Nubile Baby Dragon: Sadgiqacea/Hivelords Tour Diary!

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: diary, videos On: Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

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We’ll make this into concise as possible, so as to allow readers to break on through to the other side that much quicker: A) False Prism and Cavern Apothecary – presented by Sadgiqacea and Hivelords respectively — are two of the best, most intriguing mindfuck metal releases of the year thus far. B) The bands are currently on tour together. C) A mysterious scribe amongst them identified as “The Portalist” has sent along this account of the ensuing madness.

July 4th: Jersey basement. Uncle Sham. Full cans of Budweiser committing suicide. Big bitches on a tiny grill. Sadgiqacea and Hivelords as a soundtrack for Planet Earth. Those are some evil elephants. Penguin SQUAWK.

July 5th: Montclaire Meatfest. Open Locker Blitz. Beer-gut coma induction. Our insides swapped with a blunt’s. So dark for Haethan, and suitably invoking. Candlelight dwarfed by a shoulder-cannon firing VHS rounds. What’s in the fridge to the side? UBASUTE beef, bloody and brilliant all at once.

July 6th: “What’s that smell?” a nubile Baby Dragon asked innocently, his tear-laden eyeshimmer competing with forehead sweatbeads. Eleven piss-hot bodies poured and splashed in a wet, incoherent language, searching for a response. Time dripped there. “That smoke better be coming from the car in front of us.” In a van that was well accustomed to billowing smoke, a new hazy guest filled the chamber in a way meant to kill us all. Trapped inside a Butt Tunnel on the way to New York City and we had to open the rear doors until we broke down in front of a Here’s a Van For Now, Thanks For All The Money and Bring It Back Perfect.

Three days deep.
No more van.
What now?
Werewolf Bukkake.
Oh, yeah.

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Dark Descent Records announce showcase festival – Oct 4th and 5th, Portland, OR

By: jonathan.horsley Posted in: breaking newz, featured, tours On: Monday, July 22nd, 2013

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Dark Descent Records have announced a two-day showcase festival at the Ash Street Saloon, Portland OR for October 4th and 5th. And the lineup (below), presented by Dark Descent in association with Parasitic Records and Ash St PDX is the exactly sort of super-necrotic death/doom/black bill of extremity that’s guaranteed to help you shake out the kinks in your neck and let the more morbid of you achieve optimum headspace for telekinetic drawing down of the moon. Uhh, probably. The poing being: If you’re in the area or have the means and wherewithal to haul-ass to the show, then this is an essential ticket. Don’t miss out.

Friday, Oct 4th
Horrendous
Vassafor
Ritual Necromancy
Sempiternal Dusk

Saturday, Oct 5th – $15
Mitochondrion
Anhedonist
Gravehill
Weregoat
Dire Omen

Tickets are priced $13 for the Friday, $15 for the Saturday, with weekend tickets priced $26: Get yours here
Keep up to date with the event details on the event Facebook page

**Hotels in Portland, OR
**Dark Descent on Facebook

This is sort of thing you can expect.

Friday’s lineup:
HORRENDOUS

VASSAFOR

RITUAL NECROMANCY

SEMPITERNAL DUSK

Saturday’s lineup:
MITOCHONDRION

ANHEDONIST

GRAVEHILL

WEREGOAT

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Stephane Peudupin & Sebastien Pierre (Fractal Gates) interviewed

By: Chris D. Posted in: interviews On: Monday, July 22nd, 2013

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** Now that Slumber is ancient history, AtomA on ice, and Rapture in perpetual hibernation, few bands (let’s give props to Enshine) have been able to take melodic doom-death to heights of awesome. Enter Fractal Gates. Formed in Paris, France, the members of Fractal Gates made one hell of a debut in Altered State Of Consciousness, but surpass all expectations with new effort, Beyond the Self. Read on as guitarist Stéphane Peudupin and vocalist Sebastien Pierre (also of Enshine; see interview HERE) tell the tale of Fractal Gates and why they’re your new favorite band.

How serious of a project is Fractal Gates? A full-time band, right?
Stéphane Peudupin: Fractal Gates is a band that means a lot to us. We do what we like, no concessions. That said, Fractal Gates is not a full-time band in the sense that we all have jobs that take us a lot of time and we all have other activities. For example, I do martial arts, websites, etc. Fractal Gates is more like a important hobby for us all, plus you know that having an underground band is never gratifying financially, only a few bands in France do that full-time, like Gojira, etc.

What didn’t you want to repeat from the first full-length to Beyond the Self? I hear a lot of growth between the two albums.
Stéphane Peudupin: We wanted to enhance the overall speed and dynamic with the new album. We thought the first album was OK, but had perhaps too much “vision” between the songs (synth interludes). We wanted also to have faster songs that would be even more catchy. We had better guitar and composition skills after the first CD, so we managed to create better composed songs with more variation, tempo changes, etc. The drums are also more complex.

I think a lot of metal bands forget the melodic or counterpoint qualities of the bass guitar. I hear a lot of, say, Rapture or Slumber in Fractal Gates. Allowing the bass guitar a bit more space. And for it to not always follow the guitar.
Stéphane Peudupin: Bass is important in Fractal Gates, we like the groovy sound it provides and the huge bonus it brings to the songs. The idea is to not always follow the guitar rhythms, but to have a genuine bass line with its own rhythm. That is why we have some rhythm guitar lines that are less complicated and technical. But I don’t think the bass in Fractal Gates is constructed the same way as Rapture or Slumber.
Sebastien Pierre: While Rapture is my favorite metal band, and that it inspired us, I don’t find the bass guitar that close to Fractal Gates. I guess, it’s more in this case a matter of clear production letting hear each instrument. I agree on the fact that Rapture and Slumber have ones of the richest bass guitar parts on doom-death albums.

I find Fractal Gates has good compositional sense. What do you think makes a good song?
Sebastien Pierre: Good beer while composing? [Laughs] More seriously, I guess you shall have something to say musically. Preferably with some concept behind. Dig deeply, the melody you hear in your heart, and try to reproduce it with a fidelity and shape. Be sincere with yourself, deconstruct as many times as needed, to rebuild it until it sounds like what you felt originally.

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What are your favorite songs and how do they play into Fractal Gates?
Sebastien Pierre: Hesitating between “Timeless” and “Glooms Of Cyan.” First one for the spacey chorus, close to “Skies Of Orion.” And the second one for its doomy feeling.
Stéphane Peudupin: Quite hard to say which ones I prefer more. I like the entrancing feel of “Reverse Dawn” and the melodies of “Everblaze” and “The Sign.” I like the groove in “We Are All Leaders” and the doomy aspect of “Glooms of Cyan.”

