I got the opportunity to speak with 1349‘s legendary Norwegian Black Metal artist Frost and Ravn at a Prosthetic Records in store in support of their latest release “Demonoir.” The band had played a remarkably wicked cruel brutal set the night prior opening for tour mates “Cannibal Corpse” on The Eviscreration Plague Tour. For those not familiar with 1349 lets have a quick history lesson shall we? The band originated in 1997 after the demise of Alvheim, the name 1349 is in reference to the date that “The Black Plague” rampaged and mercilessly killed countless millions and landed on the shores of Norway. The band is the second Norwegian wave of extreme Black Metal that hit the U.S. coasts in the early 1990’s.They are know for playing a more heavier, slower, more ambient form of Black Metal . It is without question that their association with one of thee premiere extreme black heavy artists Tom G. Warrior who just so happens to have a personal working relationship with 1349 as a producer and has given this band his own seal of approval , is what has put this group on the map. Aside from being a main influence on the members of 1349 , Thomas G Warrior has personally been an inspiration, motivator , and catalyst. So let’s get deep down and personal with The Legendary Frost and Ravn of 1349.
Bulldozer: You played an amazing set last night! It was an incredibly wicked show! Congrats are in order, but from what I hear you have had major travel delays due to the volcano eruption that had grounded millions of travelers and also visa delays as well. It is a miracle that you have made it to The United States, which would probably explain why the crowd last night went tremendously haywire! It was indeed an insane asylum when you hit the stage.
Frost: Yes Things have been really against us as far as this tour was concerned, paperwork was delayed, and it’s these really simple practical issues that just get in the way, creating obstacles that come in waves, but I am pleased that we managed to do this leg of the tour, it was this leg of the tour that we most wanted to play , we could not commit due to the last leg because before this tour was booked we had already planned a show in Finland, we knew that we would have to go home before this tour ended. We would have loved to have played the first shows of this tour but we will return and follow it up with a tour in the fall.
Bulldozer: Will you be headlining this tour?
Frost: Possibly! We are looking into it, we are considering several alternatives, but the main thing is that we are coming back.
Bulldozer: That is great news, you have an immense following here in Los Angeles, I am positive many will be pleased! Let us discuss the new 1349 album “Demonoir” Talk to us about what drew the inspiration for this album? The involvement and input of Thomas G Warrior which in my opinion helped create one if not thee darkest and brutal works up to date.
Frost: First of all the four of us intended to step up the ladder so to speak, to take a great leap! We were very determined to give everything that we had in order to push ourselves and to bring other resources in the whole process of creating and recording “Demonoir” We saw ourselves as one resource that we could try to drain to the very limits but also bringing external people into the process was one of these ideas that we had, pushing the whole band further. Tom G Warrior was the key, the last piece of the puzzle in my opinion. He functioned as what I call “The Human Catalyst “ He motivated the band to give their very best and go beyond their own boundaries ,so he adds his expertise to something that is very valuable which is the creation of the genre to which we belong in and that we hold in high regard and respect!
Bulldozer: Did you find yourselves being somewhat intimidated working with Thomas G Warrior? After all the man is a true Icon and Legend in Thee Heavy Music Genre!
Frost: No not at all, it was all a matter of mutual respect! We respect his position and his work, his creativity, and innovations .He on the other hand has a very deep respect for 1349.
Bulldozer: Which is?
Frost: He likes the music a lot, he likes the integrity of the band, it is almost as though he feels humbled at our company.
Bulldozer: That in itself is a big compliment to each and very one of you in 1349.
Frost: We on the other hand feel humbled at his company, but this is a good thing because with this mutual respect thing going on we can basically affect each other in a very constructive way and for him being there he adds to the drive and enthusiasm of the band! Tom G Warrior having his integrity and experience he is not afraid to tell the band “I hear that you are doing very well now!” “ But I think that you can do even better, because I know what your all about, and I know what your capable of!” he would dare to push us like that!
Bulldozer: That is truly incredible and fortunate that you have a mentor of that caliber ,that again has to be a big compliment to the band, to be working that close with that individual, how can you not benefit from his wisdom and decades of experience?
Frost: For Ravn it is more personal to have a professional working relationship with Tom G Warrior, to have two experienced musicians who can stimulate each other.
Bulldozer: How did you feel working with Tom G. Warrior? (Directed at Ravn)
Ravn: It was very natural; we kind of developed a special bond over the years, to have him in the studio it just feels like having a brother in there. We think a lot alike! We see the same thing and immediately we make something happen in the production that we are aiming for, we can just look at each other and we know that it is right.
Bulldozer: You have a deep connection, which is amazing!
Ravn: Yes it is very special; I really have learned to appreciate Tom’s friendship over the years .We have a special connection, something that is really rare. Sometimes when I think about it I feel that it is really just absurd ,because when I think back to the times when I picked up the “Celtic Frost “ albums and listened to them at home ,to now have this person, this genius behind these songs as such a close friend ! It is just really absurd. But on the other hand it makes perfect sense, because now I know why I connected this much to his music and why I liked it so much. We are much alike in many perspectives and how we feel about music in general.
