Live-Metal.net recently conducted an interview with with guitarist Galder (real name: Tom Rune Andersen) of Norwegian symphonic black metallers DIMMU BORGIR. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Live-Metal.net: A while ago, Vortex left the band and he had done a lot of the cleaner vocals in your material. So how did you guys go about replacing him on this album? Obviously on "Gateways", you have the female vocals, and then you have other clean vocals throughout the album. How did you go about replacing that? [Editor's note: ICS Vortex (bassist/clean vocalist) and Mustis (keyboards) were fired from the band in August 2009.]
Galder: First of all, we felt like we needed to have some clean vocals. It was in the past, so we just started talking about having some clean vocals and having this girl (Agnete Kjølsrud) do them. She plays in some Norwegian bands, as well (DJERV, ex-ANIMAL ALPHA), so we knew how her voice was. She had this "witchy" type of voice, which we thought was cool and would suit us. With all the male guest singing, we didn't really plan anything, we just took it like it came and experimented. But we felt like we had to have the clean vocals. We also experimented with some choir singing. The choir is actually singing some lines, as well, and we'd never done that before.
Live-Metal.net: Between last album and this one, you guys have changed over the lineup. How have the new guys integrated with the band?
Galder: We have some session members now. We knew them from before. It's like we‘re old friends of theirs. We're working very good, and this is the tightest we've ever played. Of course, we have to compromise some with the clean vocals now, so we have a choir now that does all of the singing on tape. That's one of the things you have to compromise. But as far as drums and bass, everything sounds really tight. I feel it's a lot better to stay onstage now than it was most of the times we've done it before, so that's good.
Live-Metal.net: You recently released the "Gateways" video. Tell us about the concept behind the video and how it all came about.
Galder: There's not really any concept. We just wanted to have a cold approach on it. We have some new stage clothes that are white, so we just wanted to make it really cold feeling. So we found this old factory in Berlin that was before the war. But it's one of the greatest places I've ever been to. I thought when I saw that place that it was just perfect for recording. We wanted to go there, and we had the guys that made the RAMMSTEIN videos make this video, so it's like a big budget video. We just shared some ideas back and forth with those guys, and it ended up like it ended up. We were very happy with it, and it's definitely one of the best videos we've done.
Live-Metal.net: Are the costumes in the video the ones that you're going to now? You usually had the spikes look before. Is this what you're kind of going with now?
Galder: We wanted to change our look a little bit because we had always used the black with the spikes. And you get tired of that after 10 years — we actually used it for 10 years. So you have to change once in a while. This is not the look we're going for the rest of our lives, but for this album it was a great thing to do. It also was good because the whole album was something totally new for us — new ideas. So why not combine these new ideas with new clothes? If you don't dare to take chances, then you won't get anywhere. DIMMU BORGIR has always been about taking chances and doing stuff that no one else dares to do.
Live-Metal.net: Speaking of taking chances, you guys had a recent tour in Europe with KORN. How did all that go? Did you interact with the guys? And talking about taking chances, could we see more of this type of thing in the future?
Galder: It's hard to say. It just sort of happened. We wanted to play in the middle and open up for a big band. And then there's the choices. You have to pick a band that's available at the time. And SLAYER, METALLICA, stuff like that wasn't available. We respect KORN, they have lots of cool songs and there's nothing else like them. But it's not our main music. You understand the difference, but it's also cool to play in front of a different crowd. And we do that all the time on festivals, so why not on a tour? We just see it as a fun thing. If we wanted to make money, we would headline instead. It was just to reach out to a different crowd and see what the reaction is. But it was a split up tour. The first half was with KORN and then the rest was with ENSLAVED and a band called SAHG. So yeah, it was a great experience and there were a lot of people, big stages and stuff like that.
Live-Metal.net: Starting back from the group of the original Scandinavian black metal bands up until now, do you think that black metal is still relevant today? Or is it just mainly with the original bands that started it?
Galder: I think it's very relevant, but at the same time, it's different. It's a bit more grown up. I don't know how to say it. It's not as evil as it was back in the day. But that's a cool thing, that we and ENSLAVED have been doing this from the beginning and we are still here, and we are still the same guys as we were before, just calmed down a little bit. So for us, of course, it is very relevant. DIMMU has changed, but every band changes. VENOM doesn't sound the same today as it did on their first album. All bands change, that's just how it goes. I think if you play in a band for 17 years or more, a lot of black metal bands that have played for over 20 years, they sound different today than what they did on their first album.
Live-Metal.net: Do you think there are any legit, really good black metal bands coming out today?
Galder: Yeah, WATAIN, they're really old-school, it sounds like. But also, you can't record in a way like you did in the past. Today, everything is digital, so even if you go into the studio and try to make it sound old-school with that guitar sound, that dark tremolo sound, you can't reproduce that because it's a different way today of recording. So even if people try, it won't work because it's different. It will sound too good today. [laughs]
Read the entire interview from Live-Metal.net.
Fan-filmed video footage of DIMMU BORGIR's entire November 10, 2010 performance at the Masquerade in Atlanta, Georgia can be viewed at Tyronehood.tv. One of the clips is available below.