The new sensation from Norway, Green Carnation, recently released their new opus, "The Quiet Offspring" through The End Records. It was about time to have a little talk with singer Kjetil Nordhus to clear some things out.
- Could you retrace Green Carnation history in a few lines?
Well, Green Carnation was founded long before I joined the band, as a death-metal act in 1990. They only recorded one demo, before Tchort joined Emperor and the rest of the band formed a new one, called In The Woods... Not much happened with Green Carnation between 1992 and 1998 - when Tchort reinforced the band, and the debut album came in 2000, mainly with original members. Tchort changed the entire band before the recording of "Light of Day, Day of Darkness" in late 2001. After that there were still some changes in personell, the release of "A Blessing in Disguise" before we are here, with the release of "The Quiet Offspring" early 2005.
- Your latest album, "The Quiet Offspring", is out worldwide now. What kind of feedback did you receive from the fans, from the press?
Again it has been overwhelming. There must be something with what we are doing that are very popular with reviewers all over the world, because the feedback has been great on all Green Carnation's releases. Also, the fans have received it in a way better that we dared to hope for. Not that we were ever in doubt over the quality of the record. We did expect this kind of reception, in a humble way.
- Do you see "The Quiet Offspring" as a natural continuation to your career or as a new direction for the band?
A bit of both, really. There was never a moment that we sat down and chose one certain direction for Green Carnation. We have released four albums now, all with different styles and qualities. All of them have been both new direction and natural continutiations for the band, and I guess that will always be the case for us. Still I have no idea at all about how our next record is going to sound like, and that's probably the best thing about being in this band.
- Most reviews claim that this album is more accessible, less complicated than your previous works. First of all, do you agree; and if so, was it calculated or was it the result of what you had to express at the time?
I do not agree in the first point. For me "The Quiet Offspring" a more challenging album for the ears of the listener than its predecessor. I do agree that both albums are quite easy accessable, but there's a lot of music in there that will only be discovered by going in the depths of the albums, maybe even more on "The Quiet Offspring" than on "A Blessing in Disguise".
- Green Carnation is one of the few bands that features three guitar players with Tchort, Michael Krumins and Stein Roger Sordal (who also plays bass guitar). How is the cooperation working? Do you think the richness of your sound comes mainly from this fact?
We have actually a fourth one as well. Bjørn Harstad didn't contribute on the last album, but he's still in the band, having actually done three gigs with us this year (and when speaking about the matter, keyboardist Kenneth has also done some themes on guitar on the new album, but that's not too much). Bjørn is a busy guy, and we don't expect him to be with us too much in the live-section, just the odd gig now and then.
But you're right there are three guitarists active on our album. That hasn't been any problem at all for us. Just a strength. Stein Roger is also a great guitarist, and has done the majority of guitar-work on his own songs. Otherwise it's all down to whose style suits the most on the individual songs on the album. I don't see Stein Roger playing guitar for us live, though.
- Since "The Quiet Offspring", some listeners tend to associate Green Carnation with bands like Katatonia. What's your point of view on that comparison, do you think it's a good indicator of fame or a shameful rapprochement?
I don't have anything against being associated with bands like Katatonia, although I think Green Carnation is a different cup of tea. I don't see it as an indicator of fame or anything, but more the need of people to try and categorize us. I've heard the Katatonia link lots of times before, as the ones of both Opeth and Anathema. I don't think that neccesarily means that people mean we sound like those bands, but more that we deal with music in the same vein as them - a fact I can appreciate.
- With Anders, your former drummer, gone, Green Carnation welcomed Tommy Jackson as a new member. How was your collaboration on this album?
Tommy didn't join us until after the recordings, so it is Anders who did the drum parts on "The Quiet Offspring". Tommy has adapted well to our new material, even though he is a very different drummer than Anders, and we expect a lot from him in years to come. Changing drummer isn't the easiest thing for a band, and we have had to adjust ourselves as well, but I think the band sounds better than ever now.
- "Child's Play - Part I" is praised as your best ballad yet. The fact that the song is dedicated to the memory of someone, do you play this song on stage and if so, what kind of feelings are in the air?
We have not tried it out live yet, but it might still be that we want to do that sometime in the future. We have actually played "part 2" a couple of times, even opened a gig with it, which have been very special experiences - both for us and the audiences, I think.
Since still having done so few concerts after the relase, we haven't been able to try out as many songs live as we would have wanted, but when the headliner-shows are coming, there might be a chance both for "Child's Play - Part I", "A Place For Me" and "When I Was You", I guess. But time will show.
- The songwriting on this album is mesmerizing. It's even more so seeing that the whole band seems to compose. With such great writers, you included, how do you select which songs you put on an album?
Well, that was something we had to discuss a lot before entering the studio, because needless to say we did have a lot of songs to chose from, by six different song-writers. As you might know we rarely rehearse before going to the studio, so we had to chose after listening to the pre-productions. We surely didn't agree on everyhing, but it was a democratic process in the end.
- The amazing front cover was designed by Niklas Sundin. Is he very close to the band or did you contract him on purpose?
We have used Niklas before, and know what he can do. And after seing his first works for this album we all knew that he was the right man for the job. I do not know Niklas personally, neither do any of the other members as far as I know, but he just seems to think in the same way as we do when it comes to art and design. So we are extremely happy with the entire booklet, much to the honour of Niklas Sundin.
- In the booklet that comes with the CD, the members pictures are you guys as babies and a short introductive phrase says: "the offsprings:". I think that was a great concept. Whose idea was it? Was it difficult to look for those pictures?
Hehe.. yes, it's cool, isn't it? That was Tchort's idea, and we all thought it sounded quite original. I know Tommy had some difficulties finding his pic, but he got it right in the end, finding one in the bottom of a box he hadn't seen for some years. Others have parents which could come up with hundreds within some seconds.
- So what's on the planning of Green Carnation for the coming months?
We are definitely looking for a lot of live-shows to promote the album. We haven't been the most active touring band until now, but we feel we have a very good product to promote, and we do enjoy life on the road. As you might know the album is just released in the U.S. also, and we will also be looking for festivals and tours over there. But it's not only up to us, and we will have to hope that we are interesting enough for promotors to organize something for us. The early signs are good though, and we have been talking to people both in Europe and the U.S. for gigs this year.
- Thanks for answering all those twisted questions! Feel free to have the last word.
Thanx a lot for your questions and your interest in the band! I hope the answers were satisfactory. Take care, and hope to see you and your readers on a forthcoming tour! We are extremely eager about getting on the road now - so in the meantime; Cheers!
Thanks again to the guys of Green Carnation and to Adrian Bromley and the whole The End Records crew who made this interview possible.