chat. Being the first festival bracelet owner, the venue gave me the ceremonial beer and palinka shot that they give to people who arrive for opening bands. After waiting a bit for Bjørnar to set up the merch stand, he takes me backstage where Eivind is sleeping with earphones (he does wake up at some point) and Øyvind is ready for the interview. Obviously it being the backstage of a somewhat small venue, we were often interrupted by either folks going to the fridge or the sound of sound-checks, but that didn't stop me from getting 70 minutes worth of interview material and the burden of having to transcribe that through so much background noise and Norwegian banter.
Radu Pătroiu: So, you've came to Romania quite often, since I've seen you four times, soon to be five, in the last few years. And I even missed one concert. What makes you keep coming back?
Bjørnar Nilsen: The audience.
Øyvind Madsen: Great crowds.
Bjørnar Nilsen: People always come to our gigs in Romania so we always come to our gigs.
RP: Yeah, we like you a lot here.
BN: People come to the gigs and we really enjoy playing in Romania. And I think there's also something in kind of the Romanian spirit that matches our music.
BN: And that makes it work. So that makes it worthwhile for us to come back and have some sort of connection with the people here. We toured a lot with bands from Romania like Dordeduh and we have a very strong working relationship with Costin Chioreanu, so it's like our second home.
RP: Yeah, you have a certain connection with Romania, especially with Costin Chioreanu and Edmond Karban. Can you tell us about how that came to be?
BN: Well then we'd have to go back to the days of Ceaușescu. (*laughs*) No, I'm kidding.
ØM: I guess that with Edmond, first time we met him was in Germany.
BN: Yeah it was at Festung Bitterfeld. Then he was touring with Negură Bunget.
ØM: We met backstage.
RP: So when was that exactly?
BN: I think it was on the second tour we did ever.
BN: Yeah. Or 2008.
ØM: The first one was 2008 and the second one was started in 2008 so maybe it was 2008.
BN: 2008-2009. Quite a long time ago. And we got a good connection and met from time to time.
ØM: And once again in Oslo at Inferno Festival.
BN: Yeah, that was in 2009. And somehow from there it developed into a friendship. And... how did it come about, the tour together?
ØM: I think it started with some backstage talk and we found out we share much of the same points of view.
RP: Usually when backstage plans say "Hey, let's do this" it never actually happens. I'm glad it actually did.
BN: Plans started in bars, very few see the light of day. But sometimes magic happens. But yeah, we've been meeting Edmond regularly since we've started.
ØM: Yeah, at least once a year.
BN: Yeah, more and more often since we've started playing here in Romania. And following the tour we did together we had this idea that it would be nice to have an external guy in to help produce the new album.
RP: And when was that? With The Tower or Stranger Times?
BN: Stranger Times. And I guess we figured out that Edmond is... some people are quite afraid of objecting to me. You [Øyvind] are not and Edmond is not but some people are somehow. And we figured Edmond can do it. Because we don't mind that he says what he means.
ØM: He's not afraid of arguing.
BN: But it was good. It was good. (*pause*) With Costin, we met him at Dark Bombastic Evening, I think it was the second time we played there. It was in the fortress in Alba Iulia. He had an exhibition there.
ØM: 2011 I think. First one was in 2010.
RP: So you played there in 2011?
BN: Yes. It was the first time we played when it was outside.
RP: So you had played in Romania before 2011.
BN: I think the first one was Dark Bombastic Evening inside.
ØM: It was called Silver Church, the club in Bucharest where we played. I'm not sure if it was '10 or '11.
BN: It was after we released The Malefactor's Bloody Register.
ØM: That was in '09, so it must've been in '10.
RP: Ok, so you have somewhat of a long history with us.
RP: Ok, so you met him there.
BN: Yeah, I went to his exhibition which was inside the fortress. And I started talking with him. And we realized there's some sort of mutual admiration. I really liked his art and he really liked our music. And when we started working on the concept and music for The Tower, we figured out that for this one we need to do an illustration, we had done photos on the cover arts before that, for this one we needed to do an illustration. Who could do this for us? This Romanian guy we met just might be perfect for this. And we completely matched, he really gets our ideas without having to really explain them too much. We can just show him the lyrics, show him music, talk a bit about it, and then what he comes up from it is usually perfect on the first draft. From time to time, maybe once or twice, we changed a few details but most of it is like perfect on the first draft. Like the animation he did for "Lost Among Liars", for example. It blew us away and there was nothing to fix.
