Entrevue avec Erik Unsgaard (So Much For Nothing, Sarkom)
e groupe norvégien So Much For Nothing lance cette année son premier album, Livsgnist (2012), chroniqué ici même il y a quelques semaines. Se situant dans la mouvance du Black Metal dépressif, le groupe démontre de belles qualités de composition, intégrant de nombreuses influences, un peu à l’image des Suédois de Shining. Je vous propose aujourd’hui un entretien avec Erik Unsgaard, leader de la formation (également chanteur pour Sarkom) qui évoque son travail en solo, mais aussi quelques réflexions intéressantes sur le Black Metal actuel.
Q. First, I would like to thank you for accepting this interview. Little is known about So Much For Nothing. You released a split with Angst Skvadron last year and your first full-length album last January. Could you tell us the story of your band? What were the major steps leading to your first record?
R. Hello, and thanks for your interest in SMFN! It all started in 2007 when I wrote a couple of slow and dark songs which didn’t fit my other band Sarkom, so instead of just throwing them away, I decided to write a whole album as a solo project. I knew that this would take a long time, but as the songs started to take shape, I also knew that it would be worth it in the end. So there haven’t been any major steps towards my first record, but steady baby steps towards a goal. People / bands are usually so eager to get their music out as soon as possible, but this was never my intention. I didn’t promote the band until both the 7” and the album was finished, as I wanted some respectable tunes to refer to, and not some sloppy unfinished work. So it’s been a long ride, but finally the album is here!
Q. Livsgnist (2012) is definitely not a typical Black Metal album. It seems to crossbreed different music styles – Rock, Classical, Doom – to create a specific, dark and gloomy atmosphere that transcends the whole record. What were your sources of inspiration when composing this album? Do you have to be on a special mood or place to write songs?
R. Musically I’m mainly inspired by pop music, and of course black metal. But I think that my general dissatisfaction and feelings have been just as important to write these songs as any form for music. I don’t have to be in a special mood to write music, but many of the songs are written while drinking loads of alcohol, so I guess that this does something with the mood, right? But when it comes to lyrics, I usually write these during the night when I’ve gone to bed and here the mood is an important factor…
Q. Major feelings we get listening to Livsgnist are sadness, depression, anguish, but also some sort of desperate irony. Are these feelings reflected in the lyrics? Which lyrical sources inspire you?
R. Yeah, I guess they are somehow. What inspires me writing lyrics is the way I see things, how I feel and so on… So instead of nagging to everyone about how meaningless things seem to be, I get my frustration out through my lyrics, so that people don’t have to listen to me whine all the time.
Q. Numerous guests appear on the album: Niklas Kvarforth (Shining), Trondr Nefas (Urgehal) and several others. Why did you select them? Was it important for you to have guests on your first record? Why?
R. Both yes and no. I think that the music would work out fine without any guest appearances, but as I’m so lucky that I know all these people, they helped me out to make this album sound even better! But there’s no doubt that certain names will draw more attention to your album than others, so I absolutely had this in mind as well.
Q. Can you describe for us the recording process of this record? Who was involved in it?
R. I sent the pre-prod of the songs to Uruz and he recorded the drums in his own studio, Rehearshell, before he sent them back to me… I had already programmed the drums, so he knew how to play, but I gave him lots of room to try out something on his own as well. However, with a few modifications on the drums, I got some help from Martin(who plays acoustic guitars on one track), and together we found a guitar sound which we thought would fit the songs pretty well. From there I did everything myself until guitars, bass and vocals were finished. Then it was time for all the guest musicians, and some of them came to my place to record their stuff, while others did it somewhere else and just sent me the files when it was done. Easy as that! When everything was done, I went to Strand Studio to mix the album, and this is the key to a successful album! These days, with all the fine equipment for a home studio you can buy for a cheap price, you can record a great album on your own, but the process of mixing is not a job for everyone. So my advice to people with a small/certain amount of money who are about to record an album: Forget professional studios, do it at home! Spend your money on the mix with a professional engineer! Then have it mastered professionally, but again, mixing is more important. It doesn’t help you much if your album is well mastered if the mix is terrible!
