I’d like to, firstly, let you know of my huge appreciation for this interview. I have admired your music for quite some time and it’s has always been one of my goals when it comes to promote music to interview you. Well, Solefald has just released World Metal. Kosmopolis Sud, in my humble opinion, it’s a masterpiece, really. Please, let us know how you prepared yourselves to create this album, what were the main influences as well as the goals you had with it.
Lars Are Nedland – After several albums with a Nordic theme, we finally turned our eyes towards the rest of the world again, picking up the spirit, if you will, of our album “Neonism” from 1999, with its cosmopolitan themes and unruly nature. This time, we set out to merge the metal we are known for with other musical expressions such as techno, pop, jazz and world music. The main goal was to make this work as instinctively and as seamlessly as we could, and it was from that basic attitude that “World Metal. Kosmopolis Sud” came about.
The band has always been known for its creativity and how you manage to blend different styles well. I’d like to know how this works; it must be hard to mix all these genres and sound comprehensive as well as have an interesting atmosphere. This might be a broad question, but it would be interesting to know how the band works, how your minds work when it comes to creating your art.
– If the idea is good enough – if the musical core of a song is strong enough – it doesn’t really matter how many styles you blend together in order to portray it. It will work anyway. We had a very strong vision this time, and I also believe that we had some very strong ideas, so the real challenge was actually the mix – the challenge of mixing it in a way that would make it all come through to the listener, so we worked a lot on that this time around. Jaime Gomez Arellano at Orgone studio did one hell of a job packaging our musical vision in an appropriate, direct and analogue sound.
In connection to the previous questions, you might have already answered it, but let’s discuss this in a more detailed matter, please. You’ve stated that Solefald is about change and we, the admirers of your music, are well-aware of that. How do you guys decide what to do on the future releases? Is anything planned, conscious, or do you “simply” go with the flow? Is it about something that you’re more interested in the period of your life?
Lars Are Nedland – It’s a mixture of the two. In a sense we ride the creative wave where ever it leads us, but we always have an idea of where we want to end up. This is where the “vision” part of the creative process comes into play – when we have a feeling about where we’re heading, we try to be conscious about the process, where we want to end up and what kind of artistic possibilities that gives us.
Quite a basic question, but for those that aren’t still familiar with the band, it might interest them or even some of the older fans. Still on how the band works, but now concerning lyrics and live concerts. How does the songwriting work as well as the lyrics? Do you work together or individually? And when it comes to playing live, are the live members involved with any other matter rather than “just playing the songs”? Do they help choose the set-list as well, give some ideas about accepting or not to play in certain places or something like that?
Lars Are Nedland – We usually start off by sitting down writing riffs, melodies and basic musical ideas with a guitar and a keyboard together. We record these sessions, and they will often form the basis for the songs that end up on our albums. Sometimes we structure the songs together, other times we do it individually, but our music is always the result of my creative force clashing or merging with Cornelius’ creative force. Solefald is where all our artistic ideas and aspirations meet to dance and to do battle.
This is a question I enjoy asking some bands. Like very few bands, Solefald has managed to stay unique through all its existence. You have released different albums from one another, with music that I sincerely believe you wanted to create and not what people want you to play. In my modest view, the kind of music Solefald plays is ground-breaking. I don’t know if this is an easy or a hard question, but to the few bands I’ve asked, they’ve answered it, so, here it goes… how did you manage to stay true for so long to your music? How do you manage to be so creative after almost twenty years of existence, without repeating yourselves?
Lars Are Nedland – The only way to stay true, is to evolve. One of the text lines from “World Music With Black Edges” goes “You forgot “to yourself” in the device “stay true”, meaning that people who are preoccupied with staying true, usually tries to do so up to an immovable and set ideal, not taking into consideration that people change, the world changes and that our society is not a static one. We stay true by evolving, and by keeping moving.