RP: So most of the concepts for the videos and the artwork, they come from him.
BN: They come from Costin, yeah. It's just us funneling stuff to him and it's completely up to his mind.
RP: Last week I saw you at Metal Gates Festival and you made a bruise on my eyebrow while crowd-surfing.
BN: Oh, sorry about that.
RP: But it was my fault, I really didn't coordinate well.
RP: And you played with a different drummer. Is it a new member or a temporary fill-in?
BN: Temporary fill-in. Tor, our permanent drummer, he just changed day jobs, so it was difficult for him to take time off.
ØM: We are not rockstars yet, we have normal jobs.
BN: But we found Sondre [Veland] to step in, he is a fantastic guy and a great drummer. He normally plays in Major Parkinson, Ossicles and also Dobbeltgjenger, which are quite different from what we are doing, but there are some links to Major Parkinson, I guess, even though what we are doing is more metal. He's got all the experience needed and it's been good to have him on tour.
ØM: He's professional.
RP: How was the Russian tour?
ØM: I think it was great. Moscow was really good. Also St Petersburg. We need to go back.
BN: Moscow was pretty packed, I'd say. It wasn't a big venue but we had like 150 which is good for our first show there. And the venue was perfectly sized. Great crowd and great atmosphere. Very friendly people. We sold lots of shirts, which are kind of mocking propaganda posters from the old Stalin era, so we were not sure that they would like it, but they did.
RP: Or if you were allowed to sell it.
BN: Yeah. (*laughs*)
RP: Did you have any logistic or legal problems?
ØM: No, actually it was kind of smooth. The last time we went to Russia, in 2013, it took a lot of time to get into Russia. With all the papers and it took a lot of time.
BN: By then we were waiting for eight hours at the border for the border patrol to let us there.
BN: And it seemed like customs officials were kind of waiting for you to give them something to have to make them work faster, but we had no idea to go about stuff like that.
ØM: They wanted to be payed off. We didn't so we had to wait.
RP: I think I remember a news-story from a while ago, our border services expecting bribes from AC/DC when they came here.
BN: Oh, okay (*laughs*)
RP: So it's mostly an Eastern European problem, the corruption is in our blood.
BN: (*laughs*) I think we all have a bit of corruption in our blood.
RP: Ours is more money related.
BN: Yeah, but sometimes it works with us just giving out a couple a shirts.
RP: OK, I'm waiting for you to give me one. [They didn't]
BN: (*laughs*) You have to get a different job.
ØM: It was in Serbia or Hungary that we gave some shirts to the customers.
RP: You recently released Red Tape, a collection of all your four records on cassette, why did you choose to release it at this point in your career and why on this format?
ØM: I wouldn't say we chose to.
BN: It was just that the opportunity presented itself, a small Czech label approached as and said if we wanted to do it and we said why not.
RP: So the idea didn't come from you.
BN: No, but when I presented it to Costin he said "Yeah, fantastic! That's my favorite format!"
RP: Cassette… (*laughs*)
BN: Yeah! (*laughs*)
ØM: (*laughs*) It's crap but it's cool.
RP: It's cool because it's crap.
BN: It's cool because it's nostalgic.
RP: Yeah, there's more credibility to it.
ØM: We grew up listening to cassette tapes, so for us it's a nostalgic thing.
RP: Yeah, I can guess.
BN: When I was a kid I was buying these really cheap overstock Eurovision song contest tapes and I would tape over the whole song and record other stuff on top of it.
ØM: And you would have an Eurovision song (*sings*) and then yours (*laughs*)
RP: It seems like vinyl has seen more of a nostalgic resurgence than cassettes do.
BN: Yeah, definitely so.
RP: I haven't seen you bringing cassettes here.
ØM: No, it's a really limited edition.
RP: So maybe in the future you're going to release the box set on different formats?
BN: Yes maybe, thinking a bit about it, but it's between two different labels, so that's a good one… but it would be cool!
ØM: Different formats? What kind of formats?
RP: Different colored vinyl.
BN: We have the latest two albums on some different color vinyl, the last one is on red, blue, yellow and black. The Tower I think's it's white, green and black.
RP: So we're still waiting for pink ones (*laughs*).
BN: Yes, you can wait for quite a bit. (*laughs*)
RP: You've released a few demos and EPs before The Dystopia Journals. Are there any plans to make those available again in physical format?
ØM: I don't see any reason why we should make them available. Those who have them can enjoy them, but I don't see any reason to release them again.
