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Nexorum's Terje Olsen: "We are much more interested in writing a track with a feel and that blows you away rather than technical progressive song that makes you turn the album off after 3 songs because it’s just too much."

Interview with Terje Olsen from Nexorum
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 23 April 2020, 11:30 PM

A little while ago, who would have thought about the Covid-19 pandemic? Probably no one in this part of the world, yet the virus engines were already rolling. In the meantime, it was time to get to know the Norwegian Black / Death Metal band, Nexorum. It is only a guess, but taking no prisoners is their motto, unleashing one of the heaviest iron fists heard recently. With the release of "Death Unchained", via their new label, Non Serviam Records, Steinmetal had a chance to chat with Terje Olsen, vocals, to talk about the band's formation, early 90s Death Metal, the rise of "Death Unchained", sound and more…

Greetings Terje, it is a pleasure having you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine, how have you been doing mate?

Hello! I’m doing great these days, thanks for asking. Spending my free time chilling and gaming. But usually it’s full speed with band, kids and work.

Your band Nexorum is a pretty new name to the scene, at least when it comes to the European Metal scenery. With you being the vocalist of Khonsu, I guess that you were trying to find a sort of release by joining Nexorum, kind of going back to your roots?

Yeah! Nexorum is a brand new baby, and the release of our first album is right around the corner. Khonsu is great and the whole sci fi theme we do there is pretty cool, but there is just something about chugging guitars and brutal vocals that I really enjoy. Forming this band together with Roger and the other members was clearly the right thing to do.

It is obvious to ask, yet it is a must. Since Nexorum is new, I wonder how it all began. What motivated members of rather established bands to drift away and form this monstrosity?

Well if we boil it all down to the start it basically started with another project, that Roger and I were supposed to help out with. Then, one-day Roger had made a complete new track for this project all by himself and as I was listening to this song I thought to myself that this is too good to only be used in a project. At the same time, I recently had been going through a difficult divorce and I needed to get my teeth sank into something. I felt that now was the time to pick up music for real and do what I was born to do. So we started talking Roger and I about members that could play in Nexorum and we decided that we wanted this to be like a family. We wanted that brotherhood you know. Robin has been my best mate since we were like six years old and Keep Of Kalessin was not active then, so I asked him. Vidar our drummer had been working with Roger awhile. They were jamming on some insane stuff at the moment so reaching out to Vidar felt natural. Then we just met at a pub and drank beer, talking and talking and we had a blast together. Then before you know it, we were at our rehearsal place jamming. Frank joined in after some time, and man, he plays like a beast!

Prior to the presentation of your debut album, “Death Unchained”, you signed with the Duch Non Serviam Records. When I first got word of this, I told myself that it was a wise move to do. What is your appreciation of the album’s promotional activities? Does it prove itself to be effective on getting the word out of “Death Unchained”?

Yes, I feel that they are promoting the album well as they can. I really hope people will check us out and order the album. Merchandise is also on the way!

Talking about promotion, currently there are numerous options for bands to promote their new material. Whether it is a single, ep or a full length, everything is there for grabs. Which of these methods do you find yourself connected to more? Classically YouTube or rather the new foundation of Spotify? Do you believe that these sorts of teasers are enough to promote an album?

Well, we all know that the music industry is broken. There is no money for most of the bands, but fuck that! We don’t care, we do what we want. Hahaha! I think that a mix between it all is good. Putting out music videos, promoting good content on social media and making it easy for fans to buy the music is good. Spotify is also good. If you are lucky, then your single gets on one of this playlists also. This is very good promotion. In the end I think that the most important thing is playing live.

Getting back to the shores of “Death Unchained”. The general feeling is that you guys came to obliterate, to get everything out of your systems, all that dismay that you have been carrying. Would you argue that the philosophical essence of “Death Unchained” is merely going against or there is something deeper lurking that is hard to pinpoint?

Well, now that the album is done, we are all really proud of it and we feel that we ended up with a great first album. It’s Heavy, dark, brutal and groovy. It has a good mix between Death and Black Metal, just as we wanted it to be. I don’t like to talk about lyrics but it’s each song is different and has a unique theme to it. But yeah, there is a lot of hate towards the human race when I write. We are destroying ourselves with religion, war and pollution. So this is something I write a lot about and express my utter disgust for it through Nexorum.

How do you find the themes within “Death Unchained” related to everyday life, in particular your own personal experiences. How do you find yourself connected to the life generated out of every tune?

It’s something I don’t think so much on. I am what I am, but there is some form of connection, yes. I am very proud of being in this band and it gives me a good feeling. I am an artist, so I think different, I see things and live different from many and it’s just how I am. But when I write lyrics or think about different ideas, this of course affects me. It draws me into this mental state where I am just a bit more closed up because my brain is on fire and I am philosophizing.

The artwork of the album is pretty interesting. Though without actually studying it, one might say that it is pretty rudimentary, like a bunch of guys that wanted to be brutal. On the other hand, looking closely and there is something over the top with Rafal Wechterowicz’s creation. What was the vision behind the artwork? What is the general idea displayed before us?

