Borknagar Interview

Salut Borknagar,Oystein!How are you doing these days?Is everthing all-rightat your side or are there any problems that may fuel your gloomycreativity?
Hi ,Things are going fine actually! We are currently working on the new album, right now our drummer Asgeir Mickelson is tracking down some drums for the new songs. The prosess of recording the album have taken abit longer time that planned, but so is life……thngs happends. We hope to finish the album early next year, beware!
 
 
What was the inspiration for the new album, musically and lyrically?
All and everything to be quite frankly. The album has noecertain theme but the general aproach of tha album is veryphilosophical, in a slightly “unortodox” way…..
 
 
A weird question at the beginning;Do you have plans regarding aDVD?You know,it had became  some kind of fashion to release a DVD nowadays?
Yeah, we have some vague plans actually. We have shitloads ofmaterial recorded in studio, from live shows and from tours, so there isa huge pile of material that we have to edit. I assume that we have a DVD out sometime in the future, but we don’t stress it. Like you said,everybody is doing it at the moment so we don’t feel that we want to rush it for some or another reason.
 
 
One thing that I noticed right away was the cover art, which was doneonce again by your drummer, Asgeir Mickelson. Maybe he might be thebetter man to ask, but can you explain what is being depicted  on the covers of Borknagar?I ask this as your album covers seem quite interesting and complex as well as your music…
Exactly, that’s the basic plan. I mean, the cover and lay-outshould represent the music somehow and that’s what we aim for. There isno real consept behind out covers, a certain meaning or so……..Idislike art in too obvious manner.  It’s more representing the complexity of the music and the lyrics in a visual expression.Everything about Borknagar is supposed to challenge your brain- yourthoughts a little bit. That’s it really.
 
 
The Scandinavian flavour can still be smelled in the veins ofBorknagar.Is this important to BORKNAGAR to create and sustain this spirit?
Obviously, but it comes by instinct. The sound is deeply rooted in our minds and hearts.
 
 
Can you tell me a little about this acoustic album you are working on?
Yes, we are currently in the making of the album. As mentioned be fore Asgeir is right now doing the drum patterns and we are plan ning to finish everything early next year. It will be an acostic based album,something totally different from what we have done before, but still i will have the genine Borknagar vibe. It’s not a permanent change of style, it’s just something that we have urged to do for many years- now t’s time to do it…
 
 
Would it be something like Opeth did on their last records, DELIVERANCE and DAMNATION?
Have no idea, haven’t heard that album actually. But I have heard it is acoustic…
 
 
Where do you get your lyrical inspiration from?
From my point of view, the Nature. Everything comes from the Nature in the end of the day…
 
 
Borknagar has had many members come and go over the years. Why do you think that is?
There has been a different story for each of the members leaving, so there is nothing spesific that I can point my finger on really. But, you know, there is certain things that I don’t compremise on. That may have caused some disturbance in the line-up through the years……
 
 
Related with the previous one; I know you get asked this all the time, but it is something that has characterized your career with thisband. I’m talking about all the lineup changes. You’re the heart and soul of the band, but it still must be a trying experience to continually bring in new members. How does it affect what you do?
I rather see it as a musical evelution based on musical selection. Each step we have taken with Borknagar have been a step forward, including he line-up changes. But I must admitt that I have come to a point where no new permanent members will be incorpo rated………even if it is only me left in the end of the day…hehe..
 
 
How would you compare Vintersong’s [Andreas Hedlund] vocal style to Kristoffer Rygg and Simen Hestaes? Is he the best singer of the three?
I very much dislike to compare the guy’s. Both Garm and Simen had and have their unique qualities and I am very proud to have had the
honour to work with them. I have really good memories from both those eras, but I must admitt that Andreas is a musical brother of mi ne which I sometime missed with the other guy’s….me and An dreas is very much on the same wavelenght musically…..
 
 
There is a lot of speculation and rumor about where the name Borknagar came from. Can you tell me the real story behind the name?
Hehe..yeah, I have heard different romours. Well, the truth is that I long time ago(1993) read an old tale about a mountain inScottland called Lochnagar. There was something magical about the name and I started to establish an more Norvegian approach of the name. And Borknagar it became….. I also wanted to have a name which don’t reflect or represent anything else than the band. Seen too many bands being musically trapped by their name….
 
 
Concerning the absence of Vortex, how did this effect BORKNAGAR and what do you think of his work with DIMMU BORGIR?
It’s impossible to speculate how the absence of Vortex in reality have affected the band, I would not dear to do that. I regard his work with DIMMU BORGIR as really cool, but I must admitt that I haven’t heard all he have done with those guy’s.
 