BN: You can find them on the internet if you want to listen to them.
RP: I know, I found them on the internet. There's not really an issue with that.
BN: It's a bit like digging up the past.
ØM: To us, they're not good.
RP: Maybe to your fans they are.
ØM: Yeah, but they can find them on the internet. If some label wants to release them...
BN: If somebody out there wants to release our old demos, they are free to do so [You hear that, labels?].
RP: Because I've seen a lot of bands coming up with compilations of their demos, so that they can be all found and put on the same format.
BN: Yeah, but I think some bands are overdoing that.
ØM: And I don't see any reason at all to do that.
BN: We focus on our new stuff.
RP: Stranger Times is a bit over one year old. Have you made any plans for a follow-up yet?
BN: Yes, we are working on new songs now and we will probably start rehearsing new material early next year. And when the next full-length will be released, it's difficult to say yet. But we will try to be quicker this time.
ØM: We're trying to get two or three years between albums. I think the songs should be finished during '19.
RP: Well take your time, there isn't really that much of a rush. We'd rather have a good album than a rushed one.
ØM: We're not gonna release it before it's good enough anyways.
BN: Definitely not, but when we focus and start working intensely for a period of time, then things tend to come together. So I'm not really worried about the quality of the material and having enough, it's just having the time to put things into work. I've been doing some songwriting these days, so I think it will be fine.
RP: So you did have time to do some songwriting.
BN: Yeah, I've been working a bit lately. Getting new ideas and writing it down.
RP: So it's gonna sound like the rest of them?
BN: Like the rest of the albums?
ØM: You never know. Probably not.
BN: Probably not.
RP: Hopefully not.
BN: (*laughs*) No, we don't see the point of doing the same album all over again.
ØM: We're not Iron Maiden. That's their job.
BN: Yeah, or AC/DC. They do their stuff, it's fun. No, it will surely be different. But it's very difficult to say with these thing because things, when you start out making an album, they move in different directions and then after a while, when things start to come together you can see that there is actually some common direction to this stuff. You just need to get the bulk of the material together, sort it, and then you see a clear direction.
RP: You have another project besides Vulture Industries. Black Hole Generator, with which you also recently released an album. How was the album received by the public compared to Vulture Industries material?
BN: As compared to Vulture Industries? I guess the reviews were pretty good and the feedback was good but, of course, it's two very different projects. Black Hole Generator is not a live band and it's not a steady lineup, so you don't do so much with it. You don't tour with it and it doesn't get the same level of exposure as you do as a touring active band. But it was something that I've had lying around for quite some time and really felt the need to finalize and get out of my system.
ØM: It's been lying for many many years.
BN: And now it'd out of my system so it's good. I don't see myself doing another Black Hole Generator anytime soon, but let's see.
RP: That's kind of a shame.
BN: It's fun to do it but...
RP: It doesn't pay off as well as...
BN: It's not about the pay off...
RP: Pay off doesn't necessarily mean just money.
BN: No no, but Vulture Industries is how we want to spend our time and also what kind of creative forces build up inside of you and what you need to let out and for my sake, at the moment, I feel that I got out most of the stuff that I want through Vulture Industries so I don't need to have another alternative outlet at the moment, which I had a bit in the past. Maybe someday we do something more with Black Hole Generator but for the last couple of years before that album was released, it felt more like this unfinished homework that you had to do. I wanted to do it, but it felt like this unfinished thing that you had lying around and you had some obligation towards it, while Vulture Industries was the main priority. So now I've done that and I will do some Vulture Industries for a while.
RP: Looking up your project online, we are instantly struck by pictures of you with hooks in your face. How did you choose that aesthetic and how painful was it?
BN: (*laughs*) It wasn't very painful, because it's just latex on top of your skin and then you put the hooks through those.
RP: Ah, so you're a poser.
BN: Oh yeah! (*laughs*)
ØM: Full time!
RP: OK, and how did you choose to do that?
BN: Now I think the idea was...
ØM: It's actually something you did many many many years ago. You told me a band you had long before Vulture Industries.
BN: Yeah yeah yeah, when I was like 15-16 years old, I did this and put like wire through it to make it look like that.
ØM: It was an old idea.
BN: But the origin of that idea was from the Hellraiser movies or something like that. I'm not sure, it's from a long time back. Somewhere in the 90s.
RP: And do you think you'll ever perform live with Black Hole Generator? Either performing those songs live or with the project.
BN: Most of that stuff isn't made to be played live but at one point...
