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Welcome to our website Øyvind, it's been almost a year since the release of your second album, how has this comeback been for you?
It was fucking great to finally get the album out. We had been working on this album for a long time, and it was a really hard process for us making the album with band members quitting and new ones joining in along the way. I guess that's the main reason for all the time it has taken to get this second album out. It's never been a comeback in the way that we’ve quit and came back together as a band again. Chton has been here all the time, but has suffered from loss of members, something that again spawn loss of motivation at times. Even though we've had a hard time making "The Devil Builds" we're really satisfied with the album and it represents a great development from our debut album "Chtonian Lifecode". We've finally got a permanent line-up too, with people that are dedicated and eager to take Chton further.
Chton have been active for about fifteen years, how were they born and who are they now?
Chton actually started out as a black metal band (using a different name back then). It's only me (Øyvind) that's still in the band from those days. But it was first when Torstein joined in on guitar that we started to working on the new sound of dark and brutal death metal that is Chton today. Me and Torstein have been the main riff makers in Chton since then, and are of course an important part in Chton having it's sound. Vyl (Keep of kalessin, Gorgoroth) played drums for us a while and also made a lot of riffs while he played in the band. He actually made some of the music on "The Devil Builds" too. The most important thing for Chton and our sound is to not just be another brutal death metal band. We want to put some really dark atmosphere in our music too. This dark feeling is a big part of the music and the lyrics.
The title says: "The Devil Builds", but what is he building? How do you see his work inside humanity?
We made the title open for the listener to find his/her own meaning for it. But of course this album is meant to be a brick in whatever he is building. Personally I don't believe in the Devil or any other religious stuff. But I do see the Devil as a manmade thing representing the total darkness and evil in this world. So it's of course a great use for lyrics exploring the darkest parts of human kind. The Devil definitely has a great symbolic value.
In the booklet there is this quote:
Some dark day he'll come
and all death is here
as the mouth of hell opens
I am one with the dead
on this field of devastation.
Since the album has been released in times when apocalypse was as popular as Lady Gaga and stupidly overstated by many authorities, were you expecting a change from that event that never happened?
Apocalypse is of course a great theme for our lyrics, and for death metal in general. The quote is actually put together from sentences from different songs on "The Devil Builds". It was meant to draw some meaning from the different songs and be put together as a quote taking a meaning of it's own. It also is meant to give some meaning to the album title "The Devil Builds". I don't think we will see any sort of apocalypse any time soon, but somehow people seem afraid of the apocalypse and it's the ultimate ending, that’s why we make lyrics about it.
"Rise Black Gods" from the title seems to urge the coming of this destructive deity, but is this an expectation that has yet to run its course or is it already in our midst in another form? The excessive power of the banks, manipulating mass media and coercion through the indoctrination of mass vulgar "obey": aren't them obvious manifestations of it?
Well, as I said earlier I don't believe in any deities at all and when we use it in our lyrics it is for the dark atmosphere and symbolic value. So I guess the way you describe it is pretty close to how I see it.
How does a Chton song get life, both instrumentally and lyrically? Are there any fixed roles concerning who is to deal with what?
We have not any defined tasks in the band and everyone can share whatever riffs or lyrics they want. As I said before, me and Torstein make most of the riffs though, but we all take part in the process of putting the songs together. I guess that is another reason for things taking so long, but it is what's need to be done to bring out the best of the band. Even though it takes a lot of time, it’s worth it in the end. We're trying out some new ways to make music now, starting to record ideas and doing arrangements before we go the rehearsals. We will see how it works out. My guess is that we will take everything apart and put it back together in new ways when we get to the rehearsals anyway. When it comes to lyrics all of us contribute, but Torstein and Espen do most of them. It works a lot in the same way as with the music. Someone comes up with some lyrics and others contribute to get the right atmosphere.
Norway is known for its black movement, but now death metal has begun to grind as well, what is the situation like? Are there any new bands to follow? What are the first names that come to your mind?
