Interview by Sagiv Shaniv
DUNDERBEIST formed in Norway in 2007 and are a hardworking band, who released their sixth album “Songs Of The Buried” towards the end of 2012. METAL SHOCK FINLAND‘s Sagiv Shaniv recently caught up with Ronny Flissundet. You can read the interview below:
You released two albums this year. Wasn’t it difficult? Why didn’t you release them in longer time gaps?
It was a bit stressful in the writing and recording process for “Songs of the buried”, yeah. But at the same time, we had all this new and unused material we were dying to finish, and we’re a really reckless bunch that have a hard time keeping all the good stuff back for long. Like little kids not able to keep a secret or something. Hehe
But our first 2012 contribution – “black arts & crooked tails” – was written over a period of 4 or 5 years, and was mostly re-recordings of material we already had released ( but in Norway only), plus two brand new songs. So that one didn’t really drain our creative pool too much. I guess that is why we were so eager to make a new album consisting of 100% new songs as soon as possible, and so we decided. Two albums in one year, just like in the good old 70s!
Your concept is all about stealing and theft, how did the idea for it came up and by who?
We need to correct you a bit there.. Our concept used to be a whole lot about that, and on our first albums we had this crook/super villain image of some sort, combined with this idea of stealing good ideas and making them our own. Not in the same way as hip hop and pop music actually samples beats and melodies, but more like taking some really inspiring awesome part from something (anything, really) and filter it through the Dunderbeist blender, combining and spicing it with other elements, all excited to see what would eventually come out of the speakers. We called it theft, but in retrospect I see it more like an experimental process we needed to go through before creating what now has become our own, more genuine sound.
We might still be a little like that, I think. Letting inspirations from all directions, not only musically, color the song writing process. We’re not too conscious or predetermined on all those rules and norms in the hard rock and metal (especially) community, like “what we do is SO original, man”. We are honest enough to stand for those “thefts” in our music. Not that they are needed, but when we choose to do something like that, it is because that’s what we wanna do.
I noticed your use of musical elements from different genres, but couldn’t quite recognize them. What are the genres and artists that inspire you?
A whole lot, really. Nowadays bands like Doomriders, Witchcraft, Gojira, Entombed, the Bronx, Feist, Immortal, High on fire or even Black Sabbath. But we also come from different musical eras and backgrounds. So in our rucksack we carry lots of Kiss, Metallica, Zeppelin, Faith no More, a bunch of skatepunk and hardcore, hip hop, progrock and blues. You see, it’s not easy to pinpoint what we’re all about. But I guess that is also why we sound like we do, It’s the sum of all those different genres and music we suck in.
You’ve been on a tour with Devin Townsend and Fear Factory in November, how was it? What can you tell us about it, playing with such important artists?
It was an absolutely awesome tour, and an amazing experience for us! It was actually the first real tour we have done outside of Norway, and we were so psyched to make the most out of it, something I feel we made. We got to play for a crowd of 500 to 1000 people every night, and we had this special position where not very many knew our band from before, which again meant we were this band on the bill that only could surprise in a positive way, without the pressure or the prejudices that the bigger bands maybe had to deal with. Lots of fun, lots of good Dunderbeist shows ( we think) and we got to experience a lot about the tour life in different areas and countries.
The other bands were great guys, very skilled and professional musicians, and we had a lot of good times. Personally I enjoyed the Devin shows the most, but back in the mid-nineties I was very fond of Fear Factory as well, so getting to open for them every night was something I could only dream of in my late teens.
You had no songs in Norwegian on your 2012 releases, how come? Do you think you’ll have such songs on future releases? How was it welcomed back at your home, Norway?
Our first 2012 release, “black arts..”, was our first international release, so we felt that it didn’t really make any sense to present ourselves for the very first time for an international audience with Norwegian language. We started up doing only songs in English, and that album consists of several songs from that period, and felt like a good presentation of the band abroad.
And when the good reviews and feedback came on the “black arts..”-release, we felt like doing the follow-up – “songs of the buried” – also in English, and continue the path we were on at the time.
