Interview conducted by Susanne Sinmara
ARCHAON, guitarist of Norway’s black metal troupe 1349, sat down with me before their gig at London’s Underworld on the 19th of November 2014, and we talked about craft beer, tour life, their new album Massive Cauldron Of Chaos, animal instruments and music in general.
Hello! How has this tour been so far for you, how was the reception?
It’s been very good, the first part was in Germany, where we haven’t been around for a very long time – we haven’t done a proper European tour since 2005. We’ve done a few short tours and festivals, and a few UK tours. It was interesting to see how this now went down, and if there’s still interest in the band. I must say that the last show in Oberhausen in Germany was really memorable to say the least. It was very intense and very furious. Munich was pretty good as well. It’s good to get out there again. Paris was fantastic as well. The crowd always goes wild in Paris.
I imagine tonight will be quite wild as well.
I should imagine so – we played this venue 3 or 4 times before. Last time it sold out, and tonight sounds pretty busy as well. I hope to see a lot of people here. London has always been good to us. Apparently it’s 300 pre-sales – I hope to see many people here. Of course it’s great to be out on tour with the new album just out. It’s exciting to play Massive Cauldron of Chaos.
How has the new material gone down?
Very well, thanks – we play 4-5 new songs. It seems something is happening with the new material, it gets the front rows going. It’s both interesting and inspiring.
Who has written the lyrics for this record, was it Destroyer again?
Yes, Destroyer has done the lyrics again for us, from pretty much Hellfire and up. We do make some contributions ourselves, but he’s always been there, he’s known the band since our start. He’s always been a good friend of the band, and he just has the words that fit so well to our concept. Why should we be stuck in boundaries where we do the lyrics ourselves, when it works like that too. We left him free reign with the lyrics, they are really really weird and they paint some dark pictures.
Has there been any signifcant development between the last and the new album, in terms of songwriting, or within the band?
Not really. The lineup is the same, and we pretty much did it the same as last time. We did talk in advance about what sound we wanted in general, we wanted it a bit more thrashy. We always had quite a few Thrash elements, but this time around we thought it’s a path we should follow a bit more. We are really fond of the old godfathers of rock, Thin Lizzy, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Zeppelin – my father played me Stray Dog, a really really good 70ies rock band. They had the right spirit and force. We like to transcend that into our type of Black Metal, to mingle that in. I believe we succeeded quite well, I mean Massive Cauldron of Chaos is a warmer, fuller picture. We also split the guitars like Bathory did back in the days – when he had a thin, aetheric sound on one album and a warmer one on the next one. We gathered the ideas and worked on them.
Songwriting – it’s me writing the songs, a couple of contributions from Frost and Seidemann, and then we had it. We’re all very very satisfied with the end result.
You enjoy going on tour, any fun tour stories?
We don’t really have had anything happening out of the ordinary so far – and as we are beer enthusiasts we had fun on the days off. We have actually a beer out now. It came through a US brewery, when in 2010 we were on tour with Triptykon in America. It wasn’t until last year where we got a Norwegian brewery on board as well, mostly distribution though. Now we made the first batch with Lervig in Norway. (Link to RateMyBeer below).
We had a lot of pre-tasting and emails exchanged about the recipes since 2010 – we’re going to release it in time for our next US tour in America and it’s out here already. That’s as far as fun goes for us on tour! Being in Belgium was great too, lots of great beer there.
A friend of mine asked me to ask you what your favourite Jelly Bean is….?
Jelly Bean!? I have no idea – I tend to eat more nuts, different kind of nuts. I don’t like synthetic stuff.
How do you go on about songwriting – do you compose it at home, or do you assemble it at the rehearsal studio?
Usually it starts with me writing the skeleton for a song, then we go to the rehearsal studio, and then we start to rehearse the songs. Frost makes up drum patterns, unless I want something specifically done, which he then follows. Most of the times I prefer him to do the drum patterns as he comes up with much better stuff than I do. He’s got a more innovative take on it. We then rehearse that a lot, and arrange a bit more, and eventually we enter the studio and record it. The record isn’t finished until we do the final mix and mastering.
We met people we didn’t know at TNT studios, different types of artists. He’s a very social guy, and we met up with people recording there – there was this guy who used a horn orchestra, with reindeer antlers. I’ve never heard of this before – they had all kinds of animal instruments. The use in an artistic context was quite interesting. He also had a piano player from a 70ies band called Lynx, he started playing the piano and we just hit the ‘record’ button and captured some of it. He then wanted to do something properly with us afterwards, and he ended up contributing to the final work.
What current music would you recommend, what bands, what’s your album of the year?
My album of the year, so far, even though they’re more leftovers, it’s the new Pink Floyd album. I think it’s a nice meditative hour of music. Apart from that, there’s a band called Black Crown Initiate, their new album is good. Of course I like the Behemoth album, Cannibal Corpse, Origin – there are several good ones this year.
That’s it, thank you very much for your time and good luck with the gig later!