First of all…. WHY aren’t you guys coming to Denver?!
Well, we are just the support act on the tour for Marduk, the route was already set, it was a matter of doing some dates in the [United] States and Canada or not go at all. We thought it was better to go back to the States this year since we had a year of absence in 2011. So, unfortunately we can’t– the tour didn’t go every place that we wanted it to go, but it’s better to do something than– of course it will be a very good tour. So, we didn’t want to let that chance slip away from us.
Yeah, of course not. I’m sure many people will come from all over to see you guys too!
Yeah, that will be cool. I hope that people will travel if we don’t come to their town… I mean, we travel from Europe [Norway], so it’s quite of a wait to travel and I know that a lot of fans also travel a lot to see us.
You guys have a different, fill-in drummer for this tour with Marduk, as well….
Jon Rice, the drummer for Job For A Cowboy, yeah.
Yeah. What made you decide to have Jon join this upcoming North American tour in place of Frost?
Well, Frost is occupied with Satyricon, and this is always been the deal since he joined the band way back , that Satyricon needs to have first priority and they have some festival jobs in Europe when we are in the US. But 1349 is a band and a beast of it’s own, it needs to– we can’t let the things like members [that] can’t join us [or] be apart that hold back the band in any way. So, the band does what it wants to do, we just ride it as good as we can.
The part of the drummer situation has always been and I reckon it will continue to be a part of this and a part of 1349. From time to time, we do have to use other drummers than Frost, due to the touring schedule and his occupation with Satyricon.
Actually, at a point, Tony Laureano had actually played more live shows with 1349 than Frost had. (laughs) So, this is nothing new for us and I reckon it is nothing new for the fans either, they know that. It is of course, it’s different playing with a different drummer. And Jon… We’ve never played with Jon before either, so it will be interesting to see how he will contribute with the band and how he will [be an] influence with his drumming on the energy of the band. But it’s always– I think, I hope that it’s mostly the band that feels the level of energy that is different from the different drummers that we have used throughout the history of the band.
I was going to ask… How do you think the energy will be like when are going to be playing with him live?
Well, I’ve seen some live footage of him and he’s– his playing style and energy on stage, I think will fit very well with 1349. He seems to be very into what he’s doing and plays sort of with his heart and that’s also a lot of what Frost does. He’s a very passionate drummer, the way he plays the drums, he’s extremely dynamic, and he plays every muscle, every drop of energy he has into his playing. As do we all, of course, as well that when a show is over, if we have energy left and have given our full force, we have to do everything in order to– it’s just like a workout basically, you have to give everything, otherwise it won’t be, it won’t give you that satisfaction that you get having fulfilled a show, or a concert.
You’ve produced pretty much all of your albums and have co-produced the last one [Demonoir, 2010]–
Yeah, it’s mostly been me that’s been in charge with the production thing and the one with the most technical background and experience from records and studio in general, that’s why I’ve been in charge there. And I’ve also worked with the same software that we use. I’m basically quite familiar with the process. I’ve been in charge with that– we kind of divide things within the band. Everybody have some skills that are better than the other. The band is a community and every band member plays a key role. So, this has been one of mine. And since the vocals are done at the end; we do that at the end of the recording cycle.
First it’s drums and stuff… I have a lot of time to focus on the music in general. And also, when we are rehearsing the songs and jamming or making the songs that are presented in the rehearsal room, and I don’t add vocals. The first thing that I do, I sit and listen so that I focus on the music; the progression of the song, from [how] it’s presented in the band community. And therefore, I don’t have to focus, I don’t have to play the song, and then have to listen to what the others are doing. I’m listening to the whole song, just without vocals, basically, from the beginning.
I pretty quickly get an idea of what every song needs and then this is something that we discuss. And it’s kind of a good resource, in a way, that I can sit in a rehearsal room and listen and bring out the ideas for within the studio, or in pre-production.
Would you say that is a way that you bring your music to life? Or how would you explain how do you so?
Well, it’s kind of, it works in two ways. It’s an idea that is presented and developed in the rehearsal room by the band and when it comes
to the studio, something extra is added while the song is in the studio. It’s something that we have tried to, tried to see or explain, but we have– so far haven’t found any reasonable explanation.
