EMPEROR Keyboardist Discusses LEPROUS Project

Frank Bøkseth of Norway's Imhotep recently conducted an interview with EMPEROR's new synth player and co-vocalist Einar Solberg about his band LEPROUS. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:

Imhotep: What can you tell me about the recording of the Aeolia album?

Solberg: "We began the recordings of Aeolia in February 2006, with Ihsahn [EMPEROR frontman] and Ihriel [Ihsahn's wife] from Mnemosyne Productions as producers. After a long writing process we felt that we had pretty much material written which we felt was well worth recording. The material was created over a long period of time, which probably is the biggest reason for the large musical variation on the album. Tracks like 'Aeolus Shadow' and 'Eye of the Storm' were created straight after we did the 'Silent Waters' demo in 2004. The recording process itself was mainly split in two. We started off with the drums, and they were recorded in Juke Joint Studio here in Notodden. This is a very cool 'old-school' studio with a special atmosphere and they use mostly vintage analogue equipment. After a short week all the drum parts were done. Thereafter, everything was moved up to Mnemosyne's own Symphonique Studio. The guitars were finished within a week. After four more days the bass was done, and the synth was also done with within a few days (and they were not programmed). The recording of the vocals went surprisingly fast and also they were done within a week. The mixing and mastering were still to be done, though. That process was delayed a bit because of lack of time from the producers, but the CD was finished in due time, and we were all very happy with the final result."

Imhotep: When I compare the demo to the album I see that there's been a period where the band has matured. What's the difference between then and now, as you see it?

Solberg: "Well, PAIN OF SALVATION was a big inspiration to all of us when 'Silent Waters' was recorded. Even though LEPROUS isn't as progressive as POS, you can still find traits of POS in the music on the demo. The songs are pretty much pompous and straightforward. At the time, we were very inexperienced, and especially as studio-musicians. When you listen to 'Aeolia', it isn't difficult to hear that the band has changed both in line-up and inspirations. We have started to include far more genres in our music; jazz, classical music, latino, funk etc. I think it's boring to base your music on only one genre, when it's so much more interesting and fun to mix them all — the whole band agree on this! Of course it's important to create your own sound, but we feel that we've managed to do that. Some believe that the variations in our songs are a bit 'over the top,' but the people that follow all the different norms in the genres, will never be very innovative. What's the point in just re-creating music so many others have done before? We make our music for our own satisfaction."

Imhotep: You come from the fairly high-profile (metal-wise) town of Notodden. How is the scene today and how does this musical environment affect on you?

Solberg: "The musical environment here is fairly good compared to its size. Progressive music isn't very big around here, like so many other places, but it is growing thanks to some young and promising bands. There are many great bands from Notodden who has received international acknowledgment; EMPEROR, ZYKLON, IHSAHN, MINDGRINDER, MORTIIS and PAGANIZE. I guess it's compulsory for every metal fan to know some of those names. In addition, there's a pop rock band called THE X-QUEEN OF THE ASTRONAUTS. So as you see, there are a lot of things going on. Which is great!"

Read the entire interview at www.imhotep.fi.

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