Date: 29 October 2013
MM : Great to meet you and thanks for your time.
Olav :The pleasure is all mine.
MM: Could you give us a brief background of the band?
Olav: Sahg was formed back in 2004 by Thomas Tofthagen, Olav Iversen and Tom Cato Visnes. They were joined by Einar Selvik (aka Kvitrafn) on drums in 2005. The first album named Sahg I was released in 2006. Einar Selvik’s left the band shortly after the first album release, to focus on his Viking trad project Wardruna. The band worked with various drummers in the time that followed. After touring the US with Celtic Frost and playing a string of festivals including Wacken Open Air in 2007, Sahg begun to work on the second album, Sahg II, released in 2008. The band toured Europe with American doomers Trouble, did a festival tour in India along with Satyricon, and performed at festivals across Europe, including Metalcamp in 2008.
Sahg was joined by new permanent drummer, Thomas Lønnheim, for the recording of Sahg III, released in 2010. They toured Europe with Dimmu Borgir and Enslaved in 2010. In 2011, Sahg was joined by Tony Vetaas, who filled the space of Tom Cato Visnes, after he left the band to concentrate on other projects. We started to work on the material for what was to become “Delusions of Grandeur”, and have since then been touring Europe with Long distance calling and Solstafir, and the UK with Audrey Horne. We also played Sweden Rock Festival this summer.
MM: Sahg release " Delusions of Grandeur" soon, what's the feed back been like so far from the media and how much of a progression is "Delusions of Grandeur from your previous work?
Olav :The feedback started to tick in from all over, and it has been outstanding so far. It seems clear that everyone has grasped what we have tried to do this time, that everyone understands the musical and conceptual message we are trying to bring across. It seems people appreciate the changes we have made to our sound, which was quite a concern for us.
Our mindset on this album was to take the band’s expression a few steps further, and try to create something a bit different from the three previous records. Try to take a new approach on our influences and explore other parts of our musical selves. For the band, this is a major step onward from the previous records, and it has taken quite an effort to get there. It is like the start of a new era for Sahg.
MM: "Delusions of Grandeur" is an intriguing name for an album, can you give us the meaning for the title and an insight into the new album?
Olav: In fact, the whole conceptual idea for the album started with the title, and we evolved it into a concept album. It’s about a person who is overpowered by his own delusions of grandeur and gets lost in his own delusional universe. He ends up losing grips with reality completely, and drifts off into hopelessness. Every song contains a story leading to this persons downfall.
MM: Do you have a personal favorite track on "Delusions"?
Olav: No, actually not. There are many favourites on the album, and it is hard to choose. I think the strength of the album lies in the completeness of it and at the same time each of the songs stand firmly on their own.
MM: A lot of your songs are spiritual and influenced by the supernatural. Do you believe in God ?
Olav: Well, we are definitely not a religious band, in the traditional sense of the word. But I think there are powers at work that we don’t know of. It is hard to believe something that you can’t see, right? But I expect there is something out there that I can’t yet understand. Some call it God, some call it Allah, Buddah … I don`t know what to call it, but I think it’s something out there.
MM: Have you or the band had any strange supernatural experiences?
Olav: Hehe, yeah. But I won’t tell in public. You might think I’m a lunatic or something … It’s the kind of thing I need to tell to someone’s face for them to believe me. Not in an interview online.
MM: Are their plans to have a full tour?
Olav: Yeah, we are planning tours for next year as we speak. There are many plans that I can’t tell you about yet, but you will know as soon as it is confirmed. Expect to see us around in 2014.
MM: Norway indeed Scandinavia has some amazing bands, do you have any personal favorites?
Olav: There is a lot of inspiration and favourites in the Scandinavian music history. Norwegian bands like Popol Vuh/Popol Ace from the 70’s, TNT in the 80’s, Swedish death rollers Entombed, one of my absolute personal favourite bands, and of course Mercyful Faith and King Diamond. Opeth from Sweden has also been an inspiration for some of us.
MM: It's great that Norway is seen to be more than just Black Metal music these days, with bands like yourselves and Audrey Horne. Back in the day with the whole Black Metal scene, did it have a big influence on you and the band growing up and were any of you Black Metallers as fans or in bands?
Olav: Norway ha always been much more than black metal. But black metal put Norway on the map and made Norwegian metal famous. It was a new style and that will always draw attention. Especially when the scene consists of people who will do anything to shock their surroundings. Like burn down churches and murder their ex-band mates.
Tom Cato Visnes (founding member) aka T.C. King used to play in black metallers Gorgoroth and has continued with that in a band called God Seed after his departure from Sahg. As far as Sahg is concerned we are not much into black metal.
MM: Do you have a favorite country to play?
Olav: No favourite country. Every country has it’s own vibe. We always feel very welcome wherever we play whether it’s in England, Germany, France, Switzerland or Norway. But I have to say it was a bit special to play in India. People are so enthusiastic and so thankful for the bands that come over and play for them. They go out of their skin for you to give you a good time and make you enjoy your visit there. Very special.
MM: You cite the bands influences as Black Sabbath, Pentagram, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. Would they be your ultimate bands to share a stage with if you could turn back the clock?
Olav: Yes, of course. Back in the days those bands would have been great to have as opening acts ;-). But it is really not that important who we tour with, as long as they are good people and play great music that attracts an audience that will enjoy Sahg as well.
MM: If not who would be your ultimate line up?
Olav: Perfect lineup ... Hmm. Maybe Sahg, Black Sabbath, Mastodon and Slayer? A good mix.
MM: Which lineup of Sabbath and Deep Purple do / did you like best?
Olav: It is difficult to choose between the classic eras of Black Sabbath. I personally equals the original lineup with Ozzy and the lineup that happened to call themselves Heaven and Hell in the end. As far as Deep Purple is concerned, I definitely consider the Mark 2 line-up as the classic line-up.
MM: Biggest achievement so far for Sahg?
Olav: Right now, I can’t think of anything more exciting than the making and release of “Delusions of Grandeur”. To see the album released after all the hard work we have put into it is just a great satisfaction.
MM: Three words to describe Sahg?
Olav: Hard, Heavy and Massive. Or True Norwegian Brown Metal. That’s four ... dammit ;-)
MM: Any final words to your fans and our readers?
Olav: Yeah, please check out the new album “Delusions of grandeur”. We really think you will enjoy it. Follow us on facebook and check out our website.
And come meet us for a beer when we are playing in a town near you!
MM: Thanks for your time!
Olav: Like I said, the pleasure is all mine. Cheers!
Interview by: Seb Di Gatto