Interview mit Frost von 1349

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With „The Infernal Pathway“ the Black Metallers 1349 recently released their strongest album in many years. While the rest of the band is touring the USA, drummer Frost, who remained in wintry Norway, took the time to answer our questions about the completely changed sound, the art of Edward Munch and the latest developments at SATYRICON.

Hi and thanks a lot for taking time for this interview! How are you doing?
I’m doing very well, thank you. Enjoying a crisp and sharp winter day.

1349 are touring the US right now, but with Nils Fjellström on the drums. Why don’t you participate in this tour and how does it feel to know that the band is on tour without you?
Due to my commitments with SATYRICON and also due to practical circumstances, it was impossible for me to come along with 1349 on that tour. I am glad, however, that 1349 can keep touring even when I’m absent, because it is important work. I hope to be present next time, though.

In general, not a few Black Metal bands had problems with US tours, entry, cancelled shows and so on. In addition, visas aren’t cheap – are you as a band thinking twice today about going on an American tour?
The current government certainly isn’t making things easier, and all the paperwork, bureaucracy, uncertainty and the unreasonable costs involved takes some of the fun out of touring. We still enjoy performing in the U.S. and have a great and loyal crowd there, so we definitely plan to continue being active in the U.S.

In February 1349 will tour in Europe, together with Abbath and Vltimas and you on the drums, I hope? What can you expect from the shows?
I will do that tour, yes. As I am very content with our new album, and enjoy performing the new songs, I look forward to play live and finally get to do a full tour in Europe again. It’s such a long time since we got to cover our home continent, and 1349 has never been as good as we are now.

Your new album is called „The Infernal Pathway“ – musically you get the feeling that you’ve reconsidered your first albums. Is that intentional?
To me, “The Infernal Pathway” is simply an album that stands out from our previous works and has a particular identity of its own, and one of the reasons it ended up that way might be because we were only looking forward, not backward, when making it. In that process, we were guided most of all by instinct and intuition, rather than intentionally trying to associate the songs with, or dissociate them from, earlier material. The album ended up with becoming a typical and non-typical 1349 release at the same time – typical in the sense that it is intense, fiery, grim and relentless, non-typical in the sense that you find a different and deeper melancholy than you do on any earlier album. ‘Dødskamp’, ‘Abyssos Antithesis’ and ‘Stand Tall in Fire’ are good examples. We have songs that are vocal driven like ‘Striding the Chasm’, and it is musically more progressive and intriguing than any previous work.

Between the tracks there are again some interludes, which follow on from those of „Demonoir“. Do the albums have anything else to do with each other, or how did it come about?
The intermezzos were created and put on the album partly to make it breathe, in a sense, and partly to contribute to the dark and abysmal ambience. We feel that the songs on “The Infernal Pathway” are like musical journeys in a vast underworld, and the interludes or ‘tunnels’ emphasize that feeling.

With „Dødskamp“ you also have the song for a special art project on the album. What was your first thought when you were invited?
Archaon was the one being contacted by a representative from the art project, and I believe it was some acquaintance of him. He felt challenged and tempted as a composer to do something based on an artistic experience, and hence compelled to accept the invitation. The rest of us realized that a different kind of approach could lead to an inspired work from Archaon’s side, and which had the potential to benefit the creative process of making a new album, so we let him get to work. And indeed did a good song come out of it.

What do you associate with Edward Munch yourself?
I am very fond of that Munch painting which inspired ‘Dødskamp’ myself, but it is basically only Archaon’s composition and Seidemann’s lyrics that are directly inspired by the painting.

© Dmitry Valberg

Are you interested in painting in general? Which style do you like?
I can certainly enjoy a great painting, but it doesn’t hold the same level of fascination, interest and connection as that of music.

Especially the sound is much more „natural“ this time and more powerful than on the last two albums. What did you do differently this time?
I agree that the sound is more alive and powerful than before, and not only the last two albums but all of them. As was the case with “Massive Cauldron of Chaos”, we worked with the excellent engineer Jarrett Pritchard, and I believe that he did a good job on both of them, but he knows the band better now, and through experience and close communication with us in 1349 he has gotten a more profound understanding of what we want to achieve and how he can help us unleash our own ideas and make our music come alive. It is probably right to say that some of that raw power of TIP comes from the great production, and some of it comes from the songs themselves and our performance of them.

How do you feel about „Massive Cauldron Of Chaos“ from today’s point of view – especially regarding the sound? The drums on the album sound completely different …
I still enjoy „Massive Cauldron Of Chaos“ a lot, and I think we got on the right path to something more organic and powerful soundwise, but what we actually wanted to achieve was realized to a much greater extent with “The Infernal Pathway”. In that respect I guess the latter album did benefit from the work we did on the former.

This time you play more fills and generally more exciting patterns, I think. How did that come about – and did you enjoy finally being able to show what you can do again?
The songs inspired me to intuitively to settle for more progressive solutions – at certain points they inspired me to go for more minimalistic playing as well. Perhaps it’s telling a little about Archaon’s compositions as well as about where I myself and 1349 as a band find ourselves musically. I truly enjoyed working with the material on “The Infernal Pathway”, and I guess it can be heard.

You joined 1349 20 years ago – and you are still the last new member to join the band. How do you explain this stability of your lineup?
When we gather, we manage to make the creativity and musical passion flow, and we manage to grow with our mutual project, and that helps a lot.

© Dmitry Valberg

Would you have thought back then that 1349 would exist so long and successfully?
Not at all. 1349 felt like it had a huge potential, but when you’re in your twenties you don’t imagine that you will still be going on twenty years later. That scope simply doesn’t exist.

Last but not least: Any news about SATYRICON you want to share with us?
The future looks highly promising, different, exciting and…oh, you know the drill when it comes to SATYRICON. Expect the unexpected. The next project will be ‘something else’ even in the SATYRICON context.

Thank you for the interview! Please let us do a short brainstorming now:
America: Opportunities, visions and open, endless roads. But also restrictions, rigidity and concrete jungles. A unity of opposites, that is quite close to be working.
The movie „Lords Of Chaos“: Nothing.
Your favorite album at the moment: “Under a Funeral Moon” (now, like in 1993)
Wacken Open Air: The show SATYRICON performed there in 2004 and where we included a Darkthrone-séance together with Nocturno Culto. That felt like something different and important.
Winter in Norway: Skiing.
1349 in 10 years: A shining chaos-star.

© Dmitry Valberg

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