Greetings over there! First I’d like to thank you very much for accepting this interview. I really appreciate this. Second, as I always start my interviews, I kindly ask you to, please, introduce yourself to our readers. –
Hi this is Phobos, guitarist and founding member of the Norwegian black metal band Gravdal.
Well, I believe that this is the questions all fans have been asking themselves. You’ve released an outstanding album in 2010, named Torturmantra and now, four years later, you haven’t released a follow-up, although there was news about a new album last year. Please, let us know what happened, if there’s any difficulty to release a new album that we have been highly expecting.
First of all, thanks, I am glad that you like our previous album. Right now we are working on our latest album. We’ve written 66,6% of the music, and we are still working in the “old-school” way, which is to say that most of the music gets written in the rehearsal room as we rehears. With this album I want to make something different to our previous albums and this is something that has taken me some time. We have also had some changes in the lineup and we will have more news about this when the time is right. You can get all our updates from www.facebook.com/gravdalofficial.
Musically speaking, since the release of Torturmantra, were there any changes within the band? I mean, have you decided to work on a different material than your previous releases? Have you been influenced by new material? To sum up, will the next album be very different from Torturmantra and Sadist?
Yes there will be some changes… As we previously announced Specter decided to leave the band. And as I mentioned above, I want to shake things up a bit with our music. It’s natural anyway that changes take place within a band and with its music, and I’m sure you’ll understand when I say that I don’t really want to go into too much detail about what this means until everything is finished and recorded.
Speaking of influences, not only when creating music, but also when writing lyrics, what your main influences? I should explain myself better, I’m not talking about which bands have influenced you, but rather, what are the elements, materials (be it about movies or books or even bands), situations in life, that, somehow, inspires you when creating your material?
Speaking for myself, the main influence is the burning flame within – my own will to create something that is a reflection of myself. The lyrical themes are inspired by our hate for organized religion and the sherd mentality that surrounds us. Individuality before anything.
I enjoy getting to know a few things about the musician, the man behind the music. In this case it might be easy to find out, as you’re from Bergen, but, what lead you to listen to metal? Was there a special reason? How did you get in touch with it for the first time and do you remember how did you feel? Did you start with the classic bands and then extreme metal or did you start straight with the black metal bands?
Iron Maiden got me into metal. And into playing. I saw one of their music videos on TV and that is how it started. That led me to being exploring other bands such as Black Sabbath, Metallica, W.A.S.P to name a few. And then moving on to the “heavier” stuff. But this does not necessarily have anything to do with me being from Bergen though.. I did not know any metal heads at the time who could introduce me to any bands, so I started exploring the genre on my own.
Being a person that are a part of many bands, one of them being a live member, and having a “regular” job, how do you cope with all these challenges in life?
Who told you that i have a “regular” job….? Anyway, I cope pretty well. All I do, I do because I want to. I have chosen a career that I like. The only challenge is the time factor I guess. Working a “regular” job sometimes steals a lot of energy, and it defiantly eats into time that could be spending making music. But then again, having this variety is inspiring, and important to me.
I know this is an interview about Gravdal, but as I’ve mentioned that you play in other bands, let’s talk a bit about Aeternus, a band that I find very interesting and that you play the drums. Could you talk a bit about the band, especially about the wonderful album named “…and the Seventh His Soul Detesteth”, released last year? Any future plans for tours with Aeternus or Gravdal for that matter?
I am glad that you liked the album.
Aeternus is a metal band from Bergen. Or “Dark metal” as we prefer to call it. The band was formed by Ares in 1993, and I joined the band in 2007/8. After working my way into the band, and doing some shows, we started to work on the bands 7th studio album called “…And the seventh his soul detesteth.” This process started in 2009 and we started to record it in 2012. While working on the album, we also had some lineup changes. Former Gravdal guitarist, Specter joined on guitar. And the recording line up was Ares (Vox, Guitar/Acoustic guitar, Bass) Specter (Lead Guitar) and me on drums. Today’s line-up was fully completed when Eld joined us on Bass guitar in the beginning of 2013, when the album was released. Most of the music was written By Ares, and some of it by Specter. Arrangements by Aeternus. And the lyrics were written by V`gandr, our former bass player who better known as the vocalist/Bass player in Helheim, and live bassist for Taake. The future plan for Aeternus is to continue promoting this album, we have now had the pleasure of playing at some pretty good festivals, we just did a small European tour with Taake, Slegest and Noctem as well. And our next show will be at Satans Convention in Germany in December. Our first show in USA will take place in May 2015 at the Maryland Deathfest, and we hope to announce more festivals soon..
For Gravdal, There have been some live offers, But we will focus on the new album first.. And then……..
How do you or a band for that matter manages to keep original and innovative with so many albums already released and being released? What do you do to keep your bands stand our in such a competitive industry?
For Gravdal and regarding composing i really don’t think that much about it.. I just play what I feel, and people can take it or leave it.
In all of my interviews I leave this question especially a bit more about you, and I always point that nothing that would invade your privacy. I just wanted you to tell us some of your favorite activities, hobbies, interests outside the music world.
Yeah well, I really enjoy fishing and sailing, mountain trips, working out and travelling. Seeing new places is always exiting.
A silly question now, quoted from Seinfeld… I have some Seinfeld situations that I choose to ask what would be the musician opinion, but, as I said, it’s just a silly question to lighten up the interview: “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?
Neither, obviously, but if forced I would prefer the circus. I’m a performer after all!
The usual question that is always included on interviews… what are the future plans for Gravdal after releasing the new album? Do you feel that the band will take a longer time to work on new material again?
After releasing the new album, we will hit the stage again, it has been three years since our last show, so we really look forward to get back on the stage again.
And we have reached the end of this interview. One more time, I’d like to thank you for your time, answers and interest. I hope you have enjoyed this interview and so the readers. I also would like to wish you and the band the best in the future. Do you have any closing words for our readers?
Thank you. Get all Gravdal related news here: www.facebook.com/gravdalofficial and Aeternus: www.facebook.com/aeternusofficial.. Also, check out the upcoming Galar album, with me behind the drumkit.
All pictures belong to their rightful owners, such as Julie B. Ronningen, Stig Pallesen and Jarle Hovda Moe.October 10, 2014