Midnattsvrede are back! After a loooonng hiatus, the norwegian musicians have finally set their minds and they’re about to release the band’s first full length ever… Ole and Thorberg enlightened us about all the details…
The new Midnattsvrede’s lineup consists of Kaahrl (vocals), Einar Thorberg (guitar/vocals), Ian Slemming (bass) & Ole Teigen (drums)… is it a consistent, secure line up?
Thorberg: Nothing’s really consistent or secure in this world, is it? It is the current lineup and it’s been working well for us so far.
The band has been on a long hiatus… Why have you felt the need to revive the band?
Ole: I wanted to do something different from what I had been doing the last 10 years. And I guess I’ve had the idea of taking up MV again when the time was right ever since we split up. And then I had this dream where we decided to start up again with the old guys. That felt like the moment when I woke up and set the wheels in motion.
Have you ever considered changing the name of the band considering that the band never actually released any albums and has been on a long hiatus?
Ole: No. I have other bands and could always start up another. The whole point of MV is to build on that pure creative energy from those days. Not to say that we use old ideas or are stuck in the past, it’s just that modern music is another thing.
On the introduction to the band, one reads “Norwegian black metal with history from the good old church burning days”. Do you miss those days? What changed in Norway that led to extreme bands being nominated to music awards and all that?
Ole: I think there is a lot of really good music from days long gone, and of course there is a lot of nostalgia to it but I am living in the real here and now and I enjoy it very much. When BM became mainstream and Dimmu Borgir performed at the music award in Norway, I guess all that was a result of better productions and better musicians. I think you miss out on a great deal of spontaneity and “feeling” when you calculate every little detail and strive for the very best and perfect. But you know all the flies in the world cannot be wrong, shit is good.
Why do you have “the intention of getting in touch with the old spirit”… do you think it is extinguished or is only laying low and can be rekindle again? Who’s to blame for it?
Ole: The whole idea was to get back to where I left off and build on that. Yes I think there is so much lost from modern metal. There is also a lot of new stuff that is pretty cool. It is a new world and people need to come up with new ideas. How can it happen again when everything around has changed?
Last year you released a demo… was it to check people’s interest in you?
Ole: The demo was really just to get the musicians to know what I had in mind. It was not intended to be released.
Now MIDNATTSVREDE is back in full force, with live appearances scheduled, a full-length album in progress and a new six-track digital mini album, “Ripe Fruit on the Gallows Tree”. Creativity just pours out now?
Thorberg: Both Ole and I have been creative for decades. I come from Thule, Potentiam, Curse & Fortid and Ole from Framferd, DHG, Loveplanet and some other stuff he can maybe tell you about. It’s just a matter of in which direction you point your creativity and this time it’s Midnattsvrede.
Ole: Yes I’ve gotten rid of some burdens and it just flows freely, I guess also the fact that I am back behind the drums gives me a kick. I was in studio recording an album in just two days with Superlynx a week ago and I can’t wait to get started on the MV album. So yeah, sure when it rains it pours.
What’s exactly the meaning of the title “Ripe fruit on the gallows tree”?
Ole: It’s about mankind being ready for the slaughter. The irony of “the master race”, (not the nazi kind, but as the ruling species of the planet) acting and perceiving ourselves from a historic perspective as divine and special but in fact we are like a cancer on the planet. I don’t really think you can explain exactly what you mean with art, because it’s not always intentional but suddenly it feels right.
“Ripe Fruit on the Gallows Tree” includes a guest appearance by Vicotnik (DHG, VED BUENS ENDE, CODE), who will be performing vocals on MIDNATTSVREDE’s cover of the VED BUENS ENDE track “Carrier of Wounds”, which Vicotnik himself wrote and which appears on VBE’s “Those Who Caress the Pale” and “Written in Waters”. What’s the point of doing a cover and inviting the person who wrote it to sing in it? Shouldn’t it be a different version of what Ved Buens Ende did?
Thorberg: I demoed this song in 2007. I never found the right opportunity to take that any further than that though. When I joined Midnattsvrede, I suggested this to Ole and he was immediately interested. He comes from DHG so he knows Vicotnik very well. So when he told him about this idea, Vicotnik offered to join on the recording, which was way beyond any dream I had about this. There was no way for me to say no to that. The great thing about music is that there are no rules about what you should or shouldn’t do. Besides if you listen to the original and then this cover, you will clearly hear two very different versions.
The reviews have been awesome. How does that make you feel?
Thorberg: Really? I’ve seen one. It’s always nice to get good reviews, but I never forget the fact that reviews, whether good or bad, are nothing more than one person’s opinion.
This year celebrates the 20th anniversary of the formation of the band… did this have any impact on the fact that you wanted to return? Is this a kind of celebration?
