DISKORD – Another Masterpiece
A chat with Eivind W. Axelsen, bass player in Norwegian death metal band DISKORD.
The new EP "Oscillations" has been released both as CD and vinyl format. Can we hear your side of the story from the moment the first note was written until the album was finished?
Well, to start with the beginning, the first song that we had more or less complete for Oscillations was written back in the first half of 2011, and had the poetic title "Untitled 2". Back then, scratch tracks for guitar, bass and drums were written, but we have obviously changed things around and rearranged the song a little since then. This song is what became "Horrid Engine" on this release. It is one of the songs that I have written the music for; the others were "Untitled 3" and "Untitled 6". They became "Hermit Dream" and "Symbiotic Whims", respectively. Untitled 1, 4 and 5 are still not complete, maybe I’ll get around to finishing them for our next release? (And speaking of that, "Untitled 7" is the one new song we have more or less ready at the moment, still without any lyrics though.)
Hans Jørgen has written the music for Lethargic Regression and Elytrous Oscillations. They were known as "HJ2" and "HJ3", respectively. Whatever happened to "HJ1", no one knows…
For the final track of the album, A Downward Spire, we did something that up until now has not been done before in Diskord: we collaborated(!) on writing the music, and to top it off we had former guitarist Espen write the lyrics and arrange the vocal parts. Normally, there is one of us that has more or less a complete song written, with drums, guitar and bass, and then we mess around with it at our rehearsal space, rearrange parts and come up with variations, etc. But, for A Downward Spire, Håvard, HJ and I started out trading riffs and compositions right from the beginning, and I think it turned out quite well. Perhaps we’ll do more of that next time around.
When it comes to lyrics, Håvard has been very productive, and has written the majority of the lyrics for this release. As I mentioned above, our previous guitarist Espen has also contributed significantly to that. I have also been involved.
The MLP was recorded by our good friend Thom Johansen, who did it practically for free; we owe you big time man! From the beginning, we had decided to record and mix it quickly, both to capture more of a "live vibe", and to restrain ourselves from obsessing over details, haha. That led to a somewhat hectic process, but I think the record turned out better because of it.
Thom Kvålsvoll did the mastering at Strype Audio.
There’s a lot of great reviews regarding the disc on the internet, but what do you personally think about the EP?
Yes, there has been a surprising amount of good reviews, for which we are of course both humbled and grateful. It is not that it’s all that important to us what complete strangers think about our music, but good reviews help getting the word out to more people, and that, on the other hand, is very important to us. Being a musician or artist is on many levels all about getting your work out to people, getting the message out there, so to speak.
When it comes to my personal opinion of Oscillations, I suppose I am still a bit too close to it all to really appreciate its strengths and weaknesses. However, I am very pleased with how it turned out, even though there are obviously, as always, a few things that I would have changed, given the clarity of hindsight.
From album to album, one can easily notice the musical evolution of the band. What are your thoughts about this and, more specifically, how has this development been within the band?
Hmm, it is very hard top judge our own musical evolution (devolution?). I’m not sure if I have much more to add to that, beyond the fact that musical evolution is not a goal in and of itself for this band. If we happen to evolve, then so be it, haha
Many of those of us who love Diskord and your music were looking forward for a full length album, but for now we are getting this EP. How come "Oscillations" ended up as an EP and when can the fans maybe expect a new full length release?
One of the first things I thought after completing Dystopics was that I would like to do an EP next time. What I had in mind back then was perhaps a small 7-inch release with only a couple of songs or so, just to loosen up and being able to experiment a bit more.
Doing Dystopics was in many ways very rewarding, but also thoroughly frustrating in the sense that we spent a lot of time obsessing over details that, in the end, turned out not to matter all that much anyway. Thus, I think we all viewed the prospect of a simpler process next time around with some relief.
Now, Oscillations ended up being more than the small 7-inch release that I initially envisioned, and I’m glad that it did. There are many labels that can be applied to a release, and we chose to call this a mini-album (MLP), as it feels like something more than an EP, with its 6 songs and 26 minutes in total.
When it comes to our next full-length, I really have no idea when (if?) fans can expect that. Time will tell, I suppose.
(Photo: Stian S. Evensen)
All Diskord’s releases have been released in vinyl format. How important is it to you to use this lovely and real format?
You say "real format", but the most important thing for me is that the music itself is "real", in the sense that it conveys true emotions, instead of being just a "product" (simply put). Beyond that, I’m far from a format snob, and enjoy music in all formats. However, the one thing I love the most about the vinyl format in particular is that the cover artwork and the booklet etc really come into their own.
In that sense, I think all our release definitely deserve a vinyl treatment, if nothing else then to display the fantastic artwork of Sindre Foss Skancke on a bigger canvas than a CD allows.
What is your personal stand when it comes to vinyls? Are you a collector yourself? Do you have plenty of space for your collection, since this format is really demanding a lot of space?
I am not really a collector in the sense that I obsess over owning every release from particular bands on a particular format, or having the first press edition, or whatever. I am a music collector more than a format collector, if that makes sense. I do prefer the physical formats though, and I have quite a few CDs and vinyl records, and even a small tape collection. For now, I have room for them and some more (although the CD collection has been banned from the living room by my significant other, haha, and now resides downstairs).
For me, space is thus not the issue, but rather, time is. It is hard to find the time to listen to all the exciting new releases, and especially so in their physical form. I enjoy listening to music at work and in my car a lot, but then it is obviously mostly through streaming services and digital files. But still, there’s nothing quite like enjoying a nice cold beer and a new vinyl release in the comfort of your own home. In fact, I have that exact activity planned for tonight!
Live? Any planned concerts in the year to come?
Absolutely! First and foremost, we have the celebratory official release gig for Oscillations in Oslo on September 27, at Pokalen together with LOBOTOMIZED and MORBO (flying in all the way from Italy for the occasion). On this gig, we plan to play the new mini-album in its entirety, in addition to some good old classic Diskord tunes.
We will also have a release gig in Trondheim the week before, on September 20, at Fru Lundgreen with DUMHETENS HÆR and INFANT DEATH. It will be awesome playing in Trondheim again!
Finally, a gig in Hamar with DEATHHAMMER and MORBO has just been confirmed, it will take place at Seb’s Hotel, on September 26.
We are also trying to arrange some gigs abroad in the not-so-distant future, stay tuned for more on that.