Musicscan: People who got introduced to your band often were impressed by your “aesthetic” approach to music. What do you think about statements like these? What makes the difference from your point of view?
Borknagar: I look at our approach to music as subtle, and it requires a bit more involvement from the listener. Aesthetic I haven't heard before, but I can understand that. I don't mind at all, there are other bands that are much more direct in their message and I'ma slo a fan of that. You can say that we provide a bit of dynamic in the scene also.
Musicscan: How hard was it coming up with new material this time around, and what did you guys do differently on “Urd” that you hadn't done previously to keep things progressing?
Borknagar: Øystein keeps producing material contnuously, so that's not a problem. Universal was released about 8 months after we finished it, and by the time it hit the stores Øystein had already made half the new album. The progression isn't a focus for us, it's an underlying drift in how we work. Every album is a result of the previous, the feedback, the feeling, the ideas spawned.
Musicscan: You guys are known to master your instruments. How important is that for you? And do you focus on technique or the flow of your songs, when it comes to songwriting?
Borknagar: I don't see myself as a very technical guitarist at all, I focus only on the feeling in what I do. I contribute where it helps the music, not myself. This have changed though, I was much more focused on my personal posture 10 years ago.
Musicscan: Is it kind of a different thing today to write new songs, now that you are well experienced and skilled with your instruments after all the years with your sound - compared to the early days of Borknagar?
Borknagar: I think the biggest difference, and perhaps the reason for our developing is that we gradually release ourselves from the patterns the band was obliged to in it's beginning and we let our influences and background shine through more and more. Off course experience has a roole here, a bit part I would say. Experience and confidence in ourselves and what we do. Comes with age ;)
Musicscan: Listening to “Urd” makes one wonder about the intensity of the songs. It´s definitely more than just music. It´s also the atmosphere you create. Is the mentioned intensity something you are striving for by choice?
Borknagar: Yeah, intensity and its counterpart. We want the dynamic in it to outline the intensity. The atmosphere is the hards part to achieve and with Urd we wanted to look back at the early albums and recapture some of the atmosphere we created there. I believe that every successfull band, at least my favorites are those who create an atmosphere with an album that underlines the album itself. That's why I find myself listening to an entire Iron Maiden album, I can't just listen to one song. Band that create huge atmospheres are acts like Immortal and Emperor in my eyes, some of my favorites.
Musicscan: To me it seems that “Urd” was built up on by far more positive vibes, even in the instrumental, highly atmospheric parts. Would you agree? Was this a conscious decision or would you call this a natural development?
Borknagar: With Borknagar I think we also create a dynamic in the atmosphere itself and some parts are deffinitively positive yes. It's a natural development.
Musicscan: Where do you see the line drawn between progressing on what you do well, and completely offering a new direction or sound?
Borknagar: I don't see a defined line I guess. We don't think of it as our mission to challenge these borders, we just do. We don't bring in an instrument or sound or effect for the sake of the effect and to reach some level of progression, it's there because it's considered right for the song or theme it covers.
Musicscan: The style of Borknagar covers a lot of bases musically - there's something for everyone listening to metal. Were you going for a more "inclusive approach" right from the beginning, or is it an intentional drive to you to make the songs as varied musically as possible?
Borknagar: The dynamics is a big part of our music, no secret. You make it sound very technical all this, but I want to underline that it's not. We don't create themes to fit into a pattern, we create music that has balance.
Musicscan: Were the songs for “Urd” already written and ready for recording when entering the studio or did you rearrange some parts to make them more effective?
Borknagar: Øystein as always presented the basic ideas of the songs, but I don't believe he expected it to take all the paths it did. Specially Lars offered some twists to the basic ideas that changed some themes, and when it all came together it had a different vibe then the first demo's although some of it might have excisted in Øysteins head all along hehe. I think an important part of the process is how we all contribute with our own ideas to Øysteins basic ideas and the process becomes a growth period for the demos.
Musicscan: What can be said about the recording process itself? Were there any major differences keeping the recording sessions for your previous albums in mind?
Borknagar: Yeah, this time much of it has happened in home-studios, and we spent our budget with Fascination Street with Jens Bogren helping out to "clean up" the sound. The mix is the crown of this work, the key that reveals the details.
Musicscan: Is there an underlying idea behind “Urd” that can stand for the record as a whole?
Borknagar: Urd meens "Past". With that we wanted to look back to our first releases and recapture some of that energy and atmosphere. It also symbols ICS Vortex's re-entry in the fold, coming "home" after 10 years in Dimmu Borgir.
Musicscan: Any last words?
Borknagar: Support your favorite bands, look us up on Facebook and Twitter and let us know that you exist!