The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world





Progressive black metal band Enslaved have a new album coming out entitled "In Time", a solid collection of songs that continue on the progressive path that the band have been experimenting with for many years now. We spoke to guitarist Ivar Bjørnson about the new songs as well as his new project at the Roadburn 2015 festival in the Netherlands...

Andrew: So how's things with the band at the moment?


Ivar: It's good, it's the way we want to be. Just preparing for the release and the upcoming tour so good times.


Andrew: Yes the new album "In Times" which is coming out. I have listened to it a few times and I find it to be really good. What can you tell me about this album?


Ivar: It's our 13th album and we started writing when we got back from the Australian tour in 2013 in November. It took something like 9 or 10 months of writing in between all the touring of festivals. In the studio we had a pretty intense September and October preparing the album and the remaining time before like the holidays and new year was spent doing the layouts and all the technicalities of releasing an album. And now we're promoting it and getting ready to play it live.


Andrew: Awesome! What are the main differences between this album and the previous album? Because there is less songs on this one but the songs seem to be a bit longer but what else can you tell me that's maybe a bit different from last time?


Ivar: I would say it's probably got some multiple effects on the listeners in a sense. Like the common thing that people find are very wholesome songs as an album whereas I think on the previous album it was more song by song kind of thing. This album has definitely got this whole album feeling from beginning to end even though the songs are different. This is our attempt in creating a sort of a bridge to our origins, the roots of the band where it's more extreme metal oriented and blending that with a more progressive experiment and bringing in some more melody and mellow parts. I would say we have come further in a seamless kind of mix between the two, I think that is the main difference. It sounds like it's gone from not so much experimentation and more like an integrated part of the band. That's how I feel about it but everyone has their different opinions.

Andrew: Yeah I mean any fan can obviously tell that there's been a bit of progression over the years. I would say this one continues that but do you feel that you have come to a certain point in the band now where you now go 'OK we know what we want and we know how to do it'. I mean was that sort of the idea behind this one?


Ivar: Yes that's like an overlaying level I guess you could say that but maybe in different words. The conclusion we came to on the previous album and the stuff that we succeeded with is that we really need to let whatever happens happen, trying to abandon whatever little devil we have on our shoulders that try to put some restrictions on what we're doing in terms mentioned the song lengths and of course at the beginning we started going back a bit to the early days of the band where all the songs are really long and when we started going back to that and realized that it might be unusual or cause something like problems getting compilation albums or being played on the radio. It's just about if that's the length of the song you want to have then just let it be that length, if you want to have one song that's got a blast beat and the next one's got an almost mellow feeling to it , you gotta let that happen too. It's more about trying to let things happen more automatically, it's sometimes harder to be not thinking when you are doing these things than to do the opposite. So it's all a circle kind of thing that we started all the way just working what we've been through in our career, it's definitely the one in the beginning where it's just feeling enthusiastic about what you're doing and letting whatever happens. That is definitely the work model for us.


Andrew: Is it difficult when you are in the studio to shut off any influences or do you kind of embrace that kind of thing?


Ivar: When it comes to influences from other forms of music and art, I really like to embrace that. I do that more and more. I do understand that people have a need to protect the integrity as composers and songwriters and all that shit but to sort of start claiming that you are not influenced by any other music, that just seems silly to me. It's unavoidable to the point, when you first start making music you have to have been because you listen to music in a different way when you start writing your own stuff. And so I have gone the other way and I really embrace it both in my songwriting and the studio process and I listen to other musicians and how they do things. That's also why I particularly like working with other people too, to see how they do things technically and musically so yes it has something to do with both confidence and also with having your own style. The more of your own style and confidence you have about that, the easier it is to let other things color your music.

Andrew: Yeah it's hard to sort of not be influenced by stuff anyway whether bands will admit it or not. I mean everyone is influenced by one thing or another so I think it's alright to wear it on your sleeve so to speak.


Ivar: Yeah totally! I think that influences are very useful and also inspiring to be part reminds me of why we got into it in the first place because of the community thing, the metal scene. It's interesting to see what other people are doing and supporting the stuff that you feel is good instead of a trend that started in the late 90's when people started becoming more aware of their position in whatever hierarchy that was in the scene and now with some of these guys there seems to be more interest in talking down other bands than actually talking about what's good in their own band. That's why we got a hip hop scene for all those things.


Andrew: Haha! So obviously you will be doing a lot of touring for this year and I had recently read that you are going to be a curator at Roadburn 2015.


Ivar: Yes that is coming up in April, really looking forward to that one.

Andrew: So how did that all come about?


Ivar: That was a bit of an old dream come true because I have been going to Roadburn both as a festival goer and we've been there as a band. The first time we played there was 2008 or 2009 I believe and what happened there was Celtic Frost was supposed to headline one of the stages when they had a reunion going and just before the festival they had this massive breakup and from out of the blue we got a phone call from Roadburn and Celtic Frost were asked who they would recommend to replace them and for some reason they came up with Enslaved as a suggestion which blew my mind. So that was the start of a very close and good relationship with the Roadburn people. We've been there as festival guests and played there twice now and so we are booked to play because we got a new album coming out and also they wanted to put me and Einar Selvik there and we have a project together which is a classic sound played as old northern folk music played with authentic instruments sort of like an orchestra with 12 people on stage. And while we were discussing this all of a sudden they just go 'OK you can be the curators for this event at the festival' and of course we could only accept, it was a big honour.


Andrew: Awesome that's obviously big news for you personally and for the band as well. And obviously you are going to be touring the rest of the year as well?


Ivar: Absolutely! We start in March and we do the summer festivals in April and August then Scandianvia in October and Europe in November. And then December-January that's where we will do South America and Australia so this year or early next year. It's all in the making so we can't wait to get back.


Andrew: Yeah definitely we would love for you to come back because the last time you came over here, it was an amazing tour. Great to see you come down here!


Ivar: Sure, it's a good atmosphere. The first time in our life we were able to come down so it was fun!


Andrew: It's been a pleasure talking to you! The new album sounds great and I think the fans can't wait for it to come out so thanks for the interview today!


Ivar: Thanks man! Pleasure talking to you.



Ivar spoke to Andrew Schizodeluxe January 2015





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