Carl Michael Eide, probably better known to most of you as Aggressor, has been part of the Norwegian underground for quite some time by now due to his involvment in bands such as SATYRICON, ULVER, VED BUENS ENDE, INFERNÖ, AURA NOIR, CADAVER INC. and DØDHEIMSGARD. Many good reasons to find out a bit more about his musical activities of the past, present and future. Sonderkrig hooked up with the man and returned with the following interview...
Hello Carl, before getting deeper into this interview I would like you to introduce yourself and the different projects you worked with all along your career, even if you seem to be pretty wellknown by the initiated circles now...
"The beginning... Well, it's actually quite far back in time. I first started playing back in 1990, me and two class-mates started a Death Metal band called Eczema whitch we re-named to Satyricon in 1991. I played on the first demo, then I left the band, or rather got thrown out in 1992, only to team up with a slick-ass vocalist named Krips Rygg, better known as Garm, and started up Ulver. Well, Garm and me are equally strong-willed, so late '93 we agreed on going our seperate ways due to artistic differences. I met guitarist Vikotnic (also known as Mr.Fixit) that same winter, we clicked and shared ideas. Joined by bassist Hugh Mingay (Skoll), we later formed Ved Buens Ende and recorded the now cult-ridden demo "Those Who Caress The Pale". The demo turned out quite "abnormal" for that era of Metal. It became very progressive, and people in the underground couldn't figure out what our music was all about. We were plainly misunderstood by our contemporaries. We suffered under this, and needed to explore other distinctions within the Metal genre. Both me and Vikotnic have both our feet strongly semented in the eighties Thrash Metal. And both of us each started our side projects. Vikotnik went with Dødheimsgard, and I started recording a few tunes on my own under the name Aura Noir. I had known Apollyon for some time. We shared musical preferences. And we agreed to co-operate in Aura Noir. I used to work in a sort of communal rock-club with a 16-track studio, and, illegally, we entered it at night time with a friend-technician and recorded (during 5 hours!) the first mini-album "Dreams Like Deserts". In the meantime, being a restless musician, I had jammed (I also play guitar) with some friends of mine in a Thrash band called Infernö. Right after completing the Aura Noir album. We went (legally this time) to the same studio and recorded Infernö's debut "Utter Hell" (on Osmose Prod.). During all this, Ved Buens Ende had been rehersing material and signing with Misanthropy Records. We entered a studio spring-time 1995 to record our debut-album "Written In Waters". It harvested killer reviews when it came out October that same year, but the audience still seemed sceptic. Being met yet again with such a semi-coldness by our listeners, I guess we instinctively focused more on our side projects. And Ved Buens Ende withered... Both Vikotnic's Dødheimsgard and my Aura Noir and Infernö released albums and toured, while Ved Buens Ende was put on ice. Late '´97 I was asked by Dimmu Borgir to join them as a session drummer on a tour with Kreator and Krisiun. I accepted, and after the six week long tour I was offered the job as a full-time member. At first I agreed, but after a while I realised that this was not my cup of tea and quit. Just about winter-time '98 Dødheimsgard needed some drumwork on the "666 International" album, I participated and joined the band. I was also asked by Anders Neddo to join Cadaver inc. that same period. Actually Apollyon and I joined Cadaver inc. together since Aura Noir had become quite in-active due to guitarist Blasphemer's focus on Mayhem. Infernö also seemed to be held on ice. So at this point of time (early '99) it boiled down to these to acts: DHG and Cadaver. And so it has been to this day. A quite consistant tendency these last couple of years, I must say. Maybe I'm getting old. You might have understood by now, that up to this, I've been restless! Always! Both bands are in the last stages of rehersing for the recordings of our albums next year now, and things are going well. (phew! what a mindjob!)."
My first question is going to deal with your latest moan called VIRUS; could you introduce us deeper to this act, the reasons why it has to be formed and the line up? I heard it actually was the same line up as for Ved Buens Ende...
