Triosphere was formed during the fall of 2004, by former Griffin guitarist Marius Silver Bergesen, singer/bassplayer Ida Haukland and drummer Orjan Aare Jorgensen. They are the melodic heavy metal face of the Norwegian metal scene. With two albums behind them they have what to say...
First of all, congratulations for the new album! "The Road Less Travelled" has been available for almost half an year. How has the metal community responded for your second full-length release?
Thank you very much indeed! The last months have brought us nothing but great reviews and all over positive feedback from our fans and listeners around the world. If you look at the last 30 reviews we received for the album, the average score is 88% - which is quite fantastic! It's an even greater compliment when you take into consideration that this is a fairly complex album in many ways, and that it's not enough with only one, two or even three listening rounds before you start getting into the arrangements. That tells us that the reviewers, and the metal community, really gives the album the chance that we feel it deserves and it is also a great accomplishment after rehearsing, recording and working intensely for many months prior to the actual release.
We've also had the chance to perform the new songs live at several occasions here in Norway, and the audience seem to really appreciate the new songs live as well. We can't wait to play live around Europe again to give our listeners the real deal from the stage!
Who wrote the material and from where do you get your inspirations? About song writing, how long will it take to complete a song? Does everyone in the band contribute own ideas?
All the songs on the new album are written and arranged by Marius. As for his sources of inspiration I shouldn't answer entirely by myself, but I take a good guess that it comes from a lot of different kinds of music, what goes on in the everyday life, and of course from things in general going on in our world, things that make an impression and thus inspire to writing music.
The time needed to complete a song would vary from song to song I guess. Of course Marius is spending a lot of hours at home creating riffs and putting them into order. Sometimes we try a lot of different arrangements in the rehearsal room, and other times he has all the riffs perfectly lined up so that we just need to focus on our own instruments and getting the groove and power into the song, and perhaps contributing to some improvements here and there. At this point Ida has probably already started thinking about the lyrics and vocal melodies as she does the bass patterns, and eventually we start rehearsing the song over and over with our ears on the details. Perhaps someone gets a bright idea of ways to spice up parts of the song, or something simply needs a bit of tuning. The rest is mostly about repetitive rehearsing of the song, and voila!
According to you what are the differences between 'Onwards' and your current release?
In short terms I would say that 'Onwards' is mostly about the power, energy, and the birth of Triosphere's sound, while 'The Road Less Travelled' is a more melodic and intelligent album, being on the road towards fine-tuning an increasingly unique expression for the band. The debut album is characterized by a lot of the songs being quite different from each other in style, which I would say is rather natural when you establish a band with a group of musicians, and you try to play your minds together for something that doesn't sound like anything else. Perhaps experimental in some ways, but nevertheless an important process for every band. With 'The Road Less Travelled' we took a reach for something more unique, and I think it's easy to hear that the songs are made with more cleverness and reflection than before. A stronger album, a more complete album I'd say!
Are there any special topics in the lyrics? What is the main impression?
The essence of the lyrics on 'The Road Less Travelled' is having the courage to tread your own paths in life, and if necessary be able to make changes in order to reach your goals - even if the changes seem more challenging than you think you can handle. They might also be lifted to a higher meaning; that 'the road' will reveal itself for those who truly are able to see the opportunities that are given them through time. Life is yours alone, only you can judge which choices are best for yourself. Ida is the mastermind of our lyrics, and her thoughts are very well sought on relevant topics, which you will find if you search the lyrics J
Will you please tell me about your evolution as a musician and getting involved in the scene? What is your opinion on the underground nowadays than it was before?
My role as a musician started when I was 15-16 years old, I was hanging around with some of my friends in Harstad who had a punk band at the time. Whenever they had a coffee-break during their rehearsals, I'd sneak behind the drums and try hammering a bit, which absolutely gave me a taste for more drumming. Shortly after I bought myself a kit, and joined some of my other friends in a band. Both they and I were more into black metal rather than punk, and we started off by doing cover versions from Mayhem's Deathcrush. About ten years passed, and I joined several other bands in different parts of the metal genre during this time; prog, black, death, 80's and so on, and I've been playing together with Ida in almost all those bands. It's a fantastic way of evolving as a musician when learning the different styles, and I believe it's contributed to give me a different approach to creating drum patterns than someone who's only been playing a single style all along. Then, at some point almost all the metal guys/girls in town moved to Trondheim, and so did I. Prior to this, Ida had contacted me about a new project with Marius and asked if I wanted to give it a try behind the kit. Luckily I did, and that was the start of my position in Triosphere as of today! This was in 2005, and I've been here since playing with Triosphere.