We just have come to the conclusion that when the four individuals of us [Ravn, Frost, Seidemann, Archaon] are put together in a creative situation, something magical happens. And whatever idea that’s there, it will be the spur-of-the-moment or the art-by-accidental, or whatever you can call it. It happens for the best of the song or the things happen so that it always pans out much better than we had anticipated. And, ideas and sounds that can be found [are] automatically implanted… And it kind of always, the kind of final touch is happening in the studio, whether we had planned everything out or not, there is always something happening. Going into the studio, nothing is set until the album is mixed in the studio. Then we know for sure what it will sound like because there is always something happening and some ideas or weird dreams going on.
The studio is a very spiritual place for us; the studio where we have recorded our last four albums is an exception place. It’s actually the building located on the Demonoir album. That is the actual studio where it’s recorded. And the pictures, the group picture that is in the booklet; all those pictures are taken from the studio and facilities surrounding the studio, it’s kind of capturing the magic that’s happening up there. It’s located next to a very old sacrificial ground as well, it is an older [inaudible] that’s up there very close to the studio.
A lot of strange things have happened up there. It’s really, really nice. I like places like this that has kind of their own aura that gives you a special feeling when you’re up there. A lot of people get freaked out. I remember we had a guitar tech with us up there. He didn’t dare to sleep alone in a room. He had to sleep on the floor, (laughs) in somebody else’s bedroom. He totally freaked out. Someone would call it like a haunted house or something…
A lot of those things, can of course– it’s anticipation and sub consciousness– your mind plays tricks on you. But the studio, it is actually the energy in the area that, for me it has a very calming affect, plus it gives me a lot of energy. I hardly sleep when I’m up there, like between three to five hours every night. And then when I wake up, I always have some ideas and thoughts and a lot of things going on all the time. So it’s an extremely creative environment. We can have like sketches and ideas and then go into the studio and then all of the pieces of the puzzle fall into place, it just happens naturally. It’s not– you don’t have to think or over think things too much. It is hard work, but it comes naturally.
With everything you just told me very passionately, how do you incorporate all of that into your music?
It’s Archaon that writes most of the music and comes up with the ideas. Actually… I like to say that (pauses) I basically…Don’t do anything. (laughs) I don’t write lyrics anymore….
Ok, excuse me for interrupting…. But, I was going to ask you… Because I did notice that you pretty much did stop writing lyrics! But on Demonoir I saw on the album that you did the Tunnel of Sets–
I did the Tunnel’s [Of Sets], the album that I did the most work on was Revelations of the Black Flame and the Tunnel’s, and that kind of bares a mark of what is my contribution to the sound, or what I like to say, the “sound-scape” of 1349. It was up until Hellfire we had two guitar players, they delivered enough material for three albums, three very different albums as well, and then after that Tjalve left and we started to tour a lot.
So, that was kind of the turning point for 1349 and after spending so much time on the road and stuff 1349 has been seen from some people were saying “Oh, you play fast music!” That was kind of all that we were kind of starting to get that label… We were like, “We have to show that we can do other stuff than just fast.” And that is why Revelations [Of The Black Flame] came to be. Plus that we had a long-term wish to incorporate more atmospheric-ambience parts into the music, just like Burzum or Thorns had done in the early 90s. I felt that these kind of aspects Norwegian Black Metal had been kind of forgotten and it was an aspect in the Black Metal history that I wanted to bring back.
1349 is founded upon the wish to kind of take care of the Black Metal legacy and heritage that it is basically founded on. And 1349 wanted to manifest it’s position and we wanted to evolve Black Metal the way we think it should be evolved. We basically, we don’t look to other bands. It’s basically just how it was in the beginning, you have every band that was playing Black Metal, but they sounded and created completely different music. Like, Mayhem had their style, Thorns had theirs, Burzum had their’s, Emporer, Immortal, Enslaved, and Darkthrone. And then they all did their thing and they all [inaudible] and immediately you could all hear them apart. And I think that 1349 has also manage to create that and have become that character/characteristic Norwegian Black Metal early era, that was the goal.
