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Bjornar Nilsen (Vulture Industries)

Interview with Bjornar Nilsen from Vulture Industries
by Yiannis Dafopoulos at 19 December 2010, 4:12 AM

The Norwegian avant garde black metallers released their sophomore full-length effort "The Malefactor's Bloody Register" earlier this year and the band's vocalist Bjornar Nilsen, who also produced the album, was kind enough to answer our questions and take us a journey through his own, dark dimension…

Hello Bjornar! Welcome to Metal Temple and congratulations on your new album! How have the sales and the reviews been so far? Are you satisfied with the outcome of this effort?
Thanks! Both sales and reviews have been very good so far. It seems we have managed to establish a fan base by now, so the album has been selling well from the start. We've also had a better promotional and touring plan with this release in cooperation with Dark Essence Records and our management, so all our efforts have been better coordinated. Considering that the album is more complex and difficult to get into than our debut we were expecting more polarized reviews this time. As a general trend the reviews have been extremely good though. There are of course some bad ones, but that's natural. I prefer bad reviews to mediocre reviews. We're not making music for everyone to get, so if people don't get our music I'm fine with them not liking it. I prefer that people have a definite opinion about our work, that it's not just something that can slide by unnoticed.

If I am not mistaken you produced the new album. How was it "working" for your own band? Did you have any difficulties?
I'm quite comfortable with producing my own stuff, especially when it comes to tracking the vocals. I think of my vocals more or less as storytelling. The story is far better told if it's not just conveyed by the words coming out of my mouth, but also by voice and character, by the whole act really. When I'm performing live and in the studio I go into the act of the song and try to live the characters and the atmosphere. Doing the whole act thing is not so easy in a normal studio situation, instead being alone in a dimly lit control room dancing around and getting into character works the best for me. When it comes to mixing and production, it has some back draws doing own stuff since it is difficult to keep the same objective perspective on one's own art, as one has when producing other bands. For example I have a tendency of mixing the vocal parts a bit to low on the first mix. Luckily the other guys in the band have keen ears, and I share the studio with the talented and nice guys Herbrand Larsen and Arve Isdal from ENSLAVED. They are happy to listen in and give their opinions, so we have good quality control.

Is there a concept behind the lyrics of "The Malefactor's Bloody Register" or does every track stands individually?
The theme of "The Malefactor's Bloody Register" is humanity seen through the justice system. It's about who we are and how we treat each other. I don't think of it as a concept album, but the lyrics are closely tied together through the common theme.

Who was in charge of the songwriting for this album? Did you all work together or is there a specific person that handles it? As with "The Dystopia Journals", I wrote most of the songs, doing outlines and sketches in the studio before going through them with Oyvind, the other songwriter. Oyvind on his part did the same with the two songs he wrote the initial sketches of in his bedroom studio. Finally we went through the material with the whole band to make the final adjustments and get the details in place.

Where do you draw your inspiration from when writing lyrics? What is it that produces such darkness in your words?

Did you use an already existing photo for the cover artwork or was it taken and edited especially for you? How does it connect to the album's title? We always try to make a package where everything is interlaced, music, lyrics and artwork. This makes the whole experience stronger than its parts. The picture was taken especially for the album. The hangman represents the scale with the noose, representing violence and force, weighing more than the book, representing ideals and good intentions.

Something kind of irrelevant now. You were formed in 1998 as DEAD ROSE GARDEN, changed your name in 2003 and released your first demo. First of all I would like to ask you if there were any releases under your previous name and secondly why did you change the band's name.
There were no official releases under the previous band name, only some demo and live recordings. I haven't really heard many of them, as I wasn't part of the band at the time, nor do I think much of the material from that era to be very good to be honest. It was a different band with 50% of the same members as VULTURE INDUSTRIES, but the musical direction was very different and many of the integral parts of what makes us sound like ourselves was missing. Therefore it came as a natural consequence of musical change and change of line-up that the band needed a new name. Anyway, DEAD ROSE GARDEN sounds pretty lame!

Which bands have influenced your music?
Very many! We have very varied tastes within the band and this is part of what makes us what we are. Our tastes and aesthetic preferences coloring the way we approach our music and our respective instruments. On my own part my favorite artists of all time is Tom Waits and DEVIL DOLL.

Many people speak about your similarity with ARCTURUS. Do you take that as a good or a bad thing? Do you even believe that there is actual similarity between your sounds?
People need references to define their world so I'm fine with getting compared to other bands. I do it myself when somebody asks me to explain how an artist sounds. Still, we have a lot of influences integrated into our music and often the most significant ones are not mentioned. Instead more superficial similarities like for example tone of voice tend to be given excessive weight.

What are your plans for now? Have you scheduled any live dates to promote your new album? Is there any chance we may see you playing live here in Greece?
We are currently working on booking live shows for next year and on material for our next album. So far everything is going very well and we have ideas for more or less half an album. I'm very happy with the current direction so it's inspiring work. We were just out on a tour through Europe together with three other bands from our label, namely TAAKE, HELHEIM and SULPHUR. It was our most successful tour to date, and both turn up and feedback was very good on almost every gig. Sadly it wasn't possible to fit in any shows in Greece with the routing, but we are experiencing interest from your country, so I hope we'll be able to visit next year.

You are also a member of BLACK HOLE GENERATOR, while Madsen and Huse play in SULPHUR. Has this ever affected the VULTURE INDUSTRIES schedule?
Not so much. VULTURE INDUSTRIES has the main focus and is the only band of the three that is actively touring. I think it is good to have some sideline projects to get some new influences, approaches and ideas.

Thanks a lot for your time Bjornar and I hope you and VULTURE INDUSTRIES achieve all your goals! Anything last you would like to say to Metal Temple's readers?
You are most welcome. Hope to see you all next year!


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Edited 03 June 2023

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