Keep of Kalessin – The Infinite Orchestra

Saturday, 30th March 2013 Obviously, “The Dragontower” is going to the main topic of debate. You had it on Eurovision and it’s easily the most commercial song you’ve done. Are you curious to see what the reaction will be for this song in the long run?

Obsidian C.: Well, actually, I am. I’m very curious to see how it will work in a live situation. We can end up being booed off the stage for playing that song. I know there are a lot of people that have problems with a band writing a song like that. There are the same metalheads that will sing along for something like that; then there are the extreme metalheads that will hate it. I mean, I like this kind of music and I think “The Dragontower” isn’t that far from regular Keep of Kalessin. It’s also a lot bigger to hear it in the Eurovision setting than on the album. This song is very necessary on the album; I think that album needed to be broken up a bit. If you hear our older songs, then you see what’s going on in “The Dragontower,” you will see that make it sense. We just focused more on groove, which we did for most of this album. Eurovision itself, what was that like?

Obsidian C. It was really cool, a fucking circus, but cool. I would never trade that experience for anything. I know there’s a lot of people that think a metal band should do something like that, but we did what we wanted to do. To me, that’s being more true and more metal than the other stuff. We cannot be dictated by what others think of us. I think there’s no reason for a metal band to have structure. I know people think that black metal music is supposed to be evil and dark to where you can’t even smile. Keep of Kalessin are happy people and we like to have fun. And this was fucking fun [laughs]. Like I said, it was a circus, but it was really cool. We learned a lot and saw this huge production first-hand. We met a lot of people and they gave us a lot promotion, especially here in Norway, so it opened a lot of doors for us. I’m just glad we did it and we did what we wanted to do instead of being afraid of what people will think of us. If you let fans or the metal scene dictate your decisions, to me, that’s not being true or especially not black metal. Black metal is about individuallity and doing what you want to do. We broke free of those chains a long time ago. When you started, you used a bunch of big-name session musicians, but now you’ve had the same line-up for five years. How helpful is that?

Obsidian C.: It’s very relaxing to have the same kind of line-up and we’re working faster than ever before. All the people in the band are very dedicated. Thebon [vocals] for this album, has been really cool. When we brought him onboard for the Armada album, I remember spending months on just doing vocals. And months in the studio to try to hone him as a vocalist and we tried to find a different vocal style. For the new album, it was one take on most things. Like “Death metal vocals there. One take! Finished.” “Black metal vocals there. One take!” It’s easier to work with the vocals now because have we have sound communication now. I just tell him what kind of vocals I want and he does it. That saves us a lot of time. I think the chemistry in the band is great; we work very well together. It’s really cool to have a stable like this and can focus on making music and writing and not rehearsing with new guys all the time. Your upcoming fall tour with Nile will be your return trip to North America. Considering how well the Dimmu tour went back in 2008, what are you hoping to get out of it this time around?

Obsidian C.: I’m looking forward to getting back. Touring the US is one of the best places to tour. We also like to [just] travel around. In Europe, all of the shops are closed at night, but there you can go to a Waffle House [laughs] or wherever. It’s very good for a band that’s touring. The US fans are really cool. I’m hoping more people will be into the band and I know our name has grown in the last couple of years. With this album out, it will do better than Kolussus, so we can gain more of an audience.

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