RP: Maybe just a one-off festival appearance.
BN: Maybe we do like one song or two songs with Vulture Industries.
ØM: One time we played those songs.
BN: Oh, yeah, we did. In Bergen many many years ago. We did one show with Black Hole Generator. Supporting Red Harvest, you know Red Harvest?
BN: Norwegian industrial metal band. We did this one show and it was quite fun, but it's intense stuff, so it needs quite a bit of work to make it suit a performance.
RP: So tell us about you DJ Horror Metal Night experience from last year.
BN: (*laughs*) On Costin's exhibition. Well it was just me and a friend picking some songs and putting them on while we were drinking beers and looking at Costin's art, hanging out with friends.
RP: So you didn't actually mix?
ØM: It was a party.
BN: It was a party.
RP: Oh, you poser. I was expecting some acid house.
RP: Your Facebook bio mentions that you play in the bands Vulture Industries, Black Hole Generator and Dr. Rigomortus Tivoli Bizarre. I haven't been able to find any info on the last one. Is it obscure of fictional?
Photo by Ana-Maria Bucur
Photo by Ana-Maria Bucur
BN: It's not fictional but it's...
ØM: Really really obscure.
BN: As obscure as you get it, because it was never recorded.
ØM: Yes it was.
BN: Some of it was recorded.
ØM: Not many people heard it. I've heard it.
BN: Actually Dr. Rigomortus Tivoli Bizarre was the reason that they asked me to try out as vocalist for what turned into Vulture Industries.
ØM: Me and Bjørnar used to live together many years ago and I remember he recorded one or two songs. I remember the first lyrics of the song were starting with something like "Down by the docks".
BN: Yeah, yeah, yeah. "Down by the docks, once upon a time".
ØM: That was really a Tom Waits kinda thing.
BN: "And if you went there you'd be leaving with a scar". Yeah.
RP: So it's something that you started before Vulture Industries and it's no longer active.
BN: It's no longer active. It was like the continuation of the first or the second band I ever started. It was also the band where I had those hooks.
ØM: Maybe some of the things that could've been by them, ended up as Vulture Industries, because it fitted well in the idea, so it's natural for you to use old stuff from that.
RP: Just like the other members had that Dead Rose Garden band?
ØM: Yeah, let's forget about that. Stupid name.
RP: Like "Vulture Industries" is any smarter.
BN: (*laughs*) It's a bit better at least.
RP: It actually makes you think that there's something deeper behind it, but I've seen you being asked about the name and it's just something that you came up with during a brainstorming session.
ØM: I think the name came up because me and Bjørnar used to make our own wine. Really bad wine. Really cheap to make. And when it was done, we had some wine. We had a few different suggestions and we ended up with that.
RP: Why couldn't you just lie about it being something profound?
BN: Sometimes I do.
RP: Now I know that everything you said could possibly be false.
RP: If you could start a new music project but it would have to be non-metal, what genre would it be?
ØM: I think our answers would be different.
RP: You can both answer.
ØM: To play in or to be a part of like... start a band, do the whole thing?
RP: Maybe a band, maybe just something solo. It's not really that important, the medium, more the genre you wish you would play.
ØM: Back in the day I was really into the progressive '70s rock like Jethro Tull and all those bands from the '70s.
RP: What other bands?
ØM: Camel. Old Genesis. Yes. I was never good enough to do that thing with the solos and all that. Emerson, Lake & Palmer. King Crimson.
RP: OK, so the big ones.
ØM: Yeah, mostly the big ones. It would be nice. But it would be something maybe more relaxed, more...
RP: Less eclectic?
ØM: Yeah, not so chaotic.
RP: Something closer to Pink Floyd?
ØM: Yeah, maybe.
RP: OK, and you?
RP: I'd see you being a jazz musician.
BN: Yeah, maybe. But really kinda weird stuff.
ØM: Do you wanna do something else weird or would you go like full commercial? Just normal flat jazz?
BN: I like catchy music as well so it might go in both directions. Maybe like very catchy post-punk. Or maybe really really dark rock.
RP: Maybe you can make something in the vein of The Cure.
BN: Oh, we already did. "Lost Among Liars" is quite in the vein of The Cure, I would say.
RP: And you also did this other one, "As The World Burns" which gives me a bit of a Depeche Mode vibe. Do you feel you were inspired by them in any way?
