Everything is marvellous, everything is adventurous with a high dosage of technical avant-garde progressive metal! But DØDHEIMSGARD is not only that; their progressivity stands in the unxpectedness and unpredictability of their musically powerfull soundscapes. This is the kind of music that you want to do stage diving and philosophize at the same time! How prog is that??? Ladies and gents, Vicotnic (guitars) is at your service (from their live appearance in Thessaloniki, Greece on November the 13th)!
On behalf of Justin Case Prog Radio, I welcome you in Thessaloniki, which you have said is like your second home! How do you feel?
V: It’s always great to be here. I think the Greek audience has some of the most loyal and dedicated fans that we have, so, it’s always great to be back. The passion is real here. When you come to a place like Norway, the fans have sort of a distance to the band. It’s like they don’t want to show any emotion. You Greeks are not afraid to show emotions and dedication. We are in this together, it’s our scene, and having a lot of emotion is definitely better than just being dead inside.
So I guess that yesterday when you played in Athens you saw that same passion and emotion right?
V: Absolutely! We didn’t do a really good show but we got a lot of love back anyway. It’s sad though, because if there is anybody that deserves a really great show from us it’s the Greek audience and we were sorry that we couldn’t deliver at our best level yesterday. But we still got a lot of love back from them. That’s the Greek way I guess!
Regarding your latest album, that was released this year. How did the audience receive it?
V: You know, it’s a difficult question because 10, 15 or 20 years ago you could kind of see how the audience received your album based on the sales. But today, there are no really big sales, so the only thing you can go by is the reviews and even if the review are stellar that doesn’t mean that people will buy the album anyway. So the only thing I can say with 100% certainty is that we got really really good reviews from almost everybody. I’m glad that people took the time to understand this album, because it’s not an easy album. If you just listen to it while doing the dishes you won’t get it. It’s an album you need to sit down and listen to.
What does this album have that none of the previous ones had? What are the main differences between this one and the previous ones?
V: There are differences between this album and all the previous albums, but I think that there is a bit of every album in this album. I think that was kind of the idea behind this album, to kind of sum up all my years in the black metal scene by doing an album that has elements not only from this band but other influences as well. Just bringing all in to one album but still also representing something new. For example jazz influences were brought into the mix. Conceptually it also makes sense because lyrically this album is like an introspection of the last 20 years and what changed in our personalities and what we’ve went through, not only musically but in our lives. We kind of threw out there some specific scenarios and just kept the thoughts and the ideas and the made the introspection that is the lyrics. And since the lyrics introspect the last 20 years, it was interesting to make an album that also did that musically.
And with that said you answered my next question which was about the progressive turn you took over the last years. Moving on, speaking of the fact that people are not buying the albums anymore, which you mentioned before, would you like to talk about it? Why does this happen and what can be done?
V: I don’t know. I think there will always be a passion for formats, like physical formats, but I guess every timea new generation grows up, they are not accustomed to buying records. They are more accustomed to downloading them. But that’s not only a bad thing because I think there’s more people coming to our shows over the last 10 years than it was the first 10 years. So it also helps spread the music and it takes the control away from the hands of the corporate sons of bitches and the labels. In a sense it’s a good revolution but we need to kind of make sure that it doesn’t affect the artists and the bands because then we won’t be able to do it anymore.
What motivates and inspires you musically and non-musically?
V: I always had the old albums in the back as an inspiration. I always try to bring Snorre (from Thorns) as a guide who not only influenced me but probably influenced the whole black metal scene. You know he is probably the most influential guitar riff maker ever! As time goes by, you kind of know your inspirations. You don’t limit yourself to them, but you know them by heart and you try to find inspiration in other places. It can be something conceptual, something you are wondering about like philosophy or a book you read. Those things also can give you ideas. It may sound funny, but if you have a concept you have to make the music fit the concept so it can actually work as a form of inspiration. Another thing are new artists. Every week, I regularly try to find exciting artists that I never heard about, using the internet of course. If I like it, I buy it, you know. Last week, I was at the Chelsea Wolfe concert and that was also really inspirational, how you can have so simplistic themes at the bottom but makes such huge music.
What is your life philosophy?
V: My life philosophy. That’s a really difficult question. I guess life is quite a hard, uphill swim. I think the best you can do is try to impact the closest things in a positive way like yourself, your friends, your family, your loved ones. A lot of people have ambitions that are really grand, like they want to change the world etc. but I think you have to focus on the people close to you. And also, doing music has been a lifelong journey and a passion that’s so closely tied into my kind of mental philosophy about creating and sharing. Like, every album kind of tells a story and where the performers are in their lives. There is always a lot of philosophy present on the records. So being an artist is a big passion and a big tool to practice a discipline and a philosophy.
Would you like to share your thought about yesterday’s tragedies in Paris? (note: the Bataclan tragedy on November 13th that happened the day before the interview). What can be done through music about this?
V: I guess music in general, especially the underground music scene, has the power to open minds in a sense that, for example, if you come from a place where only popular music exists and you find underground music, you see a whole new world. And it’s the same thing with the level of knowledge. Like, if you only read your local newspapers you would be quite biased, but if you kind of dig in into the sources and expand your mind you will probably have a better perspective on things that happen, like that which is happening in Paris right now. It’s horrible, what’s happening, because it affects innocent people. But it’s both ways. It’s the same thing in the middle-eastern countries who have been tormented for years now including western countries’ wishes. And you have to wonder, would ISIS have been so strong if the Americans didn’t remove Saddam Hussein? Maybe we are also to blame for all this.
Back to DHG. What are the future plans of the band?
V: Do as much shows as we can. We love to meet the people who buy the records and have a relationship with us through our music. And make some more music I guess and find new interesting combinations and concepts and still try to broaden the whole genre. That’s kind of our life mission you know! To kind of expand the genre we belong to.
And you are actually doing it!
V: Cheers! Thank you!