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What started as a solo project has turned into a band... Ese, mentor of Slegest, answered some questions from Metal Imperium about the new album "Introvert" and the European tour.

M.I. - Why did you feel the need to create Slegest? Aren’t there enough bands around?

Too many bands, too many interviews, totally agree.

M.I. - How did the idea of mixing classical rock from the 70’s and 80’s and black metal come up?

I always try to stay true to my intentions which is making music my gutfeel approves. I have always listened to a lot of genres, but when it comes to heavy rock and metal I grew up listening to Judas Priest, Black Sabbath and WASP. Later it got more brutal with Sepultura, Death and such. In the 90’s I discovered black metal and the more atmospheric aspect fascinated me. I guess Slegest has traces of all these things, but it’s not shaped to fit in any box.

M.I. - Slegest started off as Ese’s solo project. 8 years on how complicated is it embracing a solo project? Would you do it again?

As with most other things it has both positive and negative sides. On the negative side it is a lot of work and decisions to be made on your own. And rehearsing all instruments and such. On the positive side you can decide how you want it and not have to discuss with anyone. And you only have yourself to blame, for good and for bad. I have no plans to start another solo project if that is what you meant. 

M.I. - Are you still the man behind all the lyrics, riffs, tracks… is it all still your responsibility or do you share it with someone else these days? Did you do 
everything on this album alone? Is Slegest still a solo project? The promotional photos include 4 members so…

For the first time I’m not the only contributor to the creative side of Slegest. Sør made the song “Da Brenne I Glåsi” and Hövard wrote “Leitar”. The same goes for the recording side, it is a band now not a solo project.

M.I. - Where did you find the musicians that are currently accompanying you? Do they fit in with your music? Do they understand it?

Hövard is my brother, Sør has been a friend since childhood and Fjøsne is also a friend. We are all from Systrond, a small place in the western part of Norway. They would never play in Slegest if they didn’t understand the music.

M.I. - Why did you choose the word “Introvert” as title for the new album? Are you an introvert?

Besides the fact that it is a cool title we chose it for a reason. Introvert is a characteristic of a person who pays (heavy) attention to inner experiences. In our modern and superficial world introvert has become a negative word, associated with being shy and dysfunctional in social settings. That is of course totally wrong as an introvert can do very well in social contexts. That does not mean he will come to the party if you know what I mean, hehehehe. We want to honour and highlight the personality trait that at least for us is a source for making music and express something of value. 

M.I. - How are things going for “Introvert”? The reviews are great.

The reviews have been great and we have had good feedback on the new songs live. We are very much looking forward to releasing it.

M.I. - What lyric themes do you approach in “Introvert”? Are your mood swings still a source of inspiration for you?

I like to leave it to the listener to make up their own mind about the lyrics. Slegest is an outlet for creativity rooted in the world of thought. Although Slegest is not about my personal life, I feel the music gets force and power if it resonates with experiences in real life. You have to be open and honest to make something good. I think that is the fact with many art forms, to write a good book you must have a certain truly felt experience with the things you write about to make it come alive.

M.I. - All the covers are very simple yet beautiful. Where did you find the image for the cover for “Introvert”? Is it the perfect cover for the album? Could you enlighten us about it… it seems to be a flying brain with horns? What does it mean?

The cover is made by the Norwegian artist Anders Røkkum. We talked about the album and some of the topics and he listened to some songs from it. The cover he made is amazing in my eyes, with the eagle with two goat heads. To me it represents the free will, and the force your will can have if you follow it and give it power. It represents both Slegest and the album itself in a perfect way.

M.I. - All your albums so far include 8 tracks. Why? Is 8 your lucky number or some kind of superstitious one?

I like to have even numbers on the a side and b side, that’s why. And 10 songs would be too much, 6 songs too less.

M.I. - With each new album you include less track titles in English. “Introvert” only includes track titles in Norwegian… why? Do you express yourself better in your native language?

I like the sound of Norwegian and these days I feel Norwegian the best way to express Slegest music. This has changed before and might change again.

M.I. - This album will also be released by Dark Essence Records… do you believe this is still the best label for Slegest? Why?

We are very satisfied with the work Dark Essence does for us, and we like the people working there. That is a plus, to go along well with the ones you are collaborating with. We have chosen to continue our work in conspiracy with Dark Essence and we are glad they want us around both as friends and band.

M.I. - How’s the tour with Taake going? You’ll be very active until mid-December… are you excited?

The tour went very well and it was good clubs and audience. These days we are doing some concerts in Norway with Einherjer and we will continue with another leg in Europe with Vreid and Kalmah in December. We look very much forward to that.

M.I. - Portugal seems to be completely left out of most tours… do you have any idea why this might happen? Do you have plans to tour southern Europe or are you sticking to the north?

I am not involved in the booking, so I don’t know why Portugal is left out. On a general basis the tip is: book the band and they will come, hehehehe. We would in other words love to come to Portugal and play.

M.I. - Please leave a message for our readers and metal fans.

Play loud!

For Portuguese version, click here

Questions by Sónia Fonseca