Translation: Dope Fiend
Kjell-Ivar Aarli – Bass
Øyvind Rosseland – Synth
Eddie Risdal – Vocals, Guitars, Programming
Are with us today Legacy Of Emptiness, the Norwegian Symphonic Black band has released their self-titled debut in 2011, a good album which you will find the review turning in the site. Let’s deepen their knowledge.
Welcome to Aristocrazia Webzine, we are almost at the end of summer, as have you spent it? It been a good season of live? Have you taken some satisfaction?
Thanks for having us! I’m not a big fan of the summer and don’t function particulary well in the heat. You can say, I go into some kind of hibernation and don’t come out until the leaves start falling, haha.
Let’s start the proper interview, we talk about the history of the formation. You are established musicians and you have behind militation with Industrial act like V:28 and V:O:I:D and others in the ambit of symphonic like Ancestral Legacy which Insanity has reviewed in the recent past. What motivated you to forge this new project?
I’ll take you back to where it all began. Please take a seat, hehe. Winter 1995 Eddie Risdal and me started playing together just for the hell of it. We composed some primitive songs and called the band Permafrost. We didn’t have any ambitions at this stage other than to drink, play and have a good time. Later on Øyvind Rosseland joined on keyboards and the sound changed quite a bit and we felt that it would be wrong to continue with such a grim name as Permafrost and changed it to Ancestral Legacy in 1998. We recorded two poorly produced demos before disbanding in 2002. Around 2000 Eddie and I also joined Kristoffer Oustad in his brainchild V:O:I:D, Eddie on guitar and me on vocals. At this time my health were getting worse after an accident and I was in back in 1999 and when we had to cancel a concert where we were supposed to support Enslaved, because of me. I saw that it was time for me to throw in the towel. V:O:I:D became V:28 and released three albums, but that’s another story. Eddie took Ancestral Legacy down another path after the departure of Øyvind and me rather than change the name, and left our early demos behind. All these years there has been a feeling of unfinished work regarding these demos, and finally we got together again to se what we could make of it. The result is, as you know by now, “Legacy Of Emptiness”. Five of the songs are taken from the demos and “Onward!” and “Departure” came to life during the recording sessions. The same old feeling is still alive and we like it!
“Legacy Of Emptiness” is an album with many facets, has a touch of Death movements, some doomish influence and avant-garde peaks. How there has been an inspiration your national culture linked to “classic” release in the genre? More than once, references to Dimmu Borgir (the old ones) and Arcturus seems to be obvious. It’s hard keep out certain realities from a sound like this?
We don’t limit ourselves to a certain pattern when we compose music. If we like it we’ll do it. Most of the songs spawns out of ideas from Øyvind. He doesn’t listen very much to music at all (he mainly watches movies and play games) so he has an alternative approach to composing. I think it’s quite natural that we get compared and linked to other Norwegian bands that operate in the same genre. We are not directly inspired by them but maybe, as we come from the same background, we get inspiration from some of the same sources.
A various album that knows how to strike with the blasts in “Possessed” and “Cross The Sea” and keep dark tones with “Ringer of Death”, there is no sign of homogeneity, the disc flows off nicely and without any major hitches. As has been composing it?
We did have a clear vision on how we wanted this record to feel right from the start. I will not go in details here and tell you how you’re suppose to feel at different stages in the story as we all experience things individually. Nothing is put on the record by chance and it is our intention that the album is consumed as a whole to get the full experience.
What are the difficulties in releasing a similar disc today? The choice of issues to be addressed, the type of construction to be given to the tracks? Many works in this style are either too pompous, almost to the point of kitsch, or risk being sued for plagiarism repeated beyond belief, how to find the right balance and give some personality to the music?
The songs tend to come quite natural to us and we have never been in a situation where we need to force the creativity. Usually, Øyvind comes up with a basic theme for a piece then Eddie and I structure it and fill in with our ideas. With Øyvind’s musical background, or shall I say the absence of it, gives us an alternative angle compared to many other bands in our genre. As you mention, there are many traps to fall in. Many bands get over the top pompous just because they can. In many cases the flow in the compositions suffer from this. We have off course ability to make more complex stuff if we want but we prefer the right feeling instead of showing off. Who beats his kids just because he’s able?
You have given “Legacy Of Emptiness” at the care of Dan Swano, as the choice fell on the Swedish genie? Have you already had occasion to come in contact with him?
