One of the main reasons I started working with zines and webzines a long time ago was the possibility to be able to interview some of the musicians I most admire. I have to say that this is an opportunity that I never thought would happen, so, I’d like to express all my gratitude for this interview, I deeply appreciate this. Please, I kindly ask you to introduce yourself to our readers.
Hi, my name is Anders Kobro born 1975. I have played drums for bands as In The Woods…, Carpathian Forest, Green Carnation, Chain Collector and Neongod just to mention some. I live in the south part of Norway in a city called Kristiansand (which is basically located in between Oslo and Stavanger, it’s also here we had our base for all the mentioned bands above.
Other than that I consider me as a regular guy who has to work “normal” jobs to get things go by. I have different educations in construction as well as in distributions and sales etc. I might add i am also what I call a “sofa guitar player” if it’s a term for that. I feel it easier to do music at home on a small combo amplifier instead of a full drum kit since I respect my neighbours, hehe.
First, let’s talk about something that I’ve been expecting for over a decade, that is, “In the Woods…” alive once again. I would like to know if you could share with us some of the main reasons for the band to return officially to activity. And, do the band members feel any sort of pressure when it comes to your new releases, since all the previous ones were, in my modest view, masterpieces?
First of all I have to say the main reason for us to start up In The Woods… and this has also been a longtime dream for us as well. After me thinking about this for quite some time I took a talk with the Botteri twins and offered my thoughts to them and they where not hard to ask so to say. Personally I have always felt we never accomplished things we were supposed to do in the first place. The breakup back in 2000 was very clean and tidy, and we all went from the band with no hard feelings towards any members or anything. At that time it actually was the right thing to do. But what most people don’t know is by that time we already had 2 more albums ready (with some more work and love they would be ready to record.) Now we agree to use a lot of that material, but also do some more new things in there cause after 13-14 years things change you know.
We do not feel any pressure doing this, and we agree in all aspects that this time won’t be any different. We will work on the material until we ourselves are satisfied never think about if this is something the marked expect or if we are allowed to do this or that. Since it was mostly us 3 members who made the music back in the old days, never having a deadline to put out just whatever we also now feel we have to do the same approach. We will not settle with anything less than what can be called masterpieces especially for our own ears. If anyone else appreciates what we do we will consider that as a bonus, just as we did when we wrote Heart of the ages, Omnio and Strange in Stereo. I must add that Chris Botteri is an extreme productive force and he have so much music in him so its time to channel it and get it out from his living room.
I remember listening to “Heart of the Ages” and the compilation “A Return to the Isle of Men” for hours and then the amazing Omnio. I believe that “In the Woods…” as I’ve mentioned before, never released an album or compilation that can’t be considered fascinating, that in my humble opinion, of course. Well, the band has stated that “will take their time to ensure a high quality process resulting in music which will stand the test of time”. I know this is very early to ask and “In the Woods…” already answered that the direction of your music will the “In the Woods…”, but, I ask you to, please, tell us some of your initial thoughts and plans concerning the music that In the Woods… plans to release.
Our plans further are simply and simple, we continue where we stopped years ago. Actually we already have been together working, and it feels to us time has stood still the whole time. Remember we all have played together since early age so it was not weird or anything, it just felt natural. When it comes to dates and such we have not decided yet anything. I am hoping for a release for the 1 album within the year of 2015. The music itself as it sounds today will be a good mix of both Heart of the Ages and Omnio but of course lots of Woods surprises as we will never follow any trends that is out there present days. Funny thing is that when we are together in a room doing music it automatically sounds in the woods, so for people being worried we’re going soft and substanceless, I can assure that in my honest opinion people haven’t heard the best music In The Woods… has to offer yet.
Anders, you’ve been involved with music for a very long time, since a young age. Tell us how you got involved with music, how and why you started playing the drums, what lead you to enjoy metal music. Well, when and why did you feel like you should start composing your extreme art, to become a musician?
I felt I was a musician already as a little kid. Sounds like a cliché but in age 5-6 I stole pots and lids from my mother’s kitchen and made myself some kind of drums on my room. I started in a marching band at age 7 where I was introduced to a real drum kit for the first time. After that I was never in doubt, it was a drummer I was supposed to be. I joined my first band when I was 12 years old, and met up with the Botteri twins already when I was 14 years old, and before I was 17 we already had started both Green Carnation and In The Woods. As far as metal goes, I grew up with Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Rainbow, Pink Floyd, Beatles and much more from my dad. So in a way I was born a metalhead, hehe.
Like I’ve mentioned on the previous question, you are involved with music for a long time. There must be, surely, some great moments and others that you would like to forget. Please, share with us some of your favorite memories related to your life as a musician and some of your not so “loved” ones. In addition to that, you’ve gone through a complete hip replacement surgery. How hard was it for you to “get in shape” again and what lead you to overcome all the pain and obstacles to play again? And what would be your advice to the musicians that are going through health problems as well not to give up?
For me its mostly been great moments, I mean as far as I can count I have participated on nearly 50 album recordings plus everything else not counted (demos, singles, DVD`s etc) and I feel proud of each one of them. The not so good ones are I will take the opportunity to say that is mostly other “bandmembers” in other projects doing terrible mistakes like f.eks remove the spine in the band that carried them.. I will not go out with names or anything, but I guess those people know themselves. Some (or to be more exact one of them) “breaks” has been hurtful for sure but time heal and I am still standing tall literally, hehe.
