Suche

ÁSMEGIN: „Arv“

20. Dezember 2008

Hi Marius, you made a great album with “Arv”! While many people in the web (e.g. on last.fm) say that it sounds rushed, badly produced, not aggressive and even “pop” I like it very much because it sounds more natural, warmer and genuine, a bit riper, not as “chaotic” as “Hin vordende…”. Anyway, it has a good flow and grows with each listen. It is hard to believe that it was recorded, mixed, mastered only from june to august… Tell us a bit about the material, how the songs were made and recorded. People even say that your label pressed you to publish “Arv”? Is that true?

Marius: Hi Katrin. First of all, thank you for your kind words and your interest in our music. I too am starting to like this album more and more. If you could imagine how difficult it has been for a musician to release something unfinished, then you would understand how we felt about Arv when we sent the album to print. The thing is that we’ve been working on a concept album called Tusind tabte Siæles Kakofoni, and five years have gone since the release of Hin vordende Sod & Sø, so we have no problem comprehending our record label and their request to release a new album this year. But I guess we would need more time in the studio since there is a lot of more experiencing with different instruments and so on. It really tears my heart asunder, the fact that we needed to take a lot of „crisis choices“ due to the instrumentalizing on Arv. We had e.g. three hours to record the violin. So, we then had to put up a priority list with the arrangements that had to be instrumentalize with a first og second violin, slowly working our way down the list to hopefully get as many of the arrangements done as possible. Of course, we didn’t get it all done. Completely hopeless, especially when you consider that we used our own studios without any stressfully economical frames. Thus, it is true that the album could have been produced better and it is so very true that the entire process was rushed. I could also mention that since we’re in lack of a drummer nowadays, Erik, our vocalist, had to prepare for this only in a couple of weeks before starting recording drums. It was the entire time a race against time.
To answer your questions: the fact that Arv is a lesser aggressive (or at all) album, is unimportant for us. We create the music we feel like creating. What’s the point in making another Hin vordende Sod & Sø? This time around we wanted to do something else. If aggressiveness is the main importance for some, I can mention that Erik, who will record the drums for Tusind tabte Siæles Kakofoni as well, is practicing as hell for some of the parts on that album. If this album is „pop“ or not, is also unimportant for us. We enjoy good metal as well as good pop, or whatever musical genre. We felt the songs on Arv would sound best giving them this „pop-ish“ natural (and hopefully 70s) sound. It’s not like we’ve changed style or something. We, as widely influenced musicians that do not wish to be limited to a „metal band“ exclusively, decided in the arranging and production what needs to be done.
Most of the material is old, very old. Some of the songs are from the pre-Hin vordende Sod & Sø era. Others were created this summer. But all the lyrics are written this summer, which may have been the most stressful thing for me, that is for the ones I’ve wrote. But luckily it all went out pretty decent – in the end.
Our label did not press us to release Arv. They wanted us to release Tusind tabte Siæles Kakofoni this year. This was absolutely impossible for us. So, because of this, we needed to record a material that was easier to record, produce and get finish in time – which we of course didn’t. There are a lot of, especially, vocal lines that we needed to leave out and quite a bunch we needed to simplify. We also planned to do a re-production of Alvesang Fager from our first demo, but had to leave it because of the strict schedule. We have recorded the drums, bass and some of the guitars on this album. Maybe we’ll release it later. We’ll see.

A year ago or so there was another album announced: „Tusind Tabte Siæles Kakofoni“ and I think I remember photos that showed you guys recording stuff in a Norwegian cottage for that one!? What became of these songs songs and recordings? Will there be a “Tusind Tabte…” album in the future? (By the way, what does that title mean?)

Marius: Yes, this is correct. A lot of these recordings have been done, but we feel we’re not ready to release it yet. Erik and I have spent up to approximately two years only on the lyrics, so we’re very eager to release this stuff. But we will not rush it. There are still some arrangements that need to be rewritten. I could also inform you, as a little anecdote, that we have recorded the guitars in a little hunting cottage in the woods you see on the Arv photographies. It’s still uncertain if we will have this album ready as the next one. We may have to release another temporary album. The title means Cacophony of a thousand lost souls. There will be two albums holding the same story. I will come back to the story when this album is released.

