KEEP OF KALESSIN
partners: Obsidian C. (guitar),
After Keep of Kalessin's gig in Munich on October 14, 2006 I had made an appointment with Wizziac for an interview (I had chosen him because I had already met him in spring the same year, and as he seems to be an interesting person, I wanted to know more about him). I didn't really expect anyone else to join us, but Obsidian C. in his position as the head of the band joined us anyway, as well as Thebon, the new vocalist. It was a funny situation, because actually there was no real place to sit, so the guys worked hard for some minutes and just took all kinds of bags and luggage off from the seating corner to get us a place to take seat in the tourbus' "shoe corner". But still there were some hundret (? ;-) ) paires of shoes surrounding us... sorry, if I should have stepped on any of those. :-/
= Obsidian C.
T = Twilightheart
Wiz = Wizziac
Thebon = Thebon
((Comments in double brackets are additional explanations of Twilightheart))
T > Some minutes before you said this was the worst show of the whole tour. Why do you think so?
O > I think the band was a bit out of it today. I don’t think we played that well. And I’m sad to say that the crowd wasn’t very good either. So the combination of that both made it bad. But for the most part I think it was because of the band and how we played. We just were a little bit tired and so we didn’t perform very well today.
T > So it was mainly for being tired…
O > It was also because we didn’t have a soundcheck and the sound of the monitors was all way off sometimes. It’s difficult to perform at your best when you’re struggeling to hear what the other guys are doing and hearing yourself. And it’s not helping when the crowd is standing and moaning. Looking up at you, not being interested in what you’re doing.
T > How many visitors were there in other cities? Today here were at least 500 people, I guess.
O > I heared today there are 700 people. It varies a lot. On weekdays there tend to be less people than on the weekend. It depends on the capacity of the venue. Some venues have a capacity of 400 and some have 1000. I think that the number of people there tonight was really good, but I was surprised that they were not more enthusiastic on a Saturday.
T > Maybe that’s the mentality of Bavarian people.
O > Yeah, I think it is. But also I know from my part, that when I’m enjoying a show, I’m not moshing and I’m not headbanging, I just stand and watch the band. Maybe that’s the thing with the crowd here.
T > For what reason did the two support bands not join the first gigs of this tour?
O > It was simply because of economical reasons, because this bus ((wherein we were sitting at this moment)) was in London and it would have cost way to much money to have this tourbus go up to Germany. So it was much easier for us to fly to London and meet the bus there.
T > Do you know whose decision it was to hire Dark Fortress as a support for these three gigs?
O > I think it was the German promoter.
T > So you don’t even know this band?
O > No.
T > Will there be a DVD about the Trondheim-Jazz-Festival?
O > Not a DVD, but we might put some clips of some of the songs out on the internet, just for that people can see what we did on that show.
T > How exactly can I imagine this “Metal meets Jazz” thing?
O > You’re probably thinking “Jazz like groovy Jazz”, but Monolithic actually plays more like Meshugga jazzy Metal, really hard and extreme, but they have Jazz influence. And we kind of like sold it together with our stuff. So we were on stage, both bands at the same time and had our turn of playing. So, it was a success. It was completely sold out.
T > What about the “Into the fire” video? How was it possible that TV stations get hold of a video that was not officially released?
O > It’s a fuck up from the label. Someone had found a DVD where it said: “Keep of Kalessin video” and that person thought “Hey, let’s send this out”. He sent it out to all the distributors and TV-stations in Norway. And unfortunately that video was running for a week on Norwegian television before they pulled it back. Nowadays a week is one week to much, since we have the internet, so now it’s out on YouTube and so on. But I hope that all the fans just know that this is not quality that is approved by the band and this is something we totally would stop airing.
T > What I don’t understand in the whole thing is: you said the regisseur didn’t do a good job. But any of you or your label must have chosen this guy. So why did you chose exactly this guy?
O > The label chose him. He had done some videos for other bands. But it was a pretty bold project, because shooting a 100 % CGI video costs a lot of money. But I also talked to him and he assured me several times that this CGI would be really good and meet the standarts of this band. But when he showed us the final clip I was just knocked out of my chair because it was so fucking bad. It’s insanely bad if you ask me, and on top of it all, he has not even taken his time to synchronize the band in the video to the music. Everything about this video is just total fuck up.
