– Hello Archaon. First off thank you for taking the time. What are you currently up to?
We’ve just returned home from our 2nd US tour, which we undertook together with Triptykon and support Yakuza. It was definitely a blast!
– Before getting into your new album I would like to start with something that came first: the band name, since I guess there are still some people that won’t know that part of the Norwegian history. Could you explain us the story behind it? And, how do you think that meaning fits with the band?
As I believe most people that are familiar with us know by now, the name was taken from the year when the black plague stroke Norway. Killing the majority of the country’s population, it was indeed one of the darkest memories in Norway’s history, and thus suits the band’s music perfectly.
– Your previous «Revelations of the Black Flame» was a quite different album from you and I think it didn’t please all your fans, but maybe that kind of changes in a musical career are something even needed to grow up as artists. How necessary was for you composing an album like that? And what changed in the composition process?
“Revelations of the Black Flame” felt necessary at the time for many reasons- one of them being to stretch boundaries of the band and the genre of music we operate in. The outcome was also seen as a foreplay to the Coming work, “Demonoir”. As far as composing goes, the big change for “Revelations of the Black Flame”, was that the music was composed mainly by Ravn, and at a time where Frost was busy with Satyricon- activities. We wouldn’t let that stop us, and decided to undertake the project in a different way than before. Ravn was playing around with these ambient soundscapes, in addition to us three remaining putting together the musical pieces in the rehersal room, and presenting it for Frost when he got back. In that way, different methods than before were used.
– It seems nowadays Black Metal has gotten too conservative, I mean that people seems to be whiling bands sounding just old school without any kind of innovation (and, obviously, you don’t follow that path). Do you think this is something opposite to musical development? Is evolving and changing something needed as an artist? Of course, I’m not talking about quality nor personal liking/disliking.
To stagnate is a trap that a lot of bands fall into- I believe because the starting point was not right. If the idea of the band is not mutual, the package does not convince as something genuine, you know. I believe- that to keep all musical genres alive and exiting, innovation is one of the ingredients that has to be present.
– After releasing that CD, I guess some people could expect the same for this new «Demonoir» but, after listening to both albums (and the previous ones as well), I feel you don’t have compromises when it comes to create…
1349 never compromises. The fundament is basically first pleasing ourselves, then whatever. Having said that though: I never thought “Revelations of the Black Flame” would create such hysteria, especially after releasing the peek of our career, “Demonoir”.
– That’s why I suppose most of your albums are changeling for you guys and for the listeners too…
We will always strive to challenge what’s already established, to prolong the lifespan of the band and it’s art.
– You have been into the music business for several years. Did you feel excited with the release of this album as it was your first one?
Actually, even more so than ever with “Demonoir”. The whole work demanded much more from everyone in terms of everything, we all had to give it every percent in the work laid down on this one than ever before.
– And, by the way, how has been the feedback for it? Both from fans and press.
What I’ve seen has been really good, and it seems it is an album that is growing on the listener. I’ve gotten emails from ballistic fans lately, which of course is great motivation.
– «Demonoir» is a darker and more aggressive album (even of your whole history), and so it’s the title, as they were «Hellfire» or «Liberation», direct both in sound and title. I think all your CD names fit quite well with the sound on them. How’s this time the name connected to the whole record? And, how did you come up with the idea?
The title “Demonoir” brings to mind very dark associations, along with a sense of sophistication. It is a hard- hitting, one- word title, just like our 1st and 3rd album as well. One wintery night, I was sitting at home drinking red wine, in philosophy over what could be the title. I came up with a suggestion, which I sent over to Frost. A week or so later, he came back with what had to be the ultimate title, namely “Demonoir”.
– Exactly the same with the artwork. Could you please explain us how was the process for it? Is it inspired by the music?
Yes, it is. Frost mentioned a painting he had seen that very well could be the one for the album sleeve, and parts of this ended up on the Limited edition and US version of the album. Then, furthermore, he had ideas for the painter of this work, to try to capture from Frost’s description. This is the main / European version. The artist behind the “Demonoir” sleeves is called Kenneth Nilsen.
– So that makes me ask myself something, do you consider you music as an art?