What about your current line-up? Is Ásmegin now a complete band with a stable line-up, able and willing to play live gigs as well? (Are there already gigs planned for the future?)

Marius: We’re at least a working band. It’s true that we’ve had some rough time trying to keep a stable line-up. And nowadays, we’ve found out that the remaining four of us may be the best solution to continue with. This means we’re not able to perform any Ásmegin songs live and therefore have no plan to do so neither. At the moment, we’re a studio band. Maybe things will change in the future. I’m very pleased to be working with such fine musicians as I am now. And it’s a bit risky to include more members. We have a saying here in Norway: the more the chefs, the more the mess.

I loved Lars Nedland’s harmony vocals on “Hin Vordende…” but I think I like the vocal arrangements on “Arv” even better, maybe because of the new ladies who do such a great job (the end of the song “Arv”, whoever of the ladies sung it, it’s not too easy to sound that well in such heights!). How is it when you work with so many different singers? Do you have pre-written vocal lines which the singers must perform true to original or are they free to contribute their own ideas?

Marius: Indeed, Lars Nedland did a splendid job with the harmonies on our debute. I admire him for the work he does in Solefald and thought his voice adapted perfectly in this material. But I’m glad you like the vocals on Arv as well. This is Erik’s first official release and he was really stressed to fill both the place of Lars Nedland, Bjørn Olav and Tommy, who all did a superb job on Hin vordende Sod & Sø. Because of the strict deadline we had to cut out all the experimentalizing with Erik’s vocals, but anyway, I think the lines recorded work very well. When it comes to the female vocalists, we’re all very happy with their effort. We worked with Anne Marie on the debute and are glad she also wanted to help us out on Arv. A new singer this time around, is Gunhild, who is also extremely talented. We are deeply grateful for their effort and hope these two girls will be working with us in the future. And yes, we have mostly pre-written vocal lines, but it’s of no importance for us that we follow these throughout the process. Take Gunhild for instance, she has a delightful jazzy feel in her singing, which we think spiced up the songs even more. So, during the recording of the vocals (or any instrument for that sake), is a dynamic process that is at no point following a strict and given idea. Why we wish to work with different singers? Because we’re all big suckers for variation. We ended up with these two singers, since they have two totally different characteristics, and because each song needed this or that touch or feel.

I also love “Prunkende, stolt i Jokumsol” very much toguh it is so very different from the rest. Whose idea was it to give the song that kind of jazzy basis? Very cool, it has some Kari Bremnes approach to me…

Marius: Thank you. I’m fond of Bremnes myself, so this is a nice parallel. This was an idea I had laying around. The main idea was perhaps to give it a more Mike Oldfield kind of approach. I also had plans to use violin, flutes, mandolins and saw on this track, but time wasn’t on our side. So we ended up with what I had pre-produced and kept it clean.

Also very interesting are the unusual keys you use… well, in two different meanings. :) First I mean the tonalities and then Lars Fredrik Frøislie’s keyboard instruments such as hammond organ, mellotron or mini-moog, which gives it all an eerie 70s touch from time to time. Well, so was that all because Lars Fredrik entered the band and brought ten groovy fingers with him or was it your intention from the start to have some 70s vibe in the “Arv” sound?

Marius: Absolutely, it was an intention to produce a more organic and dryer and not so metal-edgy album. We also ended up using some of Lars‘ keyboards on Hin vordende Sod & Sø, simply because we adore his instruments.

Uhm, maybe a stupid question but I like to ask it anyway: Was that drumming on “Hin Vordende…” triggered? I have to say that I don’t miss the blast parts too much, “Arv” sounds a lot warmer that way, also the production in general sounds very well… though mixed within 24 hours!?