Yeah, and I’ve noticed that a lot of newer Black Metal that has come out from Norway; I don’t know if I’m jaded, but like you were saying, they all sound the same; but you guys have a different sound, but still the Black Metal sound…
It’s just like in the middle of the 90′s, the later half of the 90s, when Dimmu Borgir came out, and they were breaking in with the synthesizers, we had like, I don’t know, like fifty bands that were synth-based and were claiming to play “Black Metal”… And it’s was like, “What the fuck?!” (laughs)
This happens to every genre, you know? One band makes it big, then of course you have that shows up and tries to make it big as well, it happens every time in every genres. And unfortunately, it of course happened in Black Metal. But what came out of it was 1349, that was the reason why I founded it. I was sick and tired of what I think what a degeneration of Black Metal, a lot of atmospheric synthesizers; kind of childish, spookish feelings to it. There is a right way to use synthesizer effects on a Black Metal album and it is a wrong way, in my point of view.
That being said, I have nothing against the people of Dimmu Borgir, and I know them, and I consider them friends, and everything, but it’s not music that I listen to a lot, but they of course have helped expand the term “Norwegian Black Metal” and the publicity they have been able to create is tremendous, you know? People know Norwegian Black Metal and they think of Dimmu Borgir… That is both a, in my eyes, a good side and a bad side. But… I would not have been without it because it enables people to see this band and then think, “Oh… This is cool…” And want to check out other bands as well, and then they can discover bands like us. So, like any other things in life, there’s a positive and negative side to everything.
Yeah. That’s true… Like, I was asking earlier, my question about how you incorporate your passion into your music…. Since you said you ‘basically don’t do anything’– yeah right! How do you express your passion live? Because I’ve seen you, like at that Denver headline show with Triptykon in [October] 2010, and excuse me, but I’m going to be the fan at the moment… That was just insane and incredible… How do you just– I don’t even know how to explain this, that [show] was just so alive and real… How do you put your passion and everything you had into that among other performances? How does that happen for you? Because that night, I could see your energy and passion just going out into the crowd, encompassing everyone…Your energy was just incredible. Even the entire band was filling [the energy into] the entire room…
(pauses) Well it’s… Basically… I have no good answer to this, but what I do on stage is real because I don’t think. While on stage, it’s all an act of instinct. If you ask me just before we go on stage, “What is the first line that I’m going to sing?” I would have no idea. I don’t remember lyrics, I don’t remember anything. I’m not nervous before I walk on stage. I am– It’s kind of like a switch… And I go on stage and it just happens.
That’s what many artists say [It just happens]…
That’s probably why it feels you, like you describe it, so real, because it’s… (pauses) The thing is– the trick is for me, I don’t think; I act on instinct. What I have labeled many times as the primal side of that is in every mankind, you get in touch with that.
And you know what, you do do something and incorporate your passion into your music because you are the vocalist. I mean you’re on each album! So, how would your answer from my previous question differ when asking about putting your passion, your heart, your soul into an album?
It’s that, when I’m recording an album, I create an atmosphere in the studio, and of course when I first lay out the lyrics and everything, it’s all a work in progress when the song is there. And I get the lyrics or the sketches for the lyrics and lay them out, arrange them, and I start to sing along with the track, kind of laying it out. And then, when I’m recording, it’s all about the recording, going to the studio, and create an atmosphere, and I’m all there; I’m all ears. It’s kind of get on nice tight headphones and just be one with the music. And deliver what the song needs; kind of why I try to listen to: “What does the song need in order to become a unity? What does this song miss?” And from there on, try to add a vocal that will enhance the song to it’s peak. It’s of course, it’s extremely hard, because sometimes I think that the song is magnificent as it is. And it’s like, “Well, do we need some vocals? ….Ummm… Yeah.” But, there are ways to let go in the studio or in the general world as well. So, one can take advantage of this and the outcome [has been] proved successfully many times.
And you said that you create an atmosphere in the studio… Can you describe for me what that atmosphere is like or feels like to you? Because that was very interesting how you said that.
It’s just… Bring out very few candle lights, blackening out the studio if it’s daytime outside. Blackening out the few [inaudible] that are there, so that I am in a dark space and I only lit up the lyrics so that is the main focus… So that they have a piece of paper that kind of gives me the words and then I act from there, I only see one way, so to speak.
