Green Carnation interview (03/2006)
- Hail Tchort, congratulations on the latest Green Carnation effort, it deeply amazed me!
Hey Gas, how are you? Thanks for the comment on our album.
- I guess the Norwegian winter played an important role on the esoteric feeling of the album. Do you see the Norwegian winter and forests as a source of melancholic inspiration?
Sure it does, but think that the album that was the most influenced by Norwegian winter, was A Blessing in Disguise, as it was recorded during winter time and all of the artwork and lyrics and based around the concept of nature and winter especially.
- "The Acoustic Verses"; this is the title of your latest effort, simple and to the point, letting the listener know what to expect. Who had the idea to compose an acoustic album? It was an important step forward for your sound in my opinion, what do you think?
I think the idea of making an acoustic album came from me, because we were talking about doing something special for our 15th anniversary but we had already released The Quiet Offspring the same year, so we thought of doing something different, and doing an acoustic album was something very different from what we have done in the past. I think the album sound very Green Carnation, although its wrapped in a totally different packing than our previous albums. Maybe more than the other albums, the essence of Green Carnation is pushed forward, you know, atmosphere, melodies and progressive stuff.
- The cover art of "The Acoustic Verses" has a melancholic approach, it's quite artistic through its simplicity… I can't think of a different cover for your latest effort, what do you think?
I agree that it fits very well with the album. It looks old and genuine, just like us hahaha We had different ideas for the cover and we had several to choose from, but we liked this one and it was our friend Jon Tønnessen who came up with the cover. He did the booklet and photos for our first album as well.
- The interesting part of the story is that "The Acoustic Verses" is not your typical and simple acoustic album, it is complex in its very own way, esoteric in its atmosphere and lyrics and deeply touching and emotional. How much time did you spend in the studio working on your ideas in order to reach the fabulous final outcome?
We spent quite some time on this one, although it was a lot on and off, as we had different projects running at the same time, but we didn't have any time pressure as it was recorded in our bass players studio so that was cool, to be able to work on details, try new ideas and instruments instead of rushing to make the deadline or the end of the recording budget.
- The production is just like it has to be in order to pace with the feeling of the album, fragile and soft. Is it difficult to work on the production of an acoustic album?
Its not difficult, but you have look out for the details more than on a full band production, because you know, there are parts on this album where there are only a pad and vocals going, where you can almost hear the heart beating from the vocalist. Its very naked and it takes a lot of detail work and attention to every small part to make it sound organic and honest. We didn't want to over produce it and since the studio is in his living room, so to speak, you can actually hear some birds in the background that were having a party outside his place during one of the recording days. It was annoying at the time, but pretty funny now.
- An acoustic album may seem simplistic to some, the instrumentation might seem complex, yet you managed to keep the high quality of the compositions to high levels, without losing in emotion and atmosphere. Every single instrument plays its very own role and all together they pace together in a unique way. Would you like to give us a few details on the guitars of "The Acoustic Verses"?
Concerning the guitar work, we were 4 different guitar players on the album. Stein Roger (bass) plays the acoustic guitar very well and he plays on most of the songs, but basically, all instruments demanded a lot of extra attention due to the fact that it was an acoustic album.
- What someone may notice easily in your new album is the variety of instruments partaking in the compositions, something that makes its overall aesthetic more affected and beautifully complex. This marriage of sounds leads to a wonderful outcome, how difficult or easy was it for you to make all these instruments harmonize together in perfect harmony?
I am not saying it was a piece of cake or a walk in the park (hehe) but it wasn't hard either. Like I said, we had a lot of time to experiment and work on details so that helped out. You know, if we were curious on how an instrument would sound on a song in particular, or a certain riff, then we would try it once, try it twice and try until we came up with something that would add something to that specific part, and if it didn't, then we would delete it.
- How do you find the contribution of Kjetil in the band since he joined your ranks? In "The Acoustic Verses" he shines through his interpretation, he has this friendly-seeming and warm voice that gives life to the lyrics in the most appropriate way…
Yeah, Kjetil is a very big part of the Green Carnation sound as its of today, but another thing that is really cool on this album, is that Stein Roger who does most of the backing vocals live, have sung on 2 songs on this album, and that give the songs another dimension. He sing on Burden is Mine and most of Sweet Leaf, so that was something new for us as well.