Marius: It was triggered all right, but it was also played. Tommy is one hell of a fast drummer, maybe even too fast for that material. But we were young back then and thought it was really cool to keep it that way. If I would produce that album today, I probably would have tuned the tempo a bit down. Don’t misunderstand, I enjoy up-tempo craziness, but some of the songs were a bit over the top. It’s nice to hear you liked the production on Arv. It felt right to do it this way. And last, yes, it’s right that we mixed the album in one night. Not 24 hours, since some of us, I included, had to work in the daytime. So I think 12 hours is more correct. We mixed the entire night and went straight back to our daytime jobs without sleep. This process was pure hell. I found out that I had 18 hours of sleep in total the last week before of the process. This is not my way of exploring creativity.

All your lyrics are in Norwegian, which is cool, but I can hardly understand them. Could you give a short summary on what each song is about? That would be great, and thanks a lot for answering my questions! :)

Marius: No problem, Katrin. Thanks again for your support. Here is a brief summary of what the songs are about:

Fandens Mælkebøtte:
In English: The Devil’s Milk Pail. This is an ode to dandelions. I really do not wish to give away too much of the symbolism in this song, and rather hope that some eager soul will try to figure it out for himself or herself. I could say that it’s also my tribute to a great Norwegian poet, who I’m really fond of: Henrik Wergeland. It’s maybe my go of doing a Wergeland-ish poem. I am a fan of his obscure way of using symbolism. That’s why I will leave this one blank, sorry.

Hiertebrand:
In English: Heartburning. Raymond wrote the lyrics to this track, so I dare not say too much about it, hopefully avoiding any errors. But I could say that to me it makes me think of the medieval ballad „Two sisters“ and find it somewhat quite similar. It’s about two sisters, one pure and lovely, the other wicked and hateful. The latter one ends up killing her sister to take her lover’s hand from her and to herself.

Generalen Og Troldharen:

In English: The General and the Trollhare. This is a somewhat humorous story, which is to some point true. The non-fiction part is that there actually was some retired lieutenant, not a general that I decided to end up with, travelling from Christiania (the Capitol of Norway during 1877 to 1925) to the countryside of Ringerike (but I decided to go for my homelands Hadeland, which is not far away from Ringerike) to hunt down a trollhare, which has been terrorizing the locals for awhile. The lyrics deal with topics such as superstitious beliefs, haughtiness and of course humour.

Arv:

In English: Heritage. This is a song about family values and our usage told in a short story about a father and his son.

Yndifall:

In English: Bereavement. Yndifall is the only song written in the Norse language that deals with topics like pride, revenge, honour and faithfulness, in life as in death. It’s a story about a fight between two kings and their men. One of the kings returns for his revenge, full of shame and hatred. His ship carries a hundredfold of men, thus outnumbering the other king and his men. It’s a simple and beautiful story about dying together with your kinsmen.

Gengangeren:

In English: The Apparition. These are some words Raymond and I wrote together in the studio. It deals with the emptiness in death, and the sorrow holding you back from being able to move on further, and the yearning for peace and closure.

Prunkende, Stolt I Jokumsol:

In English: Pompously, proudly in the Sun of Jokum. This song deals with topics like suicide, apathy and leaving heavy burdens behind. I decided to use a metaphor from Norwegian folklore to describe this overwhelming surge.

En Myrmylne:

In English: A Boggy Mylne (which is a Waltz). These words are perhaps the most obscure on Arv. It tells a story about a man going to the woods picking cloudberries, but ending up dead in the marshlands. The most obvious topic here, you could say, is greed. It was the mesmerizing cloudberries that leaded this man into a watery grave. But still there’s this constant feeling of peace and the feeling of being at home. Now you’re probably wondering why it’s called something wild like A Boggy Mylne, then? You see, there have been others just like him, also mesmerized by the cloudberries, ending up in these marshlands. On his slow, yet certain way downwards into the sump, their ghostly figures appear, performing this waltz, which is an octagonal traditional waltz. They teach him the dance and let him join in. To me, this song is also about peace.

Schreib einen Kommentar