The former member of EMPEROR about his new solo project and about returning on the metal train again |
Ihsahn, what did you do in the last years after EMPEROR?
Ihsahn: Oh, I was involved in PECCATUM, doing some studio works, self-studies... busy with music all the way.
So you are always in touch with music, there's no "normal" job in real life?
Ihsahn: Beside I teach guitar at a cultural school, but only a few hours.
In some of the latest RockHard magazines you stated that today noone will pay attention to the final style of EMPEROR any more. Can you explain this?
Ihsahn: [a bit nervous]Ahhh did I say that? Maybe they misinterpreted me... [laughing]. No, no, I don't think so. It's just another perspective today. If you see black metal or extreme metal everybody want's to be like the first one who did so, and it's much harder for the people to rely on a more grown up style. However this came to be. I think a lot of people like to do albums too....
Your new album will be a metal record again. What kind of metal will your solo album be?
Ihsahn: It's really a continuation of my work with music and especially metal. Parts of it will be a continuation of "Prometheus", but I want to bring in some elements of the early days since I play guitar. I will bring in Heavy Metal, Progressive Metal, it will be a kind of mixture of all that. But in a very pure form. If I do a Black Metal song, it will be a pure Black Metal song; and if I do a progressive song, it will be very progressive. There are many influences from other works I was involved with producing or mixing, but captured in an extreme metal album, written for a five piece band plus keyboards. I tried to avoid only adding layers of riffs, but captured only the tone of a very loud amplifier.
Can you tell me something about your additional project members?
Ihsahn: I had Asgeir Mickelson to do the drums. He actually contacted me. I knew that he can do very aggressive drums for BORKNAGAR, and I knew that he can do very progressive drums for SPIRAL ARCHITECT. And when we talked together we found out that we are both huge fans of Mikkey Dee. Finally I gave him the drum tracks I programmed, and he recorded the stuff in his studio.
So is this only a project, or do you have plans for a new metal band with more actions in future?
Ihsahn: There will definitively be more action after this album.
And then with a real live band?
Ihsahn: It depends on it. These songs are playable live with a band, but I hadn't this in mind when writing the songs. These days we are already preparing the EMPEROR shows and this would be a hazard, especially for me, to do all these projects simultaneously. And I have just one album to pick from, so I want to add some more material first. Touring will not come before the second album.
With PECCATUM you played comparatively soft and slow music. What was the reason for that you are now longing for some harder metal material again?
Ihsahn: I like the variety. You know after 10 years of EMPEROR I was fed up with the whole extreme metal thing. I wanted to explore dark music from a different perspective, but now I think it's good to return and do some extreme metal again.
Will there be something in common between ZYKLON and your project? Being involved in metal again could be the start for a new EMPEROR time for you all?
Ihsahn: Well, I guess, if you listen to the new ZYKLON album and to my album you will find some obvious musical differences. Bringing that together would be very strange. That was the reason to quit with EMPEROR, because we were pulling in such different directions that this was no use.
EMPEROR played a gig in Norway - how was the feeling to stay on stage with the old songs again?
Ihsahn: Oh, this was pretty cool, because I haven't been on stage since 5 years. I thought to be nervous but I really wasn't. It was just like yesterday.
There will be more reunion shows this year, for example at Wacken. What were the reasons for this shows - who asked you to do so?
Ihsahn: Well, we've been contacted by many people since we quit. We always wanted to do some final shows, only a few exclusive ones, not a tour with 28 shows. We thought that this is a good time to do this final shows. We could have been touring through the US if it is what we wanted, but we wanted to to this on a level we're comfortable with. I mean, I play metal since I was 10 and there was the idea of headlining something like Wacken in front of some thousand people, since I watched the old IRON MAIDEN or JUDAS PRIEST videos, and this is really something dramatically you want to do, you know?
So you don't do it because of the money?
Ihsahn: Oh! If we would do this for the money, we never would have quit.
Do you have more specific plans regarding music for the future?
Ihsahn: Yeah, I have many projects in mind, but it's too early to tell at this moment.
OK, but you're young and there is enough time for all I think.
Ihsahn: Oh yeah, I think I don't retire. I'm just starting....
Fine .... and now a last common question: you were young when you became well known in the extreme metal scene. What is the black metal scene today compared to your early days?
Ihsahn: Well, black metal was .... the first VENOM album [laughing]. We were there when the phenomenon just started. So when we recorded "In A Nightside Eclipse" we did it for ourselves. There was nothing we could try to copy or sound like. We've grown up with heavy metal, so our first band was not a black metal band. So we developed through thrash metal, death metal, until we reached black metal. Today many young bands grew up with black metal already in a way. So there is nothing they had developed, and there are only few originals and a lot of copies.
OK, that was my last question - is there anything left you'd like to tell?
Ihsahn: I hope all people will enjoy my album, and the german metal fans come to Wacken and enjoy our show.
Of course there will be many of them!