When it comes to my hip-replacement I must admit that has to be the most traumatic experience I have ever had in my life. Still to this day no doctor or specialist can explain to me how this was even possible. I have always been fit and in good shape so it was no obvious reason something like this was supposed to happen in the first place. My advice to others in a similar situation is patience and exercise. PATIENCE, PATIENCE and more PATIENCE.
Anders, as I’ve told you on a message concerning this interview, I also would like to ask you some views and opinions that you have about life and society. Personally, I find it very interesting to get to know the human behind the musician, the man behind music, and I hope many others think the same way as well, hehe, it would be good for the website. Well, one 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?
Good question. First I state, evolvement is something we cannot do anything about, we must follow the times and do the best out of it, or even better make it work in our favour. What I notice the most is that the music scene has been extremely stagnant (at least the last 15-17 years). I rarely find anything new that really blow my mind with originality and a complete new expression. Productions today sound more or less the same with over polished results thanks to the digital era. I am a proud old-school musician that will always do things the old way both live and in studio. One play through, the human touch and voila…. And seriously I am not very concerned what other people attend their time to. If people want to work, watch TV and die that’s just fine with me. I feel the music scene (metal or not) needs a kick in the butt showing that pushing boundaries is still an absolute possibility.
Still on this sociological discussion, a few months ago I interviewed Vrangsinn and we talked about religion and we talked about the goals and reasons of existence of Misantrof ANTIRecords, the Pirate Party and the Heathen Society. He stated that “people don’t really appreciate anything anymore and we hardly ever get donations.”, something that for me is indeed very true. I see no appreciation anymore. And also that “it’s very important to fight the church, Islam, Judaism and other destructive religions poisoning this planet and the minds of the weak.” He gave very interesting perspectives and not only said the cliché “let’s kill for Satan”, you know. What are your instances on such matter, do you believe that people don’t really appreciate music as it should anymore (since everything is just a click away) and about religion and politics, are you in favor of total freedom?
Music today is very easy accessible, not to say that’s a bad thing. For me it has never been about the money in the first place, but to state the obvious it is a costly thing just to put something decent out on the marked so getting back at least our expanses would of course help allot. When it comes to Mr. Vrang war against religion I can just say that I agree. I am a free thinker, overly interested in History, physics and Astronomy and feel that a lot more people should get knowledge about things out there that is so obvious that it is hard for me to understand why religious people still argue about thousands of year old conflicts that is proven wrong along time ago already. School needs better teachers, parents have a responsibility to enlighten the children, not to suppress them into a false belief that only cause more conflicts and low tolerance over people who thinks differently.
Back to music, but still about your opinions and thoughts over the current period in which we are living, I’d like to ask you what are your thoughts about the state of extreme metal music? There are so many great bands out there, creative and talented, that will never make it due to the lack of support, among other problems. How do you feel about the current situation of the music industry?
The current situation of the music industry I can sum up easy with one word: Fucked up! It’s a lot of work to do to clean up the huge mess people choose to call a “music industry”!
Can you briefly talk about Black Metal in Norway? Nooo, I’m joking, hehe. I’m asking you now a few things about yourself and less serious questions after the previous ones. I’ve noticed that you enjoy beer very much (well, I guess). I should add that I freaking love it, always trying new brands, styles, whatever, if it’s beer, I’m drinking. So, share with us your favorite beers, the ones you’d recommend and the ones you absolutely hated.
Yes I enjoy a good beer or 3, but I also have to admit that I rarely get drunk or drink for that sake. I personally hate being drunk. I enjoy our local beer here called CB (Christiansand Brewery), but my all time favourite beer has to be beer from Tsjekkia. No where else have I tasted such good beer as in that country, I also had beer that tastes like piss, but unfortunately I cannot remember the brand names at this time.
You seem to enjoy football (or soccer for the American friends), is this correct? If so, let us know the team you support and your favorite players. Do you follow other countries championships? If so, which ones? And what did you think about the quality of the matches at the World Cup, if you managed to watch it?
Correct I am a soccer idiot, (or not that big of an idiot). I support my local soccer team here IK START, and pay attention as good as I can elsewhere too. But I do not have any favourite teams besides my local one. I enjoyed the World Cups, and the semi-finals Brazil-Germany really gave me a lump in my stomach if you know what I mean. I knew Germany was strong, but that result there was beyond anything I have ever seen before.
Anders, please, share with us some of your main interests, hobbies or passions outside the music world. The common question of what do you enjoy doing when not working or creating music. Do you prefer relaxing at home or do you enjoy partying more? Are you more of a city or nature person? Which are your favorite movies and movie genres?
Of course music is still a huge hobby for me. Other than that I know that if I where able to choose a new path I would definitely be a scientist. I absolutely love science, fixing things, understanding physics both the big scales and small scales. I am reading a lot about these subjects, and have a never ending hunger for knowledge. I used to go out a lot, but age makes something with everyone. Today I enjoy more a quiet evening at home with a good movie with my GF next to me some good food and a good bottle of wine or beer. I also love spending time with my sons which is by far the most important people in my life.
And we’ve reached the end of this interview. I hope you have enjoyed answering as well as our readers got to know a little more about you. I want to thank you again for this opportunity and to wish you nothing but the best for your present and future plans, both personal and professional. Do you have any last words for our readers?
12- Thank you sir Marcus for a very good interview and also wanting to do one with me :). I want to thank all people that have followed my work throughout the years past, and I can promise everybody there is more to come in even higher quality. That goes for In The Woods, Carpathian Forest ++. Thank you all, and have a great one anywhere you are. Stay critical!
All pictures belong to their rightful owners.August 8, 2014