ROY KRISTENSEN BAKLAND – A Dive…
Some people have bigger record collections than most of us. We have recently been digging a little in the collections of major collectors in "A Dive …" and our next target is our very dear Roy Kristensen Bakland, known from both Imhotep and Scream Magazine.
Do you prefer vinyl, CD or digital files?
I always prefer to own the vinyl, no matter what, unless when no vinyl is made. But in my car I play CD or CD-r. However, when I do my dirty work (read: hobby), I listen to digital files in my headphones. So, in a way I’m all in, but if I ended my hobby now I would prefer to listen to vinyls at home and then CD in my car. And leave the rest of the world to the internet generation!
Do you have a record player? If so – do you use it?
Yes, I do and yes, I do use it. Sadly I don’t have the time to use it as often as I want to, since I have to spend too much time in front of the computer. But once a week is doable and a must!
Do you remember the very first record you bought or stole?
If you think of an album, the first I bought was actually Paul McCartney "Tug Of War"-tape. I think I liked a couple songs, ha ha… Then I got Motörhead "Ace Of Spades" on tape. A friend of mine had a friend who had a lot of metal, and we borrowed tapes of Venom and Iron Maiden. I could however not afford to buy much at the time, but from 1984-85 I began to buy and copy tapes. And then finally I could afford to buy my first vinyl in 1988. Death "Leprosy". I bought it together with four other albums at the time. A bundle where I got five albums for hundred Norwegian crowns (ca. 12 Euros). Another of those vinyls was Black Sabbath "Eternal Idol", but I don’t remember the other three! Gettin’ older as we speak.
What is the rarest album you’ve got?
Now, this could be a bit tricky. I suppose the rarest album I have access to must be The Thrill’s supposed to be first released somewhere around the time of the change of the Millennium. Charmand Grimloch had released the masterpiece "The Red Jewel", and on the side he’d worked with The Thrill. The album that was never released is strange and consists of dark classical music, with hints to Devil Doll. At the time of writing it, he hadn’t heard Devil Doll, he said. Had I been one of those fucking uploaders, I would’ve uploaded this a long time ago. I guess some 10-15 persons in the world have this album.
Another special thing is a file of an album that in its official release consists of 6 tracks. Deathspell Omega’s "FAS – Fas – Ite, Maledicti, in Ignem Aeternum" is a fantastic album I listen to regularly. And that file I have consists of the album as a one-track piece. I had no idea when the 6 different tracks came and went, and still today I prefer to listen to this file, or the vinyl version, instead of the official CD-version. Is it any different? Nah, don’t think so, but you know, my mind work in mysterious ways. I also have a copy of Slagmaur’s "Skrekk Lich Kunstler". This vinyl-version was printed in 14 red and 14 black copies. I have one of the red ones. This is pure art!
Finally I must mention the testpress of Mayhem "Ordo Ad Chao". According to Season Of Mist, this exists in two copies. That’s pretty rare, if it is true. And even if it is done in five copies, it’s still pretty rare.
Does Roy’s record collection consist of metal only? What else can one find that Roy highly appreciates?
Oh, it’s like 90 percent metal. But I do have a few things outside metal, be it on CD and vinyl. Like This Mortal Coil, U2, The Flower Kings, Radiohead, Bel Canto, Enya, Kate Bush, Devil Doll, Faith No More and a few soundtracks. I just love "Conan – The Barbarian", "The Omen I and III", "Bram Stoker’s Dracula" and "Sleepy Hollow". But I am doomed to stay with metal until my very last breath, no doubt!
Do you go to many record fairs and second hand stores and stuff?
If I could find them, I would. And if they had interesting albums, I would. But as it is now, I do order from small distributors, because I want to support them and do my best to keep them alive. And no, I do not own a house! (read: buying too much music, especially vinyl).
Do you spend a lot of time surfing websites / auction sites like Discogs and Ebay?
No. But I do look at them every now and then, mainly out of curiosity. I simply don’t have time enough for surfing stuff like this. Nor do I have the economy to visit these sites too often, hah!
How do you preserve your collection? Is it categorized or is it just helter skelter?
Allow me to be boring, but I am an alphabetical kind of guy. I guess there are many different systems, but I want things to be as easy as possible. And for instance The Gathering, I put in T, not G.
Do you use the traditional "blå melkekassen" as many other vinyl collectors have their vinyls in?
I must admit that I don’t know what that is. I have my lovely Ikea Expedits. See the picture!
Most people who know you have no doubt about that Deathspell Omega is your favorite band. When and how did you become aware of this French band? Was it love at first listen or did it take some time before the love affair became a reality?
