About Me

Interview with Art of Departure

Art of Departure is the new project of the drummer Tarald Lie Jr., from the well-known band Tristania. With a style similar to Tristania, this project shows us a more personal side of Tarald and makes us want to hear more. With a single already available, we were curious to know more about this project.

M.I. -  "Art of Departure" is the name of your new project. Can you tell us a little more about it?

This is, more or less, a solo project where I get to express musical and lyrical ideas that I haven't had the chance to display in the bands I have played in so far. Until now, only one single has been released, on which I play drums and guitar.
The following guests are contributing: Kjetil Nordhus (Tristania, Green Carnation) vocals; Mariangela Demurtas (Tristania, Ardours) vocals; Øyvind "Mustis" Mustaparta (ex Dimmu Borgir, Susperia) keyboards; Håkon "'Memnock" Didriksen (Susperia/Abyssic) bass; and Pete Johansen (Tristania, Sins of thy Beloved, Sirenia etc) violins.

M.I. -  How would you describe your style?

The music is dark, melodic, and ambient. Some would say there are certain progressive elements here and there. The first few songs have turned out quite mellow, for some reason, but this might change in the future. The lyrics are style-wise not very different from what I have previously written for Tristania and Ardours. They are maybe slightly more on the melancholic side and possibly a bit more personal.

M.I. -  Why did you choose "Art of Departure" as the name of this project?

The name is lifted from the name of the first song that was completed for the project. I found it suitable because it is somehow a slight departure from what I normally do musically. It also refers to "leaving"; "leaving someone/something/anything", so it is open to interpretation. Whether it can be described as "art" is up to others to decide.

M.I. -  For the single cover you went to Paraguay and made a photo session. Why did you decide to do it there and not in Norway? Who's the girl in the photo?

My girlfriend is from Paraguay, so we try to go visit the country as often as we can. We chose some locations that we thought would fit the mood of the songs well, along with a local photographer and a friend of ours, Myrta Araújo of Evil Dolls (alternative model agency), who kindly joined us as a model in the video and promo pics/single cover.
The photo session could very well have been done in Norway, but the result would have been totally different, so this time I opted for this solution.
For the EP, scheduled for release during the winter of 2021, I have co-operated with a great Paraguayan artist called Samuel Araya for the cover image. I wanted to save his artwork for the EP release, using a photo from the Paraguay session for the current single.

M.I. -  You have chosen other Tristania members to work with you in this EP. Why did you choose them? What about Øyvind and Håkon (from Susperia), have you worked together before?

I thought the voices of Kjetil and Mariangela would fit the first single perfectly. I think they complement each other in a great way. Both this song and another one (called "No Flowers") were actually meant to be on Darkest White, the latest Tristania album, and were written with that in mind, but were left out during the last month of recordings due to time pressure.
I wanted to use them for the next Tristania album, but the band preferred fresh material and no "leftovers". Both songs mean a lot to me, so I decided to finish them and release them myself.
I recorded demo vocals for Art of Departure on my own, but decided to ask the other singers to do the album version. However, the next songs might end up with me doing all the vocals, if I am pleased with the result.
Pete Johansen has done many recordings with Tristania up through the years, and I am a big fan of his atmosphere, eccentricity, and virtuosity. Luckily, he liked the songs and agreed to participate, making me very pleased and proud. I drove to Stavanger to meet up with him, witnessing two songs being recorded in a couple of intense hours. What a unique and intense player.
Øyvind (keyboards) and Håkon (bass) were also handpicked for their amazing abilities, although I have never worked with them before. By pure chance, or a weird twist of fate, both of them now live in Kviteseid, West Telemark, where I spent the first 23 years of my life and still visit quite frequently, because my parents live there. It is quite practical that we can in fact meet in person to discuss the music and hang out when I happen to be there.
I recorded the guiding vocals and all the guitars for the single in Henning Ramseth's studio, Space Valley, here in Hamar. His very kind and professional assistance has been invaluable for the project so far.
Kenneth Lykkås, who engineered the vocal tracking of Kjetil, also deserves to be mentioned for amazing talent, generosity, and great moments in his studio in Vennesla.
The drums were recorded at Strand Studio in Oslo. Marius Strand is a highly recommended engineer/jack-of-all-trades with long experience.
The mixing of the song was done by Christer A. Cederberg (Anathema, Tristania) in Kristiansand, one of my favourite producers/engineers, who added the X-factor my ears so much hoped to hear.
Ole Vistnes, Tristania bandmate (now also a creative member of Shining) has also been helpful in the pre-production process of the project.
As you can see, there is a whole bunch of people who assisted me in this so-called "solo" thing. I am really grateful to all of them.