Well, the death metal scene has been around for a long time in Norway, and most of our old black metal bands started out as death metal bands as well, like Immortal (Amputation), Emperor (Embryonic Death) and Darkthrone (Darkthrone). But there is absolutely some death metal bands making their way out of the gutter in Norway now. Blood Red Throne is of course one of the obvious bigger names. But you also got bands like Diskord, No Dawn, The Sickening, Obliteration and Mind Grinder that needs some attention. We also start to get a lot of good thrash metal bands in Norway worth checking out like Wyruz, Imbalance and Nekromatheon…
In your sound I've noticed some influence coming from American bands, which are the bands you like? Which are the albums that you consider fundamental for your musical growth?
The American death metal scene has really had a great impact on us, and I'm not surprised if you hear a lot of that in our music. I do have to answer this question on my own behalf of course. These are some of the death metal albums that's been important for me:
Immolation – "Close To A World Below"
Morbid Angel – "Covenant"
Morbid Angel – "Domination"
Death – "Human"
Luciferion – "Demonication (The Manifest)"
Pestilence – "Spheres"
Deicide – "Deicide"
Deicide – "Once Upon A Cross"
Cannibal Corspe – "The Bleeding"
Of course I could go on, but I guess you got the idea…
Do you think the world political situation and the constant state of recession that involves mainly the western world could become an advantage for a possible re-establishment of ecclesiastical power? Is the devil building again his empire through them? Moreover, Vatican is always there in this kind of situations.
I actually believe that all religions will gradually lose their power. People will get smarter and more educated, and that is religions worst enemy. But when you talk about the dark sides of human kind, you will always find it were religion has much power. The more interested people are in preaching how other people shall live, the more they have their own dark issues.
In this period some religious movements are rekindling the flames that contrast the metal world, the protests at the funeral of Ronnie James Dio and those of Jeff Hannemann are symptoms that idiocy is endless, but people never blame them, they say that the artists are "cursed" or deviant. Is metal too commercialized? Did this create a situation that made people able to say bad things again about metal, because of the Pop attitude of many releases?
As I answered in the previous question, the more interested people are in preaching how others shall live, the more they have their own dark issues. This is the people I'm talking about, and they've been there since Elvis and the Beatles. If our music is a tool to piss them off, I'm just happy about that. I have no problem with stupid people saying bad things about metal. They say stupid things because we offended them, so whenever they open their mouth against metal I think of it as a job well done.
Which are your thoughts about the current music scene?
I'm not up to date on everything that's happening in the current music scene any more. I check out bands, and if I like them I keep on listening to them. If not, I just forget about them. I have no problem discovering new and old bands creating good music, so I guess it's all good in my opinion.
Can we feel satisfied with the steps taken with the advent of the Internet, or is globalization only a problem for art and its desire to be appreciated, studied and known?
This is a hard question to answer. Of course it's a lot easier to discover new bands now, but at the same time it can be too much. I often end up not listening to bands as much as I want to because I got so much new stuff to check out. So I'm kind of old school like that, because when I really like a band I still buy their records. That way I listen more to the music I buy. It has both its advantages and disadvantages. I don't use a lot of time thinking about it since it is going to take its course anyway. The most important thing for me is how I personally experience music in this situation.
How is Chton on stage? What is the necessary basis to offer the best performance to the audience an one of your live shows?
Of course we try to take the atmosphere from the music to the stage. When we make dark and brutal music, that is what we want you to see on stage. We don't have synchronized headbanging and a very staged show, we just give ourselves to the music. Pure aggression. We do of course give our best when we get good feedback during the show.
Any reactions and comments received after playing the tracks from "The Devil Builds" live?
The new material is really good for a live setting. I guess we've always made music that's worked well live and Chton has a great reputation as a live band.
Will we see you in Italy? If so, which songs would you like to play?
We don't have any plans to come to Italy right now, but we would love to play there though. I've been to Rome two times and I really love Italy. Great food and great wine! I guess we would play most of "The Devil Builds" and maybe a couple of songs from "Chtonian Lifecode". I guess we're most into our newest stuff.
What can we expect in the future from Chton?
We're working on new songs now and hopefully we will get out an EP in early 2014. At the same time we will work on a new album. If everything goes as planned you will see that too sometime in 2014.
The interview ends here, I wish you all the best. You can leave one last message to our readers…
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