GREEN CARNATION – Another Night Under The Dam
"On July 31st, deep into the mountains in South Norway, the progrock/avantgarde legends Green Carnation will reunite for their second conceptual show Another Night Under The Dam." This is how the website www.green-carnation.com introduces the second edition of the band’s acoustic concert that was already released on a DVD with the name ‘A night under the dam’. The moment I personally found out about the event and given the fact that ‘Acoustic Verses’ is one of my favorite albums, I was so excited I almost spilled Kjetil Nordhus’ beer. And ever since then I stressed him with my request for an interview related to the upcoming event in order to find out whether it will be identical as the first one or not, about band changes (if any), maybe other live shows plans and so on. If you are curious to find out such details, you’ll most likely find some answers in the text below.
So, Green Carnation will be back for Another night under the dam on July 31st, close to Kristiansand. I guess many fans gave up the hope of a Green Carnation concert. What’s the story behind the ‘reunion’?
Needless to say, our first concert "under the dam" was an extraordinary experience for everybody involved, and when the request came to do it again it was something we simply had to at least discuss. We learned that the whole dam buildings are going to be tear down, and the organizers wanted Green Carnation to do the last show in the amazing surroundings. After all, we were the first one to do it. So for us it was a good event to reunite for. Although some of the band members had talked about the possibility of a reunion now and then, the night when we decided to do this was the first time we were all in the same room for almost seven years. In many ways it was weird, because the reunions wasn’t really something that was bound to happen, but we talked through different scenarios, decided how we wanted this to be, negotiated a bit with the organizers, and accepted.
Is it too early to ask if this is a one time only event or there’s more plans for Green Carnation?
One of the aspects we discussed in the meeting previously mentioned was the idea of being open for more concerts than one. Having taken the quite ambitious task of getting the old locomotive running and rehearsing during the spring and summer, we felt we owned ourselves to consider incoming offers from other festivals or special concerts. The good thing about this reunion, is that we are doing this because we want to do it, and if the offers are right, and we’ll be able to present Green Carnation as we want to (production wise etc.) we are more than interested in doing more shows. There has been quite a lot of interest, both from Norway and abroad but up until now we haven’t been able to accept more than the show under the dam.
When did you start rehearsing? What was the first song you rehearsed? Do you remember what it felt like when you guys played a song together again? Was it easy to remember the material or was it all very ‘rusted’?
(somehow related to this question – was there any Green Carnation activity since the band split? As in, did you or any other members still rehearse together any of the songs, for the fun of it?)
I think we started some time in April. The material – in its original form – had been untouched since 2007 and although there was a certain variation in how many details (which guitarist played this and that? etc.) we remembered. But, saying that, as we did know the songs from before, it did not take too much time getting things to sound good. I think we knew from day one that we would be able to give the audience on July 31st a full blown set. We are still the same people involved as last time around, and we have played these songs before so it was just a matter about thinking Green Carnation again.
How did one end up organising a concert under a dam? What’s the history of the place as a concert stage? And how much logistics is behind this concert?
620 meters over the ocean and 8 kilometers into the mountains from a village with seven inhabitants and two dogs. It is not the every day concert stage, for sure. The first time we played there many people thought we were crazy, and that nobody wanted to go through such stress in order to see a concert. Well – they did – and the concert experience was something they never experienced before. Since that time, Under the Dam has been hosting a variety of well known Norwegian artists and has become an institution of a live venue, that draws people both because of the music and the extraordinary surroundings. Needless to say, there is a lot of logistics behind this, but luckily the people behind it have been doing this now for a few years, so I am sure we will have a good say in the mountains.
Is it more challenging to play music ‘under a dam’? Would the instruments and the electric equipment demand different maintenance or skills to use them? Or it’s just ‘another day at work’?
I wouldn’t say it is just another day at work. Not at all. Basically everything is different from the normal, mostly in positive ways. Of course, we have been checking the weather forecast quite actively the last few days, but it is all looking fine. Because – on top of the mountains, even in the summer in Norway, the weather can be quite mean. The view from the stage is amazing (not always the case in small clube) and so on. We are all looking forward to a different concert experience.
May I ask if there will only be ‘Acoustic verses’ played? What’s your favorite part to play live from this album?
We didn’t want to do the same Under the Dam concert again, so this time we will be playing from The Quiet Offspring, A Blessing in Disguise and Light of Day, Day of Darkness too (in addition to Acoustic Verses). All of it arranged for strings too. None of these other albums have ever before been performed with a string quartet. We wanted to make this a unique concert, we know there is going to be a lot of people coming that have a strong relation to Green Carnation, and we wanted to give them something extra, with something that had never been done before.
What was the fans response to the announcement? Do you know if there will be an international audience for the event, considering it’s not a weekend?
There seem to be a lot of happy people around, yes. And there will be people from Australia, USA, England, Ireland, Latvia and Germany coming as I know of. I think the place of the concert is more difficult than the timing for a possible international crowd. We’re both proud and happy people want to use money and time on experiencing this together with us.
Any changes in the band lineup for this concert?
Same as last time around, myself on vocals, Tchort and Michael Smith Krumins on guitars, Stein Roger Sordal on bass, Kenneth Silden on keys and Tommy Jacksonville on drums. Plus Kristiansand String Quartet.
Are you trying to ‘identically’ re-make the previous Night under the Dam or you have new ideas for song arrangements and sounds that you’re going to try? If there will be new elements or arrangements, may I ask what’s in for the audience?
As touched upon there is going to be a lot of new elements in the concert. It wouldn’t really have been interesting for us to recreate something that we used to do. So – lots of new arrangements, and lots of bonuses for the audience
How is the mood in the band? Does it feel like there’s enough energy for making new releases? Should there be new material, do you think you might go on in the ‘softer’ direction of the acoustic verses or you’d go back to experimenting with the blends of smooth yet aggressive Quiet Offsprings and earlier stuff?
We have discussed new material and which direction to go. We haven’t decided yet, but I have a feeling it will return to something like a doomy metal landscape with progressive elements. Too early to say for sure, though. The mood in the band is very good, and if we have a good feeling also after the Under the Dam show, who knows…