 
Where do you see Borknagar going on the next album?
First off there will be an acoustic album. Then there will be an “back to basis” album where we will try to recapture the wibe from ‘96-’97. Actually there will be some songs on that album which was written back in those days..one song which Vortex actually will do the vocals on.There you go- you are the first to know.hehe…
 
 
Many people consider Borknagar to be a black metal band-I don’tpersonally except for maybe your first album-but where do you think black metal is going?
To me the magic of traditional BM was gone many years ago, I could not care less really…
 
 
What do you about the metal scene in Norway today? Are there any new acts you think deserves more attention?
That was a hard one.I really don’t know simply because I have distanced myself a little bit from the whole scene. I am not really updated anymore and I don’t feel I am in position to really comment. I guess there is allot of cool bands rising, but there is few that I have heard that really impresses me. I have been too long in this business to be fooled by a cool cover- a great band has to deliver something with substance and identity………
 
 
Of course, making a Borknagar album is never a simple process, no doubt due to the complexity of the arrangements and the amount of thought that goes into the concepts. What’s the process of writing a Borknagar song like?
I do the basic songwriting in my homestudio and when I have some desent pre- productions ready I send it over to the other guy’s. Then they start to add their musical wizardry to the music. For the  last couple of albums we have worked more or less seperate in each our studios. I am pretty much fed up with the traditional senario at the re hersal room.Obvously we gather from time to time to rehearse for shows and to prepare for the actual recording of the album.
 
 
You have been signed by perhaps the biggest metal label in the  world for a while now. What do you think of the work Century Media has done for you so far?
There has been times of ups and downs. But generally  speaking I am very pleased to work with Century Media. They are very professional with what they are doing and that is a big relief, atleast for me as an artist.It’s good to know that our art is handeled and presented with dignity.
 
 
What do you think about playing live? What can you expect from a Borknagar show?
To be on stage doing a good show is great, the feeling is just impossible to describe. But it demands shoitloads of time to do shows or tours. I mean, you spend 23 hours waiting to go on stage and  be there for an hour. For me time is one of the most precious thing in life, therefor I soon realized that I didn’t want to waste my life waiting.Guess I more of a studio freak, to be quite frankly. Bork nagar live and in studio is two different creatures..
 
 
What plans or goals to you have for the nearest future?
To finish the new album obviously. Thereafter to continue to explore new musical fields…as simply as that!
 
 
What do you feel when you listen your own songs?I mean,lets say,
you heard it from the radio while you are in a car!
 
Ofcourse, it feels good! Also there has been a couple of times that I have watched TV with some pals or collegas and suddenly our video appear on the TV screen.what can I say- cool! But I am getting used to it.hehe…no just kidding. But what gives me the most is the fact that our music seems to have a big impact on some individuals around the globe, that’s really cool know! That fills me with respect bacause I have myself experienced many times how importand some music or an album can be. I mean, there is albums that frames big parts of my life…
 
 
Do you still believe “Epic Metal” best describes the style of music Bork nagar plays? I know people love to throw out all kinds of descriptors, such as progressive black metal (and I’m pretty sure  you’re not over ly concerned about genre descriptions for Borknagar).
You’re quite right there, I am not really concerned what our music should be labeled as. That’s your job man….hehe.We just do our music the way we want it, without limiting ourselves to a  certain musical direction. I would never do that. But hell yeah, “Epic Metal” sound cool.
 
 
Are you married and have you ever thought about the effectsthat can be created by the marriage on the creativity of the artist?Do you think that an artist should always find the pain as a source of inspiration?
Yes, I got married last year actually. I also have a 4 year old daugh ter, so you might say that I am a family man by now. And yes, I find allot of inspiration from being in that situation but what s most important is that it gives me the exstra energy and motivation to keep on doing what I do. Music business is a really hard business, few “survive” in the long run.My life could have been way more simple if I just focused on my job and lived an ordinary life…….
 
If you had known all in advance; what things would you certainly have done an other way and any war nings/advice for new-coming  bands?What would you advise or not advise?
Don’t play all your cards on music. The day you are bound to com premise on your music in order to sell more albums to earn money to live, your musical heart is dead.That’s something I have al ways been very focused on, to not get in a situation where I have to sell my ass n order to pay my bills.
 
 
What is the name of the band that you hate most?Most of the people are eager to utter their fave bands yet i want to learn the band you hate most?Can you give an honest answer to this question?
The UK band The Darkness. That band just represent everything that I detest with Rock, Metal, or whatever you would like to call it.I have noticed the irony ofcourse, but nevertheless.I hate that band!!
 
 
Do you read much? What books have you read recently? Do you have  any favourite authors?On the other hand,to what extend you ar etaking inspirations from the books you read?(While composing lyrics etc)
I read books, but not that much these days. I am a rather busy fellow so I really don’t have time to read books on regular basis, but I wish I could. When I am old and grey I’ll spend all my time reading books and drink tea.hehe..
 
 
Do you think the internet has helped you become successful?
Hmm…hard to say really. But actually I think that Borknagar marked itself as a band way before the internet changed the whole structure of the scene. So I think we are abit stronger rooted than some of the newcommers around…We had to go the long way in order to achive success and that made our skin thicker!
 
 
I think that`s all what I wanted to know for now. Thanks for long and interesting answers!
Frostkamp,atleast I hope my answeres are interestin g….hehe…! And sorry that it took some time to answer, I have been close to heart at tack several times this month because of stress!
 
 
A last weird question, a question on a personal note. Do you have any pets?
Yes, I have a cat. Since I was a small kid I have my own cat. My first one aged 25 before she died, my current cat is 8 years old.. I love cats, simply because they are not of this world!
 
 
Finish this interview quoting the words of a man you admire the most, please!
Yoda: “May the force be with you!”
 
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