Interview with Norse – Blackened Death Metal from Australia

I recently got the chance to speak to Forge. multi instrumentalist from the Aussie Black Metal band “Norse” In this interview we covered the remoteness of Australia, how too many bands these days give away the mystique of their bands and much more.

* You guys are not only based in Australia but 100 miles or so outside of Sydney the biggest city in the country. How does that remoteness work for you guys? How does it go against you guys?
The remoteness works perfectly for our musical inspiration. Where I live has nothing but forests and green, open county. I used to go weeks at a time without seeing anyone. it gives you time to think, clear your head of any superficial rubbish and really distill your musical ideas.

* I know of the Blue Mountains in NSW  but I am not really familiar with the Southern Highlands? (I know its on the same ridge line but much further south) How did you guys end up there as opposed to Sydney? What is there to do in an area like that? IS there any metal scene there are all?
There is ZERO scene out here! the closest musical equivalent is wedding musicians, or a few pub bands. This doesn’t bother me at all, as i have never had a musical community to grow up in or be influenced by. This probably explains the uniqueness of our music. No external input.

* Why do you think there are so many amazing one man and two man Black metal bands as opposed to Death metal where you at least need the basic 4 man set up drums, bass, guitar, vocals etc? Do you think the fact that early Bm bands like Burzum and Darkthrone were 1 and 2 man bands, that they paved the way?
Great Question. I believe that its a personality thing. If you enjoy, or feel the need to express yourself with such bleak, antisocial music, chances are its a reflection on ones own personal character.
I find I write the best material when by myself, late at night or very early in the morning, Never in a band environment.

* Do you guys do many live shows anymore? One of the things I like about Black metal artists versus Death metal ones is many choose only to play ‘events” as opposed to the traditional “get in a van and tour”
I have done the ‘van/bus tour’  thing many times through Europe, the USA and around Australia, and its just not something I really enjoy anymore. Its a party thing. I’m not Interested.
Norse plays shows when we feel like it, we’re not interested in getting ‘big’. The amount of work involved for the return is a joke these days, and not worth the financial and mental strain.
More importantly, I see this as art, not entertainment, which touring bands basically are. I know that sound pompous,  but I’ve done it all before and I’m just speculating on my personal experiences…

* What’s been the best live show to date and why?
Too many to mention over the years.

* I really love the visuals you guys have in the band – is that one of you or a friend of the band that comes up with these? Very unique and truly something special.
Thank you! Our image is a reflection of our music, I enjoy the added mystery thats created by having faceless figures, no information, no details. let your imagination run.
I am not a fan of the modern day bands that have a million band pics, bios and  play through videos showing you exactly how the music is played. There’s a face to put to the music, and all the studio/writing/recording process is documented. It leaves ZERO intrigue, mystery or wonder as to how the art was inspired or created. It makes the music disposable and short lived. A real shame.

* Do you guys have a bucket list of shows you would like to play? For example Bloodstock in the UK? Maryland Deathfest in the USA etc?
Not at all.

* Have any of you guys even visited the USA before? If so what did you think about it?
Only in previous bands. great country, lovely people willing to go out of their way to help touring bands!

* I know you have a new album planned for 2017 – what can you tell us about the new album?
New album is titled  ‘ The Divine Light Of A New Sun’ being released through Transcending Obscurity records, due out early 2017.
Its a progression from Pest, but not quite as hopelessly dark. I purposefully roped in some musicians to help write some instrumentation (bass mostly). I figured if I wrote and tracked everything again, it would sound like me, so i gave our new bassist kyle free reign on a lot of the songs. He came up with parts I never would have written, yet complimented what I had written very well. Kyle also was a great help when mixing came around, lots of helpful ideas for dynamics and other things.

* How did the record deal with Transcending Obscurity Records come about? Many BM bands are quite happy to go the DIY route – why the change?
We were DIY for nearly 10 years, until T.O records reviewed Pest ep, and straight out asked us to join the label. Kunal, (owner of T.O records) is a fantastic guy and great to work with. we definitely would recommend him.

* Lyrically what are the new songs about? Still misanthropic I hope!
ADR is in charge of lyrics, and has a heap of great concepts and themes, from the story of his great grandfather who died in the concentration camps, to the views of the world from a Nazi officers perspective, to the long term effects of radiation from Nagasaki. He really put a tonne of effort into the lyrics and it adds to the atmosphere of the songs.

* Do you think the digital age has changed the metal music scene for the better or worse? Please explain.
I have never known anything but the digital age. All I hear from old guys is whinging about the good old days. Well, they are gone, so deal with it. Learn to adapt or get left behind.

* How would you guys describe the band to someone who has never heard your music before?
Don’t even bother listening to it unless you like the sound of large machines falling into a pit of lava. hahaha!!

* Any final words for friends and fans?
Sorry. I’m about to alienate the last of them with this album