Bergen’s latest export Byfrost take us back to a bygone age when nobody cared what genre of metal you played as long as it thrashed like a mother and you could down 15 pints without falling over – well drummer Alkolust was up for the challenge of being ‘king of the sidewalk’ LOL!
What instigated and / or where does the name Byfrost come from?
Alkolust: Well, we’ve seen a lot of misinterpretation, from journalists especially stating that we have taken the name from Northern Mythology, so we better clear this up first! This is not true! There is a link there, yes, and it is pretty cool, but the name actually translates directly from Norwegian to “city frost”! Byfrost is not a pagan band, nor ever claimed to have joined forces with dark spirits from the Norwegian woods or mountains! We play cold and dark music hailing from Bergen City. People live in the cities, and this is also where most of the dark things occur. Urban killings, wars, religious depravity…It all happens “down town”, and this is what inspired the name actually!”
As you say, you guys come from Bergen which of course has a long association with the Norge Black Metal scene, so its good to hear a band that offer a different style maybe also incorporating some thrash that I hear too..?
Alkolust: Yes, and it’s important to make this differentiation! We do incorporate thrash, amongst many other genres as well – and you’ll hopefully find more melodic riffs than on many other black or death metal albums out there – but that’s mostly because our eminent guitarist/singer (HeavyHarms) is a huge Iron Maiden fan, and this has been his background even before we started. The black metal elements come mostly from the guy who now is our bass player, R.I.P.meister, as this is the music he grew up with and has stuck with up until now. The thrash influence is there in all of us really, but as the drummer, I am the one forcing it through?…At least, this is what the guys keep telling me, hehe!!…I do like to thrash, I’m proud of this, but I like to keep it interesting at the same time! It’s something about the pulse and aggression that drives the music so well, I think!”
It’s also nice to see, at least by your names (HeavyHarms and R.I.Pmeister), that perhaps you don’t take your image or ego too seriously like the black metal dudes – no panda look LOL?
Alkolust: Ha ha! No, not for us! At least we take our music seriously, though eh?! No, realistically, the old school corpse paint thingy is not for our generation… This is something that came about naturally as a very explicit and shocking expression some twenty years ago. I personally think it gives bands like Gorgoroth and Immortal that extra edge to their performance, like a war paint or a way to distance the person behind the mask from the characters, giving it more myth and impact in a way? I understand it from then, but today it is history! HeavyHarms and R.I.P.meister are actually titles derived from their actual names, but Alkolust (mine) is more of a result of ‘character’ so to speak!”
So did you get the job ‘cos you drink the most and do you play better when you’re drunk LOL?!
Alkolust: No LOL. I got the job because I play fucking great LOL LOL!!
You guys remind me a lot of the Swedish Gehennah – are you Bergen’s kings of the sidewalk then LOL?
Alkolust: Is there a Swedish Gehenna? They were also from Norway…..!
I have ta ask, who would win in a fight between you guys and the ‘other’ kings, namely Immortal – man, that Horgh dude is pretty big LOL LOL!!
Alkolust: There wouldn’t be a fight man LOL!! R.I.P.meister is actually Horgh’s next-door neighbor and they have kids in the same school!! It’s more likely that there would be a nice BBQ and get together, drinking beer and shouting out SLAYER lyrics!”
LOL LOL, being serious now, Byfrost seems to have a special relationship with the guys in Enslaved cos Arve (Isdal) made an appearance on your first album, and this one is produced by Herbrand (Larsen)? How did that come about?
Alkolust: Well, we actually hang out at the same bar; they run a studio; we play music. And Herbrand is one of the finest producers in town, having worked with a lot of great bands such as Audrey Horne, Gorgoroth, Enslaved and many, many more… It really was a very natural choice for us to go their studio as they have the experience, the touch and mutual understanding for good music. I know HeavyHarms particularly enjoys recording and discussing guitars with IceDale, as they both share the love for melodies and harmonies. But there is also metal there, and loads of it! I wouldn’t say so much that we have some sort of ‘special relationship’ with the band Enslaved; that’s over-stating it. But, they’re a magnificent band, and it just happened to be two of the members combining a brilliant production team.”
Are any of your songs based on any particular subjects or inspirations we should talk about?
Alkolust: The lyrical concepts in Byfrost are often about war, death and brutality. But it is very often just themes pulled from reality and our lives put into fiction and blown out of context. We draw our inspiration from energy within the music itself and the lyrics are there to give it some extra horizon or simply underline the cutting aggression in a song. Our latest album “Of Death” is lyrically based on different relations to death, mainly death of God, but we’re certainly not a religious or ‘Satanic’ band in any way! It’s a personal favorite subject though might I add!
I think you’re already pretty well known in Norway having played festivals like Hole In The Sky and Karmoygeddon, so what are your plans to take the band to a wider audience?
Alkolust: Well, as I’m writing this, we are preparing to play two major festivals in Europe, Party San Open Air in Germany and Bloodstock Open Air in the UK. We also have huge support from our label AFM Records, putting Byfrost into magazines and doing massive publicity campaigns…, but first and foremost, it’s about getting out there and playing that is on the wish list right now. We are discussing tour proposals every week, so I’m pretty sure we’ll be out there soon! Keep your eyes and ears open for news on the interweb!”
Any last words from the Norsemen Of The Apocalypse, then…?
Alkolust:Thanks for reading my bullshit; thanks for having us on Battlehelm, and hope to see as many of you lot as possible for a drink at BLOODSTOCK 2011! HORNS TO THE SKY!!!All the best. A.”