About Me

Interview with The Konsortium

When one thinks of Black Metal, immediately Norway comes to mind… well, The Konsortium are indeed Norwegian and they have loads of experience. Their 2nd album “Rogaland” has been received awesome reviews and Metal Imperium had a chat with Fredrik in order to find out more.

M.I. - Why the name The Konsortium for the band?
The band started up as a solo project back in 2003, but quickly evolved into something more. Friends and musicians teamed up, and we functioned as a consortium from early on; people added their strengths to the project, doing what they did best, using their expertise as guitarists, drummers, etc. So, to make it easy, we called ourselves The Konsortium. 

M.I. - The Konsortium’s font used in the name reminds me of Enslaved and you also use the symbol of a phoenix. What’s the meaning behind all this?
The rune-font was made specifically for this album by Trine+Kim, the designers. We wanted something that reflected the ideas behind "Rogaland", and they manifested this in the font, based on our Norse tradition. They reflect roots, history and heritage, all concepts that are all present on the new release. The phoenix, is a symbol from the very beginning of the band, and is ...rather self-explanatory, I think... rise from the ashes, you know. 

M.I. - Your newest album “Rogaland” was released a few weeks ago. What were your expectations regarding it? Your debut had such awesome reviews and the ones for this one are extraordinary as well! What’s your secret? How do you manage to top yourselves off every time around?
Well, thank you very much! The album has been out for a month or so now, and the reviews seem to be mostly good, as far as I know. I never expect anything when a new album is released - the only criteria is that we have to be satisfied ourselves. If other people understands and likes the album too, then it´s just a bonus. I think "Rogaland" is an album you either understand, or you don´t. The debut album was very accessible, while this one demands more effort from the listener before it sinks in. I got a mail from a guy who told me that he had heard the album 200 times now, and he still found stuff that he didn´t notice earlier on. That´s cool. We neither need or expect everyone to like it - haters is fine with us. But if you give the album one single listening, and then decide it´s crap, then... you may miss out on something. Too many people do that nowadays. Stream a new album, giving it 30% of their attention, and if it´s not something they get into instantly, they drop it. That´s OK with us, we never intended to be an easy listening-band anyways. 

M.I. - The band released the first demo 5 years after getting formed, 3 years later “The Konsortium” was released and it took you 7 years to release its follow up. Why the long wait? Busy times for the members? 
Yes, busy times. LIFE got in the way. Kids, work, injuries, you name it... I am still extremely busy, which is a constant challenge when music is not your livelihood. There´s no money in this whatsoever, so it´s purely an "idealistic" project - unfortunately idealism sometimes has to suffer for more pragmatic reasons. In addition, I never want to do things half-assed. To write a song that I am satisfied with just takes a lot of time, and suddenly the years have passed. 

M.I. - Having taken so many years to prepare a new album… would you consider yourselves as perfectionists?
Yes, I guess I would have to say that I am. I have tons of riffs and material on my computer, that will never be used, because it just didn´t feel good enough or didn´t have the right feeling. The other guys in the band are also very critical, and if something doesn´t sound good enough to them, they let me know right away... I don´t have any formula for songwriting either. Sometimes the riffs I start with end up with being the end of the song. Stuff just clicks into place when I work on it - or they don´t, and I throw it away. 

M.I. - According to Dirge Rep this is the most technical and demanding album of his 25 years under black metal. What can fans expect of “Rogaland” after all?
If they give the album the attention it needs before the music sticks, they should - at least in my opinion - get a listening experience worthwhile their time. "Rogaland" was demanding to create, demanding to record, and it was demanding to perform. So, in many ways, you get a demanding album in your hands as a listener. But after a few spins, getting to know the sound, the style of vocals and riffing, it should take you on a listening journey that hopefully sticks with you for some time. 

M.I. - The cover portrays a landscape… is it the Rogaland? Why name the album after a Norwegian county? 
The cover is from Rogaland, yes. More specifically, it is from a region called Jæren, surrounded by the North Sea. We named it after our home county, because this is the concept behind the whole album; the timeless battle between man and nature, the longing for something lost in this modern world, void of spirit and magic. It´s an homage to our county, a glimpse of how we perceive and interact with our natural surroundings.

