Yeah. Theyíre really, really kind with things like that. When youíre in for a long time like Varg is and when youíve done a certain amount of the time youíre supposed to be in, they transfer you to a department where there is less security and you have more freedom. Itís a part of the Norwegian policy of getting criminals to work or sort of integrate with the society again after being locked up for a long time. Then they put you in not a prison actually but sort of a camp.
Like a work program.
Yeah, like a work program. You can call it that. You can have a weekend leave once or twice or three times a year and all depending on how good you behave. Probably Varg had behaved very good so he was transferred to one of these camps. I guess he didnít want to be there anymore because on Friday he fled.
Yeah, and I guess they caught him the next day. I guess this means he wonít be getting a vacation again anytime soon.
I donít think so. I heard on the news tonight that he was being transferred back to a maximum security prison in Oslo, Norway.
Varg screwed up. Sounds like an interesting idea though.
Yeah, but Norway is a small country. In the United States you have 50 times more people than we have. Everything over here is easier to have control over the maximum security prisoners. You only have a couple hundred of them.
Yeah, we have a serious crime problem in the States. That probably wouldnít work out very well here.
No, I donít think so. Of course if you see the social arrangements in Norway, weíre almost too kind. I think there is a problem in Norway now too that you have pedophiles and serial killers. The few of them that we have. Theyíre also sort of on these work camp programs. Once they get into society, no one knows that they are in the society so youíre at the risk of meeting one when you go down to the store. Quite many people in Norway arenít quite content with that. After Varg taking off this weekend, itís been on the front of every newspaper and on every program on TV. Thereís a big discussion going on.
He may have screwed things up for everyone.
Yeah, so I think weíll see a different policy after a time in Norway too because I know people wonít accept it.
No, not after Varg. I had to ask about that because I thought it was really interesting.
Yeah, it is.
You guys released two albums prior to Nucleus. In 2002 you guys did a very long European tour. How did the tour do, did you have a really large turnout, and what countries did you travel through?
We played all of Europe. Not Eastern Europe. We were supposed to play Czechoslovakia but that was canceled because the guy who booked most of the places hadnít told us the facts and the drive from France to Czechoslovakia was two 48 hours. The tour went very well besides that and besides the fact that I think we crashed eight tour buses. It has to be some kind of world record because I donít know but eight fucking tour buses.
Thatís a lot.
Yeah, everything from the brakes to the engine. One of the drivers we had in one of the buses managed to drive into one of these donut shops in Finland. He crashed the front window and it was a double-decker. He crashed the front window and it was like -15 degrees outside and everything was just glass and freezing inside. We didnít know what to do. We were supposed to get back on the ferry to Sweden that evening but somehow we managed and we changed buses back in Sweden. We went further down Europe. A couple of problems but all in all we had a great tour and the bus company also was very kind to send new buses as the old ones broke.
Iím glad you guys didnít get injured.
Me too. A couple of times I remember we spent the whole night in the Netherlands in the middle of nowhere at the gas station and without any power and the engine wasnít running and it was cold. Down there when the engine broke it was like all this kind of irony noisy stuff and we were in the back watching a DVD and at that time I was certain that this was going the wrong way. Everything went well and also when we got from Netherlands to Belgium we also had a bus break down. That was I think something to do with the suspension. Lucky thing was that it was like 30 or 40 kilometers from the bus factory. So we just drove to the bus factory and we got a new bus. All in all we had luck in all the bad luck.
Thatís a good thing.
It was a great tour and the most crowded place I think was in Portugal. We played there in January or February of last year and then we had over 1,000 spectators. That was great. It was around 200 and up to 1,000 I think. That was a great tour.
Sounds like it. You guys started recording Nucleus after the tour was over.
We started quite early I guess. Right away when we got back, we started writing the new material for Nucleus. Of course we used a lot of time writing this new album. We also wanted to use quite a bit of time because we wanted to do the best thing we could. It took us I think eight months to write the material and it all turned out great. We had to wait a bit for the studio. We wanted to go to the studio before Christmas. We postponed it to a bit later in 2003 for this year. The recording process went smoothly. It turned out to be one hell of an album.
This album is the first of yours that Iíve listened to and I liked it because of the electronic sound. How does it differ from your previous material?
The first CD was released on a small Norwegian label called Nocturnal Art, the label of Samoth from Emperor. He released the first album which was definitely a pseudo-black metal thing I would say. Or more straight forward, just ripping guitars. Quite a lot different than the album Nucleus that you heard now. Instinct Gate was the first album on Nuclear Blast. It may be a little bit more death metal oriented. On that album we started to introduce the little electronic parts in the music but it wasnít really that developed on that album. We had maybe just a handful of parts on the whole album that was electronically inspired. When we started writing material for Nucleus, we had decided that we wanted to try to develop that side a bit more and naturally also the guitars would change too with more real good old metal riffing. It was a natural development. We wanted to do another thing and we also thought that although we come from black metal roots here in Norway, we have never wanted to do just that thing. We have always strived to do our own thing. We found that it was time to try something different. I have also gotten lots of the journalists and people that Iíve talked to who have the third record say itís different. A bit like either you love it or you hate it I think.
