We already introduced you to Audrey Horne, that unusual band from Bergen in Norway. During the Screamfest in Oslo, (check the Screamfest review here) STALKER got the chance to talk to their singer
Torkjell "Toschie" Rød...
How is your interview marathon going so far?
Well you´re my last one. I just came from a radio thing for the national radio, where I was the DJ for an hour. I played mostly old stuff like Mötley Crüe, Whitesnake, Kiss and Boston, Bruce Springsteen as well… and also Elton John actually.
How was Audrey Horne founded and why?
In the beginning it wasn´t planned to be a fulltime band, just a side project. Some of the guys got together because they wanted to play the kind of Hard Rock they grew up with. They didn´t grow up with Black Metal. They grew up with bands like Kiss, Mötley Crüe and later on Faith No More and Soundgarden. And they wanted a singer who was no metal singer.
So you sang in bands before?
Yes, I played in lots of bands before, but they were musically more influenced by alternative American Rock like early Foo Fighters and stuff like that. So they came to me and asked me if I wanted to sing in their band. I knew some of the guys before, but just from saying “hi” and never really talked to them. I was in a band called Red Leader back then. I was planning to do that aside and still have my main focus on Red Leader. But Audrey Horne turned out to be my main focus and Red Leader turned to be something I did aside. I realized then that it wasn´t fair to the other guys in Red Leader and then basically the whole band quit as everyone figured out that they have other things to do. So I ended up doing Audrey Horne fulltime. It´s my baby now.
Who´s giving birth to that baby then? Ice Dale?
No, I think Ice Dale joined the band later also. I think it was Thomas, Kjetil and Tom Cato who started it. And Ivar from Enslaved, who played keyboards there before. Neither I nor Arve (Ice Dale) were there from the beginning. Not too long in the process, but after a while.
Who wrote the amazing “about us” section texts on the Audrey Horne website?
That was the guy who did the whole website. He did everything on it.
Can it be that he is your biggest admirer?
Might be, but it´s our site, so we can do whatever we want.
So, do you like to worship yourself?
Actually we don´t worship ourselves. He worships us. I read the stuff he wrote there and I was like… ehm…okay, but what the hell. We just left it this way.
After your debut album Tom Cato Visnes and Herbrand Larsen left Audrey Horne. Have their replacements become permanent band members?
It took us a long time to get in each others skin, so we put in two guys who are good musicians and seemed to be cool guys too. We play with them and when time goes by we will see if they fit in the band or not. We haven´t promised them anything; we just asked them if they wanted to play in the band. They get paid and we´ll see how it goes.
What was the reason for Tom and Herbrand to leave the band?
It was mainly because they both had too much to do and too little time. They figured out that they fit better in their other projects. There was nothing dramatic about it; they just decided to spend their time with other stuff. We never kicked anyone out or anything.
Did the loss of those two affect the music?
Tom wrote a bunch of stuff on “No Hay Banda” and he hasn´t done anything on the new album of course. That obviously made it sound different. Herbrand is still involved, as he played the keyboards on “Le Fol” and also mixed the album. Even after he left the band we haven´t let him go really. I think even if the guys would be still in the band, the music would still have changed in the same direction it did.
Do you think “Le Fol” is better than “No Hay Bandana”?
It would be a crime if I would say that the new album is good, but not as good as the previous one. “Le Fol” is more organic. The first album turned out the way we wanted it productionwise and songwise, but I think back then we didn´t know each other that well as a band. I don´t think we really knew what we were looking for. This time we´ve been together and played a lot for quite a while. And we already made an album together, so we definitely had a better idea about what we wanted to go for.
Right now here at Screamfest, you have a stand-in for your guitar player who is on tour with Enslaved…
Yeah, today we are 50% session musicians (the keyboard player and the bass player and today also the stand in for Ice Dale) and 50% original band members. It has worked out really well with Ola from Deride. He stepped in and he is an amazing guitar player who learns the shit in no time. We played five gigs with him now and it is going really really well. The keyboard player is very good as well. He is not in a band and he plays everything from Pop-Rock to Jazz. He isn´t a metal guy at all, but then again it´s not that important.
That´s guiding me towards my next question. You won last year the Norwegian Grammy for the best metal album. This year you were nominated in the Alarmprisen as best Metal act as well and you had to compete with bands in the metal category like Dimmu Borgir, Satyricon and Mayhem. Wouldn´t you have fitted much better in the category Rock?
I guess the music industry sees us as a heavy metal band because some of the guys play in extreme metal bands. I guess they just looked at us and weren´t sure whether to categorize us as rock or metal, and maybe decided to place us in between when you look at the bands that were being nominated in Rock. As the bands in the rock category could easily be placed in the pop category.
Why do you still mention what other bands the guys are in? I mean still everywhere you can find that you feature a member of Gorgoroth, even though King hasn´t been a member of Audrey Horne for quite a while now. Also, mentioning Enslaved, as Ice Dale is a member of Audrey Horne, is rather misguiding…
We never mention this.