BN: Yeah, to some extent but I don't know many of their albums, but I like quite a lot of their stuff. To some extent I think everything touches you, inspires you and affects you in some way. I can't say that there was this one moment in my life that Depeche Mode really blew me away and I wanted to do something similar. It's one of those bands that's been around and I've always had respect for so to some extent probably.
RP: I was surprised that you mentioned post-punk, because I wanted to include some post-punk questions but I was thinking that maybe you're not that familiar with it. What are your favorite post-punk bands?
ØM: Post-punk? No. I'm not into that at all.
BN: I'll say a new one that was quite short-lived. Beastmilk with the album Climax.
RP: I'm not familiar with that. But I've been really diving into the genre in the past few months.
ØM: What kind of bands?
RP: I have this chart that was made on 4chan that starts with Unknown Pleasures and it delves into all different directions with jangle pop and synthpop and synthpunk and industrial and coldwave and no wave. So it shows you all the different things that post-punk has influenced. And you get a lot of stuff. And I think the last thing that I listened to from there was gothic rock, I listened to Xmal Deutschland, which is a german gothic rock band.
ØM: I used to listen to a lot of gothic rock in the '90s. Late '90s.
BN: Type O Negative is among them. Not really gothic rock, but gothic metal. That was one of the bands that was really big when I was a kid. What about De Press, that's post-punk?
ØM: That's a band I discovered lately.
BN: Man you should've joined me to that gig, it was fantastic.
ØM: Yeah, I was at the gig. You forgot it.
BN: Yeah yeah yeah, you were! (*laughs*) I'm just assuming that you weren't there because you're never going to gigs these days but you actually went to that.
RP: Which one?
BN: De Press. Polish Norwegian band that was big in the '80s and they are now touring again. They had a few shows in Norway and I bought three tickets to three of their shows and finally I managed to see their third one I had tickets for.
RP: So the other ones went to waste.
BN: I broke my leg. I couldn't go.
RP: With the beer crates, right?
BN: No, it wasn't. I didn't fall of the beer crates.
ØM: But it was still related to drinking.
BN: Yeah, I had been a bit late out and my wife she had just had her leave from work to be home with our firstborn for quite some time and she had like her first day of work the day afterwards. I had forgotten my house keys so I tried to climb up on the porch because I didn't want to wake her up. And I fell and I broke my leg and I had to wake her up and she couldn't go to work because I couldn't take care of the baby because I had a broken foot.
RP: That's really nice.
BN: I felt quite stupid for a couple of months.
RP: Back to Vulture Industries. Your albums always seem to revolve around social themes in a loosely conceptual way but never a full-on concept album. Would you ever be interested in such a thing?
BN: To some extent, they all end up having some red thread going through them in the end.
ØM: I guess you don't plan to make a concept album. It happens on the way.
BN: Things happen and the world around you affects you and makes you see things in a certain way, so I write in a certain way. So in the end things turn out to have this red thread that you might not have intended. I'm quite happy with working in this kind of way because it makes the end result a bit unpredictable and natural. It's not like it was forced.
ØM: Do you think it's important to have a red thread? Is it ok to have one song and one song and just a mix of stuff?
BN: I think that for the album format it makes sense to have a common theme, something connecting the different things. If not it would just be a collection of random stuff. To make everything into one experience is important for me to create an illusion and to take the listeners on a journey.
ØM: If you make a whole album, things should be connected.
RP: So you're more of an album listener than a song listener.
BN: Yes. It's like if I go to see some performance I prefer to see, for example, a full theater play compared to say somebody performing sketches. It moves you more profoundly.
ØM: I think today people release only one song and never an album.
RP: I'm not really sure that's the case.
ØM: Like the pop songs and also the metal songs in the whole industry. Many bands release songs instead of albums.
RP: I haven't really seen it being that much the case. Usually the song are promotional for the album itself and it's usually the album that sells.
BN: Metal kids are like that but if you look in like EDM or...
RP: EDM is like that but I've seen Hip-Hop and Pop being more album oriented in the later days ever since Spotify and all the streaming services, they give you the full album and you can listen to songs individually but they usually give you the full album itself so it's kind of staring to get back into the album mode for mainstream music as well.
ØM: Let's hope so.
RP: And it's kind of a good thing. I think we all like albums with a certain concept, a certain red thread. Let's suppose you do some songs for an album with a certain red thread and you do another song which has nothing to do with the concept. What would you do with it?
BN: Release it separately I guess.
ØM: Or save it for another release.
BN: We've already done that a couple of times with stuff that didn't really suit for what we were doing so we just put it on the side and see if we can use it later. Like for example "As The World Burns" from Stranger Times. Main riff on that song is as old as The Dystopia Journals.
