MM: Hi, great to meet you. Your new album is released soon. How excited are you with the new album "Darkest White"?
Tarald: We are extremely excited about our new album. We have spent the last two years composing the songs and making demos for it; starting pre-production with our producer last autumn. A lot of blood, sweat, tears and beers have been put into it, and we are very happy with the final result.
MM: How much is "Darkest White" a progression from your last album?
Tarald: Both sonically and composition-wise, I think it’s a big step ahead for us. I am very fond of our last album, Rubicon, but this time I feel that we are a bit more focussed than three years ago. On the new album we venture into a darker soundscape, both musically and lyrically. The emotional span – between the songs and within the songs - is bigger than before, ranging from the most brutal primal aggression to the most fragile moments. However, we still have the “trademark” grand arrangements, doomy moods, and elaborate harmonies blended with intense growling, but more refined this time.
The album is produced by Christer André Cederberg (Anathema, Circus Maximus), an extremely talented musical visionary. His goal with the album was to dig out the potential in each band member, aiming for a vibe recreating the live energy of the band; a heavier, more organic, more detailed and refined, but also dirtier and more extreme sound than on previous releases. He is a true master when it comes to pulling out the best possible performance, especially from the singers, and you can really hear that on this album. We are all very thrilled by the outcome.
MM: Favourite tracks on "Darkest White"?
Tarald: I have a soft spot for practically every song on the album, for different reasons, but if I have to choose a couple, it has to be Number and Cypher. The former encompasses a lot of what this band is all about: grandiose brutality and melodical finesse intertwined. The latter is very special to me because of the lyrics, and Kjetil’s melody in the verses is quite magical, I think.
MM: If I was new to Tristania which tracks would you introduce me to first?
Tarald: That is a difficult question, because we have a very varied back catalogue; every album is different from the one before, and each release is very multi-faceted in itself.
However, I think I would go for the songs that we are playing live these days. We play songs from a wide selection of the albums, and the range is quite big when it comes to the musical expression. The Shining Path (World of Glass), Libre and Shadowman (both from Ashes) can serve to showcase the older Tristania vibe, whereas songs like Exile (Rubicon) and Number (Darkest White) will give a hint of the more recent development of the band.
MM: Are there plans for a big tour in support of the album?
Tarald: Indeed. But at the moment nothing is 100% decided. There are plans for a European tour this autumn, and possibly also a venture into the US during the winter. Time will tell.
MM: Any Festivals planned for the summer?
Tarald: We’re kicking off with a concert in Bryne , Norway, on June 20, and we have two great festivals in Germany coming up: Wacken Open Air (Aug. 1 – Aug 3) and Summer Breeze. (Aug 15 – Aug 17). We can’t wait to play live again!
MM: Plans for the rest of the year?
Tarald: As mentioned above, there will possibly be a tour of Europe in the fall, but nothing is 100% decided yet. However, we are really looking forward to a great outdoor festival in Costa Rica in December (Festival Siembra y Lucha), with Overkill, Mayhem, and Sabaton, amongst others. Will be fun!
MM: Which countries do you enjoy most playing?
Tarald: South/Latin American countries are always amazing to us, and I have to say that Mexico never lets us down. Incredible, very dedicated audience.. But we love to play everywhere, of course.
MM: Do you all get on well on tour? And what would you say is the worst and best things about being out on the road?
Tarald: Being on the road has always been a fun experience for us, and I have to say that we are all getting along really well. Many people ask us about this, probably because we have two girls in the band. We never had any problems with that at all, except for the male snoring cacophony at night. Both girls are very easy-going and laidback, and the guys in the band are all relatively well-behaved (or at least we like to think that we are), so that has gone really smoothly so far. We’re all just a bunch of good friends having a great time together.
The worst thing about being on the road – for me - is to wake up the next day. I’m always the last to go to bed, and – for some reason - also the last to get up, which is not so cool.
The best thing about being on the road is being able to play our music to people who really appreciate it; a very rewarding experience.
MM: The band has been around for a fairly long time now, is it difficult at times to find inspiration and create new ideas for songs and directions to take the music further?
Tarald: The band has certainly been around for a while, but during the last years quite a few creative forces have been added to our unit, arguably making it easier to broaden the Tristanian horizon. Everybody is encouraged to bring as many ideas as possible to the table. For this album, though, Ole took the main responsibility and proved to be the most productive when it comes to almost complete musical ideas. He composed the chord structures, quite a few vocal lines and made the original arrangements for most of the songs. The rest of us contributed with lyrics, vocal melodies and other ideas where they were lacking, but Ole’s work was extremely important for Darkest White.
MM: How hard is it to choose a set list?
Tarald: It’s a pretty tough job, I’d say. We all make suggestion when it comes to the live songs and narrow it down from there. Lists are made with our preferences and we just scale it down, mostly in mutual agreement.
MM: The Scandinavian Metal scene is thriving, do you have any personal favourite bands from your part of Europe?
Tarald: Shining (N) is really impressive stuff, and I also quite enjoy Kvelertak and Circus Maximus. It’s not exactly metal, but Motorpsycho is definitely a band that should be checked out by lovers of music everywhere. Their drummer is the amazing Kenneth Kapstad (also with God Seed etc)
MM: Bands you are listening to at the moment, and what first got you into music, specifically Metal?
Tarald: The first band to make me really fall in love with music was the Beatles, with the songs Twist & Shout, She Loves You, and Help. I listened to these three songs for months, before moving on. My dad is a huge Elvis Presley/fifties rock’n’roll fan, so I was heavily exposed to that as well. However, the band that opened my mind when it comes to the world of hard rock/metal was definitely KISS. I am still a major KISS fan, a passion which is also shared by Anders in the band. We always have our small nerdy discussions and arguments as to which albums are worthwhile listening to.
Currently, I’m listening a lot to a-ha stuff from the nineties. Timeless brilliance. I’m also very much into Marty Friedman, the guitarist, at the moment. I simply can’t get enough of his Spheres album. There’s a fine line between beauty and boredom. Highly recommended.
MM: Looking back on your career so far, what would you say has been the band’s biggest highlight, and your personal one?
Tarald: Joining the band as a live drummer in 2005, my personal highlight is probably Wacken 2009, or the first South American tour I did with the band, in 2008. Wacken was an incredible experience; people as far as the eye can see, and a lovely atmosphere. We are really stoked about getting back there this year, the 4th time around for Tristania.
MM: Finally anything you would like to say to your fans and our listeners?
Tarald: Make sure to check out our new album! We can’t wait to see you out there!
MM: Thanks !!!
Tarald: Thanks a lot!
Interview by: Seb Di Gatto