You tapped Dan Swanö to produce the record. Describe how that relationship came to be. I realize he’s a famous musician, producer, etc.
Stéphane Peudupin: Dan is clearly a legend. I am a fan of his works (especially Edge of Sanity). I really like and admire his way of composing and creating melodies. I sort of understand what he does and really feel close to his musical style. We contacted Dan because we wanted a different sounding album and we thought that since our musical styles are not that much different, Dan could understand and handle our new CD perfectly. He is a very cool guy and gave us guidelines and some tips for the new CD. I really am proud that he put his vocals on two of our songs, plus I know he enjoyed recording the vocals for the Top Gun song “Mighty Wings” a lot, and that is great to know!

Septicflesh is one of your influences. Did Sotiris come onboard immediately for “Timeless” or did he take some convincing?
Stéphane Peudupin: Septic Flesh is the band that got me into creating metal music. I really like Sotiris’s melodies and way of composing. It’s really incredible for me to have two guitar lines of his un “Timeless.” We happened to exchange some mails a while ago, and I told him about Fractal Gates. I sent him “Altered State of Consciousness” and he said he really liked our stuff and particularly the song “The Eclipse.” I then talked to him about a new song we were preparing for Beyond the Self and asked him if he would be interested in recording some guitar parts for the song, he immediately approved! We then sent him the rough version of the song and he liked it very much. He recorded his parts and did a wonderful, inspired job, which confirms that he really liked what we did! That is a great honor!

How does the cover of Cheap Trick’s “Mighty Wings” fit into Beyond the Self?
Stéphane Peudupin: This is a quite unusual track, I admit. It is a sort of ’80s AOR (adult-oriented rock) with a incredible catchy melody and chorus. The sort of stuff that stays in your head, and that is precisely what we like! We recorded the cover song using a faster tempo and transformed it into a Fractal Gates song with clean and guttural vocals. We think, personally, that the song fits in nicely in the sense that it makes Beyond the Self breath a little. It brings freshness. Dan did an excellent job with the clean vocals; he recorded it the way he wanted and that is just perfect. I personally think it’s a hit song thanks to him!

What’s the overall theme to Beyond the Self? Something like our collective minds have escaped the Earth to find we’re not alone?
Stéphane Peudupin: Without going into details, as I like to let each one getting his own interpretation, Beyond the Self‘s themes are about introspection, alternative visions of life, out of body experiences, stillness, new world order, and indeed some alien-related lyrics like the eponymous track ["Beyond the Self"]. Some songs are more science fiction stories, as “Glooms Of Cyan,” which depicts a civilization forced to flee wars by diving into an abyssal new realm.

So, since most of our readership is North American, where can metalheads find Beyond the Self? Apart from Youtube, of course.
Support us if you like what you listened by purchasing the CD on www.fractal-gates.com (our Bandcamp). It’s not expensive and the band gets all the money and not the label, and that is better! You can also purchase digital versions for a couple of bucks. I don’t think you can find the CD in North America in shops at this time.

** Fractal Gates’ new album, Beyond the Self, is out now on Great Dane Records. Order it directly from the band HERE. Or, you can fly to Paris, try to find the guys walking around (not recommended, Paris is a big city), and convince them to take your American dollars on current Euro conversion rates. They probably will, considering you’ve traveled all the way to France for a CD, but we can’t guarantee it.

Tales From the Metalnomicon: Eric Weiss of Rumpshaker

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: featured, interviews On: Friday, July 19th, 2013

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Welcome to Tales From the Metalnomicon, a new twice-monthly column delving into the surprisingly vast world of heavy metal-tinged/inspired literature and metalhead authors…

Full disclosure: The Metalnomicon has not surveyed every hardcore fanzine in the history of hardcore fanzines. That is a task ill-suited to a single human lifespan, even one that, say, skipped the reading of the Proust/Dostoyevsky/Tolstoy canons, abandoned all but the most basic life-sustaining nourishment, and rendered asunder relations with any parent or friend who failed to see the “bigger picture” when asked for a small loan to buy the “Comin’ Correct” Fastpass necessary to jump the line at Rick Ta Life’s distro. Yet this column nonetheless feels quite confident declaring Eric Weiss’ Rumpshaker amongst the very best of these storied publications…like, ever. And why do we believe its pages (metaphorically) exhale such rarified air? Only because it is a consistently smart, funny, insightful read drawn together by one of the hands down most able, clever interviewer/writers in any arena of rock journalism! Those with less discerning tastes might label the publication schedule “irregular.” Metalnomicon prefers “long-as-it-takes gestation period” — a quality-over-quantity win as welcome as it is atypical.

In the aftermath of the recent release of the epic Rumpshaker #6 – peep the insane table of contents and order here — Metalnomicon reached out to Weiss to see if he’d be down to answer a few questions regarding his legendary ‘zine and some of the inspirations behind it. Happily, the self-described “metal kid from Queens” graciously agreed…

Tell me a little about the origins of Rumpshaker.

Rumpshaker was born out of a desire to contribute to the hardcore scene using the best tool I had at the time — my writing abilities. As a kid I took guitar lessons but truth be told I no patience for it. I couldn’t play Metallica and Slayer songs in the first week so I got frustrated and quit. When I got immersed in the music and politics of hardcore as a teenager writing and interviewing seemed like a natural way for me to contribute. Plus, I’d always been drawn to underground press. I’d read anything about pretty much any subculture, whether I cared much about it or not — as long as the author is passionate about the subject I’ll read it.

Were there any publications you saw as touchstones for what you wanted to accomplish?

At the time, it was inspired by other hardcore ‘zines of the time. When Rumpshaker started in the nineties there were a lot of passionate, smart people doing really interesting ‘zines focused around hardcore punk. People like Patrick West from Change Zine, Kate H. from Lisa Lionheart, Norman Brannon from Antimatter, Tobias from Eventide, Jessica Hopper from Hit It Or Quit It, Mike Schade from Hodgepodge, and tons more were contemporaries and people that made me want to come out with quality material.

Was there any particular void you hoped to fill?

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BREWTAL TRUTH: Drink This Now!

By: adem Posted in: featured, liver failure On: Friday, July 19th, 2013

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Given the opportunity to write about craft beer every month in Decibel has been eye-opening. The idea that our “Brewtal Truth” column would have lasted more than four years (and counting) and even spawn a book—The Brewtal Truth Guide to Extreme Beers, out in November—is pretty amazing. Now it’s time to bring a little “Brewtal Truth” to the Deciblog. Each week we’re featuring a different craft beer that you should drink now. These aren’t so much reviews as recommendations. We won’t post anything here that we haven’t happily poured down our own gullet. There’ll be a new one every week at noon Eastern time, a little something to get you thinking about your imbibing options for the weekend.

