Dimmu Borgir - Silenoz

We last spoke almost two years ago to the day and we were awaiting the arrival of your tenth studio album "Eonian" which was released on May 4th 2018 via Nuclear Blast. Did the reception and reaction to "Eonian" meet your expectations?

We don't really think too much about expectations etc because once we are done with the album its out of our control anyway so any thumbs up is a bonus. Whenever we are done in the studio and finished mastering the album then we are happy so it doesn't matter what people say but there has been a very positive response I must say. After waiting so many years for releasing a new album, you are always going to have people expecting one thing or another but I'm really happy with it.


                                                  


For me personally I was wondering on how Dimmu Borgir were going to expand their sound and with "Eonian" your sound became even more epic and surpassed my expectations for the new release. We are all guilty when it comes to expectations when it comes to hearing new releases.

We took it as far as we could. The only conscious decision was that we wanted to use a live choir and incorporate the choir singing more lyrics so it's a very choir orientated album of course but that was done on purpose. Apart from that we just wrote the songs like we always write songs and if it sounds good then we keep it and if it doesn't then we just stick it back on the shelf to use later. There's no particular formula we use.

 
 
Not long after the release of "Eonian", Victor Brandt was announced as the live bassist for Dimmu Borgir. I saw you play a show in Warsaw and I could tell that his bass sound added an extra dimension to your live sound. How do you feel that Victor has fitted into the band and are you happy with his transition?

Very very happy. He has been on our tail for quite a few years actually so he was our first choice. He's not only a great musician, he went to music school, he's a great songwriter and he has really lifted that rhythm section in the band. He plays with a pick and does the backing vocals and also off stage he is a very cool guy to be around. On tour it's basically me, Victor and Gerlioz that are party central ha ha. He has been a really great addition to the band and he has filled that role really really well. He is also very conscious about his equipment, he is very up to date with everything and always wants to improve his sound and playing.



                           




Yourself, Shagrath and Galder were the main songwriters on "Eonian", Daray and Gerlioz played smaller but still influential roles in the process. Can we expect Victor to be taking up a similar role to the others when it comes to creating new music?

Well actually he's been throwing several ideas at us and he is never short of material so I'm sure that some of his stuff is going to be used one way or another. It's always cool to have a different input to help break it up. I'm looking forward to making new music with him and he will be a great addition to the songwriting process.


Dimmu Borgir have never been ones to rush with releasing new albums but have you got together any ideas towards a new album yet and how can Dimmu Borgir progress and expand their sound even further?

For the previous album we could have done a double album because we had so much material to take from and I'm sure some of the stuff that we didn't use could be used on the next album. Apart from that each one of us has so many ideas so when we actually get together there is never a shortage of material. It's all about trying to arrange it within the feel or mood of the band at the moment so hopefully it won't take as long to release a new album this time. After this tour we are going to take a quick break and then we are going to try to churn it all into a new album so to speak.


Obviously you just said that there were a lot of songs not used on "Eonian" so does that mean that the next album could be a choir heavy album yet again?

Without saying too much because we haven't really decided on anything yet as we try not to pre decide what the album will sound like as we try and just go with the flow but I think the feeling within the band now is that we want to take a more aggressive turn and now with Victor in the band, with him also being a guitarist there will be four of us writing guitar riffs. It would surprise me if the album will be more guitar orientated which I don't mind.


It's now actually been 20 years since Galder joined the band and has become one of the main outright members of the band along with yourself and Shagrath. How has your friendship with Galder evolved over the years and do you wish that he was with you from the very start?

In a way I wish that he was but I also think that him coming in twenty years ago lifted the band from where we were at because I remember specifically that there was two songs that we were stuck with and we couldn't really move past those ideas and when he came in he helped finalize those songs which were "Blessing Upon the Throne of Tyranny" and "Kings of the Carnival Creation". He was the key that basically finished those two songs. We of course already had a lot of material written for that album but he was the one who helped finalize it all.