Music is one of the most intense and powerful arts. In some sort of way, do you feel connected to the admirers of your music? Do you feel that there’s some special connection between the band and the fans? How important it is for you to hear from the fans that they have truly enjoyed your work in such way that it has helped them to go through hard periods of their lives?
Lars Are Nedland – Absolutely. I really enjoy the fact that Solefald has a lot of educated, well spoken, open minded and passionate fans, and I really feel connected to those who admire our music. Many of our fans are artists themselves, and if there’s anything I hope to achieve with Solefald, it is to inspire people to create art of their own, be it music, literature or visual arts.
As you can see, I find it very interesting to get to know the human behind the musician, the man behind music and another question that I enjoy asking is the following one: society has evolved, we have so much technology, discoveries, but it seems that people, nowadays, are emptier than before, “our” sole goal is to buy, buy and buy what we are told to, work and buy, work and watch TV, work and die. How do you feel about this and where do you think our society (the western society, I mean) is heading to?
Lars Are Nedland – Here’s the thing – every action has a reaction. If society leans too much to one side, parts of it will lean to the other to create counterbalance. There’s always been a tendency for the older generations to think that the younger generations prefer the simple and empty paths compared to themselves (even the ancient greeks complained that their youths were only preoccupied with the superficial things in society), so I don’t really fear consumerism, and I don’t really think that society as a whole is headed for a more empty existence.
Let us know more about your daily works, you don’t need to go into details, if you don’t want to. I know that in Norway Metal is “more normal” music style than in other countries, but, have you ever felt some kind of discrimination for being involved with “extreme” music? In your professional world, I mean. I ask this because, in my case, being a consultant in law as well as a professor, I have felt many discrimination acts because some people still have that narrow-minded idea about metal listeners.
Lars Are Nedland – No, to be honest, not at all. I have never felt discriminated against because of my background in metal. I work as a TV-producer for ITV, and my knowledge about and history with metal has actually helped me when it comes to quite a few projects. I think that Norway is a very tolerant country that usually will value knowledge, and despise any form of discrimination. We’re lucky in that respect.
One silly question just o make this interview a bit lighter, quoted from Seinfeld… I always try to see how people would react in some Seinfeld situations. Like I said, just to lighten up the interview and it’s always interesting to read the answers. “Let’s say you’re abducted by aliens. They haul you aboard the mother ship; take you back to their planet as a curiosity. Now, would you rather be in their zoo or their circus?” And why did you make this choice?
Lars Are Nedland – I’d be in the circus. I think it would be somewhat more rewarding to do an act in order to entertain rather than just hanging around in a cage without having a schedule or a purpose.
And, like I always do on my interviews (and obviously many other interviewers as well), I ask you to share with us some of your main interests and passions outside the musical world? What do you enjoy doing to relax, your hobbies (if any), favorite authors, books, movies, anything you’d like to tell us.
Lars Are Nedland – I make tv-shows for a living, I collect single malt whisky, I like to run, I’m a fan of snooker in general and Ronnie O’Sullivan in particular, I collect retro handheld electronic games, I love art, and I’m a big fan of molecular gastronomy.
Concerning Solefald’s future. Do you feel that you have achieved everything or, at least, most of the goals you have set for your musical career? Can we expect a new Solefald album in the near future? All in all, how do you see Solefald’s future and how do you wish it to be?
Lars Are Nedland – We’ve achieved a whole lot, but we’re setting out to achieve a whole lot more. You can expect more albums from us, but as to when, I cannot answer. I hope we’ll be doing some more gigs soon, and I hope that we’ll keep evolving.
Alas we reach the end of this interview. I hope you have enjoyed answering it as well as the visitors of this website that read it. I also would like to wish you and the band all the best in all plans. Do you have any last words for the readers?
Lars Are Nedland – Thank you for supporting us all these years. We’ve been making metal unpredictable for 20 years now, and we’ll keep that up for another 20.
All pictures belong to their rightful owners.March 7, 2015