Interview with Oddleif, Communic (January 13, 2005)

First off I want to congratulate you on your new album "Conspiracy In Mind".
How would you describe your music for an outsider?
Oddleif - Thanks! That's a tough question. Actually I think its hard to describe and compare us to one particular band or style as you'll find power, thrash, progressive and a bit of doom and groovy metal, but that is if I break it up in pieces - metal in some experimental form, yet progressive, moody, mellow and emotional?

I hear some references to Sanctuary, when I listen to your music both musically and vocally – do you take that as a compliment and to what degree would you agree on this statement?
Oddleif - That is for sure a compliment. How many bands out there is compared with Sanctuary?? I don't think we sound like this, but I understand, that some will try to compare it vocally to Sanctuary and Nevermore, but I don't think to much over it. I always try to do my own stuff, and I always have, both vocally and musically.

Who has inspired you musically?
Oddleif - The music in Communic is a blend of the musicians involved. If there was another drummer with another playing style it would have turned out in a different way musically for sure. Tor Atle on drums is more into modern, brutal and extreme metal, always on the search for the perfect groove. If there was another bass player, this would have turned out in some other direction as well. Erik on bass is a fully fledged Manowar freak, who plays loads of chords and strange stuff on the bass, that stands out quite special. When he play, he creates a massive wall of sound. I merely have my interest in the prog and metal from when the 80's turned into 90's like Fates Warning, Psychotic Walts, Megadeth, Testament, Death and so on, but I think we have found a unique combination and a "style of our own". Im also a huge fan of Arjen Lucassen and his work. When I first heard Ayreon's "The Final Experiment" it totally blew me away.

What kind of topics do you deal with lyrically?
Oddleif - I don't have any rules, when it comes to the lyrics, but everything, that affects me in the daily situations may end up as a lyric inspiration or something. Some of the lyrics comes to me as personal issues and stuff that irritates me. Some inputs comes to me from watching the news and issues in the world today, and a bit of modern technology stuff is always interesting and makes a special twist to it, the ocean and the moon inspires me as well when it comes to writing lyrics…

Jacob Hansen has produced the album – how was it to work with him?
Oddleif - I was really looking forward to have the production done with Jacob Hansen. Up front I did quite some research on some of his previous work trying to figure out if this was the right choice, and in the end I really felt that he had something to offer to our kind of music and to help us getting THE sound that pays respect to the songs. Also that he liked our demo and was interesting in working with us felt good. We had never been in other than some minor local studios, when we had done previous stuff, so it was quite frightening as well as exiting. I knew what sound I was after and I think we came pretty damn close. Maybe Jacob is into more extreme music, but he has a good ear, and was easy to work with, and did whatever he could to meet our criteria's, ideas and crazy stuff, that we made him suffer for. Also that we could work alone at night, recording guitars and stuff on our own, overtime was a big plus. Can't say that Ribe is the most exiting town I have spent 3 weeks in, and I guess we all gained some pounds poring in on "almost free" danish most famous beer, some dvd’s and frozen pizzas every evening, but it was worth it....

Listening to album now – is there anything you would have done differently?
Oddleif - I think we are pretty satisfied. It was a bit hectic the last days in the studio, and we had to travel home before we had the final mix settled, and had only one chance to correct stuff in the mix afterwards, before it went into mastering and Nuclear Blast had to have the master on a scheduled day, so there is a few tiny spots in the mix, that could have needed some more work, but other that its close to what I was after, but I'm way to picky when it comes to this. I don't think I ever will be satisfied, but I learned a lot this time and I know what we have to do different next time, and hopefully we can work with Jacob next time as well.
Any future plans for touring with the new album? Perhaps we will be able to catch you at some the festivals?
Oddleif - Until now we have said NO to all requests on playing concerts, cause we wanted the album to come out first, but now we have started to book gigs and some of them are confirmed already. Hopefully we get out to tour as support shortly after the album is out, and are now working on some more gigs for the summer, maybe some festivals, but we'll see.... We are really looking forward to get out and play live. That's what its all about.
Peter Jensen (ex-Sinphonia) joined up with you to record the album – did he have any influence on the songs or were they complete going into the studio?
Oddleif - All the songs was complete and the keys was the last thing we did before we started to mix the album. Most of the parts and ideas was something that I had in mind, and Peter had some other ideas, that we used as well. He had more stuff, that we could have used, but we didn't have the time to experiment any more, since we only had one day to finnish up the recording of the keys and other effects.
Peter will be touring with you, but will he also take part in writing songs in the future?
Oddleif - I don't know how this will turn out, but Peter will join us on gigs if he has time to join us. Those where he cant, we will play as a trio. Hopefully he will join up with us on the next album as well, but most likely the songs will be ready up front and, just try to ship some ideas back and forth this time, and have some better time on it.

Over the last few years, a few very unique progressive metal bands have emerged in Norway – why do you think that is?
Oddleif - Well how can that be… hmm… Everyone is expecting Black Metal, when you say you are a band from Norway but there are a lot of other styles in this country as well. It has always been easier to get signed I guess, when you say that you are coming from Norway and plays black metal. Today there are to many extreme metal bands, that sounds the same, and it's not so "special" anymore that you paint you face with corpse paint and dare to stick you head in a bucket of blood!!! There are a lot of metal and styles going on over here, but it takes some time in the underground to get reckoned for "your own" style, but it's just about making enough fuzz so that someone maybe look your way and pick you up….
And how do you feel about the Norwegian metal scene in general?
Oddleif - I think the Norwegian metal is being more varied nowadays, and you see more bands that manages to take the final step and emerge from Norway. The black metal scene is on a downhill course and fading at the moment. There are only a few really good black and death bands (in my ears), but this scene will still stay on a high note for a long time, so I don't think we can expect a sudden burst of progressive metal from Norway, but time will show. There are quite some good acts already that have worked hard for a long time so we have more to offer I think...
Any famous last words?
Oddleif - Be sure to check out the album once it's out and we hope to meet up with some of you when we comes to Denmark to play live. Then we will have a some cold ones for sure.

Until then…

Oddleif Stensland

"Skål" to Oddleif - do follow up on his suggestion and get this brilliant piece of metal, when it's released. It's absolutely worth it ... might be the best new band of 2005!

Communic - Conspiracy In Mind

Album on Nuclear Blast.

Click on the album cover to see more info on Communic.