– Hello Live Julianne, first off let me know thank your for your interest in Queens of Steel and for dedicating part of your time answering to our questions. What are you currently up to?
LJ: Hey. I am currently home with the flu and the guys are playing gigs without me. Sucks bigtime! But when I get better I am coming back like a nuclear bomb.
– Since this is our very first interview with PANTHEON I, could you introduce yourself and the band?
LJ: You can compare us to the cast of Baywatch. 1 Carmen Electra and 4 David Hasselhoffs. Ok, I am flattering myself now. Really, we are just a bunch of Norwegian hoboes who play extreme metal.
– Following some kind of introduction of the band, why did you choose the name PANTHEON I for the band? And what does it currently mean to you?
LJ: The I is significant. It means you are the boss of the Pantheon. Which can be a temple, a tomb or a bunch of Gods. It means you are your own god, your own temple and eventually your own tomb.
– You have recently published your thirst album, «Worlds I Create» where I think we can find all the hard work you have done through the years and it’s a big improvement over your last «The Wanderer and his Shadow». How is it being the reaction of both fans and press? And which is your opinion about it? Are you happy with the result?
LJ: It has been very well received by a huge majority of the press, and then of course you have a couple of people that think it’s just 40 minutes of crap. I am very happy with the result, and think Worlds I Create is much better then our previous work. It’s kinda a given isn’t it. We wouldn’t release anything we thought sucked ourselves.
– «Worlds I Create» it really got everything and album from you would need: is fast and aggressive, with really nice and worked atmospheres, sorta melancholy… Has this album explained better than the previous ones the feeling, sound and true character of the band?
LJ: I think the sound and character of the band is something that has gradually evolved as we have made music, played together and hung out over the past years. Our music has also changed with our changes in the line-up, as Pantheon I is a band where everyone gets a say when it comes to how our sound and songs should be. I think this album sounds like Pantheon I should sound. This doesn’t take away the ambition of making a next album which totally crushes this one of course. Progress is always important, otherwise we would still be single cell organisms wouldn’t we. (Well, some of us still are…)
– I also think the production this time is quite better. How was the production and the composing process?
LJ: The composing process was as it always is. The guitarists bring riffs, the rest of us complain, we fight a little, have a huge orgie, make a pre-production, I make some string arrangements and then eventually we end up with enough material for two albums and throw half of it away.
– We can notice in your music a lot of different influences. Is it important to you to bring to your music the different influences of the band members?
LJ: We are not like Satyricon where one super ego runs the show. We are 5 members who all get to pitch in. We share the work, the fun and the responsibility.
– The drumming done my Mads G. it’s just amazing. The technichal skills, the relentless paces and of course the speed make even better the album. How has he changed your sound and the direction of the band?
LJ: I know, he’s awesome isn’t he? He has changed us a lot, as he is very technical and has a background from deathmetal which he brings into the music sometimes. The biggest difference between him and our previous drummer Dan is that we always know what we get. Dan did more extreme things sometimes, but he was more like a kamikaze drummer. He just went for it, and sometimes it was exellent, sometimes it was not. He could start a song in a crazy speed and not think about the insane blastbeat he would have to pull off later in the song. Mads is the opposite. Before our first gig with him, Inferno ’09, I was a bit nervous about it being the first time we played together live. He just said «Relax. The Captain will steer the Ship safely into harbour.» And he did. Since then we have called him «The Captain».
– And of course we cannot hide the cello, that helps to increase your melancholic an dark sound and is not only limited to make a supporting role, sometimes also leads. Why did you decided to include a cello in your music and leaving the violin? What does it give to your music that was lacking before?
LJ: There was no before. Organic string intruments have always been a part of Pantheon I’s sound. I have been asked a million times why we have cello in a metal band, and I still have no good answer for it. We just like how it sounds, so why not.
– On the track «Ascending» we can hear some layers with clean vocals that fit perfectly with your sound and atmosphere and makes the song really emotional, but why did you use clean vocals only for this song? Will we hear more in a future?
LJ: The vocals are done by Jonas Renkse from Katatonia. All hail! We like to include one make-out song on each album, and so we ask a singer that we like and respect to contribute with clean vocals.
– Talking about the lyrics and concepts of the band and the artistic side, I have always found connections between your lyrics and your artwork. What did you try to explain with your artwork this time? And with the title of the album?
LJ: Our artwork is made by a Norwegian artist called Kjell Åge Meland. He paints all our artwork while listening to preproductions of our material on cassette. We give him full freedom to create whatever he feels is right for the music, and he never fails.
– I guess being an anti-religious band in the Extreme Metal scene can be usually confused by some people, since anti-religious isn’t a synonym for anti-Christian, but it seems nowadays it’s the same for some people to be anti-religious as to be a Satanist. And the same happens with bands that claim to be Satanists and don’t believe in any other god. What is your point of view about this matter in general?
LJ: In my opinion, if you worship you worship. It could be God, Allah, Satan or Chuck Norris, but the essence is the same. You put your fate in someone else’s hands. I can see how this is a useful safety blanket for people, but I think it’s naïve. Come on, grow a pair and face the facts.
– Before the release of the album you published the e-single «Serpent Christ» only for download and you included the demo track «Enter the Pantheon». Why? Do you specially like this song over others? Will you consider including more demo tracks in future recordings?
LJ: Enter The Pantheon is the first song ever made by Pantheon I, and we still play it live. We all like the song, but it sounds so different now with Mads G on drums and without the vioin, and we also play it faster now. So we decided to re-record it. Just because we wanted to, really. And when we had, we thought why not give people an opportunity to download it if they wish to.
– How did you get involved in the soundtrack for «Someone’s Knocking at the Door»? What are the differences between composing for a film and composing an album?
LJ: We were asked to create a track especially for the film, and we didn’t have any guidelines from the producer, we were just told to «do our thing» basically. But it was still different because we were not creating an album, just a song that didn’t have to «fit» with other songs for an album. And I think we did get a little inspired by the whole horror-aspect of the film, as you can maybe hear in the song.
– And, at last, which are the distant and near future plans for PANTHEON I?
LJ: Distant plans are world domination, but for now we’ll focus more on the near plans. We are currently doing a Norwegian tour, and in October and November we will set out to plunder and molest Europe in the company of Absu.
– Lots of thanks for your time. If you want to add anything else for your readers last lines are yours.
LJ: I would like to add a note of concern. I am very concerned about the society we live in and the segregation between men and women. We have all seen female groupies. But where are the naked men? Where are the balls??? I need inspiration too! So next time Pantheon I plays for you, whip out the hairy sack and give it a shake. Thank you.