Well, it is on your website and on your Myspace as well…(meanwhile it changed)
Ah, yes I know. Okay, we´re mentioning it actually. But I don´t see a point in doing that. I can understand why our record label does it, because they figured out that we might pick up some people who wouldn´t buy the album otherwise, but on the other hand you might easily scare other people away.
But since you got the price last year and the nomination this year, you are not unknown anymore, so there is no need in continuing with that.
There was a point at the beginning, but now there is really no point in mentioning this anymore, I agree.
Btw. were you upset not to win the award this year?
I was so pissed off, that I smashed a car and burned down a part of Oslo. Not in the centre – I just took a bus like 20 minutes outside and I torched the fucking place. After you´re done with that you feel better and I´m okay with it now.
What would you say is special about the Bergen music scene?
I think it´s just a coincidence that the music scene is so good there and basically everybody knows everybody. In a normal town you can walk around from one part of town to the other. It always rains in Bergen, so basically you have to stay indoors all the time. Hence you look to the guys at the other table and start talking to them because you have nothing else to do. I guess its all because of the shitty weather. We have shitty weather! And it´s a small town with a huge and good music scene.
STALKER got already the chance to listen to your new album “Le Fol” at the listening session in Bergen during the Hole In The Sky festival. (check the report of the listening session here and the festival review here). I would like you now to comment on the songs.
Last Chance For A Serenade
It´s a song about being addicted to something. No drugs or stuff like that, but it can be anything like for example love or attention. The song is about getting to the point where you sort of have to do something about it. I wrote a lot of songs dealing with stuff that refer to myself, but I don´t write about it as a personal experience. I prefer to write about it in general. However I don´t use it as a therapy to get rid of stuff, I´m a levelled guy.
This song is sort of about the band Audrey Horne. We got to a point where we were hyped a lot and nothing really happened. Basically everyone around us considered us as “okay, they gonna despair. So Jaws is some sort of a statement, that we´re a band to be reckon with, because we´re not going anywhere. It´s Audrey Horne´s “fight song”.
This song is actually more of a joke. It´s about the whole Goth- and Emo-scene. Goth scene, they like looking at themselves as a sort of underground scene, and Emo guys think they are soo punk and so hardcore. And they look at everyone else as sort of sell-out. But it´s Goth and Emo that is big business nowadays. I have nothing against these scenes; it´s just a comment from me. People are making a lot of money out of you guys, you should be aware of it.
This is also an Audrey Horne fight song.
Some kind of unity-thing?
Yes, because in a band we become like a family. This band is really important to me; I love the guys I´m playing with. I love hanging out with them, I love travelling with them, playing shows with them.
Do you guys have day jobs?
I do have a day job. I´m a tattoo artist. Kjetil works in a drum store. Thomas is the clever one, he is an architect. People see this drunk, crazy guy with long hair, who runs around trying to kiss everyone and screaming out “DIO”… you wouldn´t look at him and think that this guy works in quite a big architectural company. So he is the one with the serious job. Ice Dale doesn´t have a job. He is a musician.
Monster is a love song! It´s not actually about anyone in particular. It´s more about if you are on the road a lot. How this thing is that you want to have… you wanna have a girlfriend, you wanna have a steady life and then same time you wanna travel, you wanna be on stage, but also you want to have time on your own... So it´s about how difficult that is.
In The End
In The End is basically about nothing at all. It´s just a sort of a collage of words. I wrote the lyrics and I thought that the words came out good together. So, there is no meaning.
Pretty Girls Make Graves
A lot of the lyrics on the new album are results of my work as a tattoo artist. Because in the world of tattooing there are a lot of pictures and symbols that I use and really really like. And “Pretty Girls Make Graves“ is a nice image. It´s a sort of “love sucks - love hurts”, but it sounds much nicer if you say “pretty girls make graves”. Pretty boys do make graves as well I guess. But that song is basically about being fucked by love. There are a lot of love songs on this album.
This is definitely a love song. It is about to do whatever it takes for the one you care for.
I hate to say it, but it´s a love song as well. I guess we should have called the album “Absolute Love Songs” or something like that. It´s about the fact that love does not only means happy times.
Hell Hath No Fury
That song is definitely heavily influenced by tattooing. It´s about a woman – if I would be a woman it would be about a man, but I´m not gay – I used the picture of a ship as a relationship. The ocean and sinking ships. The line at the end of the song, which says: “but your distorted screams are making me feel okay”, tells it pretty much. I made my experiences in relationships with girls where you think I´m not gonna survive this basically. Because there are too many issues and sorts of shit, but you still stay there. A lot of people are trying to sort of use the pain and suffering to get a kick out of it. Because it´s like “Okay, I have a fucked up relationship, but I am scared to be alone.” It´s the only thing you know and it´s a lot scarier to go out and be alone than actually stay there. It´s quite common. Been there, done that.
Wish You Hell
I´ve been to high school reunions and stuff over the years. You always meet some people you don´t want to see there. Because you just don´t want to meet them again. You look back to the high school days and think that your life would be much better if you would never meet them again.