Wow, that’s so interesting; no one ever says anything like that, or has to me before anyway, not like that; I really have never heard anything of what you said. So, very intriguing. You really, as you said, are ‘one with the music’.
Well, I heard that, I think I heard a similar explanation from King Diamond once. People ask him, “How can you find inspiration for your albums and your record your vocals when you live in Dallas, I think he lives down in Texas.
And he answered to someone, “Well, I just close the door to the studio, and it’s completely dark, and I can do my vocals anywhere.” It’s kind of the same way that you– you need to control your mind and the more that you can control your mind and your sub-consciousness, the easier it is to create these kind of atmospheres and put yourself in a mood, and basically it’s… You can call it magic. So, [it’s a] very simple word to describe it.
That’s so cool, no one again, ever says anything like that – to that extent to me really… I have a few follow up questions to some of your previous answers… First of all… Will you ever write lyrics again?
I hope so. I guess I know the reason why they stopped coming to me. But I was actually– I wrote one lyric on Revelations of the Black Flame, on the song, At The Gate. And that came to me in the studio one night. But the thing is both Destroyer is writing most of the lyrics these days and having written more and more lyrics like Demonoir , he’s written five out of six lyrics [Frost wrote the lyrics to the actual “Demonoir” song]. He’s an extremely, extremely skilled writer. And so is Seidemann, as well.
For me to try to top these and kind of come up with lyrics it’s kind of like, “Why should I bother when I have such fantastic writers in the beginning?” The lyrics that I come up with, is something that created in a spur of the moment, kind of thing, like an inspiration that it’s there, and it just comes to me. And this was basically what happened earlier on; it was on, like Beyond The Apocalypse , I went to bed one night in the studio, and the next morning I had the lyrics for Beyond The Apocalypse, on my computer.
Wow. How did that happen? Was it just envisioned in your mind and it just came out of your mind on paper — or like you said, computer?
It came to me during the night. I can remember a small glimpse of sitting in front of the computer.. Writing it.
And on Liberation…You wrote Manifest too, right?
On Liberation , I have written– some of the lyrics I have written. Often me and Seidemann used to write lyrics together, so we teamed up and we cracked open a bottle of red wine or something like that, and then we often, we would listen to the songs. He was sitting down drinking, I was smoking around in a room pacing around and speaking out ideas and discussing [them] with each other.
But like, I’ve seen somewhere that you wrote Manifest, did you? Or was that both you and Seidemann?
I would guess… I don’t remember exactly….
(laughs) You don’t remember…
This is kind of the thing that is kind of the price to pay when you write lyrics in an intoxicated state of mind… To remember what we had done, it’s not something that is important to me… I don’t care who does what on an album, as long as the outcome becomes the best possible result and that’s always what I gain for. And I don’t care for credit, and I don’t care for ego in order for, “Oh, I did this, I did that.” That has no interest to me, at all. It is the end result and what the album needs that is my main prior
ity and cause. And I always [have] been that way. And that is why I so easily dropped out of writing lyrics, you could say that, and I will lose a lot of royalties and money because I do this… And that is, (laughs) for me insane to think like that. It is– the art needs to have its way and if you just want to focus on the money before you focus on the art, then you have completely lost the battle of making exceptional, unique music, or art, as I consider what we do with our Black Metal. It is an art form for me and it has to be conducted and withheld within those stirrups; it is art.
It is, it is art. I think, well, what I think are your lyrics, I think that they are truly amazing. And I hope you write lyrics again in the future.
I hope so too. We’ll see. I have some ideas, I have some lines, and some words laid out to a new song that we are working on now. So we need to… Time will show what it ends up to be. As I said, it’s first and foremost is the end result that I’m aiming for. And the road there, and who does what, if I do nothing, or if I don’t do everything; it has nothing, it plays no interest to me. It needs to be something I write that’s the main goal, the main focus.
Ok, you said ‘new song’…. Can you tell me anything aside from what you said that is going on with a new album in the works?