This week we go to Brooklyn, which (pre-Prohibition) was once home to dozens of small breweries. Unlike the drinking water across the river in Manhattan that comes from god knows where, Brooklyn’s water source is the Catskill Mountains and is pure, soft and perfect for brewing. The local metal scene may be cause for consternation among purists, but there’s no denying the quality of the brews being made here (and the bars that serve them). Sixpoint has been producing all kinds of style-busting brews for nearly a decade and they’re not afraid to go extreme. 3Beans, part of their rotational series is a dark, strong beer that defies traditional categories.

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3BEANS
Ale Brewed With Romano beans, Cacao & Coffee
Sixpoint

Brooklyn, NY
10% ABV

“Beans, beans, the magical fruit…” so begins one of the first songs we felt it necessary to teach our son, knowing full well this was the kind of essential knowledge that would serve him well throughout his life. This is how fathers assure the timeless comedy of fart humor is passed along through the generations. Needless to say, at the age of seven, he has embraced it whole-heartedly. In fact, he had a belly laugh when he saw pops drinking a beer called 3Beans, a testament to the excellent child-rearing we’ve done so far. Yes, 3Beans is actually brewed with the kind of beans that cause flatulence (in addition to the more “harmless” cacao and coffee beans). Our own unofficial results as to the toot-producing ability of the Romano beans in a beer were inconclusive, since there was plentiful gas released, but no more than usual.

This unfortunate and unsavory digression has taken a turn for the worse, yet seems impossible to back out of. Let’s just try to focus on the fact that this dark, strong beer is a mash-up of old-world brewing methods (romano beans in the mash) and the bold innovations of brewing big (10% ABV), adding nontraditional ingredients (fermented cacao husks from Mast Bros. Chocolate and cold-brewed Stumptown coffee) and oak barrel aging.

You likely won’t be able to taste or smell the romano beans in 3Beans, but the other two are definitely major contributors. Right outta the can—yes, this big beer is canned!—you can smell a big hit of iced coffee notes. A 10% ABV brew doesn’t exactly seem like summertime sipping,but fridge cold this tastes like an iced mocha…that’ll buzz you up. A little creamy, a little bitter, a little boozy. A whole lotta drinkable.

It has the sweetness of a big baltic porter but the massive 85 IBUs of bitterness balance it all out nicely. Honestly, it’s a bit hard to detect the benefits the oak aging bestowed on it—maybe a mellowness?—but it definitely didn’t do this beer any harm. And while some dark brews this boozy tend to be syrupy, this is remarkably medium bodied and built for drinkin’ more than one. Yep, beans are the magical fruit. This cleverly made and totally delicious beer is ample proof.

Throw Me a Frickin’ Label Hack: Forlorn Path

By: Dan Lake Posted in: featured, free, interviews, listen On: Friday, July 19th, 2013

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Because every day another band records another song.  Because 83% of those songs are unlistenable and you can’t be bothered to sift through the dreck.  Because metal is about not giving a shit and waking your own personal storm.  Because music is universal, expression is boundless, and even indie labels (whatever that means these days) don’t know everything, Decibel brings you Throw Me a Frickin’ Label Hack.

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Looking for something to really blow your hair back?  Or in my case, give my fuzzy scalp a good breezing?  Forlorn Path are that shit.  THE shit.  Without being at all shitty.  Back in February, these New Jersey neck-slicers gave the world their first amazing full-length, Man’s Last Portrait.  If you think this all sounds like it’ll be some weepy doom bullshit, think again.  No, nevermind, fuck thinking.  Just listen.  The album certainly hauls its fair burden of soul-squeezing sorrow, but kneads it into a doughy black-death battle cry.  There’s a baroque, panoramic quality to everything, without ever forgetting to razor-edge the guitars and vocals and rain down unholy terror with the drums.  The ghosts in this machine take the entire experience to another level of awesome.

Bassist/vocalist Dave Imbriaco and guitarist Yuriy Garnaev took some time to answer our burning Deci-questions, and wanted to make sure you know that Man’s Last Portrait (as well as last year’s Intifada EP) is streaming in full at Bandcamp, where you can hear/download some gorgeous blackness with a heart six sizes bigger than you’re used to.  Also, check them out at their official site, or at Facebook.

While you listen to the album stream below, make sure to check out one of the most thoughtful (and literate) interviews that has ever graced this column.  Any chance we can get these guys to paint my last portrait?

 

Who are Forlorn Path? What are the backgrounds (musical or otherwise) of the band’s members?

Dave: I was born/raised in New Jersey and I’ve been doing music all my life. I learned first to read music and sing as a small child at a Kindermusik program and picked up guitar in elementary school. I did theater and all kinds of vocal music throughout high school and here I am now! Outside of the band, I work in public education.

Yuriy: My musical journey began much later in life – I was always drawn to music, but didn’t pick up the guitar until I turned 17. When I started out, I was practicing 8 hours a day, and began trying to write my own stuff just a few months later. I took part in a few different projects in college, and eventually Forlorn Path was formed. Dave and I went to the same school, along with two of the other founding members, so that’s how it all began. Outside of music, I’m finishing up a computer science degree at the moment.

How are Forlorn Path songs written? By individual band members, or collectively? In various parts that are woven together later, or as a flow of ideas from beginning to end?

Dave: Yuriy wrote 85% of everything you hear on the album. I contributed some lyrics here and there (specifically “What Lies Beyond”) and offer my feedback/constructive criticism when I’m asked…or not.

Yuriy: I tend to work better alone, as that’s when I really get in “the zone”, so to speak. Some days I just feel like writing and it comes naturally, and that’s when most of the work gets done. I don’t necessarily have control over when that happens, so as you might imagine, it’s hard to make that coincide with band practice times. So, it’s as Dave said – I’ll write some stuff, get some feedback from the other guys on the different parts, structure, and overall flow – and then go back and write some more. Some songs have parts I wrote years ago and have been meaning to use for quite some time. Others are fairly recent.

What influences do you think have been important in the creation/intent of your music?

Yuriy: The music stems from a desire to create something beautiful; something somebody might relate to and benefit from. As far as bands go? Agalloch, Swallow the Sun, Draconian…maybe even Nobuo Uematsu, to some extent.

How long did it take to record Man’s Last Portrait? Was anything about those sessions difficult?

Dave: Over a year from the first day of drum tracking to release. We had a variety of difficulties ranging from scheduling conflicts to losing all of our guitar tracks to the black hole of Yuriy’s hard drive to bloody Superstorm Sandy, which hit the studio where our tracks were being mixed.

Yuriy: That was a rough year, to say the least!

How was putting together Man’s Last Portrait different from writing/recording the earlier EPs?

