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Enslaved: Terror and madness

In May Enslaved had been forced to cancel their tour shortly before it was about to kick off, but now they´re back. Despite having tourstress, Grutle was so nice and took some time to answer my questions about upcoming albums, bands besides Enslaved and about the life of a musician in general. Unfortunately I had send them the questions before their "sheep stealing action", so I couldn´t ask them about it...

As far as I know you (Arve and Grutle) are both on tour with Trinacria. How is the tour going so far and can you maybe give us some short information about this band?
The tour with Trinacria was finished some weeks ago, and was a very cool expirience. Apart from 2-3 concerts the turnout was awesome, which is pretty amazing for a new project with no albums recorded. The project was originally initiated by Rikskonsertene (a Norwegian multi-musical institution , financed by the cultural department in Norway.), and was originally ment to be a one show event only. (at thr Inferno metal fest). Because of the sucsess at Inferno, Rikskonsertene decided to also set up a Norwegian tour, as well as putting us on the bill of one of the biggest Jazz festivals in Norway (Kongsberg Jazz). The band consists of Ivar, Arve and me from Enslaved, Solkongen from Jazkamer/Manngard, Espen Lien from Barbie Bones/Slut Machine and Maya and Hild from fe:mail. We will record an album later this year.

All of you seem to be involved in some bands besides Enslaved. Is Enslaved the main band for all of you or is it sometimes difficult to be active in more than one band?
Me and Ivar is in Enslaved and Trinacria, Herbrand and Cato in Enslaved Only and Arve playa in Enslaved,Trinacria, Audrey Horne, I and Bourbon Flame. Sometimes things are colliding , but normally there´s no problems. Enslaved is by far the most active band and the No1 priority for all of us. Exept Arve, who´s working his ass of with both Enslaved and Audrey Horne!

In October you´re going on tour together with Keep of Kalessin, since the tour you wanted to do in May had been cancelled shortly before it was about to kick off. How did you feel when you had to hear that is was cancelled? I´m sure you were all prepared for being on the road?
We were very dissapointed of course, cause it was cancelled 1 WEEK before we were supposed to leave!! What do you do then? You have cancelled every other appointment and work for the next three weeks and suddenly you standing there completely broke and assfucked by some fucking bullshit Touring Agency called Metalysee......fuck them!!

Can we expect to hear some new stuff when you are on tour?
Not exactly ,no. But we will play loads of old stuff that we have never played live in Europe before!! We will play "new" songs from f.ex "Hordanes land" , "Frost" and "Below the lights"

What can we expect from the new album (maybe lyrics in Norwegian or so), maybe compared to your former albums?
No, there will be lyrics in English only on next album. Maybe we´ll do something in Norwegian again in the future, if it fits the music. We are not categorically against it...he,he.

Where do you get the inspiration for lyrics and music?
From basically everything...and nothing.. I myself get very inspired by magnificent nature, historical tales and weird situations. We also get inspired by great music of course, at least unconciously.

And who´s doing all the songwriting and stuff in the band...does everybody put in some ideas?
Ivar is doing all the music, and me and Ivar write about 50% of the lyrics each. However, everyone in the band participate equally on the arrangements, so all of us play a great part in the band.

How do you normally write the albums. Do you already have something like a plan in mind before even starting, something like a concept or how does it work?
Ivar always make the "skeletons" of each song, and then me and Herbrand starts working on the vocal arrangements, Cato and Ivar on the drum parts and Arve on the leads. Me and Ivar have always got a plan on the lyrical concept prior to the writing. After the writing is done we are jamming a little before entering the studio. The whole process together with the recording takes about a year.

Right after the tour in Europe you´re going to the US again for quite a huge tour. Do you enjoy life on the road? And what do you like/dislike about touring? And how come you´re going back there already after half a year?
Well, we are a band and that´s how bands make a living isn´t it? he,he. I enjoy playing live very much, but of course living in a bus 4 months a year is not exactly like living on a six star Hilton hotel.....But, it´s what we have chosen to do, so there isn´t really anything to complain about.....exept the food, puke.....he,he,he
We simply go back to the states since the last tour was a great sucsess, and we were asked to come back already! We have definately something going in the states, Finally!!