Bulldozer: Hands down that union is truly remarkable, which attributes and is a compliment to your music and artistic grandeur. It is no secret that Norwegian Black Metal is a hot commodity and is one if thee not biggest export of Norway to The Unites States. With that though it is my opinion that there is a major influx of Black Metal that plain and simply has become a farce to itself. Bands have seem to have lost the true traits and beliefs of what Black Metal should be, the originality and inspiration has shifted to copying and trying to reproduce the exact same sound and imagery. Be that as it may 1349 music is completely different, it is original and fresh.
Frost: Thank you! That means a lot to us.
Bulldozer: One of the thing that I admire is the integrity of the real traits of Black Metal that is evident in your new album “ Demonoir” do you feel that this album will open up America to you in a wider scale ?
Ravn: We hope so; we hope that it will open up the world in general. This album has been pointed out to being very mind blowing in many levels so to speak, in order to open up the genre, but at the same time maintain its integrity and shows what kind of potential and aspects that exists in Black Metal. As you stated over the years, the bands have inspired to sound more main stream and they all sound alike. We stand out musically, because we put our honor in aspiring to be different and not sound like all the other Black Metal artists that exist today. That is Black Metal! To keep the integrity and the individuality of this whole thing we call Black Metal.
Frost: It is very much about actually having ideas and we have to remember as far as an art as discipline is concerned, it is very much about manifesting ideas to be true from our hearts. It does not have to necessarily be music in general, it can be sculpture or paintings or whatever? I think that there is some sort of combination of communicating something and just manifesting an idea in its purest form. I like Black Metal to be that way that is how I see it; I don’t see that Black Metal can be an instrument of channeling political views, or opinions, or telling simple everyday life stories or those kinds of things. I see it as a way to create something that other wise would not be there .Just like a painting when at its best is extremely communicative but also much more than just a rendition of what already exists. It has something beyond that, something magical, which comes for instance the observations of the painter or his ability to bring something into it that others wouldn’t really see or feel. That how Black Metal should be? Because this music is really separate from other types of metal I feel. Nothing has more depth to it! And it is so much based on ambience and atmospheres. We are trying to establish something in the listener! That takes him or her on a journey that will brings the listener to a dark, forceful, intense place.
Bulldozer: What is your opinion of the current Black Metal scene?
Frost: To many bands lack ideas that is the main problem! Their main goal is to sound like Darkthrone , Immortal or whatever inspires them, but we actually have ideas that we want to manifest and communicate and to do so with the utmost respect with The Black Metal art form, we develop ourselves to the task of creating that art which manifests or communicates these ideas .
Ravn: There is a difference being inspired by other bands and copying them, most bands want to play music like this band or that band so instead of them being inspired by those bands they try to just mimic them.
Bulldozer: The result being they never grow as musicians ,or artists, and plain and simply saturate the scene with more of the same regurgitated copy cat shenanigans .My Hats off to you for pushing the envelope and basically kicking The Black Metal movement in the ass so to speak! Your music definitely achieves those goals, talk to us about the inspiration process of writing and recording a 1349 album?
Frost: I can tell you first of all the making of the drum patters and beats for this album I discovered that I needed to be a out in nature in order for me to function and inspire me,so I made it a habit for a period to start my day by going for a two to three hour walk in the forest nearby where I reside and I would have a particular theme or songs in mind. I would allow myself to not think of anything, I just had a certain determination to be inspired by the forces of nature; I would breathe the fresh air in the forest and allow myself to channel the surroundings around me. I would then take mental notes and transfer them to the drum kit when I would be in the rehearsal space. It was a very effective creative method that was created for the creation of “Demonoir”
Bulldozer: And you Ravn? Did you use a similar creative inspirational method as well?
Ravn: I mainly put things together in the studio, I am the one that stands behind all the production of all the albums technically and engineering wise, regarding vocals the way that functions is spur of the moment .I listen to the tracks,I always wait for the vocals to be recorded for the last part that way I have been exposed to the music for a period of time as I am doing the producing and the mixing. Then I go in and do the vocals cause then everything has been working on a subconscious level .I do not sleep much during this process maybe three or four hours if that? It is an intense process while your hands on in recording everything and you are constantly thinking about it; your body is full of electricity brought by anticipation, creativity, and excitement! You boost up! The electricity has you in high gear! Your mind will not let your body relax until the task is done. This of course can make me very hard to be around with especially if something is troubling me in the process, or “get stuck “But when I lay down the vocals I have found it best to sit down with the track, lay out the vocals, then either sleep on it, or go in at the same time that I have had an intake of fuel of some sort and then it is spare of the moment. That is mostly what works the best.
Bulldozer: Well thank you gents for letting our readers into the creative working process of how you bring into life the powerful works of “Demonoir”
Frost and Ravn: Thank you!
As you have read 1349 have an intense ritual process that they endure in order to achieve what they feel is their ultimately best work . I personally feel that they have achieved it with “Demonoir” but do not take my word for it, or Thomas G Warrior’s or the countless other music critics that all have praised and recommended this album. Res instill the true traits of Black Metal individualism and seek and find out for yourself.