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Oddleif Sternsland (Communic)

Interview with Oddleif Sternsland from Communic
by Michael Dalakos at 01 June 2006, 3:33 AM

Communic have unleashed their brand new album Waves Of Visual Decay (Nuclear Blast Records) upon the ears of the unprepared listeners. Vocalist & guitarist Oddleif Sternsland was more than happy to discuss lots of interesting facts with me, about the band and this cool new album.

Hello Oddleif! How are you?

Fine, thank you.

How are things over there? Still winter?

Oh no! Today we had 25 degrees Celsius! Summer is closing in. Actually we are all the way South in Norway so there are no polar bears over here (Laughs). I am feeling really good because I hate the winter!

So, congratulations on your new album. I liked it very much! Can you please tell me what the band’s activities were after the release of the first album (Conspiracy In Mind - 2005, Nuclear Blast Records) and prior to entering the studio for the second one?

Thank you very much. We are very proud that so far all the people who have listened to the album liked it very much. Well, before releasing our first album, Conspiracy In Mind, we had the chance to go on tour for three weeks. That was really cool for a young band like us. We did that tour with Graveworm and it was a good experience; we learned a lot from this experience since we didn’t have much knowledge about playing live before this. We also had the chance, after the release of the album, to play on some festivals like the Rock Hard Festival.

After the summer, not much happened, so we started working on the new songs. We continued writing music until we had a lot material to go into the studio. We booked the studio and put a goal to make things in time. I know that the new album came quite fast but I believe that it was better this way since the first album is still fresh in people’s minds. After all we had a lot of free time in our hands. There was no point in sitting around for two years or something.

If you had to describe your music to a fan that hadn’t heard a single note from the band…

That’s hard I think. I think it is really difficult. I have a problem doing this and I know that also most reporters find it hard to describe us. I think we are a mixture of Thrash, Death, Progressive Metal. Somewhere between Megadeth and Fates Warning, I guess. It’s really difficult.

Yeah, I know since I did the review (Laughs). Compared to your first album, do you think that as a band you have taken your sound a step ahead?

Absolutely! You know, I think that we have managed to develop our sound, the sound that we had on the first album. This time we had studio experience and we knew what we didn’t like in the first album. Some details that come to your attention after listening to an album for more than a year. We corrected some of the things we didn’t like. Not something radical, some details. The music was made more or less the same way.

I also think that the new album is a little heavier than the first one. I think this has something to do with the chance we had to play live and of course with the fact that we now know each other better. We have grown as a band. I think we have managed to find the sound that fits the band.

You have once again collaborated with Jacob Hansen…

We are very satisfied with his work. He is a fantastic guy, the best person to have in studio with you. Also his studio is in a perfect location, pretty much in the middle of nowhere so the only thing you can do is hang around the studio, work all the time. You can’t do anything else. The whole recording process took three weeks. Of course this was the time we needed for the mix. After that, Jacob needed some time for the final master for the label. Our participation in the process took three weeks. Jacob did a great job – he was there every time we needed him.

Do you have a certain way of composing music?

Well, not really, I am mostly responsible for the songs and the lyrics. I write lots of stuff and then everyone starts participating in the songs. I don’t like having the final word or something. I think you can understand this when you are listening to our music - that everyone is adding something. That’s why our songs are lengthy and complicated. I would never like telling others what to play or how to play it. I mean I am not a drummer, so what’s the point in telling our drummer what to play? I think that each member of the band adds his personal touch to the songs you are listening to.

Since you write all the lyrics, I would like you to explain to us the story behind the first two songs, Under A Luminous Sky and Frozen Asleep In The Park.

Yes, of course. The first song you mention talks about the violence that is caused by religious fanatics and the way all this is exploited by the media to create even more fear to the people. We live on the other side of the world but it is really scary to think that such things can happen right outside your door. I also believe that the media often amplify all these in order to make people scared. The second song talks about things going on in our normal everyday society, modern society if you prefer.

The lyrics start with never reveal the family’s secret… That’s really creepy!

Yes, it feels creepy. I think that every family has secrets. In our case there is this family and one member of the family has left them, she’s a drug addict that now lives alone in a park. Everyone tries to forget about it. One day she’s found frozen by the cold and even though the newspapers write about it, no one is interested in her. It is really sad. You know, I can’t understand how our societies can keep up with this. I mean Norway is a rich country and we’ve spent millions on such problems but still you see such people outside with no one to support them. I don’t think they have done something wrong to be treated this way. They are human beings and they need love and understanding.

I have to admit that this song shocked me both lyrically and musically…

I think that it is a song that speaks right in your face. It is a haunting feel and I really hope that all these people who’ve done such things will live in guilt for the rest of their lives…

Do you think that your music can be easily understood by the average Metal fan? A fan that listens to more simple stuff?

Good question. Yes, maybe. I know that we play complicated stuff but I think there’s something for everyone in our albums. Yes, we do not play the simplest AC/DC kind of music but it’s not that we are like a band that changes a million time the riffs in their songs or something like that. I have friends that don’t listen to Heavy Metal, they are more into 80’s Rock and they say that they like our music; well, at least that’s what they’re saying (Laughs). I don’t think we are an extreme band with growling vocals - we have lots of melodies.

Speaking of complexity, how difficult is it to perform your songs on stage?

Well, we are getting good at it (Laughs). Seriously, we don’t really have any problem playing our songs live. We try to stay focused but above all we try to have a great time on stage.

I know that you have already booked appearances at the Earthshaker and ProgPower festivals. Will you do an actual tour after that?

Yes, we will try to. First of all we will do as much festivals as possible. We will go on tour after the summer. There’s no point doing a tour before the festivals. Probably we will go on tour in autumn. I know that now everyone is looking forward to the big summer festivals.

If you had the ability to change one thing in the music industry, what would that be?

Well, I would like to change lots of things. The thing I dislike the most is that everyone has started a label. Most of these labels are based in a bedroom or something. I don’t have a problem with that, but running a record label is a very serious business and you can ruin careers with wrong moves. I mean there are thousands of bands and all of them want to release their music. But all these small labels promise you the moon but they can’t offer shit. In the end what I like to say is that if you are planning to do a job then make sure you can do it damn well.

Do you have a day job?

Yeah. I am a graphics designer, our drummer is a car engineer while our bassist is unemployed as we speak; no, he is not a rich guy (Laughs). Unfortunately Communic is not our job as we speak.

Thank you for your time. Please close this interview with a message to all our readers…

I want to thank you for this interview. I hope that people will give our album a chance and listen to it. I am pretty sure that they will find something special to it.


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