An Interview With Adam Bjørn Schønemann-Warming of ORM
ORM are a three-piece Melodic Black Metal band based out of Copenhagen, Denmark, who came together from a previous band called By The Patient, which was a Melodic Death Metal band that disbanded in 2015. The members decided they wanted to do something more serious and play Black Metal. Soon came the formation of ORM with drummer Adam Bjørn Schønemann-Warming, vocalist & guitarist Simon Sonne Andersen, guitarist & vocalist Theis Wilmer Poulsen, and bassist Troel Cort Nielsen, who departed ORM in 2021.
Adam feels as an arranger and writer that there are a lot more options in modern Black Metal than other Metal genres, “You can do these longer songs, do these longer passages, and you have this whole atmosphere you can work with and play with. It’s just nice to do something, like in ORM, we want to do something new every time, don’t want to repeat ourselves too much.”
The name ORM translates in Danish to “Serpent“. Because the band is from Denmark, when they do creative work like write Music & lyrics, they have to draw upon their own backgrounds, “that’s kind of why we chose the name ORM, because we also know the Norse Mythology in our culture.”
ORM have released three full-length albums and one EP. Their debut self-titled album released in March of 2017, followed by Ir in August of 2019, their EP Mit Blod in February of 2020, and most recently their double album titled, Intet · Altet on September 30th of 2022, all through Indisciplinarian Records.
Following the release of their self-titled album, which was mostly about Norse Mythology sung in English, the band changed directions with Ir, singing in Danish. “Ir is also a more personal story that revolves around suicide. It’s kind of a processing of that event and reframing of it in terms of local folk lore and legends from the island where Simon, Thies, and Troels are from.” On the album cover for Ir, the band picked a photo framed with Art of that special island, which is very far away from the mainland to homage their Danish heritage.
Their newest double album, Intet · Altet, translates into “The Nothing // The All“, is only four tracks that are around 19 to 25 minutes long, with the LP in its entirety being an hour and a half long. “Give yourself the time because this one is an hour and a half, so it’s a long setting, but if you give it the attention it deserves, listen & focus, there’s a lot of stuff to like…Even to people who maybe aren’t traditionally interested in the Black Metal genre.”
Adam and Simon wrote some of the lyrics from home, but most of them they wrote together when they were at a little cottage in the countryside, called Tore’s Cottage. They spent an entire day and night there to write lyrics and lay vocals, which were engineered by Simon and Theis. The drums and guitars were recorded at Black Tornado Studios and engineered by Jake Black and Simon. Bass, lead guitars, and additional material were recorded by Theis at Full Moon Studios. All of the recordings were mixed by Simon and mastered by Fredrik Brandt Jakobsen.
Each track was inspired from Simon reading about the four stages of Life in the Hindu religion and they thought that was pretty interesting. Even though the band isn’t Hindu, they took that skeleton of the four stages of Life and did their own interpretation, “As we worked with it, we were more and more comfortable because it went well with the experiences we were having personally and when we were writing this record. There was a lot of “Lifing and Deathing” going on. It started to resonate with us, and we got really into it.”
ORM also drew inspirations from Psalms from the Danish church, as some of them are very beautifully written and related to the different stages of Life, such as the songs that are sung for baptisms, funerals, and weddings. “It’s a very rich tradition in Denmark for having songs and singing them. We looked through those Psalm books and got inspired. And then to fit with the Music we have, we always write the Music first and then the lyrics kind of come.”
The album opens with the track Fra dyden, which means “from virtue” and it is about the fiery youth stage. The song is very fast and intense, it has more of an upbeat, enthusiastic, and positive vibe to it. The band wanted to capture the energy and curiosity a new being comes into the world with, “The way you kind of experience each moment in Life for the first time, basically. It can be a different rich experience for these small kids, doing something completely trivial. It’s completely different when you’re so young, and that’s very fascinating. “
The second track, Floden, som kan skabe, which translates to “the river that flows” is about the burdened adult stage of Life. It is a bit more somber and serious sounding than Fra dyden. It is the longest song on the record and as Adam describes, the most meditative, as it’s mid-paces from the beginning and evolves into more of a serene sound as it progresses, and becomes more tired, and has a middle-ground when it comes to the intensity and tempo. “It’s a bit more like dragging along, but at the same time, a very powerful, it has a feel like it has a weight, and the end piece is this very long, six minutes, where it’s just one chord. Everything just kind of intensifies and reaches a crescendo. It’s kind of like being in a trance and then moves over into the next song, which is called Trance.
Trance, or “Floden, som kan lede“, translates to the river that can lead, and is about the ascetic hermit who is tired and secludes himself to meditate about Life and his imminence in Death. It is a completely different track as it has no lyrics, no vocals, and is more mellow and tranquil. “It’s a very introspective kind of piece, but it also does have some more feelings, it has pieces that are longing because even though you are devoted to the pursuit of some kind of spiritual role… It’s a very different kind of song.”
“Mod døden” is the fourth track, which means “towards Death” and bridges into the preceding songs, “the river that can lead towards Death” It’s about dying and the unknown of what happens afterwards. Theis lost his Mother while writing the album and connected quite strongly with that track. ORM challenged themselves to do something a bit more complicated with the structure of the song. The riffs and rhythms are more intricate than what they’d normally do, “And then there’s this long, quiet passage in the middle with the drums in the album… We’re going to new territory, which is also kind of what the song is about, right? Venturing into something completely unknown. Ok, and of course the epic ending, where everything just kind of happens…”
The album cover for Intet · Altet was illustrated by Raoul Mazzero. The symbols on the cover represent each song starting from the top left, going clockwise. The first symbol is “sunrise” and with the acoustic guitar at the beginning, it reminds Adam a lot of dawn, or “the dawn of Life”. The next symbol, which is pictured with spirals is described as the Sun at its apex, kind of at midday where the burdened adult works in his own sweat. The third, is simplistic in its meaning, the Sun sets. And the last one, the band was inspired by the alchemical symbol of Mercury, “It’s not exactly that symbol, but it inspired us making it… Mercury is interesting, it’s both a fluid and a solvent. In alchemy, it’s also a very mystical substance that can be both things at the same time. And that also worked well with the Intet · Altet, the nothing – the all. When everything’s finished…You start over and go from nothing to everything and go from everything to nothing.”
You can catch ORM live on January 28th of 2023 when they perform at VEGA in Copenhagen, Denmark. Doors open at 19:00, show starts 20:00. You can purchase tickets here!
Article & interview by Jenna Williams, The Scream Queen