ØM: That old?
BN: Yeah, it was just something I had recorded and stored on my computer and didn't really see how I could use it at the time. But when we were working on Stranger Times I was listening through some old ideas and it felt ok.
RP: And you have files right now stored for maybe future albums?
BN: Maybe. I guess.
RP: Album number six is probably gonna be special since when you put the first letters of Vulture Industries it's "VI", six.
BN: When we put out The Malefactor's Bloody Register, it says "VI" and people thought it was our sixth album.
ØM: That's cool, that people though we were so old.
RP: Do you think that your band being labeled as avantgarde metal has anything to do with your Arcturus influence?
Øyvind (photo by Robban Kanto)
Øyvind (photo by Robban Kanto)
ØM: I don't like being labeled.
RP: I know you don't. This is why I asked.
ØM: I think that belongs to the past. The last albums with it I think were just drifting from it, further and further. I can understand it on the first and maybe second album but not anymore.
BN: But the initial labeling that you get when you start will still hang around even though you drift away from it.
RP: Just like how Ulver is still being labeled as a black metal band even though they haven't done anything black metal in twenty years.
BN: If we started out with Stranger Times nobody would be labeling us as avantgarde metal.
RP: Avantgarde is really a weird thing to be labeled as.
ØM: Maybe the term avantgarde, but not so much metal anymore. Now it's more rock. Dark rock, something like that. I don't know.
BN: I don't really think we suit the avantgarde label. Avantgarde means to be on the front of things. I don't see us as being very experimental. I see us as being progressive in the sense that we go the ways that we feel is natural for the band. We follow the directions that our urges take us in. So nothing is forced in what we are doing. But we are not striving to...
RP: To be outside the box.
BN: ... to be outside of one box, we are just not minding about where the box is. We don't care about the box. It's a very different approach.
ØM: I can understand it in the beginning with the first album, sometimes the vocals were similar and also the music.
RP: It's kind of ironic to be labeled as avantgarde because you sound like another avantgarde band.
BN: Yeah. And being labeled for being different, it doesn't make sense.
RP: How would you prefer to be labeled as?
BN: I would say dark progressive rock.
ØM: I would just say dark rock or something.
RP: Dark rock sounds very ambiguous.
ØM: It's a sound so difficult to label.
RP: Because usually in the marketing part, you have to say "Oh, this is a band of this genre".
ØM: It would be fun to just label it as music.
RP: Label it as not music.
BN: Something different.
ØM: Guitars. Voice. Drums. Bass.
RP: Label it as hip-hop, see where it goes.
ØM: (*laughs*) That would be fun.
RP: Besides Arcturus, there's also Tom Waits and Devil Doll. You said in an interview that Mr Doctor has responded positively to "Blood Don't Eliogabalus". So tell us, where are you hiding him?
BN: Oh, I think he's hiding himself somewhere in... Venice?
ØM: I think you know that better than me.
BN: He runs some kind of punk museum. Was it in Venice?
ØM: Let's keep it mystery.
BN: But, yeah, he's a strange dude, I was in contact with a guy who used to run Hurdy Gurdy Records for some time, which was the fanclub of Devil Doll and also the label.
ØM: They still had a fanclub?
RP: People actually like that?
BN: Yeah. (*laughs*)
ØM: I know. It's a weird band.
BN: And it was through this guy that we got the permission from Mr Doctor to use the Devil Doll material for "Blood Don't Eliogabalus", recorded it and it was him I sent the stuff to after we did it and I got also the response from Mr Doctor. And I tried to get in touch with him again to invite him and also Mr Doctor when we played in Italy, but that e-mail doesn't work anymore.
RP: So you're not in touch with him anymore.
BN: No, I'm not in touch with him anymore.
ØM: Now we have to send him a letter.
BN: Well maybe a fax. (*laughs*) But it was nice to get this super positive response from Mr Doctor. Very important musical influence for me.
RP: And if you were to mix a Vulture Industries song with a Tom Waits one, which would it be?
BN: Maybe "Cemetery Polka". But what would be the Vulture Industries song to go with that?
ØM: You're the Tom Waits guy, so...
BN: "The Dead Won't Mind" has a very Tom Waits-y vibe to it. So maybe that put together with a track from Rain Dogs, but I'm not sure which track. I'll try and I'll send you.
RP: Send me the song not the information.