M.I. - For your debut album you inspired yourself in nature… is that still the main inspiration for this album as well? 
Yes, more so this time than earlier. All of the members appreciate nature, and we´re lucky to live in a part of the country that has some of the most majestic, brutal and inspiring surroundings that Norway has to offer. You can´t live here and not let it affect you in some way or other. Myself, I have chosen to fully immerse myself in it, and I feel connected to in from the innermost of my core, in most aspects of my life. I even hunt and fish for a living, and I couldn´t have it any other way. 

M.I. - Only one-word title tracks on this release… any special meaning behind that?
Yes, but no occult or hermetic interpretations are needed - I wanted to keep it short, stout and simple - and then let the reader/ listener interpret the rest for him or herself. Hermeneutics! 

M.I. - If I am not mistaken, the titles of the songs use different languages… is it so? If yes, why have you opted for that?
No, everything is written in Norwegian - or a version of Norwegian that is based upon elder dialects. 

M.I. - How did the recording process go? Are you satisfied with the final result?
The recording process took a long time, we´ve spent countless of hours in the studio and behind our instruments. It was tiresome at times, but it actually went quite well, despite taking over a year to complete everything. There was momentum all throughout the process, so no one was actually tired of working. We knew that it was going to be hard, and we´re old enough not to fool ourselves. We also learned a lot since last time, and it was a common decision that we should be in control of every aspect this time, and not "hand" the project over to someone else. That creates a hell of a lot more work, but the result was worth it. The album has a distinct sound (Orgone Studios and Jaime Gomez, damn that guy is seriously skilled!), not sounding plastic or "modern", but at the same time there is enough clarity in the production. So yes, we´re satisfied with the outcome. 

M.I. - Who’s responsible for the lyrics? How is the writing done… melody and lyrics after or the other way around?
I wrote the music and the lyrics. Mostly I write the lyrics after the music, but at the same time, I have a basic idea about the lyrical theme/ feeling when I write the riffs. 

M.I. - Why have you chosen “Arv” as the first track to be released? Is it the best way to showcase “Rogaland”? 
"Arv" is the one track on the album that is... most accessible. The record company wanted to release one of the tracks as a single, so we ended up with giving them "Arv". 

M.I. - The clip for “Arv” was filmed by Stein Erik Aulie… how did the filming go?
I don´t think any of us had very high expectations, actually. Especially since we were dead tired when it was filmed. Certain members had been up for two or three days, partying, and in addition, we had been all over Rogaland in the middle of winter in order to take band photos earlier that day. But the result was just what we wanted: a no-nonsense video showcasing the band in a simple, but professional way. Turned out perfect for us, I think. 

M.I. - You have posted some photos of your recording studios and they all seem so natural, right in the woods… how complicated is it recording in a natural setting? 
Yes, that´s partly why the recordings took so much time. Almost all of the vocals are done this way; outside in the mountains or in the forest. It was perfect. Magic. And I think it was necessary in order to make the album and the concept credible. Everything fell into place, it just felt right. Certainly a very different experience than doing vocals in a small studio booth. 

M.I. - Jaime Gomez Arellano… why have you chosen him to mix the album? 
As mentioned earlier: that guy is the best. He has skills, understanding of what the music is about, and he respects the artists wishes. And he is a lover of analogue sound - everything is mixed on tape, like they used to back in the day. No plastic crap. 

M.I. - On May 25th the album was fully played at the Kniven in Oslo, one week before its release. It’s common to do this kind of “party” for new albums these days? What’s the main purpose? Improve sales?
I have no idea! I wasn´t even there myself! 

M.I. - On The Konsortium’s Facebook page, on the 14th March, the band posted the title of the new album along with the cover and many hashtags. Why hashtag all this #thekonsortium #rogaland #blackmetal#thrashmetal #deathmetal #mayhem #orcustus#satyricon #ulver #enslaved #nidingr #auranoir#bathory #agoniarecords #dødheimsgard #teloch#dirgerep??
Again, I have to answer that I have no idea, actually. This is not posted by us, but by the record company. My guess is that they want the message to be spread as much as possible. As far as I can see, most, if not all, of the words are connected to the members in some way or other. Bathory? Perhaps because Bathory fans would like the album? 