"It's not the same line-up. We have Einar "Esso" Sjursjø (Necrodevil from INFERNÖ) on drums, Petter "Plenum" Berntsen (also in killer Thrash-act Audiopain) on bass, and myself on guitar / vocals. You know, during all these years plaing in all these bands, my heart has allways been with Ved Buens Ende. You might say that Virus is a sort of a derivative of Ved Buens Ende. It explores the more abstract motions of Metal, and unites it with weird rock / pop / electronic (whatever!) music. Its not within any specific genre yet. But people have a tendency of comparing it with old Yes, King Crimson, that stuff... I think the best comparison would be to say it sounds like a weird mixture of Talking Heads and VoïVod. Which are my main inspirations and some of my fave bands. I think Virus is the result of musical fantasies I've had through years of plaing extreme Metal. It's now almost two years since we started recording the album (to be released on Garms label, Jester). And it amazes me how hard it is to make something different than the music I'm used to play. We are, thankfully, on the verge of completing it now. But I must say, throughout the process I've become increasingly aware of the fact that any genre of music craves total dedication. And mixing genres together is extremely difficult. I would hate myself if the album turns out mediocre. So therefore it takes such an amount of time."
Second question for VIRUS... I heard two promo tracks of it (no voice on it) and that sounded fucking surprising as it seems to be neither Black or Death / Thrash Metal, nor even Metal at all! Still it keeps the same gloomy, weird and suffocating verve but it's more a melt between Jazz elements and totally undefinable musical hybridations... could you explain us more what are the motivations and musical / vibrating foundations that hide beside this particular band?
"Yes, I agree. The Jazz elements are there also. I'm a keen listener. All of us in Virus are. The album will become the result of that fact. I think these undefinable vibes are there also because none of us are schooled musicians. Everything is self-taught. It gives it a primitive edge."
My feeling says that Virus can find one of its clues in the older project VED BUENS ENDE that was at its time a totally innovative form of conceiving the Black Arts, melting old dødheimsgard ways of riffing with a brand new way of singing, that sometimes recalls some ULVER but bizarrely it also reminds me on some old psycho acts, even like the doors! Same question as above, what were the sources for VED BUENS ENDE and why is it fuckin' dead?
"I remember back in those days, all three of us in Ved Buens Ende were deeply exploring many types of dark music. Everything from coil, to comtemporary classical music, to cult-act Thorns to swans and to the insane belgian group UniversE Zero, to name a few. This was not intentionally taking place in our music. Rather sneeking its way in there. There was also a strange creative brotherhood between the three of us, that made Ved Buens Ende become what it is. Ved Buens Ende is not dead, man! Its resting. Waiting for us to get a grip and make music together again. We tried, a couple of times, to regroup. But we failed. The magic wasn't there. We'll just have to wait for it to kick in again. After we have completed the next DHG album, we'll start Ved Buens Ende. We have firmly decided to make it happen again."
Could you continue dealing with the streams that led you to write such depressive and visionnary lyrics for VED BUENS ENDE? Could you finally go deeper in this: "Carry me and throw me into the waters that kept you and yours alive, and if that was fear, I'd leave you with your doves... you want to eat the hand that hit you and you dear pity me"?
"Being a young man in the depths of your own mental abyss is NOT easy. Those lyrics are a product of the fact that I did not thrive in my head back then. I was at the edge of sanity. Going back and "dealing" with them, would be like reading from a diary, so I'´d rather not. I don't think I'm capable of writing such material again now. My new poetry will be more like reflections and observations. Rather than visionary and depressive lyrics. The darkness is always there. It will shine through, believe me. But I cannot re-install my '94 / '95 ways of thinking. That would be utterly destructive. I have to allow myself to be sane, or else I cannot function as a musician, or person for that matter."
Technically speaking you proved all those years that you could be the perfect drummer for Black Metal with prestations such as on ULVER's "Vargnatt", VED BUENS ENDE, AURA NOIR, CADAVER INC., DHG and some more, and all in all a very inner way of playing drums... something totally yours. Have you been learning classical drum lessons? What kind of dumkit do you use? Which drummer do you consider great in the Black Metal scene?