To have Swanö doing the mix and mastering for us was really big. Both Eddie and me have been big admirers of his work right from back in the early nineties. To really justify our neglected demos we decided from the start that this time we’re going all the way. He put our long awaited sound right on spot from the word go and we knew we did the only right thing.
What feedback have you received by critics and fans and how the album was supported by Ketzer Records?
The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive all over the world. I think I’ve only read a couple of reviews that weren’t very positive. Both of them Italian for some reason, haha. Hope we can change that. Ketzer is an undergrund label with it’s pros and cons. On the upside we get 100% freedom as artists wich is very important to us. Another thing with a small idealistic label is that you can be sure they sign you because they really like the music and not to use you commercially. We did get offers from bigger companies but we will not be beaten into a given format. On the downside a small label has limited resources when it comes to promotion ecc.
Let’s talk about Metal in general, as is the situation in Norway? What do you think of the today scene?
The Norwegian scene is still mainly focused around the extreme part of music. The ones that were big before is still big today and continues to deliver quality releases. And with Varg out of the prison again even Burzum is back on track like nothing ever happened. The underground is a more chaotic place now compared to before the internet came along. Everyone with a guitar and a computer can put a project in public in a couple of days and this makes it harder to find the ones that really have something to offer. They are still there but you’ll have to invest some time. Personally I think the magic got lost on the way.
And what do you think of the world scene? There are groups that you think have really brought new lifeblood to the Metal world?
I see much of the same problem here. Too many bands get released so I’m sure that bands that could really be the next big thing get drowned in the crowd. Who will be the next Maiden, Slayer, Black Sabbath ecc. ? I think the answer is none. We live in another time now where everything is different. Nothng shocks us anymore. The mystery is gone. When Lemmy farts, the rest of the world knows it within a day.
What is Black Metal for you? How are the roots of the genre changed from the nineties to the present period? It’s totally lost what that period had built?
To me it’s all about the music and always has been. I’ve never really jumped on the antichristian/devilworshipping/odinism train. The music trigger inner emotions that I try to put in the lyrics. Maybe it sounds a bit cliché, but the lyrics I write is my reflections and no one elses. I don’t see them as important to others and choose not to print them in the booklet. We’ve only printed a couple of lines from each song as a hint so the listeners can make their own journey. The legacy from the nineties is still very much present in the scene today but the evolution works even in extreme music so a certain progression has taken place. The scene is also more accepted by the society now and I must say it’s quite allright to go to the supermarket without getting called church burner or satanist ecc.
Mp3 or physical copies question, the music now walking too fast for digital channels, it is bad or good? What I want to understand is: how does an artist to settle of an opinion based on a series of 01010101? It is not counterproductive, for the band and for the reviewers, being in the hands files (though not always of good quality) on which must express an opinion? Where’s the art?
I really hate everything that has to do with mp3 or downloads. It takes the soul and feeling away and has nothing to do with art. I compare music with a good meal. I want the looks,the smell and the taste. Not only fill my stomach. To me the only way of consuming music is in the physical format and if I could rule the world every release would come in gatefold vinyl! As the market has turned out there’s is a certain economical aspect regarding promos for the labels. People doesn’t buy many records anymore and if a label is going to send out two-three hundred promos to maybe sell thousand cd’s theres no chance they could survive.
What are your future plans? Have you already start to work on new songs?
We do already have quite a few bits and pieces that hopefully will come together and form our next album. Maybe in a year or so. But if we can’t out do or at least match the debut there’s no point in doing it. We also hope to get this present record out on vinyl so if anyone out there has what it takes to release it, don’t hesitate to contact us.
We will have chance to see you on stage in our area?
I’m afraid not. We’re not a live act due to several cricumstances. There’s the health matters as I still suffer from the side effects from the before mentioned accident. Also Eddie is busy with Ancestral Legacy with touring. They are going on a small trip to Germany, Holland and Belgium in October so if you’re in the area check them out. But of course, we never say never in this business.
The interview is over, thank you for your availability and I leave you the word to bring the interview to an end as you prefer.
Thank you for the support, it’s been a pleasure. I hope you who read this take some of your time to check us out. If you like it, buy the record. If you don’t like it, buy another record you like. Support the music and bands you like!
Hail Erik Ribsskog!