October Tide – Of Melancholy Splendor

Tuesday, 9th April 2019

October Tide founding member/guitarist Frederik Norrman isn’t the most verbose of fellas, preferring short, to-the-point responses to the below email interview, but maybe he doesn’t have to do a great deal of chit-chatting. Since reactivating October Tide in 2010 without co-founder and Katatonia vocalist Jonas Renske, Norrman (who was also with the melancholic Swedes for 15 years), has turned October Tide into a dark-death powerhouse, crafting the type of sterling, annihilate-the-sun type of songs that carry this sort of lead, progressive weight, going far beyond traditional boundaries. What was carried forth with 2010’s excellent A Thin Shell has been expanded upon with the band’s latest, In Splendour Below. Norrman, who is joined by his brother Matias on guitar, dole out boulder-sized disharmony and harmony all at once, even prompting a nod to his Katatonia glory days on the song “Stars Starve Me.” Here’s the to-the-point Norrman, waxing on OT’s lineup changes, the new album and a few what-ifs? Read on…

Dead Rhetoric: You’ve experienced a couple of lineup changes in recent years. How have they shaped the band?

Frederik Norrman: I must say we’ve become stronger and stronger. We sound better and tighter. The new guys, Johan [Jönsegård, bass] and Jonas [Sköld, drums], brought in some good energy.

Dead Rhetoric: What does your brother Matthias bring to the guitar department? Do you think he’s a better fit on guitar versus bass?

Norrman: As a guitar player, I think he’s technically better than I am. Perhaps his playing style is a bit more similar to my style than Emil’s was. But Mattias is a great bass player as well so I think he fits both positions very well. When Emil quit, he saw his chance to play the guitar since he’s actually a guitarist from the beginning

Dead Rhetoric: You may have been asked this a few times already: Why the new logo? (It looks great, by the way.)

Norrman: Our original logo looked extremely boring compared to other bands on gig and festival posters. It was almost difficult to find it. So, it definitely needed an update. And it also fits our style better now, I believe

Dead Rhetoric: In Splendour Below is your fourth post-reformation album. Would you say October Tide’s sound is now fully realized or, a continuing to evolve?

Norrman: Hopefully we’ll continue to evolve our sound. As a musician, it’s a must thing, to develop your sound, style and try new things. At least for me, it’s important that a new album doesn’t sound exactly like the previous one.

Dead Rhetoric: Was the new one any easier to compose than the previous albums? If so, why?

Norrman: It was pretty much as easy/difficult as previous albums. But on this record both Mattias and Johan contributed with material, which is great. Alex [Högbom, vocals] also wrote most lyrics himself this time. We’ve had guest writers earlier.

Dead Rhetoric: “Stars Starve Me” is a standout and it features some riffing somewhat reminiscent of your Katatonia days. What brought this about?

Norrman: Thanx! The working name for this song was actually “Kata96.” It pretty much says it all ha-ha…

Dead Rhetoric: The all-Swedish song, “Ögonblick av nåd,” is great, too. What led to Alexander singing the whole thing in your native tongue?

Norrman: I’m not sure. They did a song in Swedish with Demonical and I guess he enjoyed it. But it turned out great. It adds a rawness that the English language doesn’t. We were actually discussing whether we should do the whole album in Swedish or not.

Dead Rhetoric: Are you happy with the progress October Tide has made since 2010? Would you ever want the band to become bigger?

Norrman: Yes, absolutely. Everything has become better and better. Of course, I would like the band to become bigger, play more and bigger festivals and all that. But I’m pretty satisfied either way. We’ve been doing some, not many, but good gigs the past years.

Dead Rhetoric: Would you say that between October Tide and Thenighttimeproject you have the best of both worlds creatively?

Norrman: Yes definitely! If we manage to bring in some more death metal in October Tide, without changing the sound too much, then it would be perfect.

Dead Rhetoric: The band originally formed 25 years ago. Have you reflected upon this anniversary at all?

Norrman: No, not at all, but perhaps we should come up with something to celebrate.

Dead Rhetoric: Had Katatonia not reformed, do you think you and Jonas would have kept October Tide going? If so, where do you think the band would be?

Norrman: Hard to say but I don’t think so. If we would have continued, we would prob have sounded very different. At the end of the 90s, we were discovering so much other music than metal that caught our interest.

Dead Rhetoric: Finally, what’s on deck for the rest of 2019?

Norrman: We’re planning a tour for the end of the year with some good friends of ours. We have a few festivals during the summer and hopefully, some more gigs will show up in between.

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