T > Will you do a new video now? Maybe to a different song?
O > The problem is that the label of course paid this guy. And he has run off and no one knows where he is, so we can’t get the money back. Because, as I see it, he didn’t deliver what the contract stated. So we can’t find him and it’s impossible to get that money back. And we don’t have the budget for a new video. But with the help of this guy here ((pointing at the man who is filming the interview right at this very moment)) we might be able to actually shoot a new video with a low budget, because he has a video company, and they have camera men and the gear to actually shoot a video. And we are hoping to shoot a new video for the song “Winged watcher”, or we might clip together something from this tour on one of the other songs. But it’s actually hard for me to find the time to shoot a new video, because I’m touring with Satyricon for a month also.
T > You played both gigs today, Keep of Kalessin and Satyricon… this you do each evening of the tour. How can you handle it? Aren’t you totally exhaused?
O > No, it’s not that big difference actually, if playing one and a half hours or two. It’s a bit more exhausting, but I just have to cut down on the drinking. ;-) The biggest problem is that Keep of Kalessin doesn’t have any form of crew, and I’m also doing the tourmanaging of the band, so there’s a lot of business to deal with. That’s also taking a lot of time. But I don’t have any problems with playing the two shows.
T > This spring, when you were in Munich, you couldn’t play the gig because Obsidian C. was off for Satyricon gigs. So I only saw Wizziac in the crowd. How does it feel for YOU, Wizziac, when you can’t play a gig because Obsidian C. is gone?
Wiz > It SUCKS !!! You kind of feel like that you are not the priority. But still we understand Obsidian’s obligations to Satyricon and we’re lucky that his shows didn’t crush even more with the gigs on that tour ((in May with Carpathian Forest)).
T > And how does it feel for YOU, Obsidian C., when you know you have to let the band down?
O > It SUCKS!!! That’s just something I have to do. Like said before, I have some obligations to Satyricon, but I also think that it helps Keep of Kalessin a bit on promotion, and it helps me to get even better in a live situation. I think it’s much better that I have THIS job than any other job. For the time it’s just a necessary thing that I keep the job.
T > Do you think one day might come the day when you have to make a final decision?
O > I think so, yeah.
T > Do you wanna say it?
O > Of course it would be Keep of Kalessin, that’s my band. I will focus on Keep of Kalessin when the time is right, I think.
T > I’m glad to hear that because for me you are the better band when it comes to the new albums of both bands.
O > Oh thank you. And we will only get better, because we have just started.
T > Why was it not possible for you up to now to have a stabil band line up?
O > From the start we had some problems with our vocalist. And he and I and also Vyl didn’t work well together. So it was just necessary to get rid of some people to get the band where I wanted it to go. I think it was just a natural development. It was also necessary to get Vyl back on the drums, because Frost lives too far away. I think Frost is a great drummer for what he does, but we have started to take Keep of Kalessin to a different label and I think that Frost wouldn’t actually approve to much of the direction we are taking. Also I think that his playing style doesn’t fit the band, like it did back on the “Reclaim” MCD. Attila joined Mayhem and then we got our new vocalist now and he is just perfect for the line up. I just feel like now we finally found the perfect chemistry in the band.
T > So this line up might keep on excisting… glad to hear.
O > Hopefully. I think this line up will be stabil and I think that we can really achive big things together because the chemistry is good and the technical skills of everyone are perfect for the band.
T > But there’s no bad feeling now, seeing Frost here on this tour every evening?
O > No, he has no problems with it.
T > Wizziac, I didn’t really find anything in the web about your musical background. Did you play in other bands before?
Wiz > Yeah, I started up in 1996/1997 with a Black Metal band from the north of Norway called “Eternal silence”. We moved to Trondheim just to expand ourselves.
O > They moved to Trondheim to become rockstars! ;-)
Wiz > We continued with that band for some time. Then I got in touch with Obsidian C. through that band. We were on the same wave length. It started with me playing bass in a Thrash Metal band that me, Obsidian C. and Vyl are also doing, called “Headspin”. So it started up with that and then I found out that the former bass player on “Reclaim” had quit, and Arnt offered me to join. ((Arnt = Arnt O. Gronbech = Obsidian C.))