It was not love at first sight. In fact, not even second or third. I did listen to a couple of the earlier manifestations back in the day, but it wasn’t until 2005 that this really felt into place. I was in Denmark and I met JBP from amongst others Church Bizarre. He told me about Deathspell Omega’s track "Diabolus Absconditus". And then he sent me the track on CD-r, probably knowing that I would buy this. And well, it’s still my one favourite track, if I ever had to choose one. I have in fact tattooed one line from the lyrics onto my arms. And when the said "FAS…" album was released in a bit difficult and confusing time in my life, it talked to me and have stayed with my heart and soul ever since and for all eternity. I don’t really know what it is with Deathspell Omega, but some bands and their releases are great and then there are those albums that do something with you. I see colours, I think different thoughts and I feel some sick kind of joy when I listen to Deathspell Omega. And I love the fact that they don’t do interviews, because I think the world would be a much better place if no bands did interviews, but just released music and let the music speak for itself! Then again, who would reply to all my Imhotypical questions?
Are there any other bands that are close to the position Deathspell Omega have? What about Watain?
No. But there are bands that mean a lot to me. You mentioned Watain. In my opinion Watain is the best live-band ever and their music is superb as well. Another band that has something special going on is Abigor. After the break they returned with a big album named "Fractal Possession". It’s an excellent album. Then they do their time, hah, with "TIME Is the Sulphur in the Veins of the Saint – An Excursion on Satan’s Fragmenting Principle", an original and different and sadly overlooked piece of dark art! Their re-edition of "Quintessence" is also fine. And now their new album, which is brilliant! A third band that needs special mention is Mayhem, of course. Varied, excellent, surprising and they have released "Ordo Ad Chao", so there you go! Outside of black metal, I’m a sucker for Australian Portal. So friggin’ dark! And outside of metal, I have a weak heart for some of The Flower Kings’ work and of course the Devil Doll albums!
As favorite album you listed up some albums prior to this interview and on top stands Devil Doll "Dies Irae". What is it about this album that melts your metal heart a tiny bit more than the other albums on your list do?
When I heard it back in 1997, I had no idea what to expect. The owner of the record shop in Stavanger told me that this would perhaps be interesting, having learnt that I like music from (mostly) the darker side of life. So, I bought the 16-track version (45.53 minutes) and I didn’t really like it. I mean, it was cool and different and all, but those vocals? It was like hearing King Diamond for the first time! Yes, it sucked big time. But still there had to be something in there, since he recommended the album to me. And I gave it a few more spins. And by now I’ve heard this album so incredibly many times. I only think I’ve heard "Reign In Blood" more! I guess I prefer the 16-track version with the "Death Triumphant"-cover over the "Mr. Doctor"-cover which lasts for 71.45 minutes because I heard the 16-track version first! The mix is slightly different and the longer version contains a few more minutes of music (and many minutes of silence), but while the 16-track is 100 % perfect, the 18-track is only 99 % perfect!
When I think of my three favourite albums, now that all are mentioned in this interview, they have this common thread that they are more like journeys rather than one song followed by another song. And they are all very different from each other. With "Dies Irae", it is just so beautiful, dark, full of surprises and just so addictive. And whenever I feel uneasy or my heart thunders, I can listen to "Dies Irae" and my live is perfect again!
Here we usually ask if you’ve seen your favorite band live, but we both know that’s a bit silly here. Therefore we ask you, how is your relationship to the band and band members?
It’s almost non-existing. Devil Doll hasn’t released anything new since 1996, so I’m not sure if Mr. Doctor is still going with this project. Watain plays live, I say hi to them and I’ve done a few interviews with E. And Deathspell Omega? Well, since it’s a secret who’s really in the band, it could be that I have met several members many times, or none of them ever. I do have some mail-contact with their label, Norma Evangelium Diaboli, especially when I buy something new from their short list of releases and the short distribution list. Life is not always about quantity, but more about quality, right?
You are home after a long day’s work and want to relax with some music. What do you, most likely, want to listen to?
I always want to listen to my favourite bands. However, there’s the time aspect and all things you must do in life, like sleep, eat, do the bathroom routine, work out, work in, socialize… So, most of the time I don’t listen to so much music when I come home. I never listen to music to relax. I just listen to music, whenever I do and whatever I do. So, it simply depends on the situation. But I’ve noticed lately that I tend to listen to fewer different albums than I’ve done before (especially when I lived alone), and rather listen to one album for quite some time. Like, I listened to the new Mayhem for like two weeks (car, mp3, computer) and then I switched to new Septicflesh and then I got into the new Abigor album a few days ago. And listen to the album like 10 times in a row over a few days. And if I have time, just checking other albums. Lately I have also had a hung up for "666 International" again. And I listen to Deathspell Omega at least once a week, no matter which albums/song.
What was the last record you purchased?
Ah, the last albums I purchased from the almighty internet are Thyrane "Travesty Of Heavenly Essence", Marduk – "Obedience", Ain Sof Aur "Atra Serpens" and Prosanctus Inferi "Noctambulous Jaws Within Sempiternal Night" – all CDs. And I’m going to buy Septicflesh "Titan" later today, I’m afraid.