But aren´t those the ones which make you stronger in the end?
Yeah, but it´s more like… fuck ´em! I just don´t want to meet them. But it´s not because I´m scared of them or something.
But isn´t that taking the satisfaction away to see how big they probably failed in life after school?
Most of them did fail, as they were assholes from the beginning and if you are an asshole… well anyway. The whole song is about reunion stuff and not based on my experiences here. My experiences in high school were mostly good, but I talked to a girl, and she told me that it took her three months to get the balls to show up on this meeting. If she thinks about high school, she thinks about hell. I remember that people were picking on her back and were being cruel to her in those days. But at that age you don´t think about how this can affect someone´s life. I mean, I was not a bully in school, I was a nice guy, but I realized that she had a really terrible time and I wasn´t seeing that at the time. Some people do not survive this kind of stuff.
So Long Euphoria
It´s about a relationship that just died and you still just stay and no one really wakes up and says maybe its better if we just break up. I had a relationship once and we just grew apart.
Which song was the most difficult one for you to do?
I write all the songs first and I and Arve do the verses together. Once I struggled with the chorus of “So Long Euphoria”. I just couldn´t come up with an idea and I worked on it for more than two months and I couldn´t get anywhere with it. Sometimes I thought that what I wrote could work, but two minutes later I knew it wouldn´t. I was sitting there and listening to the song and suddenly I realized that this sounds more like a Sahg song. So I called Olav from Sahg and said “Hey man, I´m in the studio and stuck. Do you wanna come over and help me out?” He came up and it took him about three minutes to write it. And I was like “FUCK! It took me two months man!” So I asked him if he is going to sing on it, as he wrote it and he got a high pitched voice and I got a low pitched voice, so it turned out really really well. I mean it is an Audrey Horne song, but it sounds like a Sahg song. It got the motion and emotion that they have in their songs.
Which song is the one with most of you in it?
I don´t know. Maybe “Last Call”, because it´s the sort of thing I like; this combination of talking and singing parts. I have done that in previous songs already. But also “Hell Have No Fury”. This song got a lot of me inside as well. I think that is one of these songs which would make me buy the album after listening to it on the radio. Most of the guys in the band say it´s their least favourite song because it´s very “poppy”, but I like that.
Do you listen to your own music?
No, it´s like after the album is finished it is done for me. I get tired of listening to my stuff, but playing it live is completely different and I get a kick out of playing the songs. Imagine how fucking tired Deep Purple must have be of playing "Smoke On The Water", because they play it over 30 years or so. I think you have to play it a couple of decades to get really tired of playing your own music.
May I ask you something about your accent?
Yes, sure go ahead.
Have you been living in the United States for a while? You sound soooo American.
I´ve never been to America at all. The main reason that I speak like this is because I grew up with listening to a lot of American music and watching American movies. As a tattoo artist I have American colleagues, I work with every day, and even though they know Norwegian, they prefer to speak American. So I speak American English every day. But I´m not going to go white trash Yankee on ya!
As your band is named after a David Lynch character… If you could direct the last episode of “Twin Peaks” how would it all end?
I´d like the last episode of twin peaks to end like this: Bob returns to the redroom, only to find out that Agent Cooper has sold his soul to the devil in order to turn the sawmill into Sodom and Gomorra. Then Kjetil Greve takes his place and continues to rape and destroy everything in his way through the cosy little village called Twin Peaks. The End.
Most of my colleagues label Audrey Horne as Doom… I don´t see any of that in your music and would rather call it Stoner Hard Rock. I would like to know how you would label your music yourself…
I would say that we are a pretty much straight Hard Rock band, but we´re heavily influenced by the alternative Hard Rock which came up during the 90´s with bands like Alice In Chains, Faith No More and grunge in general. Take Nirvana and Alice In Chains. They came from totally different worlds. Nirvana was a punk band and Alice In Chains was heavily influenced by bands like Black Sabbath. We´re not a Rock´n´Roll band, because we don´t have the bluesy feel in it, but we´re a Hard Rock band I would say.
Do you already know the European release date for “Le Fol” outside of Norway?
No, we haven´t got a European release date as yet.
You did a video for the song “Threshold” which includes some kinky lesbian action in it…
I don´t know if it´s kinky, as I haven´t seen it yet. The guy who did it is called Alex Aerron. He is into pretty slick stuff, pop stuff. He usually does more major pop stuff, like for the guy who won the world idol. He liked the songs so much, that he really wanted to do this. He came up with the idea to let us play in a sort of a parking house. Then there is the part with these two girls driving around in a car by night and they do some kinky stuff I guess. He told us, if you want to do a video, you can always do arty farty stuff, but basically you are not a Doom Metal band, you are a Hard Rock band and what you should do is the band playing, cars and chicks. So we did that.
So like a Rap video basically.
I could actually be in a rap band doing my thing I guess. Apart from the playing for sure.
Author: Samira Alinto, transl. K. Weber + K. Gransalke, photos: Pia Sundström and Audrey Horne Date: 2007-12-01