It’s a work-in-progress, it always it. We– all of us make sketches on a regular basis; some more regular than others. Ideas and sketches are being exchanged and tried out in the rehearsal room. But yeah, lets see… Structure; some songs have been structured out to become songs, but how– if they will changed, it will be a part of an album, it’s way too early to see. It’s always a continuous project and ongoing. So, it would be impossible to say at this point. And I know that the beast which is the band will always have its way also. There’s no need– there’s no point in trying to conduct it too hard in any direction because it does what it wants to do anyhow.
Ok. Thank you. Can you tell me…Where your passion toward Black Metal first came from? Like what initially sparked it?
I always craved for extreme and aggressive music growing up. And in the 70s, I remember hearing Black Sabbath, and then that was kind of one of the bands that broke me into the darker part [of music] and had an appeal to me and it was something that I always liked in music, something that gives me a darker atmosphere. That always appealed to me. Through the 80s, bands like Slayer showed up, and I was like, “This is it! This is so aggressive! And so brutal.” I just loved it and the whole early aggressive thrash metal wave that came in. Like the French thrash metal wave; bands like Massacra and Agressor which held an extreme, hard, and brutal standard of something I really love.
But it was, I always played with the idea that I should have a band that was so extreme that people would be repulsed by even hearing the lyrics and stuff like that. Of course these are like childish words, but there were always these ideas in my head and a longing for an extremely, extreme expression for music. When I heard Black Metal, or music labeled Black Metal for the first time, I knew immediately that this, this was what I had been looking for! This was the idea that I had in my mind. It was like some other had this idea and they have managed to fulfill this into a musical art form, and they called it Black Metal. I was extremely happy inside and satisfied.
Who was it? What artist?
It was Burzum that I had heard for the first time.
It’s extreme metal to him [Varg Vikernes] now, I know…
I had no intention or need to form my own ‘extreme metal’ band, when I heard this music, because I could like… I just laid back and the music that came out through the early 90s gave me everything that I was craving for and longing for in extreme musical expression. And it wasn’t until the later half of the 90s when they brought in the synthesizers… Bands that I so strongly felt the need to turn this around and turn it back on track, the way that I thought it should be, and then I formed 1349. The rest is history.
(laughs) Ok. I should’ve asked this earlier, but… What are some of the most honest parts of your music, the most raw, the most dynamic, the alive parts of 1349 would you say that you feel?
I think… What is the part of 1349, the band delivers the music and it’s live performances with such a passion, with such a honesty, that it shines through everything that we do. We mean this. This is our art. It’s not something that we do for any other reason that we want to do it. It has nothing to do with the money, it is a need to do it. I need to do this music in order to get an outlet for my creative emotions that are all dark in character. If I hadn’t been doing this, then I don’t know where I would be, basically.
You played drums too…
I played drums in the beginning, yeah, when I first started .
During Chaos Preferred, right?
Yeah, Chaos Preferred. And I also made like, Manifest, Liberation; two of those songs on Liberation…
Wait, you played drums on those songs?
I didn’t do the drums, but we had already made the songs, so the drum structure was already laid out, so when Frost joined, he just took the structures and of course played it ten-million times better. It was an easy choice to fire myself as a drummer, probably the best decision I’ve ever done in 1349. (laughs)
I know I’m asking a lot of questions, thank you for answering them all. I really hope to come to one of your shows after this long of an interview, so far!
I hope you do and I hope that a lot of people who have been missing 1349 and they come out, we have been missing playing in the US as well. It was kind of strange letting 2011 go by without a US tour. It was like we had been to the US at least once a year since 2006 since we first started touring with Celtic Frost.
Yeah. Frost told me that you would be back in 2011… So I’m waiting, waiting, waiting for a tour announcement…Nothing!
Well, the touring market is extremely hard, we were– we have had a lot, I think we had like at least three concrete offers of European tours that we had wanted to do and had set wheels in motion but they had all ended up being corrupted in one way or another. So we had not been able to fulfill them and it’s so frustrating that the touring market is so booked up, so many bands out there touring. A lot them, a lot of these tours, are bound to fail of course.
The most frustrating part is I know that there is a lot of people in Europe that is anxiously awaiting us to tour Europe, but again, you need the promoters to book you, and if the promoters don’t book you, it doesn’t matter if you have like a thousand in every city waiting for a 1349 show, they need to go to their promoters and speak to them; there’s no need in telling the band, “Please come and play here, there, and the whole world.”