Dave: Vastly! First of all, we had a variety personnel changes to cope with while we were getting ready to make this album – me taking over on vocals and working with the incredible James Applegate (of Exorbitance, check them out!!) for the drum tracking. Second, we did the entire recording process ourselves, which turned out to be a MASSIVE undertaking and I don’t think we quite anticipated how monumental a task we were taking on. For me personally, the biggest change was doing a 6 hour vocal recording session for the first time in a room with no fan or air conditioning. It was absolutely grueling but a ton of fun too.

Yuriy: We put a great deal of effort into getting everything tight and polished sounding, while working on a very limited budget – which I guess is nothing new to us, but we really strived to produce something of significantly higher quality, and it took a lot of work. And this album is much longer than anything we’ve done before, so the recording sessions were very, very long, especially considering all the multi-tracking involved!

How specific were you about getting particular sounds right before starting to record?

Yuriy: We spent weeks working on this part alone. This was one of the most difficult but also most important parts – if you don’t get a good tone from the start, you may have to do everything over again. We made sure we had the perfect combination of amps, guitars, mics, a high quality audio interface, etc., in order to get the sound we wanted. Even cables make a difference! We also had to create proper sound insulation in a room that was not typically used for recording – so we had to make a few trips to Home Depot and spent hours hammering away to get our makeshift studio ready.

Is there a thematic thread that runs through the album?

Dave: Definitely. The album is very dystopian with a glimmers of hope all scattered about.  Yuriy can explain this better than I.

Yuriy: Grief and loss are some of the overarching themes on the album, whether on a personal level, or with regard to the world on a global scale. But at the same time, as Dave said, the feeling of a glimmer of hope in the darkness is something that continues to reappear throughout the songs. The music is meant to be an emotional journey for the listener.

When the recording was finished, do you feel like it mirrored your vision for the songs, or were there any differences or surprises from the beginning to the end of the writing/recording process?

Dave: Largely, yes. It was different from my perspective as I’m not the one really in creative control of the content, but Yuriy’s vision for what the music was to be gradually became clearer and clearer to me as the process went on. Things that I wasn’t so sure about during the songwriting process became much more understandable to me as each track was laid down. It was really fascinating to see the entire thing unfold right before my eyes and ears.

Yuriy: I think it came out how I envisioned it. Then again, after having to hear every part a thousand times, you really can’t be sure anymore!

Do you have plans to take this music to the stage?

Dave: They’re in their infancy, but most definitely! We hope to create a show that won’t be easily forgotten.

What hopes do you have for Forlorn Path as you move forward?

Dave: It starts with T and ends in “our”. Aside from that, I hope more and more people get to enjoy what we’ve created!

Yuriy: That, definitely. And of course, creating more music. All the feedback we’ve received from people has been very encouraging, and I’m very much looking forward to putting together another record for people to hear and hopefully connect with.

Interview with Friendly Fire Distro’s Cam Schwarz

By: kevin.stewart-panko Posted in: featured, gnarly one-offs, interviews, uncategorized On: Thursday, July 18th, 2013

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Considering how quickly fairweather fans come and go from the metal scene, I guess you could say I’ve known “Cannibal” Cam Schwarz since the beginning of time, proportionally speaking anyway. An old-school lifer, Schwarz has been “fighting the good fight” in the name of his love for metal and against gainful employment for as long as I can remember.

Now, I don’t know or care much about experiencing music digitally, but being that Cam is an old bud and one of his main ventures these days is the running of digital distribution company, Friendly Fire Distro which works at getting music into over 100 digital shops around the world, I figured I’d throw him a bone and run a feature on him and his nose-to-the-grindstone ways for your Thursday afternoon reading. Plus, as you’ll see, dude has his fingers in all sorts of interesting pots and does so while calling the extremely un-extreme tourist trap of Niagara Falls, Ontario home. Also, he scored a bunch of us tickets to a rockin’ Dokken show a couple weeks ago and for that I’ll be eternally grateful. Seriously. Take it away, brah.

Ok, first off: introduce yourself and give us a brief rundown of how you got from aspiring young metalhead to being interviewed for the Deciblog?
Young? Not anymore! Well, I guess my latest endeavour would be running www.friendlyfiredistro.com, which if you have checked it out my fine music f(r)iends out there, is a distro is full of heavy and brutal music. Since I have been quite involved with the heavy music scene for quite sometime now, I knew a lot of people who could use the services of someone they could trust and who has built themselves up around the underground over the last two decades.

List off your metal-related “resume,” as it were. You’ve always done a lot of work behind the scenes over the years. Do you have any sort of musical background or embarrassing band history to speak of?
Geez, where to start? First, was starting a grindcore cover band back in ‘90-91 doing Neaderthal, Demise and many obscure short noise cuts. Then, it was my short-lived death metal band Mangled in ‘92 which I now got on iTunes. That lead me to putting together the first death metal show to ever hit the Niagara Region which included Inbred, Macification, Gastric Pus, Demonacy, Grotesque Infection, Mangled and Nails in ‘93. Rocked in a couple punk and alternative bands that sounded like Down by Law Dinosaur Jr. around that time as well. Also, during that time, I started a ‘zine called Disgorged Pandemonium and did two issues and continued writing for some underground and published mags and even local papers over the next 15 years. During that time I was in a So-cal punk band called Round 13 and then a psychedelic horror soundtrack band called It Lives Within. Did a little PR work some agencies and also worked with Bedlam Society from St. Catharines which turned into Bedlam Management (Alexisonfire, Bedouin Soundclash, Monster Truck, etc.). During the early 2000′s, I began working on short horror films and writing for horror magazines and websites. I still need to tread back to ‘97 where my friend Metal Dan and I began what we still do, Chronic Aggression radio. That was a heavy metal radio show which went on for four years, but called it quits in 2002 because the station went down. We worked on online video interviews and such, then finally it came back last April on 103.7fm/www.cfbu.ca. I’m heavily involved in the horror/cult scene now also working with www.nictophobiafilms.com which recently has done www.nightofthelivingdeadlive.com which ran in April to May (and is coming back to Toronto in October) which was an amazing experience. I’m also helping out Maurizio Guarini of Goblin fame as much as I can. Goblin happens to be one of my favourite bands ever. So, I will say that I have never stopped doing what I love and am still fighting the good fight because there is no other fight. And no embarrassing band history, sorry. I also have many things happening and projects that I cannot talk about at this moment, but things are looking up.