RP: The aesthetic that Vulture Industries has seems very late 19th century Europe with a mix of dystopia. How did you choose that?
ØM: It was your idea.
BN: Yeah, but it... I feel I'm just repeating myself saying we went with the flow.
RP: OK, how did the flow happen?
BN: I think this goes a bit back to what books I've been reading and the movies that I've been watching.
ØM: And you were also very interested in history.
BN: Yeah, that's definitely a part of it. I read lots of history books and magazines. And I remember there was this one movie I watched I think while I was part of this obscure youth theater group that made these...
RP: Hold on, you're answering the next question.
BN: ...slightly sarcastic horror plays and the guy who was in this group showed us this old German cinema movie called "Dr. Caligari's Cabinet". It's one of the first horror movies ever made that are still available. Because lots of movies from that era were lost because the film was only made on a couple of copies and it was highly flammable.
RP: I remember there was like a fire in the 60s at some sort of place that kept all this film.
RP: And I think it was also the first one that had a twist ending.
BM: And I remember that movie made a big impression on me, and I think actually the first backdrop that we ever made for Vulture Industries was like scenery from this movie with the band logo inside of it. Most of the movies in the German cinema were really...
RP: Like Nosferatu...
BM: Yeah, so that artistic movement has always stuck quite a lot with me, and luckily also with Costin, this has been something that he was really into so the mix there has been really good.
RP: One thing that the music, but mostly the live performances remind me of is a sense of dramatism and theatricality, do you happen to have a background in theater? Which you already kind of answered, that was one of the first things that I asked myself when I first saw you guys live.
BM: Yeah, I was part of a youth theater group for a couple of years, but that's my only experience from it, but I also like to go to theater plays sometimes.
RP: So would you be interested in performing something theatrical?
ØM: We did a thing with Happy Gorilla Dance Company. We did a show together with them. They did their thing with the theatrical thing and the second show was not so much music and...
BN: The first one was called Turning Golem, which was us performing music from The Tower.
ØM: Four or five shows?
BN: Yeah, and we did it on some festivals too. And it involved us taking a bit of a different, more choreographed stage presence with them working around us. And then afterwards we did like one or two shows where we turned the table and everything was according to their thing. Like we just partook in a theater performance. So the first one was rock concert with a performance going on within it and the second one was performance art.
ØM: It was for you, but not for me.
RP: You've been touring a lot since The Tower gave you such exposure. How do you settle between your family life and your touring schedule?
BN: It's always a struggle. It's like two wild dogs pulling you in different directions.
ØM: Yeah, we all have kids. It's difficult.
BN: We managed to make it work negotiating a lot.
ØM: But sometimes, people like Tor can't always be full time.
BN: We try to push the band and have things we need to do to keep pushing the band. Meanwhile not trying to do compromises like the quality of the performance. It's important to have as many of the original members as possible but from time to time we need to take one or two replacements to make it work.
ØM: The most important thing is that the band needs to play. We cannot afford to turn down offers because somebody cannot play.
RP: The first two times I saw you, I thought your performances were some of the best I've seen in my life. But your other two ones left me a bit disappointed because of the high standards set by the first two. It felt like you were giving your best but you were all exhausted and sweaty. Do you feel like your extensive touring has affected your ability to perform?
ØM: Not every gig is the best gig. We always try to do the best.
RP: But sometimes it's just not possible.
ØM: It depends on many things. You can of course be exhausted or sick or...
Eivind Huse: Just tired.
BN: After five days on tour my voice starts getting a bit gnarly. That is also one element.
ØM: Things happen. Technical problems. And then it affects the show.
BN: Bad sound.
RP: Bad sound, yeah, that happened.
BN: But also with the way we do things with going into the audience. That also makes the shows a bit unpredictable because the audience becomes a more involved part of it. So if you have a very responsive audience, that will enhance the show for everybody. But also for you, I guess, it's a bit like when you discover something, it's very hard to have the same experience the next time.
Photo by Santis Zībergs
Photo by Santis Zībergs
RP: Yeah, the first time I saw you, you going into the audience during "Blood Don't Eliogabalus", singing in people's faces and you've pretty much sang in my face at every show.
BN: And now you know that I will do it, so you will not have the same experience.
RP: It's kind of predictable now. I know what happens when "Blood Don't Eliogabalus" comes. It's gonna be fun, but it's not gonna be unpredictable.
EH: If we didn't play it, would it be better?
RP: I would be disappointed actually. I don't want stuff to be excluded. I want new stuff to come in.