"Thanks, man! I never took any lessons. Well, Fenris and Hellhammer gave me some hints now and then, but everything I know is self-tought. It has its good and bad sides. Now, when we are on the verge of recording the new CADAVER and DHG albums, we have decided to let nothing spill. It has to be totally professional. So we decided to go and do the albums with a producer (Bjørn Boge, producer of 666... is gonna produce both albums). He is a legendary Norwegian rocker (davinci in the eighties) (and these days in STREET LEGAL - Frank) and VERY professional. At rehersal he pointed out a few things... You see. I've always been surrounded by "yes-people", they keep telling me how great I am, making me think actually that. You know, in a small music-scene like Black Metal, there are no demands on the musicians. So over the years I've been quite obliviant to the fact that one MUST learn the basics. I never did, so I'm struggling with that now. You can play how fast you want to, and do the most insane fills. But if you never learnt HOW to actually hit the drum in the first place, which is a fucking science, you'll be struggling in the studio, and that costs if you want it to be perfect. Everyone else uses triggers (or does it badly), and I HATE triggers. A drum should sound like a drum, not a fucking casio-synthesizer! Among the good sides are, as you say, the development of my own personal way of playing. Its blissful... No regards to any standards. I guess my faves are Reed St. Mark of celtic frost (on the "Into The Pandemonium" album), Fenris on "A Blaze In The Northern Sky" and "Goatlord". I think Frost has become very potent on "Volcano", some jazz-drummers of course, Autopsy's Chris Reifert (not technically, but he has the groove of the devil) to name a few... Drum equipment is way too expensive. I'm borrowing an old Pearl-set (courtesy of Larz, red harvest). I'm aiming for sponsorship, of course. We only have to sell more albums first... I guess, for the upcoming studio-sessions I'll rent something fancy..."
Dealing with the Black Metal scene, what do you think of it nowadays? Especially about the relative lack of good releases for 5 or 6 years now but also about a certain renaissance of a true verve in Norway for example with acts such as MANES, 1349 and the really worth checking FURZE?
"Yeah, I now what you mean. A long time passes between each good album. 1349 is good, yes. We (CADAVER) have done some gigs with them. A very satanic band indeed. FURZE is also good. Heard it briefly. Never heard MANES, I'm afraid. Sure it's good. I don't look upon it as a scene any longer. Its just a bunch of good friends playing in Metal bands. The music is not that central anymore, as it was back in the days (early 90's) when everyone was gloomy."
Aura Noir is a band dedicated to the purest roots of the Black Metal genre, dealing with old cult heavy / thrashing riffs. What can you tell us about the formation of the band, its discography and when would we see another fuckin' release?!
"It's hard to say when the new album's gonna be out. Aura noir is a special case. It's the most un-organized band I've been in to this date. But we're rehersing (like once a month), and we have about three new tracks. It'll be our fifth release. The others are "Dreams Like Deserts"('95), "Black Thrash Attack" ('97), "Deep Tracts Of Hell" ('99) and "Increased Damnation" (sampler, 2000). The last two were released on Hammerheart Records. We've actually NEVER recieved ANY royalties for any of the last two, even though there was hardly any costs linked to any of them. "Increased Damnation" had zero studio budget. So I hail a great warning to any bands considering signing with Hammerheart. They are fucking money-grabbers."
It also seems that you appear on DHG's "666 International". What exactly did you make on it as the drums on this release tend to be more synthetic than natural?
"Well, I play the drums, but they were processed through a computer afterwards. I was actually gonna play guitar on the album to begin with, but this was changed just before we entered studio. I think the album turned out ok, but it's the album I've participated on whitch I'm least familiar with. It's like it's not me playing. This will not be the case on the next DHG-album. Only acoustic drums this time. That'll be weird enough, I promise."
I know that you are getting ready to unleash another moan with dødheimsgard, what can you tell us about the newest orientations of this unpredictable band? The name of the album and some song titles?
"The working-title of the album is "Satan Berzerker-Mongo", which is a quite suiting title. It's gonna be a berzerk album. Many different songs (slow moody ones, to fast insane ones), but still recognizable as dødheimsgard. Don't know any song-titles yet, they are in still in inside the head of Aldrahn..."
CADAVER is going to release "Necrosis" in spring 2003... Is it already recorded? What can we expect of this new album? What are the members invoved?
"The same members as on "Discipline", only Apollyon started playing bass as well as doing the vocals some time ago. L.J. Balvaz, who used to do the bass, now does rhythm guitar. This sounds much better live, than only one guitar. It suits our music much better. The new album's gonna have way better sound. We play better as a band also these days, after touring alot. Plus, we have, as mentioned a producer."
I think we're done now, thanx for co-operation, the last words are yours... regards eternal!
"Eternally your shadow!"
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