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Today we have here with us Vulture Industries. After a strong album released in 2007 "The Dystopia Journals", the band from Bergen made one of the best albums of 2010: "The Malefactor's Bloody Register".
Welcome Bjørnar, as usual let's begin with some infos about your band?
Bjørnar: Thanks! We are five guys dedicated to make the music we love and spread it to those willing to listen. The band started in Bergen, Norway in 2002 and have a steady line up since then. We have by now released two albums and are currently working on material for the third. Musicaly we can be described as progressive extreme metal with a eccentric touch of madness.
In 2009 I had the pleasure of interviewing and reviewing the second album of Sulphur, band in which Øyvind Madsen and Evind Huse play, so I thought: is there a competition bewteen the two bands about who makes the best album? "Thorns In Existence" gave me so much, then I listen to your new work that I hoped to be good and I'm more than just satisfied. How was the birth of this second album?
Considering that Øyvind is involved with the songwriting in both bands and I (Bjørnar) also produced both albums, there isn't much real competition. Still… Cosidering that Øyvind and Evind also release very good albums with Sulphur, it helps keep us on our toes. "The Malefactor's Bloody Register" was finally given birth after a two year pregnancy. It took some time after the release of "The Dystopia Journals" before we found the direction we wanted to take with the follow up. We didn't want to make the same album twice, so some experimentation and new impulses was required. After a year of feeling our way through new ideas and sorting out what we wanted to use, new songs started to take form. From this point the completion of the album was a quite fluid process where we worked on multiple songs in paralell and finished one by one as we found the correct continuations and parts, or simply was in the right mood.
You changed a bit route, "The Malefactor's Bloody Register" is more progressive, your performance is awesome, he broke free from the Garm chains, it's a mature work. How did the the composition of lyrics and music go on?
As mentioned it was our intention to make something new, and I feel we succeded in this respect. When it comes to the music we basicaly followed the same routine as before. Me and Øyvind make more or less finished demos of songs and ideas in our home studios which we bring to the rest of the band to hammer out the final bits and pieces. When it comes to the lyrics they are all written by me. I write when I am in the mood and feel inspired. This is usually the most tricky part of the process as this inspiration is very unpredictable. At times I can finish a couple of song lyrics in one sleepless night, but then it can take two months before have another one of my inspired moments.
I noticed a particular attention to melodies, the choral parts and the pleasant presence of guests here and there. There are Hammond, sax, strings, it's obvious that you don't like to be static. How were the collaborations with the guests born?
All the choral parts are handled by the band members. All of the guys have good voices, and by using the guys for the vocal hamonic parts in stead of multiple layers of my voice, we are able to repeat it live. When it comes to the guest musicians, the parts in mind was written with those instruments in mind. For the Hammond organ it was an easy pick since Herbrand Larsen (which did the parts) is a great musician a good friend of us and we run a studio together. The cello player, Audun, we heard perform with his band Funin which was recently released by Karisma Records, the sister label of Dark Essence. Funin is a great band, so is his playing, so we asked him and he would very much like to do it. The other guests was found through friends recomendations and all did splendid jobs. I almost forgot about the dog. Thats the best storry. I had a Manchester Terrier puppy named Luca in the studio when I was recording the vocals. She suffered from seperation anxiety, so each time I left the room she'd start to howl. After a couple of instances I recogniced the beauty of the howling and put up a mic before going out for a cup of coffe. I then put it into a part of the song I was working on which was "This Cursed Flesh", and voilà… she was in perfect pitch!
If I had to choose my favourite track, surely I would say "This Cursed Flesh", it has a particular charm and an awesome chorus, but the one who entered into my head and didn't come out is "I Hung My Heart In Harrow Square". Can we say that it's a ballad? What inspired you to make it?
It's a murder ballad. What inspired me to make it… I have no idea. Maybee Nick Cave…
Unluckily the promo version I have received doesn't include lyrics, can you tell us which are the main lyrical themes?
The theme of "TMBR" is humanity seen through the justice system. It’s about who we are and how we treat each other.
"The Newgate Calendar – The Malefactors' Bloody Register" was written between the 18th and the 19th centuries, sort of an updated report of the executions and the crimes which led to these punishments. Do you have a passion for the 18th century? Who is/are the lover(s) of literature among you?
In general I am very fond of history, especialy from the last couple of decades. It fascinates me, and that strongly colours my writing. It's a bit of a cliche, but I think it's important to know your history understand who we are and to avoid repeating it. I'm probably the biggest reader in the band. I think Kyrre and maybee Evind and Tor Helge reads quite a bit too. Øyvind mostly reads comics.
Norway gave life to many experimental/avantgarde bands, I think of people such as Arcturus, Virus, DHG, late Ulver, post "Mardraum" Enslaved. How is to be in a scene which is so rich of potential and able to release real masterpieces?
I guess there is a strong spirit of individualism in the Norwegian metal scene. Most of the bands have a strong identity clearly separating them from the mass. We are comfortable in this good company. It inspires us to do our best and take the directions we believe in.
How are the relations in the norwegian musical scene? Is there a group of friend bands, do you have the pleasure of playing many times with them or creating alternative collaborations?
The metal scene in Norway is very interlaced with many musicians playing in multiple bands and projects. It's a very open and friendly scene in most respects. Still I think that there is a slight tendency to take on more projects than one can manage at times which can compromice the individual quality of the projects. On the other hand I think this exchange keeps thing fresh and ensures that people get new influences and gain new perspectives. I have the pleasure of working with many of these people thorugh my studio work, which I think broadens my perspective.
How difficult is it to keep in life many projects?
Not a big problem for us. Vulture Industries is the main focus and the other projects don't take as much time. They serve as outlets of other ideas and impulses.
Sulphur and Vulture Industries are two bands which I hope will get what they deserve, so I'd like to ask you: with Black Hole Generator make something new?
I am currently mixing the upcomming Black Hole Generator full lenght album. I don't think it will be out before next year though. It's very dark and more varied than the MCD I can reveal.
The album has been released not so much time ago, did you receive some comments about it (both from fans and critics)?
Considering that the album is more complex and difficult to get into than our debut we were expecting more polarized reviews this time. As a general trend the reviews have been extremely good though. There are of course some bad ones, but that’s natural. I prefer bad reviews to mediocre reviews. We’re not making music for everyone, so if people don’t get our music I’m fine with them not liking it. I prefer that people have a definite opinion about our work, that it’s not just something that can slide by unnoticed.
Will you make a tour to support the album, are there any confirmed dates?
We have done two short european tours by now and some single gigs in Norway to support the album. We are working two confirm more dates for this autumn, but for the time beeing we are confirmed for Metal Camp in Slovenia, Dong Open Air in Germany and Dark Bombastic Evening 3 in Romania. More will come for sure!