ANOREXIA NERVOSA –
An interview with Hreidmarr
ET: Hello Hreidmarr, and thanx for one of last year`s most suprising albums, " New Obscurantis Order "! To me as a listener, it seems like you have achieved the perfect sound this time. How pleased are you really?
H – Thank you. We’re all very pleased with this album. We spent more than three months in our studio, and this time we spent many hours on all the details, the orchestrations, the arrangements, etc. Maybe "New Obscurantis Order" can be considered as a mix between the two previous releases, the "Sodomizing the Archedangel" Gothic atmospheres meet the "Drudenhaus" storm of hate (laughs)… I know it sounds a little bit cliché, whatever, I don’t give a fuck, and I think that "New Obscurantis Order" is our best album so far, and also the best produced. We wanted to make a really accomplished, major release with this one, very fast and violent, yet melodic and heavy… I’m very proud of this album.
ET: So, how could you best describe your music for those who`ve never heard you before ? I`ve read in other interwievs that you don`t like the description " symphonic black metal " to fit with the music ?
H – No, being categorized is not a real problem you know, people can call us as they wish… Simply, I have a kinda intransigent vision of what Black-Metal should be, Black Metal has its laws and rules, and we have transgressed these laws, we have pushed the limits further, I think. But I do agree with the fact that we have some Black Metal roots and influences, among a lot of others influences, of course. Anyway, it’s always pretty hard for me to describe Anorexia Nervosa… But I will try to… So, we are a kind of extreme, orchestral, elated, and violently romantic band from France. We are the 21st Century’s cursed poets. We’re young, we’re pretty, come touch us.
ET: I have never heard your album " Drudenhaus ", but I understand that the music became more brutal on this one ?
H – In a way, yes. "New Obscurantis Order" is faster, darker and colder than "Drudenhaus" was. It’s still in the same vein, but the main difference comes from the atmosphere. It’s maybe less foreseeable, more subtle and complex than "Drudenhaus", but still in that Noble Wagner-like style we love… Maybe "Drudenhaus" was also more hysterical, not as controlled as the new one, I think, but it was intended, we made this previous album to kick the French Metal scene’s limp ass (laughs)!
ET: Could you tell us a bit about the band`s history ?
H – Well, the band started off in 1995 on the ashes of Necromancia (1991-1995), which was a kinda Dark Death Metal band. Quickly releasing the first demo "Nihil Negativum", which sold over 1200 copies, the band soon after joined up with local label Season of Mist. In 1997, the band then issued a debut CD entitled "Exile". This opus was an uncompromising nihilistic concept album dealing with extreme madness and a refusal of existence. Painful human experiences later led the singer and one of the two guitar players to depart from the band.
What followed next was a reflecting and hardworking period which pushed Stefan, the guitar player and mastermind behind the band, to refine a new line-up and musical identity.
Our actual keyboard player and I entered the band in 1998. We wanted to go back to the Metal roots of the band, to do something more powerful, hateful, more representative of our state of mind. We released a four tracks demo and sent it to several record companies, then we signed with Osmose Productions. This demo was released one year later, in 1999, as a mini-CD called "Sodomizing the Archedangel", which gave listeners an opportunity to hear how Anorexia Nervosa’s music now was. We released "Drudenhaus", our first album on Osmose, in 2000. The line-up is the same since "Sodomizing the Archedangel". Our new album "New Obscurantis Order" is out since late November 2001, and we are now ready to conquer the whole world ! ! !
ET: And your tourplans, are there any possibilities for us up here in cold Norway to experience your live attack ? Have you ever played in Norway before ?
H – No, we never played in Norway. I would love to, of course, because I still see Norway as a kinda "promised land" for extreme Metal, maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t care, it would be really killer to play in your so beautiful country! I guess it would be also pretty intimidating for us, little frenchies (smile)… Anyway, we were supposed to play some gigs in Scandinavia with Dark Funeral, Tidfall, Ragnarok and Occult on last January, unfortunately, shit happened, it was cancelled… I fuckin hope we can tour Europe properly next time.
ET: Who are your major musical inspirations inside the band ? Do you listen much to extreme metal ?
H – Yes, but we also listen to many different styles of music you know, old-Gothic, early Black and Death Metal, classical music plus some Heavy and Glam shit, mainly. To make it simple I would mention bands such as Mercyful Fate, Bathory, Iron Maiden, old-Carcass, old-Entombed, Godflesh, Forbidden Site, Virgin Prunes, Candlemass, Satyricon, Samael, Sisters of Mercy, And Also the Trees, old-Emperor, Wasp, Orff, Mussörgski, Wagner and Mötley Crüe. But of course there are many others…
ET: Who composes the music ? Do you do it together, or is it done by each individual band member ?
H – No, Stefan, ou guitar player, is the main composer, and he has to be alone in his home-studio to make songs. We give him our opinion and ideas then, when he has finished the demo version of a song. Then he works on the orchestrations, together with Xort, our keyboard player. Then, we do some more demo versions of the song, with the vocals, we try some different vocal lines, and try to find the best one, or the most appropriate… When all this preproduction work is finished and when we’re satisfied of the way the song sounds, we rehearse it with the whole band, to make sure it will work when we’ll play it live. And if it’s okay, the song is finished, but of course, some details can also change in the studio, when we record it…
ET: Back to " New Obscurantis Order "; I specially notice your magnificent vocals, which I believe is something of the best I`ve heard ! Especially your clean vocals are something out of the normal. And almost all of it is sung in french, why ? Did you plan to do this, or did it just happen ?
