Interview with ‘Silenoz’ of Dimmu Borgir
Hello Silenoz,First, I wanted to congratulate you on the release of Dimmu Borgir’s Ninth Full-Length Album “Eonian” in May of 2018. It is a great honor to Joscene and to myself to interview you, thank you for your time! – Thank you and thanks for having me!
• “Eonian” came after a long eight-year wait, what was going on during this period, other than the series of shows and the double DVD, “Forces of the Northern Night”?
We took some time off, took a longer break than usual, while still working on music separately and as a group from time to time we also faced some delays in the releases of both FOTNN and Eonian. But quite a lot of various personal stuff happened during this «8 year period…» It looked more dramatic from the outside than it really was, I guess. But yeah, kids, life and death happened in private life. Basically, life happened.
• Compared to “Abrahadabra”, “Eonian” showed less orchestration elements and more influence from the old-school black metal and some of the roots of the band, why did you decide to take this path while making the album?
Nothing is pre-determined or decided upon before going into a writing process for a new album. Sometimes I wish we could do it like that, from a logistical and timeframe wise perspective, but it has never worked like that with Dimmu and perhaps that is one of the keys to our longevity. We only answer to ourselves and our creative process and how we conduct it while it’s ongoing. I’m sure the next album again will be a result of where our heads are at as we’re creating it and it’ll be what it’ll be. But one thing is always sure; once we’re done with an album in the studio and it’s sent off to the label – then it’s done and it’s already a success for us as we’ve reached the goal. Praise – or hate – after the release of the album is a bonus.
• What was the creative composition process of “Eonian” like compared to earlier Dimmu Borgir’s albums?
Pretty much the same. We meet up with our ideas, we share ideas/themes and riffs online as well, dumping them into the Dimmu cauldron. Sending files back and forth then we tweak the songs and structures playing live in our rehearsal studio as a band the months before we go into the main recording studio to lay down the final tracks for what will be the album. We’re lucky to be able to work with the best equipment etc during the demo phase so we end up using a lot of let’s say midi recordings etc and that saves time in the proper studio recording phase where we redo all guitars and bass of course, and then do live drums as opposed to programmed drum ideas from the demo phase. We can work on several songs at the same time but we usually try and get the main skeleton of a track written first before we move on to writing a new song. There’s no specific formula besides this approach and this is what has been working for us all these years.
• “Eonian” was recorded at the Fascination Street Studios in Sweden, as you mentioned in earlier interviews, it was a tough process, can you tell us more about it?
Studio sessions are always tough in the sense that it requires the best of you in terms of performance. It’s where you meet your shortcomings as an artist and performer, but it’s also where your strengths shine brightly. Personally I have a mixed feeling about studio work, it’s obviously needed to get where you’re going but for me the work on a new album isn’t 100% completed until we perform new songs from it live in front of an audience. That’s when it comes full circle and the energy between band and the fans ignite. That’s the cream on the cake for me.
• “Forces of the Northern Night” was huge and it has been something you’ve been working on for several years. What does it take to prepare for a performance like that with a whole orchestra on stage and just how do you keep everything and everyone together?
A lot of practice! And, determination. Taking on a task like that means there are no room for failure, you only got one chance to make it right so you better be on your toes and have the proper focus. Luckily we’re stubborn bastards, all of us, and once we agree on things and put our heads toward the goal we see it through. Monumental happenings like the orchestra shows in Oslo and Wacken with top notch classical players and choir had to be filmed obviously, but we’d hoped for the release to come out sooner than it did. Then again, concerts like that are timeless and never gets old and is also a testament to our capability as a performing unit.
• For future releases, are you working on any Dimmu Borgir compositions? Will the next album be released sooner, compared to the gap between “Abrahadabra” and “Eonian”?
I sure hope and think so! We’ve started the writing process already and got tons of ideas and material to sift through but we’re on our way and look forward to share more updates once it becomes available and proper to do so.
• What is your favorite Dimmu Borgir song to play on stage and why?
It varies but playing songs like Progenies of The Great Apocalypse or Mourning Palace is always fun as they have always been crowd pleasing headbangers!
• You have a couple of other bands that you have been involved with in the past, including Insidious Disease, a band that released an album this year after a 10-year hiatus period after the first album, when did the planning for “After Death” start and what happened in the 10 years between the two albums regarding the band itself?
We started the writing process for After Death already in 2011 sometime and we worked on and off on songs in-between shows up until we recorded the drums for the album in 2015. We had about 16-17 songs I think but we feel anything over 45min for a death metal album is pointless so we scrapped quite a few in the end. So far we already have 14-15 song structures for the third Insidious Disease album, none of which are leftovers from the new one either, so hopefully we can record this 3rd album sometime next year. After Death has been ready for almost 3 years but due to a lot of delays for various reasons it didn’t see the light of day until October 30th this year.
• 2020 has been a tough year for musicians in terms of concerts and performing on stage because of the global pandemic. However, it also provided musicians with extra free time to write and record music in the studio. Shall we expect a new Dimmu Borgir album soon? Any hints on what is coming next?
We got a little surprise coming in 2021, details will follow later. But yeah, I certainly hope and believe we’ll get to record a new Dimmu album maybe late next year or so. We’re doing our best to take advantage of this really fucked up and surreal situation and I’m sure quite a few great releases will emerge from it, not only a new strong Dimmu Borgir album. We, like every other artist out there, want nothing more than to get back out and perform for our fans. This is our job just as much as it is our life so naturally we’re affected hard by it but we’re in a position now that we have to do what we have to do to survive. It goes for everyone across the board. Take care of your physical and mental health and your family and friends. Be the strong one and make a great example of yourself!
• What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Well, if you’re not ready and willing to sacrifice personal mental and physical health, family and friends – then don’t. This is not about luck but hard work. You sacrifice something of value to get to where we are at. And, you must be willing to continue to do it, it never stops.
• Thank you Silenoz, it was a pleasure! Are there any other things that you wanted to mention that we haven’t touched upon? Any word to your fans in the Middle East and in Dubai in particular?
I want to thank all our fans in the Middle East region for their endless support over the years, even from the very beginning – we don’t forget! I also hope we can finally some day come and play shows there and share the energy with our great fans! Thank you!
• Thank you so much for your time. I hope to see you performing in Dubai soon!
Same! Would be awesome ! Cheers!
Interviewer: Fares Sweidan
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