DEVIL could have been another Norwegian black metal band but they aren’t, unless you consider bands like Witchfynde and the likes black metal. Anders Ekdahl © 2013
Why is it that nobody before you has used the word DEVIL as a band name?
– Well, actually there is. First one hard rock band from Turkey in the 80’s, and then an American band nowadays. When we found out, we changed the legal band name to DEVIL NORWAY, so that’s the full name of the band. You know, with the thousands and thousands of bands out there, it’s hard to come up with something unique, at least when you are looking for a short generic name like we were. However I think we can live well with a few bands with the same name, it’s not like any of us are big or intruding on each others markets.
What kind of idea/concept is there to the band DEVIL?
-The idea is just five guys wanting to pass time, play some heavy rock and have a few beers. But as in many cases, the initial idea is not always the final result. Such in our case. We’ve been so lucky that we’ve accomplished a helluva lot more than we intended. The concept is heavy rock, plain and simple. Homaging the heroes from out youth, whether it be Black Sabbath, Accept or Iron Maiden. Or Pentagram and Witchfinder General, who we are most often described as.
Norway has over the years become synonymous with black metal. What kind of scene is there beside the extreme metal one?
-The black metal scene is of course by far the biggest still. And, after a few years in my opinion from the late nineties until a couple of years a go, a very good scene too. Bands like One Tail, One Head and the later Koldbrann stuff is just as good as many of the albums we today consider classics. Besides that we got a few doom bands, such as Resonaut, Tombstones and High Priest of Saturn, to name some of the better ones. Thrash metal is alive and well with Aura Noir, Deathhammer and Nekromantheon, and a bunch of more or less decent bands following them, and death metal is the outsider it always has been, but with a couple of very good bands. The genre we really don’t do good in in Norway, is in my opinion heavy metal. Besides a couple of good exceptions in Black Magic and Triosphere, it’s really pretty sad. So we got the scenes we deserve, I guess. We’re enough people and has got enough time to pop out some really good music, but I think we’re under achieving. As oppose to for instance Sweden, who was, is and probably always will be the number one country for producing great music, at least when looking at good bands per capita.
How well does DEVIL fit into the Norwegian music scene? Do you want to be a part of it or are you staying well clear of it?
-Musicwise we’re the odd one out, no doubt about that. I can not think of one other band in the same wave of retro heavy, but I guess they’ll come along. Especially with the latest Ghost album making such a fuzz, the scene will probably evolve and escalate. But we don’t mind being a part of the rock and metal scene, after all, there are plenty of great people and music still, that we by no means want to build a distance to. And Norway is a small country. Not including oneself in the scene would mean commercial suicide. We’re depending on teaming up with both bands and promoters from all kinds of scenes.
When you have an album to your name and are about to release a new one does that bring with it pressure to succeed? Would it be considered a failure if this new album doesn’t do as well as the previous?
-That would obviously depend a whole lot on the first album. Our first album was well received, but nothing spectacular, so we were pretty confident all the way that we at least were going to match it. But it must be said that we like the first one very much, I guess it’s just natural to focus on the new one, and that it must be the preferred album around the time of release. Gather The Sinners is after all where we are now, and we need to work on that. When the third album comes, we probably gonna prefer that, but in ten years, who knows, maybe Time To Repent is the favourite? And I also don’t feel like you’re starting on scratch every time and make a completely new album. It has become clear to me lately that the second album is a continuation for Devil. I know I use this metaphor a lot these days, but it’s more like writing a second chapter than a second book.
Seeing as I’ve never ever been in that position how do you know beforehand if something will work? How hard is it to stay true to your beliefs?
-Since we have close to nill ambitions, it’s not very hard to stick to the plan. But then again, you don’t know how people will react when they hear the stuff. We have of course people that don’t like the new album, but liked the first, and vice versa. That’s only natural, being two different albums. You can’t expect everyone to have the same opinion as yourself at all times. That would be predictable and boring. But the very worst we could do was to release an album that people DON’T have an opinion on. If everyone said “decent album, I’ll rate it at 6/10. Probably not gonna sell it, but never listen to it” I would be frustrated as fuck. I’d rather take a beating than screaming something noone hears.
When we are touching on the subject. How does this new album compare to/differ from the previous one?
-A couple of things, but perhaps not in the songs; First of all, the new album has a tighter production. And somewhat tighter musicians, haha. Second of all, it’s almost 20 minutes longer, I think. For better or worse, I guess… As for the songs, I feel like there’s a more even quality to the new one. We don’t have those standout songs as At the Blacksmith’s and Time To Repent on the debut, but I don’t feel like we have any fillers either. I like to think that we’re doing better songs throughout the album. And again, that’s my opinion. You guys out there be the judges to that.
Do you feel that you are a part of a bigger international hardrock/metal scene or are you satisfied being a Norwegian band?
-Actually we’re feeling more that we belong to the new wave of heavy rock than being a Norwegian band. We have since day one had a bigger audience abroad, and most of the bands we can compare to are not Norwegian. And the world isn’t very big anymore, you know, with Internet and cheap flights, so I’d say we’re more of an international band than a Norwegian band. And it’s harder to make it in Norway, as we tend to be behind on all trends. You know, it was only last week the Norwegian mainstream media really learned about Ghost! How embarrassing.
Is it any help being a Norwegian/Scandinavian band when you are about to promote the band internationally? Do people know of Scandinavia and its bands?
-I think Scandinavia, and especially Sweden and Norway, is a selling point for bands, and we just have to be grateful for that. It seems doors opens when you’re from up here, and that is of course a mix of the exotic and not least the cultural heritage with everything from Abba to Burzum. Our countries seem to have a fantastic standing in the international market.
What would the ideal future hold for DEVIL?
-The ultimate goal would be to make a living of Devil, but that is farfetched. I’m hoping we can release many more albums, and not least visit new and exciting places. The US or South America would be awesome. But for now we’ll settle for being noticed by some of the bigger festivals in Europe too. Sweden Rock Festival would be a dream come true!