We wanted something that captured the essence of the album. We sent an email to Rafal Wechterowicz with some of our visual ideas, along with a couple of songs and lyrics, so that he could get some inspiration.  This is what he came up with, and I really like it. There's no stronger symbol for death than a human skull, so that had to be the centerpiece of the artwork. The snakes and chalices are slight references to some of the lyrical content. Robin, our bass player, did the layout for the album. He put one of Gustave Doré's illustrations from "The Divine Comedy" in the background to put an extra layer to it all, as well as adding the frames, which ended up looking pretty sick.

Writing Metal music out of mere admiration and appreciation for your old gods and simply the inner feeling that this kind of music cultivates. Even so, every creation of an album carries with it a source of will to become better as musicians. How do you find “Death Unchained” as an ability enhancer for you guys as songwriters, musicians and artists in overall?

For us, this album has absolutely been a voyage towards being better as musicians but most of all it has been about making Nexorum. When we started up we even talked about playing death metal like Bolt Thrower, and see where we are now. We are much more interested in writing a track with a feel and that blows you away rather than technical progressive song that makes you turn the album off after 3 songs because it’s just too much. We have melted together as a unit making this album. We know now what Nexorum is, what style we play, how we write and work together, so this first album has really been a lot about that.

The album features the unholy divinity of mixing Death Metal with Black Metal elementals. There are countless examples out there in various forms and shapes, yet in every example there is something unique. What do you think makes Nexorum’s music unique or at least what aspects of the music make it larger than life for you personally?

I think there is so many good bands out there, it’s sick, but we just want to do what we like and if people enjoy it, then cheers! We have a really massive and heavy sound on the album that really helps showing what Nexorum is.

The mix we have between Death and black works out well for us and I just think it sounds great. We also try to focus on playing a bit easy you know. Like making easy songs, with a basic song structure. This have resulted in this heavy beast of an album called “Death Unchained” and so far people like it.

In regards to Khonsu, and the margin of differences between your previous experience and Nexorum, where do you think that you express yourself better as vocalist?

Difficult to say mate. I really enjoyed recording “The Xun Protectorate” with Khonsu. It was a very demanding process, and back in the day with Chton it was also some good shit tracked down. Nexorum on the other hand was for me where I have done my best work so far. It is the entire process that makes me say this. Everything from writing the lyrics, to testing vocals on a song. Then tracking it down. We recorded all the vocals at our rehearsal place and Roger (Guitar) was the producer. We really worked well together and we took our time so that the energy and intensity of the growl’s and scream’s would sound 100%

How can you describe the songwriting process of “Death Unchained”? What was the common ground between you guys, and how did you find it? Especially since your musical background, judging by your bands, isn’t that close

There has been some stuff that we have jammed on and ideas from band members that have been tested, but usually Roger writes riffs. He uploads a raw idea of a new song that we can listen to. This song can also have some ideas for drums and bass also. Then we jam it, we talk about it. Sometimes we strip it down, and put it together again but it always ends well. Then I write the lyrics and work on the song back at my place. Testing different rhythmic placements and stuff. Then we play it 666 times next rehearsal to nail it. Haha!

Were there conflicts due to ego fights or dilemmas throughout the process of writing the music or perhaps the recording? Were there things that you believe that should have been done differently?

Not at all, we had no drama. This boils down to when we started the band. We wanted members that are friends and with no big egos. The entire process was amazing and we just had a blast. We are all best mates.

To be honest, I had this album spinning around me for several days, maybe listening to Judas Priest with my son was the only different thing that I listened to in order to focus on the album. One track grabbed me by the throat, “Diaboli Stragis”. Its heavier than everything approach, like a pounding early 90s Death Metal, devoured me whole. It might sound simplistic, yet I feel that it has depth. What can you tell about this tune? What does the title stand for?

Thank you. Yes, for this track we wanted it to sound like a tank that rolls over you. Heavy, groovy and easy going. It means: "Devil’s Carnage" and the song takes you through war and all the suffering that comes with it. It also has a deeper meaning to it regarding politicians and religion, which often is the cause behind so much suffering, death and destruction. This track also has a lot of ideas from a guitarist called Kjell. He was in the band in the beginning for a brief period of time.

A tough question to crack, but I won’t make it easy on you. Which of the album’s songs do you find as your major achievement, a song that made it happen for you? Please elaborate on your pick.

Haha! I change every week in terms of personal favorite. We recently recorded a video for the track: "Great Horned King". So this one is on the top now. It’s just a well written song with that little extra cheese. Massive and brutal and the structure of the song is amazing. And then the epic outro.

The sound of “Death Unchained” is insane. I would probably hurt someone when I say that it is perfect, flawless, but let’s face it, it is a bomb. Who engineered this monster? What do you find so attractive in the early 90s Death Metal sound? Perhaps a source of empowerment?

Yeah, I agree. People need to start pushing the bass guitar higher in the sound production. That’s my advice! haha… But yeah, we did it ourselves, or Roger did it. Expert mastering.  We just wanted the album to be massive as fuck. In terms of early 90s Death metal sound I have a few personal favorites. I just really like the heavy and brutal sound. Big fan of black metal, but I really like a massive sound more.

When it comes to supporting “Death Unchained”, what is planned for the band? Will the group be actively touring or going slow with the flow, making small appearances?

We will play where we can and go where we can go. First show was in March with Blood Red Throne. No tours booked yet.

Terje, I wish to thank you for your time and effort on this interview. “Death Unchained” is blaster, a shotgun constantly firing. A superb work and may you continue doing the same on your next releases. Cheers

Thank you so much! Up The Hornz!


 



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