You’re a long time resident of the Niagara region of southern Ontario. How would you describe the pros and cons of the metal scene in your part of the world?
Lots of cons, it has never really taken off. It kind of did back in the 80′s with the glam rock scene and all but after that clubs shut down and all. I’ve always tried to bring real metal, along with some other folks around here, but there’s just something about Niagara that no one gives two shits about. We always went to Buffalo where real metal lives, and is living again. Glorious Times man Brian Pattison has been bringing back the old school with full force. So it has been quite a ride here in Niagara. Pfffffff

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Ok, tell us about Friendly Fire Distro – how it came to be? How it’s changed? Your goals and hopes for it?
I started Friendly Fire because I was helping out www.stumblerecords.com, and he was thinking about getting a digital distro to sell all kinds of music. I took it over and the rest is history. I don’t want to just include metal. I love everything, but obviously metal is my main genre and fate keeps showing me where I should be. It hasn’t changed really because we are still young, but I have almost 200 albums for sale from literally all over the world. Some huge hitting acts from Indonesia, Columbia, Brazil, Iran and so on. I just hope to help more bands out and be the place to go to for bands and fans alike.

What are some of you more popular titles? How do you go about tracking down and adding stock to your distro? Who do you deal with/distribute/work and have partnerships with?
I’m so glad to have some killer bands on board and classics that shaped me when I was a young fucker. Impetigo, Nuclear Death, Nokturnal, Hammer, Holland, Leather Nunn and many new bands like Pathology that freakin’ kick soooo much ass. I love the roster and it’s only getting better, man. I work with Butchered Records, Amputated Vein, Sevared Records, Year Of The Sun, Dead Beat Media, Lacerated Enemy, Pathologically Explicit and a few more in the talks. I track pretty much everyone on my own. I love what I do and wanna make sure it kicks ass for everyone, so I constantly keep up on bands and the social media scene to find and track everyone down. It’s a full time job just doing that – holy shit! Just too bad a lot of the scene has some lazy bands and who just don’t care. Could be so much better for them and us, but what are you gonna do. Just keep on keepin’ on.

FF is an all-digital distro. Any particular reason for this? In your own personal listening/consumption habits, are you one who’s come to shun physical product over the years? Would you ever consider adding a physical product arm to your distro?
I don’t shun the physical as I still like to hold and read something, but digital can be easier and a lot of people, the younger scene especially, seem to go for the digital side. It’s still a new market and I’m glad to have this type of platform to offer the scene in this ever-growing industry. Gotta keep up. I have been thinking about adding physical products, but there’s a lot of competition and I’m not sure if I can handle that yet. I am helping Maurizio of Goblin with his new CD Creatures From A Drawer, so I guess that is a start. I do set up at some events with albums, so I’ve done a little so far. We’ll see. I don’t have to deal with anything physical which is tough ‘cause shipping costs keep going up and that hurts a lot of distros. Like I said, it’s a whole new industry, so I want to help out with amazing service.

What’s the biggest fear of a digital distributor? Slow internet speeds? Computer crashes? Solar flares? Having hours of work time disappear due to surfing porn the ‘net?
I’m always backing my shit up big time, but once it’s uploaded to my server, that aspect is out of my hands and into the stores so it’s not really such a bad thing. Slow internet speed does suck balls for sure. Doesn’t help that my kids like using the internet for their video games so massive usage does come into effect. Daddy does have to lay down the smack down once in a while.

What else do you have on the go in addition to FF?
I think I’ve exhausted everything, but I have never stopped doing what I want and what I love. I’m not getting any younger I just want to show my kids that you have to bust your balls for what you love. Nothing comes easy, I’m a testament to that ‘cause I’m still killing myself for the scene and all the fans out there. You can check out all my projects and such on www.facebook.com/cannibal.cam, www.facebook.com/chronicaggressionradio and the ones listed above. Any bands and labels need digital help just contact www.friendlyfiredistro.com and lets chat it up. Thanks a ton Deciblog, you’re my hero.

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Scaling The Fitness Summit With Chris Letchford

By: zach.smith Posted in: featured, uncategorized On: Thursday, July 18th, 2013

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Last week, Scale the Summit guitarist Chris Letchford (that’s him second from the left) shared his workout playlist. Fortunately, he was also kind enough to pass along tips for working out and eating well while on tour, all of which are pretty useful even if you’re not in a band. Despite what Chris may say below (and the terrible headline above), pick up a copy of The Migration–it will undoubtedlely help you look like this guy with little to no additional work:

Working Out While On Tour
This is a tough one for most. You are already tired, hungry, grumpy, annoyed, etc., so it can be hard to get motivated to make yourself even more worn out, but it’s worth it, I promise!

Working out actually can raise your energy levels, especially when combined with healthy eating. You are able to sleep better on days that you worked out since your body is able to go into a deeper sleep to start repairing on the damage you have caused to it. You will wake up more refreshed and ready to go!

How I Make It Work On The Road:
The best way to fit it in is to load in first, get that out of the way and then immediately do your workout. Though I like to try and quickly run over to a LA Fitness, as it’s just easier, there isn’t a location in every city we play or within a realistic driving distance. So I bring a dual set of BowFlex Select Tech adjustable dumbbells with me on tour and a collapsible bench–it’s everything you need to do all workouts. The ones I have only go to 55 pounds per arm, which is not enough for some of the more compound exercises like bench press, but it does the job and you make up for the loss of weight with more reps. We also bring a pull up/push up bar.

My favorite three exercises, which would really be best accomplished in a gym with a lot more weight, are bench press, squats and dead lifts. Most of these you can’t really do while on tour with just 55 pound dumbbells, but you can hit all the same muscles regardless and still get in a great workout. I prefer compound movements as you burn more calories and work more muscle in less time.

Diet:
Eating was the hardest thing on tour. It took us some brainstorming and our new way of eating healthy definitely takes a lot more planning, but it’s all doable if you dedicate yourself to it. 70% of your fitness goals will be met from your diet alone, and only around 30% is what you do in the gym. You have to fuel your body!

For food, we carry the largest cooler we could find, which is big enough to carry food for a few days for about six dudes. We store it next to the side door of our trailer, for easy access. If you are in a bus, there are ZERO excuses–you have multiple coolers inside and a fridge. We have done one tour in a bus and it was spoiling, so keep in mind all of this health/fitness is done in a van, so it’s doable! When you are on a bus, you arrive at the venue when you wake up, plus I was sleeping around 11 hours when on the bus. You have so much extra time to kill, what better than a solid hour workout!

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For actual food, we carry a camping stove grill to cook, and I just got a surprise present from the girlfriend before we left, which is basically a miniature oven that you can fully cook raw foods, steam vegetables, etc. I’m very excited to try it out. It’s very small, so it takes up little space in the trailer. It’s cheaper to cook your own food, since you can cook more in bulk.

So besides cooking our own foods, Whole Foods is a great place to stop and pick up already cooked healthy foods, like grilled chicken (plus all meats), cooked veggies, and we always stock up on fresh fruits.