We will go everywhere, as long as there is a promoter in your country that is willing to put accommodations together so that we are able to and can justify going there to play. Of course we cannot (laughs) pay money to come to your country to play, we need at least our expenses covered. And also we have bills to pay as well. And if we can’t tour, we need to find another way of income to pay the bills.
Yeah. Oh! I saw the jeans you guys designed…
The Anti-Jeans… Oh, we don’t make any money [off of them], so to speak. It’s just a project…
I thought they looked really cool though when I saw the photos…
Well, it is merchandise like anything else, I don’t get the big fuss. People were going, “Oh, you’re designing jeans?” …Fucking hell! We’ve been designing 1349 t-shirts for fifteen years! Nobody ever commented on that! And then all of a sudden you design a pair of jeans?! Then it’s like suddenly, (laughs) “What the fuck?! Are people like so stupid?! Don’t they like think at all?! What the fuck is the difference between jeans and a t-shirt?! It’s like, yeah.. One thing goes on your leg, the other thing goes on your upper body!” We design both of those! We’re like, “Hello?!” …I guess the world is coming to an end …after all… (pauses)…At least I hope so…
You hope so…
Yeah, of course…. (laughs) This can’t go on forever… Everything ends.
Yeah that’s true… Life, death. There’s some crazy things going on in the world too, wars, terror attacks; getting kind of crazy.
Yeah, there are a lot of reasons. On a general basis, if you pulled away things like religion and then money, you would have added respect, you would pretty much have no wars, at all.
Yeah. There are so many people out there, even who are like Atheist or don’t believe in anything; no offense if you are or anything, but they have a certain religious aspect too that sometimes drives me crazy because all they do is judge and will rip everyone apart who has a belief of something, they have no respect for anyone’s beliefs at all.
Well, to me, it is no problem if you are– what you want to believing is up to you.
It doesn’t become a problem to the rest of the world until you start to proclaim and try to get other people to believe the same thing you believe. If every human being in the whole world had made up their own mind instead of asked people for advice on the internet or — this is exactly what the social media is doing, the social media is just what any other religions; you have to get a “like” or you have to post a comment to anything… And you basically put your life out on the internet in order to get comments on your life in order to feel better about yourself, and it’s like, if you could just make up your own mind can look at yourself in the mirror and go, “Nah, I look ok.” And don’t have to post a fucking picture on the internet to get fucking likes. But I guess the general masses of the human population of the need for this way, they feel insecure and they need to get feedback from others in order to feel, as human beings. And I will never– I have never gotten the need to do that; that repulses me basically, I would never do anything like that.
Yeah. And you know, back to the religion, as I’m thinking about it. It amazes me with all the organized religions out there; like, all of these churches — like, it doesn’t matter if it’s with the Holy Bible, the Qur’an; I can’t really remember all the exact other Bibles out there; but it’s like, along the lines of what you were saying earlier, in churches, the preachers will go up on the podium and preach their points of view of what they interpret their believes as to the people who attend… Even the Satanic Bible, someone was showing me some of the things in it the other day, and I was going “What the Hell??” It was, to me, one of the most ridiculous things I had ever read… It just seemed so, out there..
Well, it’s a very simple explanation for any religion; it’s a very early form of politic. And it has one goal and one meaning, to control people. That’s why you write it. That’s why it’s written in the way that it’s done, so that, so that you so do, “this and this,” and then to put some force behind it, and then you have an elevated character that controls everything. And it’s just like, if you don’t do like this… “God…Will….Punish….You…..” It’s like, “Ok!” Then people believe it and they do it and then they bust them around, they can take most of their money, they can take their land because the can sacrifice to their God. This is a power that’s been used for ages. This is mostly politicians who does it.
