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1349 Interview


Having been hailed as one of the elite black metal bands of today, 1349 decimate listeners with their latest release, "Hellfire." A purely evil blast of blasphemous sounds from the pits of the abyss, it's an effort that black metal fane will not wnat to miss. The notorious Frost, drummer for the group speaks about the band's new album and activities here...


The Gauntlet: "Hellfire" has been said to be one of the best metal albums of the year. Did you feel any pressure in the studio to make this record?

Frost: Actually, yes - personally I felt that perhaps the process of creating this album had been too intense, too fast? Because I always stress that you need to take a significant step forward with each release. If no positive change or improvement has happened between (recording) two albums, it's symptomatic of either the band's entering the studio without having done the proper creative work, or that it's time to quit and move on to something else. As creative artists we cannot tolerate stagnation, and there were times when I wondered if we had developed ENOUGH since the recording of Beyond the Apocalypse. But during the later half of the recording and mixing process, I was completely convinced that the album would show a band having taken a giant step forward - musically, technically and productionwise. There can be no doubt about the fact now.


The Gauntlet: What was the concept behind the Sculpture Of Flesh video? How did you go about filming this video?

Frost: I had specific thoughts about how the video could be made as a short film, and Ravn also wanted it to be some kind of a short, surrealistic movie. In fact, the band collectively fancied that idea. I put a number of ideas on paper and thought of preparing a little manuscript, but after having discussed matters with our director Rome Ramsies and our record company Candlelight, it became evident that such a project would be far too expensive for us at that point. We agreed upon doing the best out of the resources we had at our disposal, and did some live shootings of the band in an old factory outside of Oslo (like we had planned to do anyway). The band footage was then cross-clipped with scenes inspired by the lyrical content/concept which were filmed in Australia. It resulted in a very intense video, and we are satisfied with the way it ended up, even if it was nothing like the original ideas we had for the video. That being said, we haven't thrown away the ideas we came up with and still have plans of doing some kind of a short movie for one of our songs some day. I even believe this will happen in the not-so-distant future.


The Gauntlet: Would you say the writing style for "Hellfire" was different than the past releases?

Frost: I would. We focused way more on the composing aspect and the process of making each song a more living organism with a sense of totality and identity. Five of the songs were actually composed as complete pieces of music before the band as a whole even started rehearsing them, and that was something new in this camp. Earlier, our modus operandi was to meet in the rehearsalplace to exchange ideas and put bits and pieces together, guided mostly by how we could make the grim brutality flow as we played. Free-float brutality, if you want! This time around, however, we have worked consciously to create SONGS that has unique identities and feelings to them, and which therefore become more alive and possess an extra energy dimension. It's like; when listening to or performing "I am Abomination", then that song's own, unique energy and atmosphere is present throughout its duration. "Nathicana" has a different, unique feeling permeating the whole song, "Hellfire" another one etc. And still, the album feels wholesome and compact.


The Gauntlet: How did your partnership with Candlelight Records come about?

Frost: We negotiated with several companies that had shown interest in the band, and Candlelight came up with the best offer. As simple as that.


The Gauntlet: You had some problems with the current tour. Will this have an effect on the way you book shows in the future?

Frost: There will always be some problems on a tour this long. I don't know exactly which problems you are referring to... We were forced to cancel two shows; one in Slovenia, because we were heavily delayed by our trailer breaking down and therefore didn't make it there in time, and one in Slovakia because the promoter over there had been arrested and the technical equipment was completely missing when we arrived at the venue. Apart from these incidents, most of the tour went smoothly, really.


The Gauntlet: There are a lot of new "Black Metal" bands emerging. Where would you like to see the genre at in the years to come?

Frost: I hope to see some more fresh blood, and I hope to hear and see something that isn't done before, but which is still Black Metal to the bone. The genre need to expand and constantly revitalize itself, while the roots at the same time are being nourished. I hope to see that Black Metal with substance and splendour is uplifted, and that the mediocre is once and for all cast down from the throne where it resides today. Geniuses, innovators, devotees and extraordinary talented people did lay the founding stones for this musical genre, and I hope to see that the Black Metal flag is carried by such people for the future.


The Gauntlet: What bands are you interested in sharing a stage with?

Frost: To play with Celtic Frost would be an honour. We owe so much to that band, and we are good friends with them. They actually seem to have gotten back the spirit that guided them in the mid-eighties, which is a better thing than anyone could have hoped for in these times of meaningless comebacks and reunions.
I also have to say that playing with Gorgoroth suits us really fine. It is perhaps the only Black Metal band of today that mathces our level of extremity as a live act, but which express their extremity in an altogether different manner. Other bands that I imagine to be the right kind of tour companions for 1349 are Carpathian Forest and Tsjuder.



The Gauntlet: Have you heard about black metal being banned at this time in Malaysia? What are your views on these types of actions?

Frost: It tells alot about the rigidity of the governing instances and of the dominant attitudes down there. I wonder, according to which criteria is the music being banned?...Who decides what are going to be banned? How do they separate Black Metal from other kinds of metal? Do they educate people and form expert groups on Black Metal that are to give defining guidelines to base paragraphs in the Law upon? Music police? (heard in Malaysian BM rehearsal room: "Oops!!! The Music police is outside! Switch to the Metallica-cover!"). It's absurd on the border of utter silliness, I can't really conceive of the situation or take it seriously.


The Gauntlet: Since 1349 started, what have been the biggest problems you had to overcome as a band to have gotten this far?

Frost: Overcoming problems is simply a part of any existence; I'm not sure if I can't point out any specific problem that has been a greater obstacle than any other. Getting a decent record deal was pretty demanding, but it should be, I think. Our biggest limitations and challenges right now is the economic situation and getting me into the U.S., where I have work to do. Even these obstacles shall be overcome.


The Gauntlet: Is there any talk of a North American tour in 2006?

Frost: Yes, there is. There's quite A LOT of talk about that, as a matter of fact.


The Gauntlet: Does 1349 have any pre show rituals to get you ready for the show, and what goes through your mind when you walk out on stage each night?

Frost: We warm up, and we apply our make-up. Both are important preparations for the physically and mentally demanding task at hand. I usually conjure forth a lot of explosive energy before entering the stage, so I am literally about to burst into flames before starting to play. Thoughts are mostly replaced by mental images of energy streams and very often of intense yet controlled fury.


The Gaunlet: What is the best thing you accomplished as a band over the years?

Frost: Hellfire.


The Gauntlet: Which artists have been the biggest influences upon the overall sound of 1349?

Frost: Obviously, that must have been Ravn, Archaon, Seidemann, Tjalve and myself! Nah, you get my meaning; we have developed an expression of our own, but that's not to say there aren't distinct references to be found in our music. I think that most of our music sound like 1349 and nothing else, but we have songs like "To Rottendom" which evidently owes alot to Bathory and Sodom, and we deliberately wanted to have some of the early '90s NBM feeling present on "Hellfire". At certain times I think it may be beneficial to have some references; like when one of the guitar players came up with a specific theme for Legion, and I immediately heard that it would sound excellent with some "Beyond the Gates"-style drumming that would never have crossed my mind if I hadn't heard that album. Usually we give the music our own specific 1349-signature, though. We are thankful to those that have laid down the founding stones and contributed to giving us this urge to perform Black Metal.


The Gauntlet: What is it that you would like to say to all of your loyal followers?

Frost: Thank you. See you around.


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Tags:  1349  , Frost - Drumsinterviews

    December 28, 2005

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