1349 (en)

"I always try to look at new ways or different ways of doing things, in order to get a different sound or different expressions, in order to challenge myself first and foremost and to evolve as an artist and a human being. That has always been the main focus." Take a look at this interview that SOM did with the lead singer Ravn when 1349 played at the House of Blues in West Hollywood!!!

interview 1349You are touring North America for a little more than 2 weeks now. How has it been so far?
It’s been very good actually; it’s been a good tour. It’s been nice touring with fellow Scandinavians. I like the idea of doing a Scandinavian black metal tour. The reception and the crowds have been very good, they have greeted us very well.

In US there are many tours that combine different styles of bands. Do you think it’s better for you guys when the tour is mostly composed of black metal bands?
I normally don’t care. I listen to a lot of different genres myself… so I don’t care as long it is a good package. In Europe it has been more genre strict: it has to be a black metal tour or it has to be a death metal tour. I kind of like that about the US… that there can be mixed packages. I don’t know, maybe it has started to change: mix packages are going well in Europe as well. “Well” is a relative term since the touring market is: everybody is out touring so it is so hard to get something good going, you know? Promoters are well over booked so, to get good offers so we can get a tour [to] happen is extremely hard. But well yeah… we try.

You are touring with Jon Rice from Job for a Cowboy on the drums. How has it been playing with him? How long did he have to practice before the tour?
We gave him an approximate set list with some extra songs a couple of months ago. He has been touring with Job for a Cowboy pretty much all the time so he had to rehearse it on the road basically. He came home from Japan, he was one day at home and then he flew to Norway to rehearse. He had 4 days of rehearsal over there and that was it. It was pretty clear when he arrived that he had done his homework. He knew the stuff… that was extremely comforting. He is a young and extremely talented musician. It is really refreshing to play with him.

We play a lot of with session drummers and they all bring something new into the band that we kind of like to bring home with us. They have their own twists to it and Jon is no exception when it comes to this. To have a young man with us on the road really helps to get “closer to the kids” sort of speak… we are starting to get old now (laughs).

Did you guys know him before or was this some sort of arrangement?
No [they didn’t know him before]. He came, recommended from two individual sources which made us check him out. Frost always has the final verdict in these kinds of situations. So, he checked him out online and he [Frost] had already seen his work before so he was without a shadow of a doubt that he [Jon] would do this job with no problems. But it is hard to fill Frost’s shoes anyhow…

Jon is stepping up for the task and I know for a fact that he really loves being on the road with us so he is having a good time.

What is in your agenda after this tour?
Nothing confirmed at the moment. We are all working on stuff, that being new material… trying to get tours and festivals and stuff going on. Trying to keep the momentum up but, nothing confirmed that I can tell you about.

1349 has released two albums in the last 4 years (one in 2009 and one in 2010). These two albums were really different from each other. Are there any plans for the next album and do you have any idea of how this new album will sound like?
I have to say that I disagree with you that Revelations
interview 1349[of the Black Flame] and Demonoir are so much different from each other. They were pretty much made at the same time, that’s why they came [released] so closely. Because the idea, the inspiration for Demonoir came from Revelations [of the Black Flame] in a way. They are actually kind of connected (like the title and stuff). It is said in the last words spoken on Revelations: “At the Gates of …” Demonoir, the title was already made up. And if you listen to the albums back to back, I feel that they flow together. It is kind of a build up, in a way.

For new material, like we always do, we look back to what we have done and we try to take the best of what we’ve done… bring everything a step forward. So, we always try to push ourselves to the max, as musicians, and bring something new and interesting into what we are doing and the black metal genre in general… to evolve it in the direction that we feel that black metal should be heading and still maintaining the old school core. It is kind of 1349’s task in a way. That’s the reason for forming the band.

About the black metal scene: You just mentioned that 1349 is a band that was created to keep that original Norwegian Black Metal spirit alive. About those bands that were getting big in the 90’s, who used more of a symphonic sound. Do you think that that entire symphonic era is dead now?
Like every genre that gets sub-genres innovating: they will be on and off. If it’s down now, it will come back…. Symphonic black metal will come back. Dimmu Borgir is probably still the biggest black metal band touring and active at this point. To say that it is dead… I wouldn’t say that.