M.I. -  "Art of Departure" is also the name of your first single, why did you decide that?

As previously mentioned, the name of the project is taken from the name of the first song I made with this in mind, so it was a natural choice.

M.I. -  I know you have more songs to be released soon. What can we expect?

The plan is to release an EP during the upcoming winter with three-four new tracks, including No Longer With Us, No Flowers, an alternative version of Art of Departure (the song), and one more track. I would say that the song that is available for the public already indicates the style and direction of the rest of the material pretty well.

M.I. -  What were the main challenges in creating this EP?

It has been done without the support from a label. It is pretty hard, often discouraging, and quite time-consuming to record music with close to zero budget, relying heavily on services from friends and acquaintances, since I don't have neither studio access nor studio competence myself. The recordings were done in seven different studios, plus mixing in another one. Even if it is possible to do many things online these days, exchanging files etc, I have chosen to be present at most of the trackings of the songs.
I am currently considering expanding it all into a steady band project, so people can have more input and feel more involved. This could also hopefully facilitate the practical aspects of the creation and completion of the music. Time will tell.

M.I. -  Are you responsible for both lyrics and music?

I write all the lyrics, yes. So far most of the music has been written by me as well, except from No Flowers, which has vocal lines created by Mariangela and Kjetil, plus guitar composition by Ole Vistnes. This song also features spooky, atmospheric piano work by Øyvind.

M.I. -  Which song is your favourite?

At the moment I really like Art of Departure, the song, because it turned out exactly how I wanted it. This might change as the other songs are completed.

M.I. -  How has the feedback been so far?

The feedback has been really great. I have received a lot of lovely messages from people who have appreciated it, which is really heartwarming. I wish more people could be introduced to the material, though, because I think the potential is there for it to be appreciated by a much wider audience. So keep on spreading the word!

M.I. -  You are planning to release a music video soon, can you tell us a little more about it?

I am quite frustrated about this at the moment. It was recorded in Paraguay, and the plan was to release the video together with the single, but due to several unforeseen circumstances, it has been delayed, and delayed... and delayed.
It will, as most music videos, be an attempt to capture the atmosphere of the song. The mood will be dark and brooding.
I am optimistically hoping for a completion before the end of September.

M.I. -  Which songs are on your playlist right now?

The last five songs I have listened to today are: John Wayne (Billy Idol), Sorrow of Sophia (Draconian), Where Eagles Dare (Iron Maiden), Please Read the Letter (Robert Plant & Alison Krauss), and If You Want Blood (AC/DC)

M.I. -  Who are your biggest inspirations?

There are so many bands, composers, musicians, authors, and lyricists that inspire me in various ways. However, listing them up would be a quite tedious read for most people, so I stick to a cultural and musical phenomenon that was my prime mover from the age of 12 and eventually has ended up in my DNA: KISS.
For me nothing beats this band from 1973 to 2000. The current version is fun for all the family, with magic sprinkles here and there. Their show at the Tons of Rock festival in Oslo last year left a big smile on my face.

M.I. -  Where do you feel most inspired?

Figuratively, in a mental place of self-pity, gloom and melancholy, which admittedly sounds rather pompous, but it is true. Geographically, probably on the couch at home.

M.I. -  With Tristania, what was your funniest moment on stage?

Hmm... Probably when I put two sugar cubes in my mouth during the intro at Karmøygeddon 2010, for a little boost, and half choked my way through Year of the Rat, the first song.
Or when I misunderstood a cue at Femme Metal Event in Belgium 2015 and started the intro while two of the other band members were in the bathroom. Not so funny at the time, though.
I cracked up a few of times at rehearsals in 2006, when during some of the songs I turned to Vibeke, the previous singer, and she was knitting in between the verses.

M.I. -  Do you miss going on tour?

Yes, I really do. Many bands have had restless months since the outbreak of the pandemic. None of the bands I have been playing with can be considered to be very active touring bands, though, so there are many other musicians out there with a much bigger reason to complain.

M.I. -  What are your plans for the next months?

I will try to be as efficient and productive as possible with this project, in addition to brushing up on tour material for Tristania. There is a rescheduled tour of Latin America coming up in November/December 2021. I am so looking forward to getting back on stage.

M.I. -  Any words for your fans in Portugal?

I hope that you are all safe and sound, and that you will have some time to check out this new project. I have played Portugal twice before, once on tour with Tristania in 2013 (Porto and Lisbon), and the last time doing the Under the Doom festival with Draconian in 2018. It is about time to visit your beautiful country again. Hope to see you soon!

For Portuguese version, click here

Questions by Tatiana Andersen