H – Thanx again mister! But no, it wasn’t really planned… When I write lyrics, it comes naturally. It’s easier for me to describe some feelings in French, some others in English, etc. When I start to write something, I always feel instinctly which language is the most appropriate. That’s it : different languages for different atmospheres… Some words are more powerful or more efficient in French, even when you don’t understand this language, I believe you can feel it pretty well… So the choice of the language depends above all on the feeling I want to express in my lyrics. In any case, the lyrics are written just after the music, so sometimes it can also depend on the music, like it was on "Châtiment de la Rose". Anyway, we’ve worked pretty hard on the vocal lines, and especially on those French-written parts, and I believe that French language really suits my way of clean-singing.
ET: What do your lyrics deal with ? Are they very personal ?
H – Yes they are, and especially on this new album. I can be influenced by something which happened in my life, by a special place, by some people, by some books I read, or by all those things at the same time. My lyrics are just like some of my life’s snaps, most of the time. That’s what I am, what I do, what I think about. My writing process is very chaotic, sometimes it’s a bit like some, you know, "automatical writing". It comes naturally, anywhere, anytime, and I can’t make provision for that… It’s highly personal, violent, cynical, passionate, and there’s not really a particular running theme, but I must admit I’m always writing about love, sex and death (laughs)… Stuggle between spirit and mortal frame, human redemption through purifying hatred, will of power, betrayal, decadence, here are the funny things I’m dealing with in my lyrics, actually. Forgive me for being such a switched-on rockstar (laughs)…
ET: I think that all the songs are very strong, but the ones I especially like are " Chatiment De La Rose " ( fantastic clean vocal parts ) " Black Death, Nonetheless " ( great break at 2:58 ), " Stabat Mater Dolorosa " and " Ordo Ab Chao: The Scarlet Communion ". Which ones are yours ? Which songs did were the most difficult to make/complete ?
H – My fave ones are almost the same, let’s say "Stabat Mater Dolorosa", "Ordo Ab Chao", Châtiment de la Rose" and "The Altar of Holocausts". I think "Stabat Mater Dolorosa" was one of the most difficult to make, because it’s rather long, fast and technical, with a lot of breaks, choirs, etc. It’s certainly the most ambitious song we made so far. "Ordo Ab Chao" was also pretty hard to complete, because it’s a kind of unusual song for Anorexia Nervosa, maybe more Heavy, and we were not used to play this kind of song…
ET: The instrumental " Hail Tyranny " is something very special though ? Why did you choose to include this one on the record ?
H – It’s a highly personal adaptation of a Sergeï Rachmaninoff’s prelude. Xort was used to play it on the piano during rehearsals, and we all found it great. It’s something very technical, dull, twisted and simply beautiful. The atmosphere of this track is very particular, and we found it was a perfect prelude to the album’s "grand final".
ET: When are you planning to start recording a new album ? Are there any new songs ready so far ? Which direction do you believe the music will take next time; more brutal or more symphonic ?
H – Yes, we have already composed some new songs for the new album, and it sounds really great. It’s in the "New Obscurantis Order" vein, but maybe heavier and more stirring, with very efficient and powerful guitar riffs… I’m starting to get really excited again, it’s always the same when we start to compose new stuff (laughs)… Anyway, it’s still too early to tell how exactly this new album will sound. I think we’ll enter the studio next Winter.
ET: And you have your own recording studios in France; Drudenhaus 1 & 2 ? Why didn`t you want to record your album in a bigger studio like Abyss ?
H – Many people ask us this question… We dot not want our sound to become standardised. We don’t want to sound like all these bands emerging every month from the Abyss, the Fredman or the Sunlight… We try to build our own personal sound. We want it to be in adequation with the music, with the songs. We always try to make something powerful and professional. It’s a process we have initiated with "Sodomizing the Archedangel", and we always try to push further. The production on "New Obscurantis Order" is of course better & heavier than it was on "Drudenhaus", but I think it’s still identifiable. From the very first notes, you know that you are listening to Anorexia Nervosa, and that’s very important for us. And I don’t think that the production on "New Obscurantis Order" would have been better if we have recorded it in a famous studio… This album sounds exactly the way we wanted it to sound.
But, we’ll see for the next one, maybe it will change, maybe we’ll work with a producer, in order to have an external look over our music you know, because we do not want to repeat ourselves.
ET: As my last question, I`ll have to comment the drumming. Hell man, this is the quickest, most powerful and technical drumming I`ve ever heard before ! Blastbeat all the way ! Mr. Vant must have muscles the size of balloons ?!
H – No he hasn’t (laughs), he’s really skinny…. But he seems to be only a bag of nerves and muscles (laughs)… Anyway, he has worked really hard between "Drudenhaus" and "New Obscurnantis Order" to improve his way of playing drums. And he’s still practicing a lot and taking drums lessons.
ET: Thank you for your time, Hreidmarr ! We`re looking forward to hear more from you and your Obscurantis Order !
H – Thanx a lot for your support! Hope to meet you on the road, you Norwegian freaks!!! Takk & god natt!