As the Circus leaves the Galaxy
Norwegian Death Metal scene has never offered such amounts of bands and albums as the Swedish, American or Polish one. Therefore, it is a pleasant surprise that in the latter-day sense of style there have appeared very interesting bands where one of the best is certainly DISKORD band. The trio performs on his two albums more off-beat access to Death genre, but not in terms of innovativeness, rather different approach to composition, and especially the building on a special bizarre atmosphere. This could have the effect that in Norway could be more bands that would be kind of based on DISKORD and there would be typical Norwegian Death Metal School. The similar considerations I was talking with Eyvind Warsted Axelsen, bassist of DISKORD.
Hellish greetings to you, how are things going for DISKORD these days? I know you have done European tour for your new "Dystopics" album with EXECRATION band. Are the feelings from those live gigs still fresh? Which place was best to play and where you met with the best fans reactions? How did people actually react to your dissonant music?
Greetings! All is well in camp DISKORD; we are busy rehearsing for some gigs in Norway this autumn, as well as writing and rehearsing new material.
The tour with EXECRATION is still very fresh in our minds, yes; it was a great tour. All the places we played were great in their own respect, and we are very thankful to the wonderful people that helped us set up this tour (cheers David!), let us sleep on their floors (Jozka, we owe you big time), drove us around Europe (Gianluca, how the hell did you put up with us for all those days?!), etc. That being said, for me personally I would say that Bologna, Prague and Berlin were the highlights of the tour. Of course, it was a great honor to get to share stage with the legendary POSSESSED in Prague!
I would also like to commend the audiences of all the places we played; they seemed to grasp the music and enjoy themselves, however, I bet there were a few confused individuals that left after the first couple of songs as well, even if I did not see much of that from where I was standing.
Your new "Dystopics" CD is out already a few months. What responses are you experiencing? Suppose the reviews praises your work, so complex Death Metal is however not so traditional, a lot of bands don’t play it. Are you satisfied with the work done on the new stuff?
Yes, the reviews have been almost exclusively surprisingly positive! We are very satisfied with the way Dystopics turned out, though, as always, there are small things that I in retrospect wish we would have done differently. But then again, what would life hold if we could not constantly strive for greater achievements, right?
It is obvious your music is highly original, perhaps experimental to some extent, cacophonic and confusing senses of usual audience. Have you also met with misunderstanding by some people in this regard?
I don’t think that misunderstanding is the right word, because in my opinion, music is really hard to properly misunderstand. What we have experienced, though, is a good deal of confusion from the audience, and I think that a common sentiment is that our records need at least a few spins before they really stick in your mind. Thankfully, quite a few people are willing to put in the time to let our music grown on them; you guys are awesome! Then again, some people just plain old hate it, and that’s ok too.
Do you find atonality, dissonance and complexity as your goal, or just a way to achieve certain surreal atmosphere? Your beginning is dating back early in 1999. Have you always sounded so complex since the first demo?
Well, the first demo from 2001 was quite raw and unpolished, and I think that while it hints at things to come, it is not really all that good. However, on our second demo, “Aural Abjection” from 2003, I think it is safe to say that we found our form. A few of the songs from that demo are actually on our debut album “Doomscapes” as well.
Atonality, dissonance and complexity are absolutely not goals in and of themselves. That would, in my opinion, be a totally backwards way to approach composition of music. Rather, we strive to write music that expresses something, be it “a surreal atmosphere”, or “confusion and chaos”, or that provokes a certain atmosphere, intangible and volatile as it may be.
How would you compare your "Doomscapes” debut with the new album? Can you feel a certain development or progress forward there? Can you see DISKORD as a progressive band to some extent? I rather see you as atmospheric band with dark feelings...
I would say that even if the music on Dystopics has a lot in common with that on Doomscapes, there has been a certain development within the band since then. First of all, I personally think that the music is more coherent this time around. Doomscapes went off in all kinds of different directions, whereas as Dystopics is slightly more focused, at least from my point of view. Second, I think that the sound on Dystopics is more fitting for the band, and closer to our sonic ideal.
Progressive? I don’t know, I guess you could call our music progressive in the sense that it is slightly off-beat and somewhat technical at times, but then again, I’d say we have quite a few regressive elements in our music as well, as your next question points to.