About the underground, I can't honestly say that I'm really involved with any of it today, except for picking up my old printed fanzines and vinyl's now and then, and listening to the same music as I did back in the 90's. It's not easy being a steady 'undergrounder' when all this technology can provide you with music and webzines everywhere and all the time, hehe. Personally I really need music every day, but I don't go around buying cassettes by mail-order anymore. I do however recognize the huge effort from people still running the music underground, and really respect this part of the scene even though I don't really feel like I'm there anymore. That being said, being underground when I started listening to metal was almost impossible to avoid in Norway, and since I still listen to a lot of the same music there's always a strong feeling back to those times.
Artworks... how important are to you? What do you prefer - a photographed one or a hand painting?
Who is the author of the artwork of "The Road Less Travelled"?
Hmm difficult to choose only one, why can't I have both? J I work as a web designer and I spend a lot of time looking through websites, art books, prints, booklets etc. for inspiration on a daily basis. There are so many visual treasures lying around just waiting to be explored, and I find truly amazing art to be presented in photography just as well as in hand painting. But, being a traditional guy I think my heart belongs to the traditional art as well. There's something special about holding a large canvas, beholding the brush strokes and smelling the oil or acrylics, and finding different experiences only by looking at the painting from different angles and distances. Come to think of it, I guess my absolute favorite kind of arts & crafts is wood carving! Just a digression. By the way I'm pretty much into abstract art, as well as traditional/mythological/folkloric art, so I like my pictures to leave something for the imagination.
The artwork of 'The Road Less Travelled' was done by me, with good assistance from Irene D.M. aka Namtaru Creations for some of the images. I'm mostly working digitally myself nowadays, but she is truly a master of the old arts and really helped getting what we wanted on this one. All the pages in the booklet represent an interpretation of the lyrics, and we (the band) found most of the ideas by putting our heads together a couple of times before me and Irene came up with the final artwork. I didn't write any of the lyrics, so it was great having Ida, Marius and T.O. on the brainstorming team, hehe.
What's the story behind signing to AFM Records? And how's the distribution?
Well, to put a long story short we've always been working very hard and goal-oriented as a band, but as I'm sure you know it's really, really hard getting into a big record label nowadays. At least that was our experience, until we got an opening for contacting AFM, through Schmier of Destruction. We shared the same nightliner with Destruction on the Arch Enemy tour last year, and got in really good touch with the guys. Schmier is a fantastic guy, and he really gave us the push we needed with AFM to get the dialogue started with negotiating a deal. After that, we've had an extremely nice dialogue with AFM which has also been a great help for us in all matters.
The distribution is also obviously good on a label like AFM, and we clearly notice that the album is a lot more available than the first one, you know. They have excellent promotion, and we get a lot of interviews and album reviews through them.
In your opinion what is "purity" in metal?
Interesting question... Credibility, energy and musical honesty... And perhaps most importantly that all the hard work comes from the heart. When you love metal, play metal, and practice until your fingers bleed through good times and bad times, I'll argue that there's something of a distinct higher quality in your metal than from someone who doesn't have the passion for it, no matter how good they play. Perhaps this is getting way cheesy, but when metal is pure in the heart, it is also pure in the music! The essence, the feeling and the energy!
As a side note, I personally find a great deal of purity in traditional folk metal. The focus is not in the instrument handling or the production, but merely the atmosphere and feeling they give me, and the pictures they paint with their music.
You have played with the legend Ronnie James Dio. Do you have any special memory from him?
That's right, we were the support band for Dio at Sentrum Scene in Oslo in 2008. I really didn't talk to him at all, but while I was packing my drum kit alone in the storage area backstage after we had played, he suddenly walked into the room on his way to the stage. I said in a stutter-like way 'I wish you a good show' or something like that, and he gave me his well-known smile and the horns by his hand. Those seconds are clear as the day even when I think about it now, and it's the only memory I have of him other than seeing his show that same night. Everyone who've seen Dio live knows how special his performance and how strong his presence was, so even though that's my only live memory of Dio - it's a quite special one.
