PROFANE BURIAL is a Norwegian symphonic black metal band that you ought to check out. Answers by Kjetil Ytterhus. Anders Ekdahl ©2018
What fascinates me is how you can still come up with new combinations of chords to make new songs and sounds that have not been heard before. What is it that fascinates you into coming up with new songs and albums?
-Thank you very much, I take that as a huge compliment! Before answering your question I would like to give you some background information regarding the band. “The Rosewater Park Legend” is our debut album, and we have actually been working on this since 2013/2014. Due to some obstacles things sadly took longer time than anticipated, but finally we are very proud to release our album through Apathia Records 23. March 2018!
When it comes to writing music I can be inspired from almost everything. It does not necessarily has to be directly music related to come up with an idea; experiences and sensations are quite as important. When I lack words, music is a great way to express feelings.
As an example, the music on track #2 “The Stench Of Dying Roses” was inspired as a result of a great trip with my family… not the lyrics, he he.
I guess the music I compose really reflects my present state of mind at that precise moment(s).
…but of course I am also very influenced by music. Since I started quite late composing music, I had the advantage of being a fan/listener for many years and have discovered tremendous fantastic bands which must have inspired me one way or the other!
I started to listen to metal music when I was quite young around 1980 with bands like Kiss, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and other NWOBHM. In 1987/88 I discovered harder music (Thrash/Death and Black-Metal) and has followed that scene ever since. In addition to metal I really enjoy classical music and also movie themes and compositions from games. “Subconsciously” I have combined my passions for these genres into Profane Burial which I started to work on only a few years ago.
Some of my favorite bands are actually Burzum, Darkthrone, Satyricon, Kvist, Faustcoven, Ulver and Slagmaur where I find none references to Profane Burial. I have of course my fear share of listening to bands like Limbonic Art, Bal-Sagoth, Septic Flesh, Dimmu Borgir and Carach Angren where more inspiration and links might be natural to compare.
The orchestration is a collaboration between me (Kjetil) and André Aaslie.
The main composer in Profane Burial is me, I send finished orchestral themes to André, and then he makes interpretations of the themes and re-arrangements. Sometimes stripped down to just the chords, and then he orchestrates it the way he feels. The result is an album extremely rich in ideas around the same themes. The funny thing here is that Jostein, our guitarist, seldom knows which parts are André’s and which are mine, which really is the same part in the basic chords. So he actually adds new ideas to each theme, instead of just playing the identical riff on the two themes. This way of working can perhaps make the songs too chaotic for a listener who is not willing to make an effort to go deep within the material, but we try to have some repeating substantial chorus themes in the songs that will bind it all together.
How is this new recording different from the previous? How do you take your sound one step further?
-Well, since “The Rosewater Park Legend” is Profane Burials debut album I can not answer this question. This is also my debut as an artist and my first album ever at the age of 43.
We are currently in the making of album #2, so time will tell how this will differ from our debut. I have of course some ideas regarding the sound, almost all the orchestration is done so good times with a lot of frustration is ahead of us, ha ha!!!
However this is the recipe we work from:
Some of the first thing me and Andre agreed about when we started Profane Burial was that the band had to differ from Andres other bands he is involved in (Gromth, Images at Twilight, Abyssic, Funeral). The first step was to drop the incorporation of Mellotron and Moog, and other 70’s approaches. We have astonishingly similar music taste! Andre was also comfortable with the composing method, as he could rather strip down parties, usually down to the chord progression, and create his “footprint” with it as a starting point. That way, it did not come across a pure conflict with composing for the other bands. Because of our similar music taste, Andre nevertheless felt a hundred percent of artistic freedom, dedication and ownership of the songs. It is not strange the difference in mindset between us when it comes to chord progressions. However, pure orchestration, we have a different approach, which has given the songs a very rich and divergent expression. Another element is the pace of the songs. We agreed on a more normal pace in around 80-90 and not 110-130 as in Images At Twilight.