Q. You are using some instruments pretty uncommon in Black Metal, like piano, cello, violin, saxophone and trumpet! Did you plan to use these right from the start or added them while you were in song writing process? What do you want to express using classical instruments?
R. I knew from day one that I didn’t want to make another typical black metal album, like so many others do, but I came up with the ideas for the certain instruments while I wrote the songs. Also, when I thought that a song was finished, I listened to it over and over again, to hear if I could add anything to improve it somehow. However, I wouldn’t add an instrument just for show off or to be "original" if I didn’t think it would suit the song. Some songs are great without anything "extra", so don’t fuck it up with something just to look smart. Regarding your last question, I don’t think I want to express anything using these instruments, I just think they make the songs sound better!
Q. Black Metal is now a mature music genre, unleashing Hell since the early 90’s. What is your opinion about its evolution, from its humble birth to its worldwide diffusion?
R. In one way, I think it’s great that it has expanded and reached a commercial success, but on the other hand I also think it’s terrible in many ways… I remember when I thought these bands I listened to were sinister monsters.. There was a mystic aura around it, and I didn’t know who they were. Now you have social networks like facebook where the most “evil” musicians are posting what a nice day they have had with their family and girlfriend, that they ate sushi for dinner or that they are bored and are watching TV. I mean, what the fuck happened?? All the mysticisms around most bands are gone and I don‘t find it very appealing to see private pictures at a black musician’s facebook profile where he’s having his family over for dinner. This totally ruins my image of a band that suppose to be so evil! BUT as it has developed this way, they who stick to be die hard fucking “true” and can’t even leave their basement to see sunlight, they are the worst… So I’m not sure where this leaves the rest of us?
Q. Do you think your band is playing Black Metal at all? Is this label counts for you? Why?
R. No. I think it’s more metal-pop/rock, or something like that. The lyrics are not some typical black metal lyrics either. But I understand if people will label it as black metal, even if I don’t. But I both think and hope that this music will appeal to more than necro metal heads, we just need some time to build up a reputation…
Q. You are member of Sarkom and your drummer is also part of Urgehal (among others). Looking at line-ups of Norwegian Black Metal bands, it appears they are exchanging members on a regular basis. Knowing this scene from the inside, could you explain to us this phenomenon?
R. I don’t know actually… But underground metal bands usually don’t earn any money from their music. So I guess they do what they want, and if they get an opportunity to make some money or play for a bigger audience with a different band, many of them take this opportunity. Also if there are many disagreements and bad vibes within a band, I guess it’s easier to stay together if you’re playing in Metallica and make your living from it than in a small band who don’t earn shit.
Q. Do you plan to perform live shows? Are you trying to complete your line-up for that purpose?
R. Yes, we do! We know a couple of guys who want to join SMFN live, so this will happen sooner or later! I really hope that we can do a tour this year to promote the album, but we’ll see what happens… For a small/new band, going on tour is not that easy, as they often have to pay more than just the travels costs them selves… So not all people can afford this, as they have to take vacation from their day job and spend money to join a tour and at the same time pay the rent for the apartment back home. So remember when you’re thinking of buying a t-shirt or CD from a band… They really appreciate it, as they need all the money they can get to keep playing!
Q. What is next for So Much For Nothing? Are you already working on new material? Preparing a tour? World domination?
R. I think we will start recording our second album this summer, as I already have 7-8 songs finished. Livsgnist was done one and a half year ago, so I’ve had plenty of time writing new material! It’s to early to talk about a release date, but maybe around Winter 2013? I think this album will be great, but I’m not sure about world domination yet… Time will show!
Cet article a été publié le 2012/04/16 à 06:00 et est classé dans Black Metal, Entrevue avec des tags Depressive Black Metal, Entrevue, Erik Unsgaard, Interview, Norvège, Sarkom, So Much For Nothing. Suivez toutes les réponses à cet article par flux RSS 2.0. Vous pouvez laisser une réponse ou envoyer un rétrolien depuis votre site.