About Me

Interview with Anders Buaas

Anders Buaas used to be known as Andy Boss. He has played guitar for metal legends such as Paul Di Anno (Iron Maiden) and Tim Ripper Owens (Judas Priest)… now he is on his own. The last album of his instrumental trilogy “The Witches of Finnmark” is about to be released and it is the perfect soundtrack for these days of quarantine. Anders talked to Metal Imperium and told us all the juicy details about the new album…

M.I. - First off, many thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on the new album “The Witches of Finnmark III”! It’s amazing! You used to be known as Andy Boss and, for these releases, you use your real name… why did you feel the need to start using your real name? Is it because your music path is slightly different now?

Absolutely! When playing with an 80’s metal band, and backing artists like Paul DiAnno it was important to have a name that was easy to remember and that fitted the band image. It´s not easy to pronounce my name correctly in other languages. Now, as this is my solo project, I feel like it is OK to use my full and real name. 

M.I. - “The Witches of Finnmark III” is the last album of the conceptual trilogy about the persecution of witches in the 16th and 17th centuries in Finnmark. How can a persecution be interesting enough to inspire a trilogy?

This part of history is the darkest in my country, and I was mainly inspired by the book “At the gates of Hell” by historian Rune Blix Hagen. I have always been fascinated by this era in history, and also by the occult. The title and first inspiration came to me when playing in the prog band Amarula in 2004, but it remained an idea in the back of my head for many, many years before it fitted some music I wrote in 2016.

M.I. - This trilogy was inspired by the book “At The Gates of Hell” by Rune Blix Hagen. How did you come across the book?

I first saw the author on a documentary about Witches in Finnmark and later he released the book, which I bought immediately. He is well-known in Norway for his knowledge about this part of Norwegian history.

M.I. - What were your first thoughts when you read it? Did the idea of “converting” it into music come up immediately?

I already had the title and the idea, so the book inspired me to act on it and make the idea into something real.

M.I. - Why did you feel the need to tell stories with your guitar? What’s your relationship with it?

Some of the songs were written for vocals, but I never quite got it to work with lyrics. I tried playing the melodies on guitar and it worked right away. I continued on that path. I have always enjoyed instrumental music, and I feel that nowadays almost all music is with vocals. Lots of great music, for sure, but it does not always have to be with vocals fronting it. I want to acknowledge the great instrumental music out there and make it accessible and more mainstream again, like in the 70’s.

M.I. - Parts I and II were released in 2017 and 2018, getting great reviews both locally and around the world. What kind of reviews did you receive for Part III?

Mainly great ones for part III as well. I am so grateful for this. I got signed by Apollon Records on part III, so the distribution has been better, getting out to more countries and listeners, but I hope that they will give part I and II a listen also, as this is a trilogy where all parts are connected.

M.I. - All 3 albums include six tracks… any particular reason for this?

666.  Yes, you got it! 

M.I. - The albums of the trilogy are mostly instrumental… why include vocals in tracks like “Requiem”?

I consider it all instrumental, as there is no lyrics. The vocals on the end of Requiem are more like an effect. It was kinda cool to include vocals at the very end of the trilogy, as I don´t think listeners expected it. 

M.I. - The instruments used in this album were guitars, keyboards, mandolin, banjo, drums, bass, percussion, snare drum, tuba and bass trombone… how do you decide which instruments fit better in which part of the song? Is it a long process?

For demos, I play everything myself in my home studio. I have plenty of time to try out different ideas and instruments. I had a clear idea for part III. For example, the song “Firehorn” is about the Devil and his trumpet/horn that shoots fire when played. I mixed Tuba, Trombone and synths to make a horn sound like no other.

M.I. - The cover art was done by Yannick Bouchard and, in my opinion, it is the best cover of the trilogy. What’s its meaning? Is the witch being seduced by Death?

Yannick has done the cover art on all three parts of the trilogy. He is truly gifted. There are many meanings hidden in the artwork for part III. The devil (or death) is seducing the witch, yes. This is what the song “Firehorn” is about, and also the song “Raven” from part II. You can see the raven on the cover, as well as the roses and skulls from the other artworks. And much more…  Growing up on Iron Maidens album covers, I love when artists take the time to include details and hidden stuff on their album covers.

M.I. - The cover art of the albums suggest that the music is heavier than it actually is… is it intended? Why choose such intense visuals for your music?

Just my taste, I guess. I have always loved metal and the great album covers of bands like Iron Maiden, King Diamond, Ozzy etc…

M.I. - The music contains elements of folk, blues, progressive rock, jazz and classical and you were inspired by bands and artists like Mike Oldfield, Genesis, King Crimson, Al DiMeola, Yngwie Malmsteen, Marillion, Jeff Beck, Gary Moore. I guess you’re a fan of music in general, despite the genre. Why is music so important to you? Can you imagine your life without music? How old were you when you first realized your life had to revolve around music?

I started playing guitar at 14, and was hooked when I heard Iron Maiden and Yngwie Malmsteen. Later on, I discovered prog rock and fusion. Great music is great no matter what. I do not like genres, as I believe it often keeps listeners from discovering new and great music. Music can give you all kinds of feelings and moods, and it is a great outlet as well.

M.I. - This trilogy was written and produced by yourself but you had several musicians playing with you. How did you choose them? 

I have known them and played with them for years. Are (bass) also played when we toured with Paul DiAnno and Ripper Owens. The choice was easy. Great musicians and even better friends.

M.I. - Supposedly you played some mini concerts in Oslo last February… how did it go? Was it an acoustic presentation? Do all the musicians that play with you in the album join you live?

That was a promo show with just 3 songs. It was just me with backing tracks. The full band has done a concert for the release of part I and II. We are now rehearsing for a long show with the full trilogy performed live.

M.I. - On the 8th January, on a Facebook post, you asked your fans to give you their top 3 tracks from the trilogy… which ones are your favourite?

The Witches of Finnmark, Christmas Eve and Cunningham.

M.I. - The witch trials and persecutions in Finnmark in the 16th and 17th century were some of the worst mankind has seen. Has mankind evolved for the best or for the worse?

Mainly for the better, but we still have a lot to learn from our sins of the past. Fear of the unknown and racism still exists, only in new forms and ways.

M.I. - Now that the trilogy is complete… what can we expect of Anders Buaas in the near future? Another album? Another trilogy? Has any other book inspired you lately to write more music?

I am working on a new project now. Writing a lot of new stuff. You´ll just have to wait and see...

M.I. - Have you got any plans to perform the trilogy live? Which songs will there be on the setlist?

I plan to play the full trilogy live, and Rune Blix Hagen, the author of the book will be joining us on stage, introducing the songs.

M.I. - What were the main lessons you learned when you toured as guitar player for Paul Di Anno (Iron Maiden) and Tim Ripper Owens (Judas Priest)?

To practice a lot more than you think you need to. 
To have dependable gear, and backup gear.
To start songs immediately, and not waste time on stage.

M.I. - How many guitars do you own? Is there a guitar that has a special place in your heart? If so, which one and why?

About 15 guitars. I love my sonic grey Fender stratocaster the most. My main guitar these days. Also the black strat with two humbuckers I used for most DiAnno shows is awesome, but has been played to death.

M.I. - Do you think your music would be the perfect soundtrack for a film about the persecution of witches? Would that be a “dream come true”?

Absolutely. I love film music, and many reviews have suggested this. A dream come true for sure.

M.I. - Any final words you’d like to share with us?

Just thanks for reaching out… All the best!

For Portuguese version, click here

Questions by Sónia Fonseca