ENSLAVED Guitarist: 'I Never Trust Classifications, Only My Ears'

Germany's Metal-Inside.de webzine recently conducted an interview with ENSLAVED guitarist Ivar Bjørnson. A couple of excerpts from the question-and-answer session follow:

Metal-Inside.de: The last ENSLAVED product was a DVD? Are you happy with the result? What [do you think] about the DVD format in general?

Ivar: "Oh yes, we are very very satisfied with the new DVD, 'Return to Yggdrasill – Live in Bergen'! Both the sound and picture turned out very much how we wanted it to do! Personally I have only a few DVDs in my collection. I think the sound and the picture, along with, of course, the playing has to have a very high quality before it becomes interesting. Sadly, a lot of the extreme metal productions look and sound like shit. I suspect it's only products to make easy money, but hopefully it will develop towards a higher demand for quality. To sum it up; I guess I like it as a new dimension of art."

Metal-Inside.de: ENSLAVED has been a symbol of Norwegian black metal, [but] now the music sounds more like the so-called avantgarde/extreme metal. What do you think: Is black metal only a (life-)-style for younger guys? And what do you think in general about the classifications [of] "raw/true/war black metal," "symphonic black metal," "avantgarde black metal" and perhaps other [sub-genres]?

Ivar: "I think black metal is a lifestyle that is true and honorable for those who work hard to make good music and develop solid concepts around their bands. Of course, there is a lot of shit, but you will find that in all kinds of music. I think some people have used and are using black metal and its image to hide [the fact] that they have no talent and no substance in their life's work. But luckily there are many great black metal bands to prove the opposite: TAAKE, DARKTHRONE, TSJUDER, 1349, SULPHUR, and many more, I am sure! About classifications, I personally find it very uninteresting. For example: symphonic black metal is normally utter shit, but again there are good bands like EMPEROR, ANOREXIA NERVOSA (some stuff, at least, is good). Norwegian black metal is normally good, but also here you find crappy bands all the time. So I never trust classifications, only my ears."

Metal-Inside.de: Tell me something about your private life? What about the members‘ jobs, hobbies. I read, you are owner of a software-company.

Ivar: "We try to keep private life private — our music shouldn’t be too obscured by petty details, like what we do during the day. But most people already know that Grutle [Kjellson; vocals, bass] and Cato [Bekkevold; drums] are heavily into fishing. Now music is full-time for me, I only do some small software production as a hobby. Herbrand [Larsen; keyboards, vocals] also works as a studio producer for other bands as well as being a music teacher. Finally Arve [Isdal] plays the guitar in many different projects besides ENSLAVED and does some part-time teaching."

Read the entire interview at Metal-Inside.de.

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