ØM: The thing you're most disappointed about is that nobody has still invented a pill that can delete your memory.
RP: Now we're going into Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind territories.
BN: Of course we try to develop the show and do new things, but it's difficult to come up with new brilliant ideas to change the show from day to day. So if you see us many times, of course we will do stuff that you've seen us do before.
RP: Since I've seen you the first two times, the first time with my girlfriend, the second time alone, the third time I did bring some friends that haven't seen you live and I was like "Ok, they're usually better than this", I had to kind of explain to them. I felt like it wasn't as good, but they felt like it was amazing.
BN: So it was the first time for them.
RP: Yeah. And now it's gonna be the fifth time for me. I'm hoping that you're not tired.
BN: No, no, it's good.
ØM: But we need to go to sleep. Couple of hours of sleep until the show starts.
RP: Yeah, definitely don't stop play "[Blood Don't] Eliogabalus" and "The Hound" live.
BN: We won't anytime soon.
RP: "The Hound" is probably my favorite Vulture Industries song to listen to at home and "Blood Don't Eliogabalus" is my favorite one to listen to live.
BN: I like doing both of them live.
ØM: "Blood Don't Eliogabalus". That's a live song.
RP: And you almost never play the original anymore because of it. There isn't any need to.
ØM: Yes, that's simply the answer.
RP: How much of the older stuff do you play live now? From the first two albums?
BN: Not much from the second one, we don't have anything in the set right now from it.
RP: Not even "The Bolted Door"?
BN: We've had "The Bolted Door" in and out on a couple of dates on the Stranger Times tour.
ØM: It's a very noisy chaotic song.
BN: The whole album is quite noisy.
ØM: Probably gonna play it again, don't know when.
RP: The first time I saw you, a friend of mine told me she couldn't wait to hear "I Hung My Heart On Harrow's Square". Obviously that never happened.
ØM: We only did that a few times. Maybe ten times or something.
BN: The first time we came to Romania we did play that.
RP: What other non-metal Norwegian artists besides a-ha should we listen to?
BN: De Press. That's post-punk. You should check out "That Fatal Day". It's a super bleak song. I remember we were driving through snowclad Hungary listening to it, that was a very special experience. And Susanne Sundfør is fantastic.
ØM: And Erik Bye. That's really old stuff.
BN: (*sings in Norwegian*)
ØM: It's really down to earth and traditional.
BN: If you like progressive rock I would recommend Wobbler.
ØM: There's a lot going on in Norwegian pop actually. Sigrid. She's actually really good. I listen to the radio during daytime at work and I hear a lot of pop music which is really good actually.
RP: You've been working a lot with Chioreanu on artworks and music videos, but if you could have any living director direct a music video for any of your bands, who would it be?
EH: (*asks a question in Norwegian*)
ØM: Speak English.
BN: Peter Jackson.
EH: Yeah, Peter Jackson. He did Bad Taste and Braindead. (*some Norwegian banter*)
BN: (*pause*) Don't we have a better answer than Peter Jackson?
ØM: Not ones that do music videos.
BN: C'mon, Peter Jackson doesn't do music videos.
ØM: That's his answer.
RP: C'mon don't make me post that.
BN: I'm not very good at directors.
ØM: I think if you make a music video like we did...
BN: Sergio Leone, does he live anymore?
RP: I think not.
ØM: ... like we did with the "Something Vile" video. Just tell a story. You don't need us to tell a story. Using actors to tell a story, that's the kind of music video I like.
EH: Not a live video.
ØM: No, playing instruments and all that, it's boring.
BN: I prefer to work with Costin. He's a good friend of ours. If we worked with some big-shot director we'd get stressed.
Photo by Anne-Marie Forker
RP: So the last question finally. Which is the best Stanley Kubrick movie?
BN: A Clockwork Orange I would say.
RP: It fits with your live personality.
ØM: I'm gonna go for that as well.
BN: "Singing in the rain, just singing in the rain"
RP: "I was cured alright." Do you have anything else to say to your fans?
BN: We love you.
EH: Keep on coming to the shows.
BN: Be nice to each other. And to us.
ØM: Tell your friends.
[Thanks to SSUS for helping me set this up, for Mihai for helping me transcribe it and to Bjørnar and Øyvind for the beer and the experience]
||Posted on 02.12.2018 by Doesn't matter that much to me if you agree with me, as long as you checked the album out.|
Comments: 15 [ 1 ignored ] Visited by: 85 users
Hits total: 3792 | This month: 23