OLD FUNERAL – OLD music
The Old Funeral compilation entitled "Our Condolences" have been released on both CD and vinyl through Soulseller Records and Eternal Terror writer Peter Loftus was offered an inty with guitarist Tore Bratseth. Here’s the result of the conversation.
What is the story behind the release of ‘Our Condolences’?
There has always been an interest in the band but not very much material has been easily available. Many people have asked me for the first demo and so on. So I thought that we just gather all recorded material and release it as a compilation of all recorded work. Also I worked with Soulseller on the Studfaust vinyl single, and they offered to do Old Funeral on vinyl and CD. It turned out great.
Whose idea was it? Why now and not ten or fifteen years ago?
I have been approached by probably 15 labels to do it, but I landed on Soulseller Records, cause I know Jorn (the manager) is professional and reliable. There was a compilation on Hammerheart Records in 1999 but that did not contain all material. Also I couldn’t get Olve to agreeing on releasing the first demo until now. Also we were called Old Funeral, so it’s only suitable that it’s OLD music on there.
How important do you think the influence of Old Funeral was, or were they just another group of kids starting out…
I don’t think we were a very influential group ,even though we had an underground impact on the music scene in western Norway back in the day. But I do think that our heritage is important, as we were one of the few pioneering groups in Norway at the time. Many people are also interested in the origins of Immortal and Burzum for a historical point of view. I can understand that as I am very interested in music history and record collecting myself.
One thing I find really interesting is that it comes from a time before the modern genres were really set – so the listener can hear all of the different influences quite clearly. What can you tell me about that?
At the time we were influenced by the old classic bands like Sodom, Celtic Frost, Morbid Angel, Kreator, Entombed (first LP only). But also more unknown bands as The Mentors, Adrenalin O.D.We were just 3 little kids wanting thrash. It was not more complicated than that. At the late period of the band we became more interested in the occult, and you can clearly hear that our music and lyrics darkened.
How important was your involvement in the band to your life today?
I still get those " You played in Old Funeral didn’t you?" questions. It’s allright to be aknowledged for your past. From a nostalgic point of view I am proud of the band, because we were very early in the scene. We stopped when everything became bigger ! He he. We were definitely an anti-trend band in all regards. When we play with The Batallion and Bömbers the organizers often writes "ex Old Funeral members" etc. So I guess we are not forgotten which is fine with me.
Are you still in contact with any of the other guys?
All of them except Varg.He does not want anything to do with "Metal people" as far as I know. I still play with Abbath you know in Bömbers ,the Motorhead tribute band we have had together since 1996. Padden is also still a close friend. Thorlak and Jørn I talk to occationally at gigs and stuff. We are all friends and still fans of harder music ! Allright !
You are probably sick of answering questions about Kristian, but if I could ask one – how does your experience of him as he was then tally with his later actions and the man he turned out to be?
I have not spoken with the guy since august 1993, and when you don’t know anybody in real life ( not through media and what other people say ) I don’t think I’m 100 % entitled to an honest opinion of the man today. From what I remember of him, he was indeed a special person with lots of musical talent and had a bit "original" opinions about the world. I hold no personal grief against him, except that I think it was uneccesary to kill Euronymous. As everybody, he is responsible for his own actions. He was a good musical input in Old Funeral.
Obviously some of the recording techniques used by the band were a bit basic – do you ever forsee a day where some incarnation of the band (or even connected acts, like your band The Battalion) might reform to either record some of the classic or to put together some new material?
Old Funeral just had a 3 songs appearance with the original line-up : Padden, Olve and myself at my 40th birthday party the 16th of february. It was great fun and the 160 guests appreciated it a lot. We are however NOT ,and I underline NOT, reunited. It was just becuause I celebrated my 40th birthday. So please no booking requests. We also covered the song "Aphis" on the Desekrator "Metal For Demons" album released in 1997. One shall never say never, but I honestly think that we will not be active with Old Funeral as a working band again. We all have other bands we are focusing on. I have had tons of offers from festival organizers to do a reunion though, but we are always saying no. But playing one Old Funeral song live for example with The Batallion, or to be a guest guitarist if any other band wants to cover us, might happen. But no plans.
What are you working on at the moment?
Right now we are working on the full length album with Studfaust. We already have contract offers from the vinyl single release. The album will most probably be recorded sometime during 2013. We have approx 5 songs ready so far. Other than that Bömbers and The Batallion are still alive and ready to kick ass if anybody wanna book us .