When it comes to the guitar (Jostein Thomassen), drums (Bjørn Dugstad Rønnow) and vocals (Ronny Thorsen)they all have artistic freedom, as far as they do it within Profane Burials boundaries. We want the same quality and sound on every song, so there has been put a lot of effort and work from all the members in order to get the result we strive for.
We always want to create a musical orchestral piece which also could be played without the metal part and be enjoyed, hence prominent but not to dominant orchestra since we after all are an extreme metal band. All the orchestral arrangements first, then we add the metal!
When you write songs about the topics you do what kind of reactions do you get? How important is it to have a message in your lyrics? What kind of topics do each song deal with? Is there a red thread to the songs?
-“The Rosewater Park Legend” is indeed a detailed story, as is every song. And together they make up an entire story, so yes, this is actually a concept album. For instance track #2 “The stench of dying roses” takes place after the witch is dead, and there is peace in the village. The children mock the witch in their little nursery rhyme, and everything is fine. Until …
The story itself is mainly about a witch and her revenge on those who killed her (through her granddaughter) and it follows different persons through the ages. It has it’s twists and turns, and things may not be as straight forward as one may think. Yes, it has elements of a ghost story, witch-hunt and religion, and the last song is written in Norwegian.
Why, you might say? Well, Profane Burial is a Norwegian band, and we felt it suited the album. This song deals with a letter that was written by an old Norwegian Witch, and it was a nice way to end the story.
Reaction wise we have got very good feedback so far regarding the story. People who has read the lyrics find them extremely intriguing; a witch tale by Bjørn Nørsterud.
I believe that people who write lyrics really would like to deliver some message or story, not just random words put together to sound cool. I truly enjoy Bjørn’s words and in general appreciate great lyrics!
Whenever I think of you I cannot help wandering off to different bands. What bands/sounds do you indentify with?
-Profane Burial is an atmospheric, dismal and grim journey through unsanctified cinematic black metal, or as the masses perhaps would like to state it short: “Symphonic Black Metal”.
We got this comment which I am quite proud of, and might answer your question:
“The Rosewater Park Legend delivers a sumptuous and classy result, rarely seen in the genre.
For fans of Limbonic Art, Emperor, Anorexia Nervosa, Carach Angren… “
How did you go about choosing art work for this new album? What was important to have in it?
-We are very pleased and have got a lot of positive feedbacks regarding the artwork.
How it ended up the way it turned out; I contacted an artist because of a picture I saw that I liked very much (ended up printing on the CD itself). I asked the artist if it meant something special or whether it was possible to use it for a band. One thing led to the other and suddenly we were in full collaboration with both cover and an 8 pages booklet, since she enjoyed the music and wanted to make a picture for each song. Every painting in the booklet is tailor made from the story, and the cover is mixed by several ideas into one grand epic piece!
The name of the artist is Dalila Belazi, and we had regular contact from late summer to late fall where she presented ideas for me based on the music and the lyrics. I am extremely grateful for the job and all the artwork Dalila created for us. It was a very unique and exciting process to get pictures of the music and texts!
Worth mentioning that the logo is designed by none other than Christophe Szpajdel, a name that should be well known to the vast majority. I showed him the cover with his logo on, and got very good feedback!
Something that scares me a bit is this I hear from more and more bands that they aren’t that bothered with art work anymore because people today download rather than buy physical. To me the whole point is to have art work that matches the music. I don’t know how many times I’ve been disappointed by weak art work to an otherwise cool album. What’s your opinion on this subject?
-I totally agree with you, and it is just sad when good albums have week artwork! For me artwork has always been important. It should reflect the music and “help” the listener to enter the correct state of mind, lyrics-story and/or convey the bands expression. I do not know how many physical albums I have at the moment, but I surely remember a lot of the albums covers due to that they have been quite important for me during the first listening process. Music, artwork – booklet, lyrics, layout etc. is a magical package and if you are sloppy with one of them the total impression for me is just “fucked”. Since I still buy physical rather than download/stream I find bad/cheap solutions when it comes to cover art and booklet extremely disappointing… sometimes a reason not to buy the album; which really is a shame!