What is success, because there are lots of definitions, especially on some people that think travelling all over the world is already a "huge success"? What are your goals with Triosphere?
I think success can be measured in different ways and the expression is quite relative, but for me it's by achieving your goals whether it be goals in life or goals with your band. If your primary goal in life is to tour around the world, and then you tour around the world .. then you've rightfully achieved your goal. A success? Sure, if you're not alone and miserable every night in a dirty old hotel room somewhere, hehe. We can say that 'this tour has been a complete success!' or 'the new album is a success!', but without having goals, aiming and working towards them, and ultimately achieving them - success is only an empty word for me.
Our goals with Triosphere are many; we've achieved many of them, and are many new goals to be made still. This is perhaps getting over the top philosophical, but I think it's most rewarding to always aim for new heights as you go along!
Your visions about 'the road'? The less travelled one and the road ahead...
Well, I like to think that we've actually been taking the road less travelled all along, and that we'll keep treading our own path on the road ahead as well. We've made our musical choices regardless of the thoughts of others, and we will continue being 100% honest to ourselves and our fans when making our musical progress ahead. Personally I'm far too down to earth to be a visionary, but I have daydreams about perhaps having had the privilege to play in each continent someday. That's all, I'm not a demanding person at all, hehe.
Who is responsible for the management of the band? 84 gigs in 53 cities and 15 countries? How do you combine this with the other activities of the band and with your jobs?
The closest thing we've had to a management up until now is actually Marius and Ida doing the emailing and phone-calling for booking concerts and making contacts! When you do a good gig and make a good live reputation, the word spreads and eventually you start getting requests instead of making them yourself all the time. We're beginning to notice this effect now actually, and it's of course really nice when people want us for a headliner spot at their festival etc. J
The part about combining the concerts and touring with our jobs can be quite a puzzle, but so far we've mostly been able to work everything out with our employers. I think they're a bit proud of having a heavy-metal 'celebrity' at work, so they are as flexible as they can be.
What are your thoughts about the massive downloading of albums in general? For nowadays over-crowded scene, what's the best way for a band to get an attention?
I think the biggest and worst misconception regarding the downloading issue is that a lot of people seem to believe that the big labels are the only ones really noticing the effect of illegal downloading, and they have ideas like 'the labels make so much money anyway, why should it matter if I download this album?''. This is not something to be answered or concluded in a single question, but the truth is that downloading is really hurting the bands financially for every album copy that is being illegally downloaded instead of rightfully purchased from the industry. If I may exaggerate a bit, can you imagine if the illegal downloading elevates and makes music publications obsolete as we know it? That there are no labels left to publish the hard working bands and that the only way of finding new music is to browse through MySpace? I don't really see the end of illegal downloading, so I really wonder what the music industry will be like in 5-10 years from now, with everything being converted to digital formats.
If you want attention as a band, I'd say the best way is to go out there and play live. Tour if you can, and sell your music to your new fans, talk to them and show them that the bands are actually getting money for the CD's and merchandise they sell, and that they really depend on this income to continue what they do. Unfortunately this is not possible for a lot of bands, so it's really important to make yourself visible on the internet as good as possible. Use the so-called social channels like Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc., and try to keep up with everyone else. That kind of marketing is for free, and should always be used frequently!
Will you tell us more about the 'Canarias Hard & Heavy Meeting'? You have participated in the first edition of the fest and you will play again there in December. What are your impressions on this festival?
We had the privilege of serving as the very first 'house band' on the Hard & Heavy Meeting of 2007, where we played 2 concerts in Las Palmas and Playa del Ingles. The concept is really genius; If you like metal and warm weather in December here's both! It doesn't matter if you're a family, a band lost in the longitudes (like us), friends looking for good times and parties or just wanting to meet new people that share your musical taste. There's a place for everybody! And all the organizing is very well prepared and executed by pro travel guides. You basically do what you want for a week like any other vacation, and you get a couple of all-night-long metal shows into the bargain. We had a blast in 2007, and we expect nothing less this year!
Plans for the future?
We just started rehearsing new song material actually, so we are probably putting on our creative hats for a few months now. It's always exiting to hear what Marius has been cooking on his guitar at home, and so far I can only say that the first new song is totally killer so far, just KILLER! Hehe. We'll also do some live shows that will be announced on our website pretty soon, it'll be with someone quite familiar in the metal scene worldwide so make sure to check out the news on www.thetriosphere.com now and then! J