Last, the most important thing is to make sure to stay hydrated. I sweat a ton on stage, while working out, loading and unloading gear, etc. Sodas on tour or just in general are not the way to go, stay away!

If healthy food is not a priority just because of money, remember that hospitals and medicine are also every expensive, eventually it will catch up to you and then that financial burden will drop down on you all at once. It’s better to eat healthy now and not wait until its too late. A third of the country is considered obese and the only reason is over eating and lack of exercise. People look to diet pills, surgery, etc., but it’s literally as easy as changing what and how much you eat. I have a student who lost 100 pounds in only ONE year from changing his diet and exercising–he is a different guy, overall happier person and feeling great. Anyone can do it, just have to make the decision. You can still have crappy food from time to time, everyone that knows us know that we hit up Buffalo Wild Wings regularly on tour, but in moderation. Just writing about it makes me want to get a dozen Mango Habnero wings right now! I only eat these kinds of food for ONE meal per week, it’s my reward for eating well the rest of the week. If you do start to eat clean and drop all processed sugars, you’ll see the cravings go away. It’s bizarre the way the body works.

If you are working out, wanting to start, could care less, I can’t listen to my own record while working out as that’s just weird. I know the music so well that I would be distracted during every second. Our new record The Migration came out last month and it’s our most aggressive sounding record so far, looking forward to seeing if it makes it into anyone’s workout mix. Even if you’re telling me to screw off thinking “these crunchy granola dudes have convinced everyone they’re cool, and they’re not cool. It’s backwards, and unnatural, and it’s gotta be stopped,” that’s also cool, but you should still check out The Migration as it really has nothing to do with working out!

Cris Jerue of 16: Confessions Of A Middle-Age Freeloader

By: justin.m.norton Posted in: diary, featured On: Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

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For decades, 16 vocalist Cris Jerue has written lyrics about the consequences of bad behavior, bum brain chemistry and addiction. The end result of said behavior is that it’s often tough to find a place to settle down. In his first ever post for the Deciblog, Jerue writes about the natural consequences of said behavior and the great lengths he’s been willing to go to find a couch. – jmn

When someone chooses to live the struggling artist lifestyle, whether it’s a musician, an actor, a writer or an actual struggling artist, they’re committing the ultimate act of selfishness. It’s the intentional, self-serving act of an inconsiderate asshole trying to be something he’s not at someone else’s expense. I’m not the first and definitely not the last person to think that this is completely normal and that everyone should be accommodating but I am one of the worst. I’ve shown up unannounced on the doorsteps of unlucky family members or lady-friends numerous times, with zero consideration for whatever they’ve got going at the time, just so I can tour with 16 a couple times a year and they never turn me away. I’m one of those assholes. I have no home of my own; I rely on others to subsist.

Freeloading off women during the infant stages of success is nothing new: early in their musical careers, Johnny Cash was married to the very-patient baby maker Vivian Liberto. Jim Morrison made Pamela Courson go outside to get him alcohol and Kurt Cobain mooched off Tracy Marander for blankets and tar money. The only difference between these guys and myself, aside from their immense talent and radio-friendly tunes, is that they were in their early 20′s… I’m in my early 40′s. Success!

Here are my tips for those considering the ill-considered life of freeloading.

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The search for the perfect musical accompaniment will be tough and you won’t succeed at first try so always keep your bags packed with one foot out the door. My first suggestion would be to crawl back home to your parents’ house and jump into your old twin bed with those original Star Wars sheets. That’s your best chance to find warmth, free room/board and an understanding of what you’re doing to everyone. Even if you’re a young, badass metal dickhead, you should try to find some compassion at this point or you’ll implode quickly and all that sweet hair will fall out. If Mom’s not into the idea of having her unwashed, adult son laying around in her mostly-white house while he tries to “find himself,” you should seek the caress of a friendly waitress(not one in a bikini) or a decent broad that answers phones in a cubicle.

You want someone who’s untouched, not unbridled. If you don’t choose carefully, it could mean your instant eviction, maybe some incarceration and/or the murder-suicide of both of you.

If you’re desperate and it’s getting cold outside, can you handle the mayhem of living with a stripper who has a mania for attention, fast cash and multiple dicks? Probably not. Got a trampy ex-girlfriend that you still booty call who wouldn’t mind a non-contributing roommate to complain about? Probably. Using an ex is the second best option because they’ll have a soft spot for you since they’ve already witnessed your downward spiral firsthand. Get humble and grovel anyway.

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One of the secrets to being a great scrounger is to make yourself valuable to your sponsor, without being too obvious and never expecting a “thank you.” It could be something as simple as getting up early to iron her pretty blouses before she goes to work or doing the laundry and cleaning her catbox before she gets home. Or do some yard work; everyone hates that shit! Sweep something. Rake something and get a little dirty. It washes off. If you’re an arrogant prick who doesn’t want to help out around the house, watch your back. It takes a brave individual to ignore the grown-up in the room who’s balancing her checkbook every night as you noodle away aimlessly on a First Act guitar. If you push them far enough, they will plan your disappearance.

Even your own flesh and bone will start to hate your guts if you’ve been sleeping on the couch, rent-free for two years and you’ve never taken out the trash or picked some weeds. If you really want to impress your bread and butter, do something drastic like scrubbing shower tile or re-painting a room. Since you’re probably broke, ask them to buy the supplies and you’ll do all the labor. Are you starving but can’t cook? Ya, me too. Offer to set/clear the table then, do the dishes in exchange for a warm meal. It’s that simple.

If you’re slothful and despise physical labor, you’re going to have to find another way to reconfirm your worth. Maybe record her favorite horrible television shows, then sit down to actually watch them with her and start a conversation. You won’t break a sweat. Try finding her funny bone with some dirty jokes and your quirky personality if that’s your thing. No heavy lifting there. How about perfecting your techniques in lovemaking and oral pleasure or the lost art of inducing female ejaculation? You’d be surprised how (for)giving a girl can be if you make her come a bunch of times every day. Be a vagician.

Of course, these tips are aimed at the unfortunate souls still stuck at home. They don’t really apply to the professional, lifer road dogs who tour constantly. It shouldn’t matter if you’re a musician on a bus or a stay-home musician who lives in the tool shed; you’re going to want to take care of everyone in your family/crew to steer clear of all nonsense so you can fully concentrate on that fledgling fantasy of being something you’re not. Good luck to you all.

Get in touch with Cris Jerue and 16.

16 will play a show in San Diego this weekend at The Shakedown SD to celebrate the release of Lost Tracts Of Time. Tickets are a measly seven bucks. Learn more here.

Copies of Lost Tracts Of Time are still available from Last Hurrah Records. Go buy one.

