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
Ravn 1349 - Interview
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Hailing from Norway, 1349 are a black metal band that have brought back some of the more purer elements of the genre since their inception in the late 90's. While the original black metal bands in the early 80's like Venom and Bathory had the satanic themes and heavy riffs, it was the Scandinavian scene in the early 90's that pushed the genre into new and terrifying directions. 1349 are bringing their brand of black metal to Australia for the very first time so we caught up with vocalist Ravn to discuss the tour, their latest album "Massive Cauldron of Chaos" and more.



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Andrew: Let's talk about the Australian tour coming up. First time in Australia I believe!

Ravn: Yeah first time, that's correct. Really looking forward it! We've been trying to get something setup for years and it's good to have it materialize.

Andrew: Do you have any expectations or do you know much about Australia at all?

Ravn: Well it's always interesting to go to new countries and we play there and break new ground. We see how the crowd reacts differently from country to country and also from city to city so we're looking forward to seeing how the Australian crowds accepts the brute force of black metal.

Andrew: [laughs] Well there is definitely a strong black metal audience in Australia, we definitely love our heavy stuff so we're looking forward to seeing you guys bring it. I guess you will be playing a best of kind of thing, a bit of a mix of everything?

Ravn: Yes it will be a mix but we're still supporting the latest release "Massive Cauldron Of Chaos", so the most songs will be picked from that album and that album will be the focal point. But of course we will bring in songs - like a hit parade - from all the albums.

Andrew: The album came out about a year ago so how has it been going so far? Have you been getting a lot of good responses from the fans?

Ravn: The response has been phenomenal. A theme that seems to be ongoing is that it's our best release since "Hellfire", we take it upon ourselves that every release that we have is the best one that we have released. If not then we wouldn't release it obviously but to see those reactions, we know that "Hellfire" is our breakthrough album and a lot of people hold that as one of our best releases. "Massive Cauldron of Chaos" has been getting fantastic reviews and a lot of people have that release as their favorite actually. The album has showed a band that has developed and grown and if you see the compositions and the music in general, you can see that the band is constantly developing and "Massive Cauldron of Chaos" fully showcases the band 1349 in full splendour.

Andrew: How was the writing and recording process then? Was it different to all the other stuff from before?

Ravn: It changes from album to album and that has to do with several factors. When we first started writing on our first releases, we recorded demos on cassette tapes, then we started recording on CD's and now we have a small portable studio setup so we can meetup at my place or record on whatever and you utilise the digital age in the writing process now. We share things via cloud services and we work individual and then we meetup in rehearsal room and then kind of hammer things out. But to have that freedom to listen to things by yourself and take it out on the road maybe, to be outside in a different environment to feel the music in different settings is very helpful.

Andrew: Do you have a preference between writing and recording or playing live? Is there one that you lean towards more than the other?

Ravn: I always enjoy the time in the studio partly because that's the reason why I came into music, it was the creative process and it's an outlet for creativity which I find very rewarding. But I have grown quite a bit to the live aspect as well and the interaction and see the reaction with the audience, that's also a rewarding process when you see how the art that you've been a part of creating is inflicting people. And you see that up close, it's happening there right in front of you. It's also an interesting experience that I've grown to like quite a lot over the years.

Andrew: That must feel fantastic!

Ravn: You can't compare the two, it's so different being in the studio. It's all intense and compact between the four of us and the people working in the studio, it's kind of an experimental thing. You do everything in a lab and then you test it out on out there so it's two different experiences which I have grown to like both equally as much.

Andrew: Yeah because obviously playing live, you get that instant gratification straight away seeing the fans reaction immediately which I suppose is the one missing factor in the creative process when you are in the studio.

Ravn: Some people say they think about how the audience will react to the songs but we never do that. We solely focus on the music and being as we want it to be and then it's always an extra added factor to it if people like it. We first and foremost make the music for ourselves and then it's always a benefit if people like it obviously because that means we can continue to record but we have to stay true to ourselves as artists first and foremost. And I think by doing that and having that approach to our music, it comes across with a full honesty and with our hearts basically because we mean what we've done and it's performed with our hearts and that will shine through in the end result. If you really care about the music and care about true craftsmanship and the musicians, then you will recognise this subconsciously and you will get affected to the music compared to it being a massive, commercial act.