Or there are other Gods too… Like, I remember learning about Pagans, I think people used to believe – they still believe, but what I remember learning they used to sacrifice things, humans, etc to their gods…
That actually makes more sense because what a God meant to the Pagans, like the Vikings and stuff; a God to them was a name and an explanation for an energy, natures way, you know? Like you have four — they have all of this and they
make sacrifices to them and stuff. But all of these religions and all of that, their purpose was that, you should gain strength as a human being, as a person, so you, yourself as one being, you could pray to the Gods so that you could grow stronger. That was the meaning, that was the Pagan religion. These days, you should obey and surrender to this one God, so that you should become a weak being that is– you [inaudible] yourself to the ground, you should listen to the leader and the priest which are, they are closest to God, you should do what they say – you should surrender to leaders, basically. It’s very cleverly done, of course, in order to get mass control and a rise of power and unite of nations; basically how it’s done.
Yeah, I think it was the Jonestown massacre in the 1970′s, I believe, several hundred people were killed. It happened at a church, I something similar to this happened at another church too here, where the preacher brainwashed all of these people into committing suicide, basically… Look it up, it is seriously insane…
You know so much about — well, you’re from Norway, so you of course know about the Vikings and things like that and the mythology, so you must’ve learned this in school, right? Or did you major in it or anything?
No, it’s been many, many years since I went to years since I went to school. I honestly don’t remember. You learn so much. I remember we had like Christianity as a class.
It’s brilliant because they force it in you from when you’re a child and you’re open, like you believe in Santa Claus and you can tell children anything and of course they trust their parents. And then your parents say that “Well, God, he created you, and did everything in nature, and you have to say grace, and you have to thank God.” And you’re like, “Hmm…Well, ok…” (laughs)
My parents told me this and then suddenly you hit a certain age and you start to think independently and then you and then you start to question certain aspects that you started to hear from, lets say, the Bible and then, (laughs) your parents will have to answer these, and I don’t see why people will have to put themselves through this lying process where your children will have to find out one day that your parent has been lying to you; everybody does that– “Oh, yeah, we thought it was funny, that you believed in Santa Claus that you will probably do it to your children.” And then you’re like, “Ok. Yeah.” And yeah, you can tell your children that this is just something that is made up, that they made you believe. Read Christianity (laughs) and it’s like, “Oh, Jesus, Jesus lived.”
Of course, there’s no doubt about that he lived, but it is the way that the book is written that you cannot read; it’s fiction. It’s a story, it’s a collection of many fairy tales that you should read and read between the lines and draw the morality out with them and them and learn from their mistakes or what people are doing. It’s kind of, it’s one of the early writings that was basically educating people; the intentions were very, very good; and then of course, people come along and they get aroused by the amount of power that they can assume from these books and then they start rewriting them because there is a lot of power in the written words.
Have you ever read The Divine Comedy?
The story about Dante?
Yeah. Dante’s Inferno.
Nope. I haven’t. I hardly read any books at all. I’m not a person that read books. It’s never been an interest of mine.
If you ever did [read it], you’d probably like the Inferno part, at least.
The Divine Comedy?
Yeah. It’s Dante’s journey through Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven. He wrote the story with the intention of trying to help people, like in a sense of the Bible.
Yes, I know the story, of course, I know the basic concept of the book, and I know that the idea. It is exactly what it is, it is a “divine comedy”, if you look at it from a distance. You kind of take a step back and you see all of the people and the [inaudible] and it’s like, for me, “Ok, if that’s what you want to do, then by all means just do it, just please don’t come and try to bother me with it.” It’s like, “But it’s so good, you have to believe in this too. Why? It’s so disrespectful. I am not able to make up my own mind? I’m not fit for being a being that has a mind of its own? I need to submit to a divine force? That is what is so provoking about it. Also, I guess that is why atheists are getting so pissed off, basically.
But, you have to remember that, that is exactly what religion had been doing when causing war throughout time. It has been due to disrespect for other people’s religions or feelings. It’s like, “but you have to be Christian.” “I don’t want to be Christian.” “Then we decapitate you!” (laughs) …It’s like, “Great!”
And it [war] has been caused by politics too… Like, September 11, 2001 was. That was definitely political based, I believe so anyway…
(laughs) That’s another thing, the political situation in the US, it’s a “divine comedy” in itself.
But, it’s like this in many lands, of course.
Yeah, I honestly don’t know if I even want to vote this year with what’s going on with all of the politics.
