EXUMER – Blastfest Special
MEM VON STEIN
Bergen is known for its metal history, with several of the most popular black metal bands in Norway coming from there. In addition, Bergen has been the home of Hole in the Sky – one of the most popular underground festivals in Europe – for several years. Hole in the Sky ended its activities a few years ago, with the much smaller Beyond the Gates festival taking over. Blastfest is a brand new festival that has the intention of putting Bergen back on the metal map.
Do you have any memories about bands, gigs or festivals from Bergen that you want to share with our readers?
I only followed the Norvegian Black Metal scene via the "Lords of Chaos" book, and some documentaries. However, I am not the authority on the scene and rather not comment on something that I am not familiar with. It is amazing tho that there is so much excellent aggressive music originating out of Norway and Scandinavia, which proves the point that you can write exciting music regardless of location or geography for that matter.
How important is it for a cultural city like Bergen to have at least two decent-sized metal festivals.
I think it speaks volumes about the dedication to the music and the movement as a whole, that there are cool and important festivals being held in a relatively small and scenic place. It’s quiet remarkable.
The festival season used to be in the summer and bands could spend the rest of the year writing new songs and recording a new album and maybe go on a tour. In recent years, the season is extended and more or less takes place throughout the year. Much of the reason for this is the declining CD sales and the need for bands to play gigs and selling merch, trying to cover some of their expenses. How disturbing is this extension for the bands creative period?
I cannot speak for other bands but we as EXUMER have our own recording cycle and that is purely dictated by if we are creative or not. We will not release records for the sake of touring or to stay current. I guess that is somewhat a luxury theese days when the windows for selling records are shorter and shorter and the profit margins small.
What is the most negative and positive aspects of this season "extension"?
I don’t see any negative aspects, if anything it gives bands the opprtunity to be heard by more people than they would perhaps reach with solo shows.
How do you think it will be like doing a festival in the north in February?
Cold, ha! No, we are looking forward to finally returning to Norway and playing for you guys.
For years, black metal has been the pride of the Norwegian metal scene, but things have changed and bands like Leprous, Devil, Vulture Industries, Kvelertak and Obliteration are more popular outside the Norwegian border than the black metal bands. Do you have any thoughts on why this is happening?
I have absolutely no idea. I am sure that those bands are talented and must offer something special that people check them out internationally.
You had your first active period between 1985 and 1991 and your second after the reunion in 2008. What are the biggest differences of being a metal band now and then?
It’s a little tougher in reagrds to the sheer volume of bands and having to find periods when there are less bands on the road so that when we come through your town people actually show up and don’t have to decide which out of 10 shows they want to go see that week.
Metal has a very strong position in Bergen. How do you think it will be to play there?
I am sure it will be fun and wild. I hope that there will be thrash metal fans who can appreciate a German thrash metal act that has its roots in the 1980s.
What about sharing the stage with bands like My Dying Bride, Carpathian Forest, Anaal Nathrakh, Obscura, Marduk and Vader?
That is fine, we never thought that people were going to be interested in us when we played Infer Fest in 2010, and to our surpise it became one of the highlights of our recent touring memories. Norwegian fans there where totally raging and into EXUMER and I expect nothing less from the Bergen crowd.
You released your reunion album entitled "Fire & Damnation" last year. Did the album live up to your expectations and why did you need four years to write and record it?
We received a ton of praise for that album from press and fans alike and it definitely helped us to cemment our relevance in metal today. It’s all about timing with us and we take our time to write solid matrial, hence the 4 years between our reformation and the release of the album. Also, don’t forget that we are a bi-continental band, with half of us living in the USA and the other half in Germany. Everything we do has to be planned accordingly and can consume time.
Do you have any new material ready and when can the fans expect a new album?
We are shooting for fall 2014, October/November. We hope that this can be realized but as of now we are optemestic that we can actually stick to that timeframe for a new releaase.
Anything else worth mentioning from the Exumer camp?
Thanks for supporting us since 1985, and we cannot wait to return to Norway to bring you guys FIRE & DAMNATION…m/