- Would you like to tell us a few words concerning the lyrical part of the album..? I really loved their esoteric and melancholic approach that reaches its climax with "High Tide Waves", the most complex composition of the album with various elements and ideas pacing together to form this colossus of inspiration.
Since I didn't write the lyrics for this album,e xcept for Sweet Leaf, I don't think it would be fair for me to talk about the meaning behind the lyrics. We chose not to include the lyrics this time, but they are available through our website. What I can tell you though, is that both music and lyrics are always very important to us, and we try to put as much of ourselves in the lyrics as each of us allow
- Sometimes lyrics cannot be so expressive and music takes total control, sometimes the lyrical silence may lead to some of the most fragile and beautiful compositions, one of them has to be "Child's Play Part III". You can lose yourself in the utterly emotional soundscapes of this composition while having pressed the repeat button… This song's very special to me, I would appreciate any words from you concerning "Child's Play Part III"…
Our former keyboard player, Bernt A Moen, wrote that one. The special thing about the Child's Play trilogy, is that all parts come from the same piece of music, which was the first part. In the first part, you have the full band production. Then I asked Bernt if he could make a cover song of that one, so he came up with Childs Play part 2, which also had vocals that I wrote for that piece. But later on, he came up with the third part which is a "cover song" of the second part. We thought that would be cool to do, make a cover song of one of our own songs, and that's how the trilogy came about,
- Throughout the years you chose to express yourselves not the common way, offering music coming straight from the heart, music that requires many listens and attention to really get into it, yet the musical audience respected your work and followed the band throughout the years following its evolution. Do you think Green Carnation has succeeded as an artistic act?
I think so yes. The reason why I choose to say yes, is because we have gained a fan base that allow us to be ourselves and do what we want to do, instead of being forced by commcerial interests to play a certain style of music.
In the beginning we got a lot of questions and some people were annoyed that we kept changing, and I can imagine it must have been a pain in the ass for the labels too, but now, finally, it seems to be accepted that we do what we do. Now, after 5 albums, changing with each release is a cool thing for people, but it costed us a lot to get to this point where we are now.
- Would you like to portrait each one of your releases so far with a few words?
-Journey To The End Of The Night:
Debut album, featuring the Botteri twins from the original GC line up. In the woods meets Candlemass is a suitable description for the album I think.
-Light Of Day, Day Of Darkness:
Our second album that also introduced a new line up and the first album for Kjetil and Stein Roger, who still are with the band. Our best selling album. Consist of 1 60 minute long song.
-A Blessing In Disguise:
The third album that also introduced Stein Roger and Kjetil as song writers. Our maybe most progressive album and maybe my favorite green carnation album.
-The Quiet Offspring:
Our 4th studio album, introducing 2 new members, Michael and Kenneth both in the line up but also as song writers. Anders Kobros last album with Green Carnation.
-The Acoustic Verses:
The 5th studio album and the album that celebrates the 15th anniversary of the band. Fully acoustic and introduces Tommy on drums.
- Apart from Green Carnation you are a member of the rising death metal force bearing the name Blood Red Throne and the already big name in the black metal scene Carpathian Forest. Green Carnation is a different side of your emotional/musical concerns, a more fragile one, yet through Blood Red Throne and Carpathian Forest you express yourself in a more brutal and aggressive way. Do you feel complete as an artist in both the emotional and the musical sector?
Yes I do. I think I am very fortunate to be allowed to have three bands that are so different from each other, but that are also established and I am touring and recording with all three bands and I am having a great time with each of the bands.
- That's all from me, thanks a lot for the chance of interviewing you and thanks a lot for the beautiful music throughout the years! End the interview in any way you wish, including if you want some special to you Green Carnation lyrics…
Thank you for the interview and support!!
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||Posted on 01.03.2006 by "It is myself I have never met, whose face is pasted on the underside of my mind."|
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