Interview: Maja Trstenjak (maja@venia-mag.net)

Photo: Gordana Beraković (gordana@venia-mag.net)

Dimmu Borgir, one of the most influental and most famous black metal bands of today have released their new album „Abrahadabra“ which they promote on their „Darkness Reborn“ tour in which they also visited Zagreb. With heaviness of their sound, theatrical and melodic music they amazed the crowd and once again proved their reputation and position in world metal scene.

Before Zagreb concert, we talked to Galder, guitarist of this most famous Norwegian band.

VENIA:How’s the tour doing so far?
GALDER: Tour is going good, so far, we have done like a week of shows, about seven shows, been around Europe, it is great to be in Croatia. But we do two different tour, we are doing headlining tour and we tour with Korn in the same time. It is a strange tour, a bit different but it’s going really good.

VENIA:How did the audience accept your new album live?
GALDER: It has only been released for a couple of days, so they haven’t really heard it yet, they heard it live, but they haven’t heard the songs, so when we play it live it is the first time we hear it. But it seems good. They need to hear it few times in order to sing along, you know, to learn the lyrics and stuff.

VENIA:Tell me somehting about new album, the meaning behind it, what was the main ispiration for it?
GALDER: We just wanted to make an album that was different from what have we done before, to experimente a little with different samples, we also used choir we never used before, also like, hiring different session musicians to do different stuff. We didn’t really have any certain type of goal, we just wanted to combine different styles into the music, tried to do something else, what we haven’t done before. That was our main goal, but we didn’t have any certain direction that we needed to make it black metal or really heavy metal or whatever, we just combined all this different elements to make it unique.

VENIA:Tell me something about the album cover, the meaning behind it, who created it?
GALDER: This was the guy that has done covers for us before, even the few last ones, we didn’t really know what we wanted for a cover, but we knew we wanted a cold theme, maybe making it icy and snowy but we didn’t really find any good directions, so we had a vocal session and we took a picture of Stian’s mask, so Shagrath’s mask and he just made some ideas with that mask and we really liked it. Yea we just fooled around with that idea, so it ended up to be setteled with the original ideas we had. It was actaully a coincidence with cover, but we liked it. It is good to have a mask, because there is something always hiding behind a mask, so people can speculate, we kept it a little bit mysterious.

VENIA:Speaking of white and snowy, your outfit is pretty white and snowy so tell me something about the outfit, what does it represent, who created it?
GALDER: We wanted pink but… (laugh)
VENIA:But Lady Gaga already took the idea… (laugh)
GALDER: We have this designer in States, that has done this for us before, we want that we want something cold and why not white, white is as metal as black, you know. So we wanted this unique style, also with the clothes. When you are in the band for seventeen years you also have to do something different with clothes.

VENIA:You guys collaboreted with Agnete from Djerv, how was it working with her, and why did you choose exactly her to be guest in your song called „Gateways“?
GALDER: I think Shagrath was the one who knew from before, he told us she is a good singer, we didn’t really know her. We met up in the studio, to see some ideas and stuff, she was really professional, wanted to sing along in this song. She has this unique voice, she sounds like a witch, you know, we also needed to have some clean vocals, since we don’t have Vortex anymore. I think she has done a great job.

VENIA:Tell me something about the album making proccess, firstly about the orchestrations, who composed that part, what was an inspiration for this classical side of the album?
GALDER: We make stuff on the keyboards first then we have a Norwegian composer who transforms everything into orchestra, which instrument plays what, like which violin will play what, because we don’t know how to do that. We used to make this part on keyboards and then electronics for the orchestra parts. We had meetings here and there, he came to Oslo to make those songs and so we had a chance to hear it live with the orchestra how does it sound and i think it is really great. I think he made a good job, he has done what we wanted with the songs.

VENIA:What is the string that connects Dimmu Borgir music and classical music?
GALDER: We have been having keyboards, that’s almoust like the orchestra, it is just on the keyboards. You can have the keyboards it will sound like keyboards, but if you have the orchestra playing keyboard parts it will sound like classical music. Dimmu Borgir has this certain style of music that makes it sound classical, but we are not really big fans of classical music. We listen to a little bit of old stuff like Tschaikovsky and so, but we are not sitting and listening to that all day long. I don’t know, it turns out the way it turns out.

VENIA:What is the meaning behind the new video for „Gateways“, tell me something about the video making process.
GALDER: We want to say something? (laugh) We wanted to record it on a very cool place, so we found this old factory in Berlin, it was actually bombed down in the war and it is still standing there. You can see some bullet holes and things like that and we met at this amazing place. When we got there it was like: „Wow this place is so cool!“

VENIA:Then you should go to Vukovar, Croatian town, it was really damaged in the was, you even have ruined churches and lots of different stuff…
GALDER: Really? I’ll keep that in mind, for the next video.
We also had really good producers that made the video, they have also done videos for Rammstein and things like that. It was a biggest production we have done for the video, and we wanted to do something different as well. We tried out the new outfit to see how it looks like. But I think it turned out very good, we are happy with that. We have made lots of different videos, you have to make a different video every time, otherwise it gets boring.

VENIA:You got album out for streaming on Myspace for two days, so that is quiet enough time to get it downloaded, what do you think about this kind of promotion via social servicies like Facebook, Myspace, Twitter etc.?
GALDER: It’s hard to say, the record sale is going really down for all bands, but at the same time it is a very good promotion to be on the internet. Definitelly, today only a few people buys the album today. Bands from the 80ties, they were selling like half of milion records, today famous bands don’t even sell 30 000 copies. With this online, it does the way it does. We have to use it as well. For us it has been good so far.

VENIA:Do you have a plan to do a concert with an orchestra?
GALDER: Yes. I think it is a little bit secret still. We will have a concert in May, i think, in Oslo with big orchestra, if everything goes up to plan, it can happen, with this cool Norwegian orchestra, we will play also some older songs with the orchestra. It is going to be a DVD shooting. It is actually the biggest TV channel in Norway that is going to produce it, so it will be a really good filming. But i can’t really say to much about it. I can say that it is going to happen, but not anything more on that. It will be the greatest thing we have ever done.

VENIA:And for the end, message for Venia-Mag readers.
GALDER: We are looking forward to play the concert tonight, but this will be out a long time after it so, I can’t say see you there, but we love Croatia, it is always good to play here.

VENIA:Did you have a chance to see the town?
Yes, I bought those sun glasses, I went shopping, nice shopping mall you have in here. (laugh). But we don’t do too much sightseeing.

VENIA:Thank you very much.