The last I bough eye-to-eye were from Unborn Productions and I got amongst others the re-release of Dark Funeral "The Secrets of the Black Arts" 2-LP, Gorguts "Obscura" 2-LP repress, Funeral Presence "The Archer Takes Aim" LP, Hetoertzen/Dødsengel "Capax Infiniti" split-LP and Morbus Chron "Sweven" LP. It is incredibly annoying that Morbus Chron didn’t name their new album "Sweden".
What purchases are you most pleased with?
I am still today content with buying the first edition of Devil Doll’s "Dies Irae". Even if it is just a CD, it still means a lot to me. Then again, I do have the vinyl but I have never played it. I kind of do not dare, for whatever reason. I must also mention the gold-vinyl of Mayhem’s "Ordo Ad Chao". This exists in 18 copies, where 13 are name-tagged and then five without name-tagging, as far as I know. I have one of the five and I am happy for that, because it’s really a beauty!
I just have to ask about this too; which purchases are you least satisfied with?
Not the music itself, but in general everything from the biggest metal labels. When we order from them, we have to pay customs and all because they have to do things correctly! The smaller distribution companies know how to deal with the Norwegian fucked up customs system! When it comes to music, these days we just check a song or three and then click the order button. But the last twenty-five years I have had a few bad buys, no doubt. But hey, I’ve gotten rid of most of the shitty CDs, so the older I become, the better my household of CDs become. And those vinyls? Ah, they are my babies, even if I let one of them find another home every now and every then.
What’s in your player right now?
As I am replying to these questions, I have listened to Abigor "Leytmotif Luzifer" and Den Saakaldte "Faen I Helvete". Digital files, of course, since none of these albums are released at the replying time. And now onto Obsidian Gate "Whom The Fire Obeys" for one more listen.
Where do you stand when it comes to original albums? Do you want a first press or are you pleased with re-mastered re-publications?
Well, I kind of was there when many of these albums were originally released, so by accident (or perhaps God made me do it, ha ha…) I have many of the original pressings. But in general I’m not so concerned with first press or third press or whatsoever. The main thing is if I want the album in a physical form or not, and that’s it. It’s of course cool with some special releases, like the special edition of the new Mayhem album. But these things are not must-haves. Repress is better than nopress. And when it comes to mastering and that stuff. Well again, I think people must do whatever they want to. I still listen to the first CD-edition of "Reign In Blood" where the sound is "weaker" than on the re-mastered versions with two bonus tracks. But you know, new Carcass is by now released in like 26 different vinyl versions. Behemoth is probably up to some 15 versions and the new Slayer album will probably be released in 200 different colours. And then you shout "I do have the first press". And I’m like "Of which version?". And then you shout "Of every version". And then I’m like "So, you bought 26 versions of the same album?". And you shout "Yes, and I love them all!". And then I just think to myself that I think one or perhaps two different versions would do and then I rather buy myself 24-25 other albums while I’m at it. And, only black is real, but we do accept other colours, don’t we? I mean, the music is the same, so…
There are split opinions about live albums. Where do you stand and what’s your ultimate live album? What’s so special about this record?
Live albums are in general just best-of albums with much worse sound! However, I do love "Live After Death" and I also think "Decade Of Aggression" and "Opus Diaboli" have some meaning. But in general I don’t like live-albums that much. The thing about "Live After Death" is that it made such a major impact back in the day. You know, VHS and all… And the dream of watching this band live lived on until 2008, when I finally got my shit together and saw then live on stage at Valle Hovin in Oslo. One of the three best concerts ever!
What about the gender distribution in your collection; how is that coming along?
Kate Bush, Enya (one album), Loreena McKinnit, Nightwish, Epica, After Forever, Nuclear Death, Nocturnal Worshipper (one album) and all those albums with female guest vocals, ha ha… Metal is in general music made by men, so I guess that says it all. Maybe life would better with 95 % females in metal scene?
The vinyl tax collector is standing at your doorstep and demanding one – 1 – vinyl record as an instant charge. What record do you choose to give away?
I guess it had to be an album with a certain value, since giving away for instance Madonna "Like A Virgin" wouldn’t do much justice. So, if I really had to give away one to be free again, I am quite sure he would be quite happy with the first version of the Mayhem bootleg with a dead Dead on the cover. "Dawn Of The Black Hearts" would cover the tax, I’m dead sure.
Are there any specific albums you are looking for that you absolutely must have in your collection before you die?
In fact, no. If I never would listen to one more new album, I would still have enough music for the rest of my life. But of course, when/if Deathspell Omega release something again, or Devil Doll perhaps releases his lost works, I am dead sure I’ll be there on the first day of the rest of my life, buying one or three copies. Just to make sure…
Who is the lucky one who takes over the treasure when Roy’s gone? Or will you have an extra-large chest and bring the gold with you into eternity?
I have no idea. I do actually not care, I just hope that someone gets the same pleasure as I’ve had from buying all this music instead of wasting my money on buying a house which could increase in value so that I could sell it and buy much more musick. But if I die within five years, for example, I guess my wife would have to deal with them!