What surprises me a lot is actually how strong Black Metal has managed to keep its position in the music market and it has not dropped. It wasn’t a big trend of the 90’s, when it got commercial and Dimmu Borgir didn’t drop. It dropped a little bit but it kind of kept its momentum… it grew back really quickly. It’s surprising how it managed to do that. I think that’s a positive thing that such an extreme musical genre managed to maintain such a high profile role in the market.

It seems (in my opinion) that the more original style of black metal is getting more attention now than the symphonic black metal bands. Do you think that’s the case?
I don’t know. I don’t pay much attention so I can’t elaborate too much about that. If they are then, I think it is a good thing that people look back and go back to the core and the essence of what was first started by the original Norwegian Black Metal bands.

That been said, there are a lot of bands that in my eyes fail completely when they try to sound like one of the original bands. In this is the issue of being inspired by and trying to sound like. I think they are getting confused. If you are inspired by a band why would you try to sound like that band? It baffles me and I think that a lot of bands fail in creating their own expression, inspired by a band.

You guys have also released a DVD end of last year (Hellvetia Fire). How was this released received by the fans?
From what I’ve heard and from what people told me, they felt the same way that we did when we first saw it. It wasn’t a planned recording; it was just a fan that we gave the opportunity to bring in a couple of friends and film the whole show. It took some years before we got the DVD and he had edited himself.

It captured the basic essence… it is just like I’m on stage and the e
interview 1349nergy and how everything looks and feels. That DVD is so close to what is my live reality. We all felt that way. So it was like “We should just release this!”

The picture quality is not outstanding, the sound quality it’s not outstanding but it’s like… the energy is just there. Basically that’s one of the main things about black metal: the energy has to be there. So, we did a bit of re-editing. I actually had a video camera at the front of the house from that venue so we brought that into the mix. So, we remixed a little bit of the DVD with a couple of shots from the front. And we had the audio cleaned up. That’s why we call it official bootleg, because it has this bootleg feeling to it… that became the whole idea behind it.

It seems that music was not your only release these last few years: you guys have contributed to a jean design for Anti Denim haven’t you? How did that happen?
This company, that makes jeans that are called Anti Sweden, (the company is called Anti, basically), makes and promote their jeans inspired by Black Metal. So, we were in touch with them and got jeans for use onstage.

Since we have already designed t-shirts and [other] clothing for many years, why not do some customized jeans for stage as well? If we can get free jeans customized for us the way we think they should be and even sell some of them… you have to make money where you can. Merchandise is where every band makes their money these days.

I know that some people felt that doing jeans is so much more different from making t-shirts …. I just don’t get it. It is the same thing: you paint it, you customize the jeans with either stitches or something [like that]. You do the same thing with a t-shirt (you lay it out on photoshop). It is not much different. The jeans were more physical: we sand it down to get the texture going, you had a thicker material to work with. But, the way of thinking was the same, it was nothing new to us it was just a more “hands on” experience. It is very interesting to work like that. All kinds of art, in general, are inspiring. Wherever you can get an outlet for your artistic side I think it is an option that one should consider to dig into.

Talking about 1349 as a band now: if you have to name one higher priority for the band… what would it be?
It’s making it turn around basically. Making the band evolve and breaking new grounds. I always try to look at new ways or different ways of doing things, in order to get a different sound or different expressions, in order to challenge myself first and foremost and to evolve as an artist and a human being. That has always been the main focus.

1349 took it upon themselves to never release two albums that would be kind of the same… always push forward. The day that we will stall and not be able to do this, I think we will call it a day. That has always been the main thing.

Besides black metal… do you have any other passions in life?
Well, 1349 in general has grown on a huge passion for microbrewery beers over the last years actually. There are also some projects ongoing there, so...

It is one of the biggest treats that you get touring the US because the US is a huge microbrewery country. We always run around in liquor stores and try to find local breweries and stuff like that. That has become a big passion for the band.

Any last messages to the SOM readers?
Stay tuned and see what is happening…
interview réalisée par Deesse_de_la_nuit

1 Commentaire

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Crinn - 09 Juillet 2012: How the fuck do you meet these guys? When I went to that show when it came to Seattle, NONE of the members of Marduk OR 1349 went out into the crowd, they all stayed backstage...
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