Interview with Century Media Recording Artist

Oystein G. Brun of

B O R K N A G A R

 

CRITICALTOM:Has Epic been out long enough for you to have any idea of how successful it will be?I assume the reviews have been very complimentary so far.

 

OYSTEIN:It has been out since the 21st of June in Europe.So far the reviews have been really great.

 

CRITICALTOM:To me, Empiricism and Epic are your best albums (and I have them all).But I happen to think they are pretty equal.

 

OYSTEIN:Epic was mostly written when we did Empiricism.All the songs were written around 2002.Most come from the same period.But I think Epic is more intense.

 

CRITICALTOM:Why the long delay?

 

OYSTEIN:Different reasons.I needed some time off after touring etc.; spent time with the family.Also we took more time recording this album.

 

CRITICALTOM:What is the creative process for the band?Who does what?

 

OYSTEIN:I basically have written the music since the beginning.I have a home studio, so I come up with riffs and record them, then distribute them to the guys.But it is a group effort.Everybody adds something to the album.

 

CRITICALTOM:You seem like a very nice guy.Often when a band has a revolving door of musicians I wonder if it is because the band leader is a bit of a perfectionist (I wonít mention any names).Would you say that it is hard for people to stay in Borknagar?

 

OYSTEIN:There are always different reasons why people leave.At first the band was more of a project for some.They already had their bands (like Garm who wanted to do more electronic music).But with each album we got a little more serious, plus the pressure from the label.Like with Vortex, he was in this band and Dimmu Borgir.And after a while it got to where he could not be in both.With all the changes I have tried to maintain the same kind of atmosphere while allowing for progression.

 

CRITICALTOM:Have you found a new bassist yet?

 

OYSTEIN:No.Iím pretty happy with the way things are, so we probably wonít get a bassist.We will use a session bassist on tour, though.And probably a second guitarist.But we will probably just stay the way we are.

 

CRITICALTOM: A bandís music is described in various ways by different reviewers.Iím sure some make you happy, and some make you cringe.In your own words, what do you think is the best way to describe your music?

 

OYSTEIN:Some kind of extreme metal with progressive elements.Iíve always tried to do something beyond all the labels.Some call it black metal, or Norwegian metal.It has progressive elements. But I really want it to go beyond the categories.Sometimes the descriptions are funny, but it is always interesting to see how other describe your music.

 

CRITICALTOM:You are the only member of Borknagar who is not in another band.

 

OYSTEIN:Yeah, I am dedicated to this music.

 

CRITICALTOM:What does Borknagar mean?

 

OYSTEIN:It really doesnít mean anything specific. It does have roots in Norwegian mythology, but other than that, nothing.I wanted a name with a Norwegian sound that didnít really dump the band into a category it couldnít get out of later.I didnít really want a name which doesnít represent the band or limits the band to a particular style.

 

CRITICALTOM:I was happy when I found out Vintersorg was in the band.How did you get Vintersorg in the band and what has that been like?

 

OYSTEIN:Itís great.We have been friends for a long time, even before he came to the band.We are a lot alike.We are like musical soul mates.

 

CRITICALTOM:Does he write all the lyrics or do you?

 

OYSTEIN:Itís a combination.Actually, all the guys contribute to the lyrics.

 

CRITICALTOM:What do you see as a goal you havenít reached yet?

 

OYSTEIN:Thatís a hard question because I donít really have any goal except to make better music.I have no desire to become famous or to be a big ďrock starĒ.So Iíd have to say it is to make better and better music.

 

CRITICALTOM:Who do you claim as your influences?

 

OYSTEIN:All kinds of bands, really.Bathory is one, especially the Hammerheart album.But I also really enjoy listening to Pink Floyd and classical music. I am even working on a symphony.

 

CRITICALTOM:You are working on a symphony?

 

OYSTEIN:Yes, pretty much for my own benefit.I donít know if anything will come of it, although I think it is pretty good.

 

CRITICALTOM:Is this something you plan to do as Borknagar?

 

OYSTEIN:Probably not.I donít know if it will be for anything, though the idea of using it for a movie soundtrack or something is interesting.

 

CRITICALTOM:Who do you think would be an ideal band for Borknagar to tour with?

 

OYSTEIN:Bathory, but I guess itís too late for that (laughter).But I think we could tour with just about anybody. If we toured with Metallica, we would have some music that would go well on that tour.If we went out with a black metal band, we would have something that would work well on that kind of tour as well.So I donít think it really matters.

 

CRITICALTOM:You music/lyrics have a real philosophical tone.

 

OYSTEIN:I like music which is more profound than just talking about drinking beer, etc.

 

CRITICALTOM:What would you say to someone who has never heard you before?

 

OYSTEIN:I think it is emotional.Of course it is metal.Not emotional in sense of being sad or slow.Intense is a good word.It has a lot of my personality.

 

CRITICALTOM:What other famous Norwegian bands do you hang out with?

 

OYSTEIN:Ha!I donít hang out with them much. I spend time with my family.Iíd rather be recording music in my studio or something.I pretty know pretty much all those guys, though.

 

SHORT FACTS

 

Family:wife and 1 little girl.

Education:working on college degree in education related field.

Favorite guitar:I have an old Les Paul (I the editor didnít quite get the make and model).

Amp:Marshall and Eagle

Reading:Stephen Hawking (in Norwegian).

Religious background:Pagan .

 

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