Interview with bass player Erik Mortensen, Communic (June 5th 2006)

Communic came almost from out of nowhere with their highly acclaimed debut album “Conspiracy in Mind”, which by many – myself included – was heralded the best debut album of 2005. And Communic was voted best new bands in various magazines. Now they are ready with their new album “”Waves of Visual Decay”, which gave us an opportunity to ask them a few questions…

“Conspiracy in Mind” was voted album of the month in a lot of big magazines when it was released – did all the sudden attention come as a big surprise for you?
Erik - Yeah. It came as a total surprise for us. We knew we had a strong album going on, but we had not expected it to do that well. So it is needless to say that we are very grateful that so many people out there like our music.

You have been voted best newcomer in many magazines as well, a big vote of confidence for your work. But didn’t that put extra pressure on you for the second album?
Erik - Well personally I didn’t felt much pressure, and I don’t think the other guys did either. We had so much fun at our rehearsals, making the new stuff, so we didn’t think too much about it.

Your debut album was released early 2005, and now just 15 months later you are ready with your second album, why the big rush – did you want to strike while the iron was hot…? What is in your opinion the biggest difference between the 2 albums?
Erik -
I would guess you could say that we wanted to strike while the iron was hot. We felt that is was important for us to get our second album out, before our first album faded into oblivion, so to speak.

Looking back at 2005 - I bet this past year have been very special for you all, releasing your debut album, going on with Ensiferum and Graveworm, playing at the Rock Hard festival – can you try and put your past year into words…?
Erik - It is no question that 2005 was a great year for us. After the release of the album in February, we did a couple of gigs in Norway, and one gig in Denmark, before we went on tour with Ensiferum and Graveworm. The tour was a great experience for us and we had a really good time, playing venues with 100 up to 3-400 spectators all across Europe. The highlight of the year was of course the Rock Hard festival where we played for 7-8000 people. Awesome! We all had the best time of our life. After the Rock Hard festival, we did a couple of gigs in Norway again, before we had to concentrate on making the songs for "Waves of Visual Decay".

I open my review of your new album with: “Simply put: "This album kicks some serious butt!” – And what I would have thought almost impossible has happened – you have made an even stronger second album – a big compliment from me on that! The album has once more been produced with Jacob Hansen – so I guess you were more than pleased with his work on the first album? Did he have any kind of influence of the songs, or were they complete when you entered the studio?
Erik - Yeah. We are very pleased with the work Jacob did for us on the first album, and even more pleased with the work on our second album. He knows what he is doing that’s for sure. All the songs were completed when we entered the studio, but Jacob had a lot of good ideas concerning effects and stuff on both albums.

On this album you used Endre Kirkesola on keyboards, but plan to go out on the road just a 3-piece – is it possible for you to re-create your complex sound live?
Erik - The reason we chose not to have a keyboard player live, is that we want to present our music the way it was made, and with the same level of energy we have in our rehearsals.

Speaking of live – what kind of touring plans do you have for 2006?
Erik - Well, officially we have no plans for a tour yet, but we are going to do some festivals this summer. We are going to Germany for the Queens of Metal and Earthshaker festival, and then there is the Ragnarock festival in Norway and Prog Power Europe in Holland. We hope to do a tour in the fall or winter, but nothing is sure yet.

Highlights on the new album for is “Fooled by the Serpent” an almost thrash like smasher, and the final song of the album “At Dewy Prime”, which I’ve heard is actually a left-over from Oddleif Steensland’s old band Ingermanland. The song fits perfectly into the concept, and do you have any more hidden gems like this one? I feel this song perfectly represents your music…
Erik - There is a lot of really good Ingermanland songs to pick that’s for sure, but if we are going to use some of them in our future albums? Well we just have to wait and see. The good thing about it is that both Oddleif and me where in Ingermanland, so we don’t have to feel that we are ripping another bands songs. You can even say that Communic continues where Ingermanland ended, just with a new drummer.

You are often compared with Nevermore, and Oddleif’s voice do in some tones have resemblance with Warrel’s. I do feel the comparison is fairer in the approach to music, the intensity and aggression in both band’s music. Because I feel you music is a tad more progressive, and both bands do not limit themselves to certain styles. A tour with you guys opening for Nevermore could be a dream package – do you agree on my point of views?
Erik - Actually I had not heard much of Nevermore’s stuff when we started Communic, but after we have been compared to them so often the last year, I had to sit down and listen to them to find out what it was all about. Well I have to say that I can se why we are compared to them. I don’t find the music to similar but I can see why the vocals are been compared. I guess it is the way they use their voice, the harmonies and so on. About touring with Nevermore, I am not sure it would be a good thing for us. You know Nevermore has a lot of die hard fans out there so it could go both ways for us.

Oddleif has more than once stated Arjen A. Lucassen as a big influence – would/could you ever consider writing a concept album?
Erik - Well maybe sometime down the line we will make a concept album, but we have nothing planned yet. We have talked about it and we would like to do it sometime, but it will take a bigger amount of time to write a concept album than a regular album, so we just have to see if can get the time someday.

Your music is very complex, drawing influences from lots of different styles and bands – 80’s thrash and speed metal, early 90’s progressive metal (Psychotic Waltz & Fates Warning) and so on… This symbiosis of styles makes your music equally interesting for a thrash metal fan as well as a progressive metal fan. I guess those were some the bands you’ve listened to growing up – but what else inspires you when you write music?
Erik -
I would think that the biggest inspiration for us is that we love to rehearse. There is nothing more satisfying than playing through a new song, knowing it is a killer.

How did you come up with the band name, and is there a story behind?
Erik - The word Communic is a short word for Communicate. It reflects on the world today and all its forms of communications. Actually at first we wanted to call the band Communichate, but in the end we decided for Communic.

Tell us a bit about the cover, artwork and booklet – how is it connected to the title? It kind of reminds me of a mix between Max Headroom and Metropolis (the movie)…
Erik - The cover and title song reflects on how destroyed peoples minds can get by watching all the sadness and shit we are getting into our own living room just by watching TV. The cover is made by a guy called Anthony Clarkson and we feel that it fits the music and lyrics like a glove.

That’ll be all for us this time around - thank you very much for participating in this interview and sharing this information and your thoughts with us - these last lines are entirely for you…
Erik - Well first of all we would like to thank you at for your interest in Communic. And to all of you out there, stay with us, and we will provide our Communic metal for many years to come.


Kenn Jensen

Communic - Waves of Visual Decay

Album available on Nuclear Blast GmbH.

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