Imagine Emperors “In the Nightside eclipse” or “Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk” with a drawing made by a “3 year old”, or Darkthrones “A Blaze in the Northern Sky” or “Transilvanian Hunger” with a totally different photo in colour … disaster – he he.
How do you come up with song titles? What do they have to have to fit the songs?
-Since “The Rosewater Park Legend” is a concept album lyric wise, the song title reflects the story progression and content. Simple and short, he he.
When all the songs were ready, me and André made “secret” lists by our selves from 1-7. Since the text was set, we had to assign the different parts to each of their music pieces. We actually only differed one one of them. As it turned out, we are extremely happy with the choices we made on how each track became each of Bjørn Nørsterud’s seven chapters of haunting witchery.
I use Spotify and Deezer but only as compliment to buying CDS (it’s easier to just have your phone or pad when you’re out) but I fear that soon music as we know it will be dead and buried. What are your worries as a band?
-The metal genre will never die! Metal fans are the most faithful fans among fans! Nobody is more faithful than the metal fans and goes to concerts more often! Nobody buys more physical releases than metal fans! I am absolutely convinced of that, because I was a true fan from age 5 to 36 before I started making music!
The metal scene in Norway is constant growing and evolving. New bands are born every year and great music being created from all age groups. Today there are too many bands, and I have lost tracks and are sadly not as updated as I would like to be like I was 10 years ago.
Does anybody buy records anymore? Luckily the metal fans are still quite dedicated and do buy physical formats. I have actually been contacted by strangers who would love a Profane Burial CD because they have listened to it on Spotify but need the digipack in their collection. We have some shops in Norway offering quality music such as Katakomben and Neseblod (the old “Helvete”) in Oslo. But it seems like the majority and most of the business is unfortunately online.
Apathia and Jehan has done a tremendous job with Profane Burial! We are very impressed by their work, weekly contact and the result we have achieved together.
It is actually coincidences that brought us to Apathia. We all contacted several labels when the album was finished to try to get a deal. I contacted Apathia due to some bands they have in their roster I really enjoy. Luckily, they took the bate and we came to an agreement!
After the signing was done, we got a well detailed promo plan (very impressive!) which they have completed without any complaints from my side. On the contrary, we salute Apathia and really thank them for believing in us and made the release possible!
We promote on Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, Radio channels etc. which are free to a certain degree. I use quite a lot of time on that these days, but as long as I have fun I do not mind. I have of course paid quite a few ads on Facebook, and we have also just a couple of days ago started a collaboration with an external PR agency (Grand Sounds PR).
As you might understand, I have no worries because the “metal machinery” will go on forever!
Hard work will always pay off at the end, and since you do not get rich by playing in a metal band, our salary is happiness and gratitude for being able to do what we do, ha ha!
How much of a live band are you? How important is playing live?
-We played our first show on a festival called Hard & Heavy Metal Meeting on Gran Canaria in December 2016. Previous gig was September 8. 2018 on Southern Discomfort festival (Kristiansand in Norway) where we played together with Carach Angren, Myrksog, Communic, Horizon Ablaze, and Candlemass to name a few! Live/gigs are really important for us as a band, if you chose not to play live I might considered it to be more as a project rather than a band.
The energy we produce on stage, the response we get, all the people we meet places we go to are very important to us and gives Profane Burial even more boost to continue what we do!
All the hours with preparation, rehearsal, blood, sweat and tears are just so worth it.
The feeling when on stage and perform your own material is just priceless, and when the crowd seems to enjoy it as well – that is a truly valuable and actually quite moving moment!
What lies in the future?
-We have already started on album # 2. I have not been lying on the lazy side, and actually have 4 songs ready, as well as 3-4 songs with only minor tasks left from my side to finish. Jostein has done some pretty nice guitar (ideas) for one track, and it is simply great modestly speaking, ha ha.
I reckon we will use the Autumn/Winter/Spring wisely and have a pre-prod finished hopefully sometime next year. It is a quite time-consuming process since the material is a bit complex and the other members has to create/compose based on my orchestra ideas which André rearranges and also composes upon.
We are eagerly trying to book more concerts/festivals as well!
Thank you very much for the opportunity and your interest in Profane Burial.