You played at quite a lot of festivals this summer. How were the gigs? Do you prefer such huge Open Airs like Wacken or smaller club gigs? (Wacken was a great gig, btw :-))
Thanks for the appreciation for the Wacken show!!! We were partically satisfied with that show! We enjoy playing open air festivals a lot, cause we can reach a lot more people than our usual fans. But, I enjoy small intimate clubs too. It´s a totally different atmosphere, more "real" so to speak.

One goal musicians often dream of is being able to live from the music in a way. Does that already work for you guys or do you all have to do other jobs besides the band?
We are working hard to achive that goal, but all of us has still got part time work besides the band. But, we are closing in! In long periods of the year we live from what we earn with Enslaved, but it´s hard work and we are hugely far away from being rich.....

I guess when having a look at the music itself you surely reached a lot of stuff... I mean the music is appreciated by fans and media, you get good critics and stuff. How does that feel? Are there more things you´re aiming for or are you confident with what you achieved so far?
We are confident with what we have done, but yet we´re not satisfied. We are constantly trying to develop in all parts of making music and perform live. You can only be better, you know. We are still very motivated for terrorizing the world of metal with our blend of madness.

Did you ever have doubts about what you´re doing...playing the music? I mean, there are always bands breaking up and stuff like that. Either because the members don´t get along or because they feel, that they ran out of ideas or something like that? I mean the band already exists since 1991, that´s quite a long time!
It´s a long time of course, but as I told you, we still enjoying every bit of it. We have had some repalcements during the years, but since 2003, we´ve had a very strong and steady line-up. There´s of course been periods when you get tired of beeing totally broke, but then again, a 9-4 job really does not fit for any one of us after so many years. We understood many years that we won´t ever walk the paths of the millionares, but as long as we don´t starve to death it is totally worth all the efforts!

Your music has grown a lot during the years. It´s very progressive and refreshingly varied. What kind of music do you guys listen to besides the band? Is there any "special" tip for our readers, maybe some smaller Norwegian bands you´d like to recommend?
I strongly recommend the quite new Norwegian band called Shining (not the Swedish BM-act). Their blend of agression, energy, progressive rock mayhem and jazz is simply fantastic. They sound like King Crimson should have sounded in the eighties! They will join us as a support act (so will Keep of Kalessin, also highly recommended!) for 8 shows on the ongoing european tour.

In the band listen to different stuff; I listen mainly to different kinds of progressive rock and old school death and black metal, Ivar is very much into Pink Floyd and all kinds of metal too, Arve is the big classical Hard rock fan in the band, Herbrand listens to EVERYTHING....he teaches music..he,he..and Cato is into all kind of hard rock from Rainbow to Cannibal Corpse!

What do you think about the (Norwegian) Metalscene at the moment?
I think metal is growing big again , maybe not like the 80´s, but bigger than the 90´s. I really don´t pay much attention to new acts although I´m sure there´s some good ones. In Bergen where we live, the music scene is very good. Loads of cool people, both rock´n rollers and metalheads.
One thing I hav noticed is that a lot of young people are getting tired of the mainstream music and starts to pick up the real shit!!

Something I´m always interested in : What are your Top 5 albums at the moment? Maybe why as well or what makes them so special for you?
Ok, here we go:
Shining: Grindstone
Darkthrone: F.O.A.D
Type O Negative: Dead again
Van der graaf generator: Pawn Hearts
Rush: Snakes and arrows.

If you could pick any band(s) to tour with, no matter whether realistic or not, whom would you chose?
Opening for Rush would definately be an honour! But also Motörhead, Darkthrone ,King Crimson and Led Zeppelin would would be fantastic......and completely unrealistic of course....he,he,he

Is there a country you haven´t toured so far, but where you´d like to make a tour?
There ARE countries we haven´t played of course! Being nearly 200 contries around. I would like to do Australia, New Zealand, Japan ; Brasil, Argentina just to mention a few...

Thanks very much again for your time to answer my questions! So I´ll stop asking now and wish you all the best for the upcoming tour, songwriting and all other things! :-) Is there anything left you´d like to add?
Thanks a lot! I would like to add that we are already on tour! We are in Paris (1st show) as we speak. Come check us out in Europe or USA! We´ll kick your ass! Stay metal!

Author: Cornelia Wickel, photos: Enslaved
Date: 2007-10-23

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