                                                 



I have to say that "Kings of the Carnival Creation" is actually one of my favorite songs and I have noticed that is one of the songs that you haven't been playing as of late so can we expect that song to make an appearance again tonight?

Yes you can actually. It's back in. We usually play it at festivals and stuff but we played London a year ago and played it then so you can expect a similar set list. I would personally like to play a lot of older stuff but also the new fans aren't as familiar with the older stuff like die hard fans are so it's always hard to put together a set list. It's a good song to play live and it is always a crowd pleaser, it's quite a long song but it doesn't feel like when you are playing it so to me that's an indication that it's a pretty well composed song because you would feel like its dragging when you play it otherwise.


It is hard to find the right balance in a set list to keep everyone happy. For me for example I really like old In Flames but their set list is full up with newer songs so I'm not actually bothered about seeing them live at the moment but when a band like yourselves have such a vast back catalogue that your always going to have to miss some songs out that people want to hear. You can't make everyone happy at the end of the day.

Exactly. You can't always make everyone happy. You have to try and find the combination of what we like to play and what we think will come across best in a live situation and sometimes you don't find out until you try it. I remember that we had "The Insight and the Catharsis" in the set list for the album tour and I think that we only played it once because we had to re click it to be able to add the clean choir voice and there was something that didn't work right so we had to go back and see what we what we could do to make it sound more like it should. I remember that there was few people who messaged me saying that "you played it there but you didn't play it at this show" but there is a reason for that.


In 2011 you held "Forces of the Northern Night" in Oslo and then replicated that show at Wacken the previous year. Can we ever expect you to perform live yet again with an orchestra and a choir in the years to come? Maybe even for the bands 30th anniversary in a few years time?

Fuck. Yeah it's only a few years away. We definitely aren't saying no to looking into such an idea yet again but I think with that Forces of the Northern Night thing we kind of put it on the shelf but I wouldn't mind performing it at the Sydney Opera House or somewhere else like that for that matter. It's such a mammoth production to undertake, there are so many people involved and with the luck that we sometimes have on stage you don't possibly know what might go wrong but nothing actually went wrong for that show apart that my wireless wouldn't work half an hour before going on stage so I had to use a lead. My guitar tech said "don't worry about it" and five minutes before we went on stage I asked him if it was fixed and why wasn't it working and he said he had no idea but it's working now. I had to go out and play our biggest show to date not knowing if my equipment was going to fail again but apart from that everything went really smoothly. At Wacken you don't get to have a soundcheck so its only like a 45 minute change over to get a hundred people ready for the show so that was quite nerve racking.


Over the years you have had many different words on your guitar strap such as "Alpha" and "Omega". What are the general meanings behind each one and what makes you decide on what to have put onto your strap?

I guess it's just to have a certain link to this album maybe because we have a song called ""Alpha Aeon Omega". In the past I have also had "Diaboli" which is in yet another song title. I really want to have "Priest" but I can't because I'm not KK. A friend of mine from Sweden actually hand makes them for me to my specs of course. It's basically just a small detail, I like things to be looking complete. I think it just encapsules the feeling of that album.


                
                                                             Photo by Dmytro Golovchenko


The "Eonian World Tour" has been to all corners of the Globe including Europe, South America, Japan, North America, Russia and Australia. What have been your personal highlights and what are your plans to finish off the "Eonian World Tour" and for the rest of 2020?

We don't really have anything else booked apart from Tons of Rock and Graspop in the summer as we are probably going to go into song writing mode so that is going to be the main focus for while after this but i wouldn't be surprised if we play more festivals next summer. We haven't really done a proper tour of the states for this album so hopefully that's something we can look into as well. I obviously don't mind going back to Australia and Japan as that is always killer but also some other places in Asia like India as we have never been there and China for that matter. I like to travel so going to new places is always fun. It's like a paid vacation so I'm extremely lucky in that way.


Thank you for your time and I wish you all the best for the year ahead.


"Eonian" is available via Nuclear Blast





                                           

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