Yeah, you play old school Death Metal, often very slow, creeping ... there is not too many bands based on the old Death Metal and trying to upgrade it at the same time to not fall into the modern shit. We can say you are quite original band. What the originality means to you? Of course I feel some influences in your music as AUTOPSY, PESTILENCE, GORGUTS, but the essence and own feeling of your music is definitely authentic.
I don’t really know how to define originality in the context of death metal (or music in general); I guess it comes down to an intangible quality that just makes some things stand out from the rest, and makes for an interesting listening experience. Thus, originality is in the ear of listener, so to speak.
I’m glad you think our music is authentic, because I think at least we can confidently say that DISKORD has never been about anything else than following our own vision, regardless of trends and hypes. Oh, and of course, we enjoy listening to AUTOPSY (old) PESTILENCE and GORGUTS - I’m actually listening to Obscura as I’m writing this; nice coincidence! (And was there ever a better example of originality than Obscura? Me thinks not.)
It is very interesting in Norway there are bands like DISKORD, EXECRATION or OBLITERATION, all the excellent Death Metal bands. Norway is a rather birthplace of Black Metal… Another irony is "Soulside Journey" debut by DARKTHRONE. Do you like it?
Absolutely! Soulside Journey is actually the only record by DARKTHRONE that I still enjoy putting on, and I think it is a splendid display of semi-technical, atmospheric, death metal.
EXECRATION and OBLITERATION have both put out extremely good albums lately, with the fantastic “Odes of the Occult” and “Nekropsalms”, respectively. Both albums are original in their own way, and I would highly recommend anyone who has not yet heard them to check them out immediately.
Even though black metal is more prevalent in the mainstream, the underground death metal scene in Norway is growing stronger by the day. CHTON are releasing a new album these days for which I have quite high hopes, and OBLITERATION are soon ready to record as well. Also, watch out for newcomers MABUSE, I think they have some really cool tunes. Last, but not least, the mighty CADAVER are back writing new tunes, my hopes are up for a new “…in Pains”!
Could you describe some more DISKORD songwriting process? Sometimes it may seem it is an improvisation, the songs have unusual structures, unusual practices, wandering bass lines, twisted riffs and seemingly messy rhythms ... How do you think up these structures?
The songwriting process is, for the most part, a lonesome one, haha! With that I mean that most of the songs are made by a single band member. That person then shares a sketch of the song, typically including drafts and ideas for arrangements for guitar, bass and drums, with the rest of the band. Then we work out the exact arrangements together in the rehearsal space, or we take them home, and everyone is free to present an updated sketch or new ideas for the rest of the band. For instance, I might come back to the rehearsal space with a “wandering bassline” to a song that Hans Jorgen has written, or he might suggest a different rhythmic variation for a riff of mine.
Where do you find inspiration for your music? It is heard that is not based on any particular band ... may the inspiration come from, let us say, different musical, non-metal spheres? Do you create solely in pure consciousness, or you experiment with altered states of consciousness?
I can only speak for myself here, I really don’t know what the other guys are up to, but for me, being a father of two small children, my altered states of consciousness typically stem from sleep deprivation, haha! Between that and plain old beer, I’d say I’m pretty much in a pure-ish state when composing. I don’t really know where the influences and inspiration comes from; the music, at least from my perspective, is more a product of what comes out when I sit down with my bass and let my greasy fingers run all over its sleek body…
Many Death Metal bands are already trying to use their native language. Would you prove to imagine you would have Norwegian lyrics? Do you think if you did that, it could be even more characteristic and personal?
Actually, I have been experimenting with writing lyrics in Norwegian, however, none of those have ended up on a Diskord tune thus far. Maybe next time around?
What could you write about your lyrics? Do you lay the lyrics the same stress as to music? Who of you is author of this component? Where do you draw the inspiration?
The lyrics are equally important as the music. All three of us write lyrics, and it has been that way for both our albums, even though there have been some personnel changes involved.
Inspiration comes in many forms, typically from events in our everyday life, such as fear, confusion and alienation, or wonder and amazement.
Could you please give explanation for song lyrics as Tremble, As The Circus Leaves The Galaxy or Godsends And Hellbents?