Ole: When I first decided this was between 2012/13 and I didn’t really think of it before we where to play at the 10 year anniversary of Hammerslag. Then I realized it and it was just a funny thing.
It’s amazing that over these 20 years you have never released a full length and fans still remain interested. The expectations for the debut are huge… how’s it dealing with the pressure and all that?
Ole: I feel no pressure other than from myself. If people are interested in the band I hope it is because of the music and nothing else. Of course it’s a thing for me with MV being my first real dedication and after the loss of Faun and all, but that is personal stuff and has nothing to do with the present. I am just super psyched in getting a motherfucker of an album cut.
You’ve recently played at the Hammerslag Vinterblot Festival. How was the experience? How did the public react to the band?
Thorberg: In my experience, we got a very positive feedback.
Ole: Yes that was pretty awesome. Our first gig and people actually knew some material and screamed for song titles and shit. I did not expect that.
You held a competition for designers to come up with a new logo… how did the whole competition go? Were you surprised by the logos people came up with? Was it easy deciding on the one you’d be using?
Thorberg: We didn’t have a whole bunch of people participating. We had just opened up our facebook website and we had somewhere between 300-400 likes. And the way fucking fb operates today is that if you don’t pay them some money, only a portion of those 300-400 people will see your posts. But it was enough for us to get what we wanted.
This initiative is quite unusual but you’ve already come up with the winner: Łukasz Fudalej… who came up with the idea? I think it’s great that you’ve given the chance of fans to show their talent because most people tend to use the same designers over and over again and new people never get the chance to be seen or heard.
Thorberg: That was the general idea. Those blackmetal logos have now for years been the same mass produced ideas. Łukasz did a great job in designing a fresh looking logo that is (and I cannot stress that enough) readable. I’m too old to spend time on deciphering black metal logos. That is done and over with if you ask me. The idea with a logo is to stick out. Not to blend in.
Your mini album was released on the 10th February and on the 15th february you played live… how special was this occasion?
Thorberg: For me it was a great start of a new band. I’m guessing Ole experienced something deeper since it’s been his child for those 20 years.
The album was only released digitally… why have you opted for the digital release only? Don’t you think it is important for the fans to own a physical copy of it?
Thorberg: We plan to make physical copies in the future. I guess you can call this release an experiment. We want to get the feel and the sense of the digital market. Physical copies almost seem like a waste of time and effort today since everybody’s downloading anyway. But thankfully there are the loyal collectors and supporters so yes, they definitely deserve a hard copy.
Will any of the 6 tracks included in the mini album also be featured on the upcoming new release?
Thorberg: No. That will be something different entirely. This mini album represents the beginning of our lineup in the state of development. The album should become a much more conscious thought about how we want to sound.
One of your members is a Billy Holliday, Son House, pop music, classical music and jazz fan. Does this interesting mixture have any impact on Midnattsvrede?
Thorberg: I do not know who that is. Ole maybe? I myself listen to film scores, pop music, ambience music, classical, 70’s rock, psychedelic stuff, country and whatever. Good music is good music and of course it’s important for a musician to have an open mind if he is to create something original.
Ole: Yes I am actually listening to the great lady Day as I am writing now. I guess in some way it will influence me as a musician. Like the old school jazz drummers have taught me the importance of groove and as with the early bm there is so much feeling and authenticity and that I can also find in the old blues and jazz. Those guys had it hard in a way I can’t imagine, and like today the world is different but all that pain and suffering makes the sweetest melodies. I guess it’s about the attitude towards what you do, and I do my best to groove and be true to my ideals.
Ole has been involved in the beginning of the Hammerslag festival. Have you involved yourself in any other metal projects?
Ole: No, just music. A lot of bands over the years, but nothing other than starting that festival.
Some members used to drink blood and eat raw meat. What was the purpose?
Ole: It was a time when I used to push myself to exceed my own limits. The blood and raw meat gave me a little high, a kind of crazy and I liked it. It was very inspiring and became a habit for a while.
Have any of you been involved in the Church burnings and grave desecrations so infamous in the early nineties?
Thorberg: I never got arrested for anything like that, so let’s just keep it that way.
Ole is a beekeeper, so has his own honey. Has your relationship with nature changed through the years… going from drinking blood and eating raw meat to creating your own products is a long way to go!
Ole: I have always had a deep connection to nature. Now I am more grounded in this world so to speak, but I am still visiting the forest. The bees and insects have opened my eyes to a new world of wonders so I guess the adventure just goes on. And I still love a bloody steak.
Share a final message with Pest readers!
Ole: Yes please don’t cut down the little flowers and plant early and late bloomers. For pollinators it’s important to have food all through the season. Just let it bloom!
Thorberg: Buy our online album. Especially if you want to live long and prosper. This is essential.
Interview by Sonia Fonseca
Answers by Ole Jormungand Teigen (d.) and Einar Thorberg (v./g.)