Currently we are working on new songs in Norwegian, for an EP release we wanna do next. This way we can present the band from a different angle to the world that might only know us from these last two albums. Also we can continue what we started with the “Rovmord” EP from 2009 and the “Dunderbeist” album from 2010, which have lots of songs on them that today still are in our live sets, and some of the strongest material we ever wrote.
We wanna do both languages, and I guess we will continue this in the future, although it might be confusing for some. But we don’t feel that combining both languages in one album sounds right, so until we do we will keep on switching a little..
Are there specific themes you can say you write about?
Overall, not really. But we have had some themes that have been the theme of a specific album. For instance, our Norwegian self-titled album of 2010 was dedicated to this 19th century axe murderer/serial killer from our hometown area in Norway. Not like a tribute to the mad man, but more like describing the world seen from such a person and his surroundings. It made this dark and describing back drop to that album and became the universe we spun the lyrics around.
On “Songs of the buried” we have a lot of songs about death, loss and new beginnings, hence the album title. The lyrics are mainly about how to deal with or react to losing someone or something important in your life, and the aftermath of such an event. How to overcome the sorrow and how to start over. Stuff like that.
I felt “Songs Of The Buried” was heavier than “Black Arts & Crooked Tails”. Do you agree?
Absolutely. It wasn’t decided that this album was gonna be a heavier or darker album, but it turned out that way. Like I said earlier, “Black arts..” was more like a sum-up of our career as a band this far, with songs written from 2007 to 2011, while “Songs of the buried” was written in a period of 2 or 3 months during the summer of 2012, and naturally would be colored by the inspirations we had at the time. Seems like our muses of 2012 was a bit more in the metal landscape..
What can you tell about your best show to date, and where was it?
Tough one. If you mean the show where we feel like we did our best performance and playing ever, it might have been one of the latest shows on the recent Devin/FF tour, where we were really routined and warmed up and into that mode after having done buttloads of shows in a short period. Milano in Italy was awesome. And Pratteln in Switerland.
But I suspect that what you actually meant was our coolest or best experience with a show, regardless of it being the best played show or not. Then it has to be when we did support Korn in a square in the center of Oslo in 2010, our first really big audience of about 3000 people, and opening for a band that several of our band members grew up with and really looked up to, being one of our/their favorite bands of the mid/late-nineties. That was awesome. No other way to describe it, really. Goosebumps all over, adrenaline pumping all through the band and audience, and us having the best time onstage ever.
How would you define yourself by metal-genre?
The song “Shields Aligned” is rather more power metal in my opinion, do you agree? Were you inspired by something specific on your writing process? Did you “borrowed” components from other works on this one?
Yeah, I can see that in a way. It must be the whole war-theme combined with the symphonics and the balls or something. It wasn’t meant to be like a power metal tribute though. But when the main riff and melody was written, it just felt so..right, you know. We don’t know exactly what happened there, but from the first hearing/recording everyone in the band connected with that one instantly. It was chemistry. And it seems like a lot of our fans agree to that as well, since it turned out to be one of our strongest live songs/crowd pleasers.
Some might think this last question is odd, but I just have to ask it: What’s with the twitting birds in the “Winter Past” track? Did I miss something about it?
He he.The song is about spring time. An anthem of positivity, of hope for the future, of new good times to come. You know, the sum of all black metal into one. Hehe.
So the birds and the twittering was just this extra, absolutely unnecessary effect we added, that just sounded like fun at the time. It just made the whole expression of the song a bit over the top, in a way that we felt were awkward enough to maybe challenge the listeners in doubt. If you’re not into this pop-metal-shuffle-happy-joy-rock tune, you can just go do something else. We don’t care. We had fun making it.
Personally I like the song very much. But we don’t play it live anymore though. It just don’t fit it in in our 2013 live set, which is a bit more dark, and contains more scavenged crows and crooked vultures that really don’t twitter that pretty..
Thanks for the interview! Hope to hear more about you guys!
And thank YOU for reading this! We really hope to come play for you guys soon!