Some people are fans of electronic music and some people canít stand it.
Yeah, thatís right. Also it is quite a big difference between the last album and Nucleus to be straight. I also had a feeling this time that some people donít like synth at all in the music. Some people want sort of a classical arrangement with a choir and some strings. Some people as you say like the electronic parts. The people that I talked to who donít like synth at all, of course they have mixed feelings about our third album. They tell me they thought the first album was very good but this one, they donít really know. They say there are many good parts but the electronic bits get a bit too much. The people who really like the electronic style have been a big cheerful crowd. Generally the reception of the album has been great here in Europe. Definitely.
I like bands that arenít afraid to try something different. I always find it strange when people complain about a band doing a completely different album from their previous one and how it doesnít sound the same. Who wants every album to sound the same?
Yeah, right. Iím of the same opinion myself and of course as a musician too, you canít stagnate. You have to have a development and I listen to a great deal of different music and different things and get lots of different inspirations from everywhere. Of course the ideas pop up in your head and eventually become a song. I think itís a health factor. You can see this in bands to understand what I mean. They always change their music. You definitely know itís a vital band. A band that has the possibilities or the abilities to change and do new stuff all the time. Of course as a listener, whenever you go down to the record shop and want to check out the new album of a band, you donít know exactly what youíre going to get and thatís the exciting part.
Your lineup consists of Aftaneldr which is you, Drako, Abraxas, Sorg, Zarthon, and Arcane. Where did you guys dig up those names?
Itís quite a long story. Weíve had the names for a decade now I think. When it all started out in the early Ď90s, it was so common to have a stage name or an artistís name. Well as everyone else we should have one too we thought. The names were chosen carefully and each one of us picked his own name that means something to us. Like Aftaneldr comes from an old Nordic song. Like Iím almost talking Iceland now. Itís almost like that with a lot of funny noises. If you translate the meaning of my name, it means something like night fire. Quite interesting, isnít it?
I was curious about that because I did an interview with Gaahl from Gorgoroth and I noticed those band members had cool names. He told me a little about those. That leads up to my next question. He was telling me how he is a Satan worshipper. Does everyone in the black metal scene go in for the dark side like that or are some folks a little bit more laid back than others?
No, not everybody is a Satan worshipper. Iím not a Satan worshipper. I worship only myself.
I worship myself too. I figure I am my own goddess.
I think thatís the most reasonable thing to do. Definitely I donít want to bow down to any god. As you say I want to be my own god. You canít sort of say that itís a common thing in Norwegian black metal to be a Satanist. Some believe and some are not. Speaking for myself, you would say that you have a common thing in semantics in the music revolving around the dark side of mankind.
I was curious because I got a kick out of talking with him about that.
Yeah, you have lots of different people and some are just in it for the music because they love to express themselves and some are in it because theyíre expressing their religious side through the music.
You used the same engineer that you used on your previous albums.
Yeah, his name is Torbjorn. Sort of a coincidence. We used him on the first two albums because it was easier for us to go down there. You didnít have to go abroad for two months. Yeah, it was a great choice according to that. On the third album we thought maybe we should try something else and we had quite a few phone calls and discussions with different studios and things went a bit here and there. Of course we called Torbjorn too and the thing was, he had invested over a million in his studio with a new mixing table and lots of new gadgets. What we also found out is he uses almost the same computer equipment and the computer programs that I use in my home studio. It was very easy for us when I was down there or in my own little private studio. Mixing, I could just pick it out on the CD and I could go straight down to him and shove it in his CD player and everything worked out fine. Any re-rendering of sound files or any compatibility problems or anything like that. It was the easiest way this time too and he really has built up quite an impressive studio. It came to be, we went to Akkerhaugen which is the name of the place again and I am very content with that. Definitely.
He did a good job. Are you guys touring again soon?
Right now weíre doing some gigs in Norway. We had the gig in Oslo last weekend and this weekend weíre going to play in Hamar which is your sense of a small town. Itís sort of like a neighborhood. Itís quite a small town here in Norway. If you see Norway on a map, you can see us in the inland. Itís a big lake which is called Mjosa. Itís a big lake in the middle of the country. Hamar is sort of situated right at the shores of Mjosa. Weíre going to play in that town this weekend and hopefully weíre going to do a couple more gigs around Norway before Christmas. After Christmas, weíre working on some dates and hopefully we can do a European tour. I havenít heard anything about the States but that would be very fun.
It would be nice to have you guys here.
Iíve never been to the States so that would be exciting.