Well, the idea is that the listener should form their own opinion and relate the lyrics to their own life, but here are some pointers anyway: Tremble is concerned with insecurity and conflicting emotions. Circus deals with man trying to find his place in society, nature and the universe. Godsends & Hellbents deals with trying to find or grasp a meaning (or lack thereof) in a transient existence.
Is the album conceptual as for the lyrics? Is it somehow associated with music, that when the songs order is mixed, it will disrupt the overall continuity of the album? Or every song is its own chapter?
There are overall themes to the lyrics on the album, which I suppose the interested listener is able to pick up or get a feeling for, but the album is not a story in the sense that the “message” develops from one song to the next (nor is there a message, in the traditional sense). Thus, in short, the answer to that question is ‘no’.
As your music is also innovative, progressive and original to some extent, have you thought if "Dystopics" album could theoretically arise in e.g. 1984 if you had at that time your current age? Do you think it is all process of evolution in music and Metal in general, and of course, hence your personal development?
At least to a certain extent, yes, I think so. I think DISKORD’s style is a product of more than our collective tastes in music. For instance, I remember as just a small kid, I would sit by the piano at home, trying to figure out the most dissonant chords I could find, and hammered them out as loud as I could, repeatedly, much to my parents’ dismay, I’m sure! So, what I’m trying to say is that I think musical preference is more than just following your heroes, I think it is something that is, to a degree, embedded deeply in each and every one of us, perhaps from birth already. However, it seems obvious that while a general approach to composition and “harmony” might be latent in each of us, the expression of it in the context of metal is not without its share of influence from the pioneers of the genre. You might perhaps say that death metal is the vehicle through which our inherent tastes for (dis)harmony are channeled.
Can you imagine at this moment how will be your music evolving in the future? I know it's still the question of the distant future, but nevertheless, do you have some specific vision, ideas?
Well, we actually already have a few songs that are nearing completion, for our next release. Being so close to the process, it is very hard to judge the nature of your own work, but the new material strikes me as slightly more hectic and intense than what we wrote for Dystopics, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how it turns out.
Our plan at the moment is to write an EP, or maybe a split release, before we start to work on the next album, so hopefully it won’t be all that long before we have a new release out.
What do you think of the current technical Death Metal bands, which can also be labeled as progressive? I mean for example bands such as NECROPHAGIST, ORIGIN, SPAWN OF POSSESSION etc. Of course there are also extremes as PSYCHOFAGIST or PSYOPUS...
For me, personally, I find that bands like that are more interesting to watch live, due to the sheer technical skill on display, and the energy radiating from stage, than to listen to on record. In that sense it becomes more of a stage performance than a pure musical experience for me; especially the latter two, I suppose, even though I have never witnessed them live. I bet many people would disagree, though, and that is fine, of course, this is just my personal preference: pathologically technical death metal is best experienced live.
Who is the author of your "Dystopics" cover artwork? I think it is as crazy, abstract work as well as your music. Has this artwork been committed to the contract directly to you?
The artist behind the fantastic cover artwork is Sindre Foss Skancke, who is a great guy and a great artist. He was also the artist behind the artwork for Doomscapes and our 7” EP HDFH. The artworks for all the releases are actually large paintings, and are well worth experiencing in person, as are his other works. None of the works are contract works, they are as Sindre envisioned them, I just think we have a commonality in that he is able to express visually many of the same things that Diskord aim for sonically. The painting for Dystopics, however, has unfortunately been destroyed. I believe Sindre had a moment of all-encompassing rage, and just crushed the thing closest to him, which, unfortunately, turned out to be this painting, but luckily we were able to photograph it in high definition first!
Ok, it would be all on my part, if I forgot something important, you have the space to say something to your fans. Thank you for this interview and wish DISKORD many dark, twisted and deranged inspirations in the future, Horns Up!
It is obvious that you have given our music a proper listen, considering the depth of your questions, and for that we salute you, and the distinguished readers of Necrosphere zine! For news and updates from DISKORD, check out our webpage www.diskord.net, and stay tuned on Twitter and Facebook. Cheers!
Eyvind 4. 9. 2012 Mortuary