M.I. - The band isn’t afraid to experiment and it’s more acceptable now… do you think The Konsortium would “survive” 30 years ago when the scene was so close minded?
I think that is a misunderstanding. Black Metal has been about breaking boundaries from the very beginning - that is why bands back in the day sounded different and interesting, as opposed to nowadays, when there are just endless clones everywhere. So, the answer is: yes. 

M.I. - The band members are/ have all been involved in massive musical projects… do you dedicate yourselves solely to The Konsortium or do you play in other bands as well? 
I have been involved in several projects over the years, some ending up on albums, some not. Today, I only have The Konsortium. Not because I don´t enjoy doing music, but because I simply don´t have enough time on my hands. I know that both Benjamin and Tommy have some really good stuff going on for themselves, asides from the Konsortium. Dirge Rep has Orcustus as well, and Teloch... has more than enough on his plate. 

M.I. - Having been a musician for some many years, what’s the main lesson you’ve learned about the music industry thus far? Have these lessons been useful for you at some point?
No, I don´t think I have any good or useful lessons to give. I´m not into music for the money at all and have not considered it as a potential career for the last 10 years. When I was younger, sure, but not anymore. The way people purchase and consume music today, you either have to make cynical, calculated and formulated hit music, or spend your life on tour for 300 days a year, and still barely just getting by. I enjoy doing gigs, but I´m not interested in being dependent on that as an only income. So, unless you want to live the "starving artist"- cliché, at least have a backup plan to fall back on. Go to school and get a good job, kids. 

M.I. - In early live shows the band members were masked. Now the masks are gone. Why reveal your identities now?
We don´t mind the masks at all, but to put it short and simple: we outgrew them. It didn´t feel right for this album, as it is such an… honest release. This is album is us, this is who we are. No point in hiding it behind masks. Besides, there are enough of masked bands around already, are there not? 

M.I. - Now that “Rogaland” is about to see the light of the day… will The Konsortium be playing live this summer or touring?
YES. We are definitely interested in getting out there and play. Club shows, festivals, legs of tours - you name it, we´re up for it. As mentioned earlier, most of us have day jobs besides music, but we´ve all sorted this out, and made arrangements with family and employers. If the opportunity comes, we´re good to go. The last months have been spent rehearsing the new material, and the band is tight, all fired up and eager to get out and play. Take heed, promoters! 

M.I. - Being so connected with nature… are you concerned at all about Planet Earth and what mankind is doing to it? Are you doing something to help our planet? To improve our environment? Do you think about it at all?
Yes, I am. I am not a nihilist, and although mankind is what it is, there´s no point just giving up and lay down to die. That´s just utter weakness. I am a member of Norway´s Nature Conservation Association, and I try to do my small part. Right now, for example, I am by the North Sea, where I´ve spent the last two weeks. This spring, volunteers cleaned up 13.5 tons of plastic from the beaches and ocean in this area, and I participated. I teach my own kids how to leave as little trace after ourselves as possible in nature, and I try to teach them how to live off the land in a balanced way. They know that meat is something that is not grown in the supermarket, and they know how to gut a fish and make a fire, to put it like that. An important part of what I do in my day job is also to get younger people to connect with nature, getting them interested in the outdoors, in hunting and fishing, and in that way also reaching through to them, getting them to understand their part in this vast cycle of life and death on planet earth. That being said: there are HUGE challenges ahead. It annoys the hell out of me that the ONE thing that each and everyone of us can do the most with, is not being addressed properly, because no one dares to talk about it: overpopulation - it´s this planet and mankind´s biggest threat. Political and especially religious leaders are... well, fuck it, I could spend the rest of the day talking about this. Better to just drop it. Anyways, as the great sir Richard Attenborough says: "“We are a plague on the Earth. It’s coming home to roost over the next 50 years or so. It’s not just climate change; it’s sheer space, places to grow food for this enormous horde.” 

M.I. - Thanks so much for this interview. Hope to see you guys playing here in Portugal. Share some final words with our readers if you will. 
Thanks for the interview, Sónia. We´d be more than willing to come to Portugal to play some gigs. Great people, great food, great culture - what´s not to like?  Spread the word, and hopefully we´ll see you on the road. 

For portuguese version, click here

Questions by Sónia Fonseca