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1st October 2010
METAL DISCOVERY: Hypothetically, if Leprous became a lot bigger and more successful would you still want to be Ihsahn’s backing band?
(Einar Solberg on Leprous' greater acceptance within the prog scene)
"...usually we get a better response from prog fans than extreme metal fans."
Leprous in their dressing room in the Sjiwa, Baarlo, Netherlands, 1st October 2010
Photograph copyright © 2010 Mark Holmes - www.metal-discovery.com
Interview & Photography by Mark Holmes
Leprous Official Website:
Leprous Official MySpace:
Tall Poppy Syndrome (2009)
Albums & EPs
Thanks to Lars Larsen for arranging the interview.
Aeolia (Demo Album) (2006)
Silent Waters (Demo EP) (2004)
MD: So if you became as big as Opeth, for example.
TOR ODDMUND SUHRKE: If we became as big as Opeth we probably wouldn’t get that much time!
ES: As long as it’s possible, then why not. Right now, playing with Ihsahn helps us a lot with promotion…
TS: …and we get a lot of live experience from different places and it’s fun to just…tag along! [laughs]
MD: Do you find people come and check out Leprous based on the fact you’re Ihsahn’s session band?
ES: Yeah.
TS: But we don’t actually use it that much. We could probably use it more but we like to get known not because we’re the backing band of Ihsahn. We would like to get known because of our music but, of course, that makes people recognise the band and they check us out.
MD: So you don’t forever want to be referred to, with stickers on CDs, or first lines of reviews – “Ihsahn’s backing band”.
TS: Oh no.
MD: You’ve done a few double shifts at shows as Leprous supporting Ihsahn…
ES: Yeah, we did that in London.
MD: Does that ever get tiring?
ES: No. In London, we hadn’t slept at all so we were a bit tired, especially after the Leprous show, but then we realised we needed to get more energy for the Ihsahn show. The Ihsahn show was great and the Leprous show was…okay…[laughs]
MD: Only okay?
ES: Yeah, it was okay, but could’ve been better.
MD: Was there a big audience at that one?
TS: It was a black metal crowd. When we play at places where people expect black metal or something extreme, they might be a bit disappointed. When we play at prog rock festivals, people expect a bit more easy going, but they seem to like us better because…we bring them up. So it’s nice to have our feet in various categories because we can fetch fans from all over the place!
ØYSTEIN LANDSVERK: Come on…come on…come on…!
MD: I guess it’s good not to be part of just one scene as well because if that scene takes a nose dive in popularity…
ES: Yeah, usually we get a better response from prog fans than extreme metal fans.
MD: You do have some black metal parts though, like in ‘Not Even A Name’ with the tremolo picking at the start which is kind of black metal…
TS: Yeah, yeah.
MD: …so that’s something for the black metal crowd…but then it mellows out…
OL: Yeah, black metal…oh no, there they go again!
MD: So how was the show from your perspective tonight?
ES: We really enjoyed it.
TS: The audience was very nice and we liked the energy on stage and in the audience. Maybe there was a bit more faults than usual, like technical, but I’m not sure if that was noticed in the crowd.
MD: You had a very good sound actually from out front.
ES: Oh, thank you.
TS: Cool.
MD: You did ProgPower USA recently.
ES: Yes.
MD: How did that go?
ES: Really good.
MD: The Americans liked your music?
ES: Yeah, although they had Hammerfall…
TS: Accept.
MD: Yeah, lots of cheese, and then Leprous!
ES: But they really embraced us with open arms.
TS: Yeah, we got very much positive feedback afterwards.
ES: And we sold a lot of CDs. We signed a lot of photographs as well.
MD: There seemed to be a big rush to the merch stand after you played tonight.
TS: Oh, that’s nice to hear.
MD: I remember Diablo Swing Orchestra saying to me last year after they played ProgPower USA that it was a fifty/fifty split – half the people loved ‘em and the other half just walked away. So you didn’t have that kind of effect over there?
ES: No, not at all actually.
TS: Everybody loves us!
MD: You have a pretty lengthy tour coming up with Therion – how did you get that support slot?
TS: Through our management.
MD: Intromental?
TS: Yeah.
MD: They must have all the good contacts as they got Andromeda their first UK show this summer at a big open air festival, Bloodstock Open Air. Maybe Leprous will end up at Bloodstock next year!
ES: Well, yeah, we’ll play anywhere.
MD: How long a set have you got on the Therion tour; do you know yet?
ES: Way shorter than tonight, of course. It’s like thirty five minutes or something.
MD: Will you fill that up with new material?
ES: Mostly ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’.
TS: We felt that we should respect the audience, which very many times is giving them the stuff they’ve already heard, although we want to try out new things to work out what we should change before we record it.
ES: Yeah, this tour isn’t the time to do that, it’s the time to just do our best. It’s a really, really good chance to promote ourselves…big venues every night.
MD: Yeah, Shepherd’s Bush in London, isn’t it.
ES: Yeah, Shepherd’s Bush.
TS: You shouldn’t get us wrong when we say that we’re tired of the ‘Tall Poppy…’ songs because, of course, we enjoy very much to play them…but we also like to play new stuff.
MD: And they sound really, really good live.
ES: Oh, thank you.
MD: There are two demo releases that precede ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’ – ‘Aeolia’ and ‘Silent Waters’. Is it likely they’ll ever see the light of day as some sort of reissue?
ES: Yeah, we did a reprint of ‘Aeolia’, just a private thing, that we’re selling upstairs right now.
MD: Seriously?
TS: Yeah.
MD: Right, I’m off to buy one straight after this! Do you recommend it? You know, you’re tired of ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’ and this one is even longer ago!
ES: It’s way more all over the place than ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’.
OL: Everything’s put into one song on every song.
TS: Actually, I’m very surprised when I heard it, but a lot of people think ‘Aeolia’ is much better than ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’. I don’t think it’s as good as ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’.
MD: When do you plan on recording the new album? You seemed a bit uncertain when you were talking about that on stage tonight…“December…January…”; a guy next to me in the crowd turned around and said – “March maybe?!”
ES: January, probably. The thing is we’re just very busy with touring and other stuff. We’re not lazy at all! [laughs]
MD: Yeah, right, you just take two years to record an album!
MD: Finally, what are your aims and aspirations for the band?
ES: Personally, I want to be able to make a living out of our own music. To do that you need to get bigger, so that’s what I’d like to do. We’re aiming high and then…if we aim really, really high then end up midway…
TS: Yeah, if we don’t try then never knowing how far you can go…so we’ll aim as high as possible.
ES: We’ll increase our chances if we rehearse as much as possible and take everything very seriously, and take every chance we can take. The Therion tour’s a big expense for the band, a really, really big expense, so we’re just taking a chance that it will pay off. I believe to reach the goal we need to take some chances.
MD: Okay, that’s me done so thank you so much for your time.
[Collective thank yous!]