I didn’t think that I’d be impressed by another Norwegian band but VESEN proved me wrong. I got hold of Dag Olav (drums) to answer some questions. Anders Ekdahl ©2012
When people think Norwegian metal they most likely think black metal, murder and arson. But you guys follow in another Norwegian metal tradition. What has it meant to be surrounded by bands like Dödheimsgard, Darkthrone etc.?
-Well, we don’t know what it’s like NOT to be Norwegian. Obviously the ambience surrounding the black metal “movement” in Norway influenced and inspired us when we first started out under the name Svarte Faen in 1999. Black metal is still an important part of our overall sound.
Are there any benefits to being Norwegian when you try to sell the band?s music to those that might be interested?
-I am not really sure – maybe some will refuse to check us out because they think we are just another cliched norwegian black metal band, while others will give us a few extra spins because we are from “exotic Norway”? We have to admit to being lousy businessmen anyway, all we really care about is making music.
The cover to “This Time It’s Personal” isn?t your usual painting. How much time and effort has gone into creating this one?
-Thanks for noticing. We wanted the cover to fit with the music and thus it had to be different and..more personal. We gave the idea to our friend Monica and collaborated with her to get the result we desired. We are so happy with the result and Monica’s work that we want to work with her for future releases as well.
How important is presentation to you guys? Does it have to look and feel right for you to put your name to it?
-Everything has to fit in with everything else – but without the music all the rest is worthless. So there is no doubt our main emphasis is on the actual songwriting, after that we play around with different ideas ’till we find something that feels right.
When you write new stuff do you think as much about what lyrics would go as you do about chord structures?
-No, we are a metal band not a bunch of poets. Usually all the music is written before we start working on the lyrics. We do put lots of effort into the lyrics as well and they are sort of important to us, but the rhythm of the words are as important as the meaning of the words, even though I do need to “feel” the lyrics to sing them properly.
Is it important to you that you do things that haven’t been done before or does history/tradition play a huge part in what you guys do?
-To me it’s interesting to find a balance between tradition and more experimental stuff. We like classic thrash, but we would be bored if we didn’t try to push the boundaries from time to time. We discuss these things a lot and I think we have a more reflected view on our own music than most bands these days, to be honest. I love to have some surprising songs on every album, but I also love to have a few straight forward thrash number.
How do you know what style of metal is your style of metal? How much of a trial and error project has it been to find a sound that suits you?
-The trial and error-project never ends – we are still searching, still trying out new ways to attack the songwriting. On “This time is’t personal” we have again drifted closer to the black metal-feeling, but I can’t guarantee that won’t change in the future. This might sound a bit cheesy, but Vesen is sort of like a shark: We have to keep moving to stay alive.
Norway isn’t a large country. What kind of live scene is there for metal in Norway? You get the impression that you can tour the country up and down just by the sheer amount of bands that are active.
-I have no idea. We do not interact much with the scene and we rarely play live, unfortunately. Hopefully we will do more gigs now that the new album is out. But I don’t think playing in Norway is too glamorous, people here only seem to leave their houses on Saturdays, and then they get so drunk they don’t know if they are watching a gig or not.
In Finland we see metal band on the national charts every week. What is it like to be a metal band in Norway? Is there any national pride in being such a strong metal nation?
-We are firmly placed in the underground, no national charts or heavy radio rotation for us. Maybe our new label Soulseller will make rockstars out of us? I don’t know about the national pride either, when Dimmu Borgir reached number one they got both shit and praise from other bands, and the metal bands who participated in the Eurovision Song Contest got little or no support outside their own circles.
What future do you see for Vesen?
-We have written a few new songs, so there will be another album. Hopefully we will play a few more gigs in the future as well, and we would LOVE to play abroad. We’ve only played one gig outside of Norway, when we played with Shining and Dødheimsgard in Halmstad. Other than that we don’t have any master plan or grand illusions, we just want to continue making music that is interesting and stimulating to us – after all being in a band is the greatest hobby in the world!