Chad Bowar of About Heavy Metal recently conducted an interview with DIMMU BORGIR bassist Vortex. A few excerpts from the chat follow:
Chad Bowar: What has the response been to the album ["In Sorte Diaboli"] so far?
Vortex: "All the critics are over the top. We just heard from the top Norwegian tabloid, and they gave it 6 out of 6. It's amazing. I can't believe it. The reviews have been very good so far."
Chad Bowar: When did you decide you wanted to do a concept album?
Vortex: "It was something we started toying with during Ozzfest in 2004. Silenoz sat down and wrote the main storyline and it grew from there."
Chad Bowar: Is it any different writing the music for a concept album?
Vortex: "It hasn't been for us. The riffs are written individually. We present riffs at the rehearsal space. If the riff survives we jam it together and make songs. Then we arrange it together to make an album. So when we go into the studio we have a pretty good idea of what's going to happen."
Chad Bowar: Your last original studio album, "Death Cult Armageddon", sold over 100,000 copies in North America. Do you expect "In Sorte Diaboli" to surpass that?
Vortex: "We don't have the support of Ozzfest this time around, but the venues we have been playing lately have been larger, so it might happen. It's an exciting time for us. The album is just out and we'll see if we can make the Billboard chart again. We did last time, and that was a milestone for Norwegian metal. Nobody had ever done that." [Editor's Note: "In Sorte Diaboli" sold 14,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at No. 43 on the Billboard chart.]
Chad Bowar: You've spent a lot of time touring the U.S. What are your most and least favorite things about our country?
Vortex: "I like that you can use the same currency everywhere. That's nice. The people are really friendly, that's for sure. You also have fantastic scenery. We really enjoy it here. The negative is that you have too many McDonald's-type restaurants."
Chad Bowar: Is there anywhere that band hasn't played live that you would like to go to?
Vortex: "Iceland, actually. We tried to do a release party there once, but couldn't. The origin of our name DIMMU BORGIR is from the lava and rock formations there. In folklore it's said to be one of the gateways to hell. It's also a tourist attraction. It would be nice to have a concert there."
Chad Bowar: You've been in the music industry for a long time now. What has the been the biggest change you've seen?
Vortex: "The Internet. Before you had to go to a record store. Now you can just download it. It's been a revolution for sure. It's very accessible, which is nice. Downloads are good, but it just doesn't feel the same without the cover and liner notes. I like that stuff. When I started I was buying vinyl and cassettes."
Chad Bowar: It costs a lot of money for European bands to come here and tour. Are you to the point now where you can come over to the U.S. to tour and not worry about losing money?
Vortex: "It takes a lot of money to come here from Europe, and the tour bus costs a lot. But now we're playing in 2000 to 3000 capacity venues, which is a step up for us. It's getting better every time, and we make a little more every time."
Chad Bowar: What have been the high points in your career?
Vortex: "Playing Wacken was great, and playing Ozzfest was really cool. Those were highlights."
Chad Bowar: What was the worst job you ever had?
Vortex: "I worked for a moving company, and we moved pianos. That was a hard job. I was a lot skinnier then. I also tore down buildings, which was hard and dirty work."
Chad Bowar: Who are your heroes?
Vortex: "When I was a kid I looked up to BLACK SABBATH. Ozzy Osbourne was a hero to me. A lot of musicians were role models for me back in the day, like W.A.S.P. I went to a W.A.S.P. concert a couple of years ago and I couldn't even drink beer afterwards because I was so happy. I just had to go home because it was such a great experience. Blackie Lawless has one of the best voices in metal."
Read the entire interview at this location.