Kristoffer Rygg (Ulver) interviewed

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, interviews On: Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

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** It’s been an age since Ulver have had anything to do with metal. Yet, somehow, Ulver, like others who departed from the dome of metal, have managed to capture our minds and hearts. Musically speaking, Ulver have very little business on the Deciblog—all things being fair—yet here they are, connected via an ability to communicate themes familiar with instruments and methods foreign. Sitting down on a digital chair with Ulver’s Kristoffer Rygg offered a chance to discuss new album, MESSE I.X–VI.X, and how Rygg and his fellow Ulverians are using it to “take back” that which they own.

This is your 20th year. What do you make of your timeline, at this point?
Kristoffer Rygg: It’s getting full—this is our 10th studio album not counting all the EPs, soundtracks, remixes and/or live albums we’ve done—and judging by MacArthur’s credo I’m getting old. More doubt and fear with each passing day. [Laughs]

Do you see the point of divergence (from metal) at Themes from William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell?
Kristoffer Rygg: Yeah, definitely. Although we still had a bit of metal left in the body when we made that record I was getting generally critical towards the whole black metal “shtick” by then. That’s pretty evident by the music, of course, and its ambition to embrace such an array of styles and influences (too many in hindsight). But roses are planted where thorns grow. At the time, we had turned 20 and were starting to see things in a brighter light, so to speak. With that album we were obviously revolting against what we saw as totally narrow-minded rhetoric and cheap gimmicks coming from our contemporaries. Blake did the same in his time—not by simple negation, but by refining and/or challenging the perceptions and preconceptions of his fellowmen, and with a more keen take on religious traditions, theology and iconography, if I must say so. That was the draw to us. I’m obviously not alleging we were—or are—anywhere near Blake-level. Far from it, but we did see in his work a lot that we could relate to and which resonated in a time when we were changing as people and musicians. But we were young. Indeed, that record has a few “interesting” ideas going on. [Laughs]

Where has Ulver, in your opinion, traveled from Themes from William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell?
Kristoffer Rygg: Well, from Blood Inside and onwards we have written a fair share of our own texts and presentations and perhaps established a tone now, or thématique which is a bit more down-to-earth, I gather. However, we still take inspiration from history and use metaphors/images from the Bible, etc. Musically, Wars of the Roses, for instance, is maybe not so far from certain things we would do back then? I still tune in to a lot of the same albums I discovered around those times. Of course, things have (r)evolved, but it is as you say, Themes was the point of divergence, or second advent of Ulver. It’s not a linear path we’ve been on, but we are still the same guys in many respects. Moved by beautiful contrasts, conviction and confusion, gratitude and grief, faith and doubt… So in a way it’s been a long history of questionable marriages, or wars within ourselves, up till now.

You’ve done soundtracks/scores, but I think the Live in Concert at the Norwegian National Opera DVD was a superlative moment. How did that all come together from cultural (acceptance) and logistical (number of people involved) viewpoints? ** the reason I ask is Dimmu Borgir also went through an acceptance phase (culturally) to eventually be involved with the NRK and KORK for their orchestral performance.
Kristoffer Rygg: I’m not so sure neither Dimmu Borgir nor Ulver are—or even want to be—accepted in the “card-carrying member of the establishment” sense. Also, I don’t really feel that the two bands belong in the same category, culturally, but I see what you’re getting at. Of course, it comes to a point where the powers that be no longer can deny or suppress phenomenons. I can’t speak for Dimmu, but we’ve quite simply accepted special invitations extended to us in recent years, and I suppose that means there’s a recognition of sorts. But you know, there’s a rebel rooting for the underdog in any organization. I’m not sure how much to put into it. When we wrote music for the Tromsø Chamber Orchestra we made it with classical in mind and we also had good help from composer Martin Romberg, who arranged the scores for all the players. I perceive MESSE I.X–VI.X as a quite modern electronic/orchestral piece and it has very little, if anything, to do with rock and roll. You mention the Opera, which was also a big event by all means, but that was three years ago and sans orchestra.

Generally, there’s a sense of skepticism from the Classical community towards modern music. Was that the case with the Norwegian National Opera and by extension the Tromsø Chamber Orchestra? Curious how the minds met, so to speak.
Kristoffer Rygg: Classical music suggests something conservative and old-fashioned and can be a bit misleading, that way. I mean, you have modern classical music, which is a bit of a contradiction, so. Actually, in my experience people from the “classical community” are often the most non-compromising and/or radical rascals you’ll find. I’ve never encountered that “problem” really. Plus, you’ll find sourpusses in every scene. The biggest challenge, as I see it, is often because one comes from different backgrounds and don’t have the same lingo. But in the end it’s all comes down to music. We had, as I said, good help and a mutual intent, so we found common ground… Those guys seemed just as fascinated by our approach and/or technique as we were by theirs, really. A concentrated congregation, by all means.

What was it like working with the Tromsø Chamber Orchestra?
Kristoffer Rygg: A bit nerve-wracking at first, but that quickly waned. Those guys come from a different world, but that’s what makes the liaison interesting, isn’t it? I think we all had that predisposition. I have nothing but positive things to say about the Chamber Orchestra. I had a great time in Tromsø and I think they enjoyed it too. Actually, we recently did this performance again, in Germany with the Stüba Philharmonie, and those guys were possibly more unbuttoned than us. Was great.

And this piece was commissioned for the Tromsø Chamber Orchestra, correct? What does that entail from artistic and business points of view?
Kristoffer Rygg: Yeah, they asked us to do new music, so we early on put down the prerequisite to “use the occasion” for later as well. The Tromsø people offered us a very good deal, to make it happen, but it was not in itself enough to justify months in preparation, writing all new music, lyrics etc. from scratch—all the work it actually meant for us, that is. It was part of the deal between us that it should eventually become a new Ulver album. It’s our body of work, even though it comes with a few strings attached. [Laughs] If you are asking if we have to pay royalties to the orchestra or something, the answer is no. The chamber orchestra get hourly wages from the larger Arctic Opera and Philharmonic Orchestra institution.