Absolutely. Music is art, and the centre of existence for me. Occasionally, I still also listen to new stuff when I’ve got some time.
– There are 7 parts for the track «Tunnel of Set» so basically, why? I’m really curious about it. Could you explain us the story behind this song?
Again, it’s the crazy mastermind- head of Frost, that all of a sudden brings such a great idea- to have small passages/intermezzos, leading the listener into the next assault.
– I think this album follows, in some way, the feeling of «Hellfire» (considered one of your best records), tough they are very different, and mixing as well different elements that we also found on your previous CD plus mixing details from different music styles (Death, Thrash)…
From a personal aspect: Whilst writing the songs for “Demonoir”, I had a clear vision of how to create the first black metal album that would appeal to both black metal listeners as well as thrash and death metal. Being a fan of many bands in all the mentioned genres myself, I wanted to see these styles that in theory could merge very well , come together in a way that it has never happened before.
– «Demonoir» sounds quite brutal and raw. Have you got the final result you expected at first?
Very much so. 1349’s music have finally aspired to a technical standard of quality that makes the music more interesting in my eyes, without loosing the ingredient of atmosphere- rather the opposite I’d say.
– I also noticed the eerie atmosphere is an important part of the album, as it has been quite personal in all your previous releases. How do you manage to crea
te such a personal and surrounding atmosphere?
I think more than anything, this has to do with the fact that we as a band, really are into this , hands on. All of us. It lives and breathes through this.
– Personally, I think somehow this album is faithful to your roots but still innovating and improving. Do you think is easy to create something original without losing your own identity and improving without changing the overall sound? Nowadays it seems improving and changing the music style are just synonyms.
To create an 1349 album is about as far from the term easy as it can get. All the way, from the writing process, where I’ve spent nights, weeks, months and years, twisting and tweeking over a theme or a riff, to rehearsing every single piece, and then to recording sessions so hard you want to die, it is definitely not close to easy! And then comes the discussions during the mix…
– Could you say we can find in «Demonoir» the true 1349’s character?
– Will we find something similar to this on your next album or can we just expect the unexpected from you?
Don’t expect anything, take it as it comes. But as far as I’m concerned: My own involvement equals pushing the musical boundaries, as the main composer. Meaning that I’d like to see us taking this madness further, beyond what we know as “possible”.
– If I’m not wrong, there’s a digipack edition featuring cover versions for songs by BAUHAUS, EXODUS and MORBID ANGEL, quite different between them. Why did you decide to do so and why did you choose those tracks by those concrete bands?
That is right. We collectively discussed and liked the idea of doing some covers of bands that has made a big impression on us, and everyone threw around suggestions. We landed on some highlights in metal history, which we did our best to give our tribute to, in the 1349 way.
– This album has been released by Indie Recordings (and not by Candlelight), how did you hook up with them? Are you happy with this new label to you?
After the contract with Candlelight had expired, Indie seemed to be the best option for us, so we started our cooperation with them. So far it seems like a good co-operation partner for us.
– I can find your lyrics quite varied; does everyone in the band take part on them? What are your main inspirations while writing?
Actually, the lyrics on the latest albums have mostly been written by “our 5th member”, Destroyer (known from Nocturnal Breed, and prior to that, Gehenna). He wrote a couple for Hellfire too, and apart from him, it has mainly been Seidemann who has written the lyrics. Me and Frost has contributed here and there.
– For what I know, you’ll start in a few days a North American tour; what do you expect of it?
The tour was fantastic! Thanks to the other bands Triptykon and Yakuza, and not forgetting Pete (our tourmanager) and our crew. It seems 1349 is getting stronger and stronger in the US.
– Will be any European tour? Any chance to see you guys in Spain?
Yes, absolutely. We’re aiming at that in 2011.
– And, finally, what are your near-future plans?
We’re planning to release a deluxe box- edition of Demonoir, as well as some DVD’s. And eventually, we’ll have to start working on the next album…
– That’s all, thank you once more for your time. If you now want to add any last words for your Spanish fans, last lines are yours.
We hope to see you on tour. 1349 is better than ever as a liveact nowadays, it’s time to prove that and give some back to Europe. See you in 2011!