Andrew: What inspires you? Has that changed over the years at all? What inspires you to come up with lyrics and vocal lines and all that kind of stuff?

Ravn: It's a weird process with 1349, it's not something I have experienced with other projects. It's the unity of the four of us, when we come together we just labelled it over the years as the band spirit. Because something happens when we unite and combine our thoughts in mind, it unites into something greater than the sum of the four of us basically. During the years, we have tried to control it and tried to push this spirit into directions that we think is the natural direction but if it's not the way that it wants to go, it pushes us back really hard and we have learned throughout the years to just ride it and hold on as good as we can. That's basically how it works. The best way to describe it is a subconscious sum of all of our minds put into motion and that kinda controls how the band moves and flows.

Andrew: So there's obviously a great chemistry between you guys creatively and personally then.

Ravn: In a creative way that's the best effect yeah.

Andrew: Black metal to some people is a very harsh kind of music and some people absolutely love it. But there is always a discrepancy as far as what defines black metal and I have heard different versions from bands and fans. To you personally, what defines black metal? What is black metal music?

Ravn: To define black metal is a personal experience and it is what separates it from other genres. It has clear boundaries to what labels the music because black metal is a genre that holds bands that are extremely fast and aggressive and nearly to the point of noise, to more ambient and sludgey things that are almost like soundscapes. But black metal is something that every person that listens to it has to define that this holds a black metal aurora and this is black metal to me. For me this boils down to the music giving me a feeling of grimness, of darkness and ecstatic excitement that triggers primal instincts in me and the thought process can fade away and it basically leads to much darker feelings and you're getting in touch with emotions that swings from dark and aggressive to being lifted up to more revealing parts. So it is an emotional journey and you have to explore the emotional levels basically, if you don't know how dark the darkness can be then how can you know how bright the light can shine? It's a point of definition but to me, people have said black metal has to be this and this, and no. Black metal has the freedom of applying to no rules basically, it is founded on rebellious, satanic ideas and thoughts and it is opposed to the masses. Basically that's what you need to bring into and take it for what it is. Every individual is to decide what black metal is to them so hence we as a band, we label our music black metal because it's black metal to us. And we hope that every individual that sees that message and receives that message just as clear as we want it to be delivered and label it the same label.

Andrew: Yeah it's very interesting and I think there is no mistaking that you guys are black metal. How did you discover this kind of music? Was there a particular band that you latched onto that drove you into creating this kind of music for yourself?

Ravn: Yeah I heard Burzum for the first time in the early 90's and it was instantly music that I had been playing around with in my mind basically. I had ideas for making music and having a band that was of an extreme nature that at the time would top Slayer basically! Because when I found Slayer, that was a revelation to begin with, the extremity of the music and then to find out later on that there were Norwegian bands that had taken this a lot further and into very different directions as well. The takes that you can have on darkness, not only brute force straight on but you can have different angles which was mind boggling and it opened a whole new world to me. I was a fan of black metal right upon the later part of the 90's where black metal took a huge turn where it got known by acts that had a lot of synthesizers which had a more orchestrated, me more of a more goth take on the whole thing...and they labelled it black metal but to me it had lost all the feeling that I really felt was black metal to me, so that's why I then felt the need to form 1349 to kind of make a stand against all this and take care and cherish the heritage that had been laid out by the first Norwegian black metal bands and to kind of work on from there and make Norwegian black metal as I wanted it to be. And I was fortunate to have found people that shared the same vision and was able to work together to create this music and hold this vision alive. We never looked back from there on, we just went our own way and I think that will benefit us in the long term.

Andrew: Yeah and it's great to see you continuing the black metal genre and keeping it as pure as possible. Do you have any last words for the Australian fans before you come over here next year?

Ravn: As we travel as far to see you, I hope you grant us with your presence and come out to enjoy the show with us and enjoy all the aural hellfire!

Andrew: Should be a great tour! Thanks for your time today, it's really appreciated and we will see you in Australia next year.


Tuesday, February 23: Perth - Amplifier Bar
Thursday, February 25: Brisbane - Crowbar
Friday, February 26: Sydney - The Factory Theatre
Saturday, February 27: Melbourne - Max Watts

Tickets and tour details can be found at Direct Touring.

Interview by Andrew "Schizodeluxe" Massie on November 26th 2015