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Take us through MESSE I.X–VI.X, please. Inspirations, motivations, and so forth.
Kristoffer Rygg: Ah, I’m not sure that is possible, or favorable. I’m definitely one of those who thinks it is best if the listener isn’t over-informed; it is prophecy in the things you don’t know. That is also why we choose to keep our “press release” short this time: ULVER MESSE I.X–VI.X Music commissioned for Tromsø Kulturhus in cooperation with the Arctic Opera and Philharmonic Orchestra. Composed and first performed by Ulver, on primarily electronic instruments, with the Tromsø Chamber Orchestra September 21 2012. The assistance of Martin Romberg—God bless his Viennese heart and arrangements – has been invaluable. Much of this was recorded live, yet it is not a live album. We’ve spent long hours in the studio translating what happened that night. We are at peace for now. It is more quiet than normal. More modern than medieval. But there will always be rapture. Consecration and crying. The father, the mother… and ghosts. Shadows reverberates—it feels like a companion piece—and Silence’s erratic electronique. Sample culture. War and vulture. People hurt. In spite we love. Our children. We fear their future. Remember Górecki’s No. 3: Symphony of Sorrowful Songs. It has haunted us for years, and probably always will. Gustav Mahler and Holst. Sound collages from When or Nurse With Wound. ’70s kraut and synth. Ash Ra and Autobahn. ’80s pop scores. John Carpenter and Tin Drum. Terry Riley, again and again and again. Saint John of the Cross. By now, most of you know where we come from. The rest is silence. Ulver, Purgatory, spring 2013.

I can also share with you the two texts we wrote, to accompany the music. “Son of Man”: OH FATHER – HEAVENLY FATHER – FORGIVE ME – FOR I HAVE SINNED – AGAINST YOUR WORD – IN SADNESS AND JOY – IN RAINBOW LIGHT – AND THE DARK WOODS – CHILDHOOD HAUNTS – THE TWILIGHT OF MY LIFE – THE HEART STOPS – WITHOUT WARNING – THE DESTRUCTION OF THE TEMPLE – THE BROKEN HOME – OH FATHER – WE ARE DEFINED – BY OUR BLOOD – THE MASSACRE OF THE INNOCENTS – AND THE SACRIFICE OF THE SON – WHAT KIND OF CHOIR – OF ANGELS WILL RECEIVE US

And “Mother of Mercy”: OH MOTHER – MOTHER OF MERCY – CRADLE OF ALL – DEVOTION AND DESIRE – I TURN TO YOU – FROM THE VALLEY OF TEARS – CARRY ME AS A CHILD – AS A SON OF MAN – BATHED IN LIGHT – AND PRECIOUS BLOOD – FILLING THE CUP – OF THE SKULL OF ADAM – CRYING AT THE FOOT – OF THE CROSS – OH MOTHER – PURE AND SIMPLE – VIRGIN AND WHORE – THE WOMEN OF JERUSALEM – ALONG THE WAY OF SORROWS – SPEAKING OF GHOSTS – IN THE HOLY CITY

Is there a political angle to MESSE I.X–VI.X? The opening track “As Syrians pour in…” would indicate some level of geo-political awareness. It’s also the title to a Reuters news piece.
Kristoffer Rygg: That’s right. I actually wanted Reuters and the date of that news piece in brackets, since it is so obvious, but Jørn [H. Sværen] insisted it was better if people Googled it. He loves the notion of people going a bit “what the fuck,” looking for clues etc., even if there aren’t always any to be found. This appropriation is not any more, or less, political other than an indication of concern. We live in troubled times. The song itself has a distinct Middle Eastern feel to it and coupled with sounds of vultures and war that title seemed both appropriate as well as contemporary. But we have no ideology for sale. Only our sadness.

What about a religious angle? I guess I’m being obvious.
Kristoffer Rygg: You’re wondering if we’ve turned Christian, right? It gives me diabolical joy to leave that one open.

You’re calling MESSE I.X–VI.X a “righteous DIY project.” What do you mean by that?
Kristoffer Rygg: It’s righteous. The opposite of the greedy and unkind industry-standard, where the artist often is forced to accept very bad terms and left in huge debt to the label, etc. We decided this time to privately borrow money to produce the album, manufacture it ourselves, then sell as much as we can direct to our fans via mail-order, etc., without too many intermediaries—we only have one external guy now, Neuropa, who does the actual mail-order job—and break even ourselves first for a change. We are definitely turning the tables around a bit. There are, of course, benefits to being on a bigger label, the dispersion and promotion, etc., so when we have sold our initial run of 3,000 and payed our loan back, Kscope will take over on a non-exclusive basis. Those who buy our edition(s) will not regret it though.

Looking at history, both Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails tried to render record labels and the music industry useless by using a free/pay-what-you-want system. If I remember correctly, both concepts had varying degrees of “success.” As an artist, what do you make of the legacy music industry model and ideas put forth by Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails?
Kristoffer Rygg: I don’t have a strong relation to any of these bands. I remember I liked Kid A a lot in the ’90s, and heard about that campaign a few years ago. It was no doubt a smart initiative, and seems sympathetic and all, but at the same time there’s little risk involved for those guys. They are both hugely successful bands and are likely to have a few stacks in the bank already. There are not many bands who can really pull that stuff off with great success. You have to get quite a few 5 or 10 Euro digi-purchases in order to get a studio budget back if you know what I’m saying. Not to mention some compensation for all the time and effort you and your bandmates put into making an album, right? But at the moment that seems almost too much to hope for. It’s simply not working very well at the moment, the music business. People have to realize that it still costs a lot of time and money to record and produce these albums (not necessarily talking bedroom/laptop/plug-in type albums here) and that if fans don’t financially support stuff they actually love and listen to they will in effect X-out their own favorite artists. I am actually hoping for a price jump in nice and elaborate packaging. People definitely are not buying the same quantities as in the CD heydays, so when you first want an objet d’art maybe it’s not such a big deal if it costs a bit more? I’m just wondering… Stuff like this leather-bound vinyl edition we just did is cool, and I think more and more things like that is gonna become standard. It was expensive as hell to make, but since we sold it at 50 Euros we had a surplus, from a very limited run, you know. And it sold out in a matter of hours so it’s really win-win. The die-hard fans get something exclusive to cherish. And if they don’t they can always sell it on Discogs at inflated prices in a couple years.

Next year will be your 21st year. Ever thought about going back to the first three albums and re-interpreting them? Or, from a metalhead’s perspective, a follow-up or prequel to Bergtatt?
Kristoffer Rygg: We actually did that some ten years ago now, with Nattens Madrigal, where we re-recorded those songs with a string quartet (same players who are on Shadows of the Sun) and started programming electronic rhythms on top, etc., but the project was abandoned for various reasons. MESSE I.X–VI.X is kind of picking up on those threads in some respects. I’ve also entertained the notion of a Kveldssanger pt. 2. It would be interesting to see where that could lead now. But I don’t think you will see me returning to black metal form any time soon. I know there’s a lot of love for those early albums out there, and appreciate that, but at the same time I have to say that I think our best work lies outside of metal.

** Ulver’s new album, MESSE I.X–VI.X, is available August 1st through the band. It’s available HERE in a variety of formats and packages. It looks and sounds brilliant, so if you’ve found solace in any of Ulver’s recent work, then MESSE I.X–VI.X should make your dark heart a bit brighter.