T > Are you satisfied with your role in the band? I mean, you’re not taking part in the songwriting or anything. Maybe you feel the need to express yourself more or to do your own thing?
Wiz > I don’t feel like I have the need for it, because all the music we are creating as a band, Obsidian C. is writing all the riffs basically, but we create the music together in the rehearsal room.
O > I also think that “Armada” was a special thing because a lot of material was written before Wizziac and Thebon actually joined the band. So Wizziac had something to do with arranging the songs and stuff, but Thebon didn’t have the chance to do that. He just came into the studio when we had recorded almost everything. But I think that for the next album they will be more active in creating the songs and Vyl has already shown me some riffs that we will probably use on the next album. And I’m very open to whatever these guys can offer to the band, because writing an album all by myself is not something I really wanted. I want everyone to contribute. But as I said, on Armada it was all material already written when they joined.
T > Any idea how many copies you sold of Armada so far?
O > I have an idea, but it’s not near to what we should sell. We are still just half the size of bands like 1349 and alikes. We are twice the size of them in Norway now, but things are moving slowly in Europe, and I think personally, that Keep of Kalessin has much more to offer to the scene of today than any of the more old-school Black Metal bands.
T > As you say, it’s not going forward in Europe > to speak for Germany: you haven’t played the big summer festivals this year. As soon as you do this, large numbers of Metal fans will know you.
O > Yeah, of course. And we have been trying to get into the festivals. The problem is that you have to proof that you are worth it, and when our album was out in May of this year it was too late to book the festivals. So we are looking forward to maybe playing the summer festivals next year instead. Because as I said, when the album was out, everyone was just amazed how good it was, but it was too late to book the festivals.
((Some familiar music is playing in the background of the bus.))
T > Is it “Lord of the rings” playing there? Are you fans of the movies?
O > Yeah. I personally like those movies. But there are also better movies than that also. But I’m totally into fantasy and science fiction and those kind of movies. And that is very clear on Armada as well, I think, that our influences have been epic movies or battle movies.
T > With those influences you mentioned, and as your music doesn’t really match with any existing style (it’s not BM in the origin meaning either) … do you see yourselfs as the founder of a new genre?
O > I don’t think we founded a new genre. But I think that we are continuing to develop the BM genre. I think we are even bringing it further than anyone else has before. We have a lot of different influences, and I personally think that Keep of Kalessin is one of the bands that are focussing on songwriting and having a special feeling to each and every song. It’s a well-known formula, but I think BM bands have neglected that kind of songwriting in the past, and a lot of BM bands have great riffs and great parts, but they are not put together in the best way. They just keep to something different when they have used a lot of time to build something up that is teared down by going to a total different theme. I think Keep of Kalessin is better than most extreme Metal bands at writing songs with a good song structure.
T > What do you think about that clichee “true norwegian Black Metal”?
O > I just don’t care. There are so many people talking about being true and not true. The only thing that I can say is that the “true” Black Metal fan is probably the most untrue one. Because he is following what everyone else is saying, and there’s a thing going on in the BM scene, where people make up all these rules on how to act and what bands to like. And what I especially hate the most is that they always say what bands NOT to like. “You’re gay if you like that band”. But, who the fuck cares!
T > So, why do you use that make-up around your eyes on stage? That’s something that so many bands have done before.
O > Well, right now I think we have a bit of a new image on Armada, and the promo photos of Armada are a bit different than most bands. And even though a lot of bands have used make-up around the eyes, I think that our outfits and just the atmosphere in the photos is something totally different. I don’t think we look very BM.
Thebon > It’s more like stage or film make-up. Just to look more handsome than we really are! ;-)
T > You said earlier you play in front of 400 to 1000 people. Would you still play in front of 10 people who paid?
O > Of course. I think you should give the best every night (although tonight it was NOT good). I think that the 10 people that pay for the ticket, they deserve to see the band at their best. Definitely, I would give everything. Sometimes a small and intense venue can be just as cool as playing in front of 1000 people.
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