Like, with Mitt Romney and stuff, I don’t get them.
Yeah. I was so into the political thing in 2008, I was getting worked up over everything, it was exciting, but this year, I’m going ….. “Eh…..”
Well, people are tired of it, it’s the same bullshit all over again. It will be interesting to see what will be the discussions and the outcome from this year’s election in the US.
I will say though, I’m very glad that Sarah Palin isn’t running for President, thank goodness! (laughs)
Bring back Sarah Palin! She was the best thing to American politics. (laughs)
(laughs) Now that’s a “Divine Comedy”!
Yeah… I’ve seen some videos on Saturday Night Live, isn’t it? Where they did a very good impersonation of her. She actually joined one of the shows, as well?
Yeah, I think she has a show on the so-called “fair and balanced” Fox News channel here.
Yeah, that’s right. I think I seen some clips from that as well. She’s out on a hunt or something? She’s out with her father, or something, and they are going for a hunt up in Alaska?
Yeah, they were hunting for a moose or something, and yuck.. (laughs) I don’t eat meat so that grossed me out.
(laughs) I’m a carnivore.
(laughs) I’ve been a vegan for almost 13 years now… So meat just grosses me out. I respect everyone else’s food choices, it just grosses me out though.
Actually, I very seldom eat meat while I’m on tour, especially in the US, because the way that the meat is processed in the US is with the corn fed beef…
It is not… I can feel the taste of the meat, that it’s… (laughs) …It’s not all good. So, I try to limit the amount of just basic [inaudible] of what … Just basic thoughts and need to be a little bit aware of what you’re eating. The corn-fed beef is not on top of my so-called meat list.
The fast food here…Ugh. It’s so gross too.
Sugar and corn! (laughs)
It’s disgusting! (laughs)
But I must say… What I appreciate the most about touring in the US is the micro-brewery beers that have grown up in the US. And that is the worst thing about touring and not being up in Denver and Colorado, that is all the micro-breweries that are up there and found in Colorado.
Yes, there are some very good ones here! You guys are missing out…You will just have to make a stop here then. (laughs) But anyway, I have a couple of more questions, if you don’t mind answering?
Ok. I have seen you with your corpsepaint on and your sunglasses on in every single photo and every single video of you that I have seen… Why do you never take your sunglasses or corpsepaint off in pictures and videos?
Well, either it is a kind of way to hold mystery in a way. Pictures last forever and videos last forever. And if you meet me, I’ll [inaudible] in privately and I must sit in a room not wearing sunglasses. It’s a way of maintaining my private side as well. And just more comfortable for me, physically. If you want a picture, either you take a picture of me with it on, with corpsepaint, or you do it offstage then with sunglasses.
Ok. What is the meaning behind your corpsepaint? Like, what does it signify?
There are two ravens. There is one raven on each side.
And what does ‘Ravn’ signify for you?
The raven is– first and foremost, in Norway, the ravens are much bigger than the ones in the US, they are very shy and it’s very seldom that you see them. But they fly high and they scatter and they observe the earth. And Odin the Norse God had two ravens in which he sent out to get information around the world.
What I kind of like and what I feel applies to me as the observer that I can sit back and observe and see things that happens; I don’t necessarily act and jump in and be a part of it, I like to maintain a privacy and distance to things. I like solitude and observation basically. That’s why the “Ravn” is a person in itself. It’s a good way for having my stage name.
That’s very interesting, I’ve never read an interview where you’ve said that before, so that’s why I was wondering. But you are also a very deep person with all of the many answers that you gave me, what impacted you to give you that depth and philosophical side that you have?
(pauses) I don’t know, I always been this way, I always like to make up my own mind about things, to observe and think things, not necessarily take for granted or believe everything that people told me. I was like, always kind– I try to, it was very hard from time to time, but I try to think things through when people tell me things because there are always two sides to every story and things. I do a lot of thinking, basically. I grew up in a small mountain town. I had a lot of times spent alone, I like to make philosophical mind experiments and put my mind to own tests and grow as a person and as a human being. You always need to challenge yourself to grow as a human being.
That’s very true. Well, thank you so much for taking the time for giving me this amazingly long interview!
Thank you for taking the time.