DATE OF INTERVIEW:
THEATRE OF TRAGEDY
14th March 2010
METAL DISCOVERY: You’ve achieved so much with the band during the last seventeen years but are there any ambitions that you never got to fulfil with the band that you would have liked to?
LORENTZ ASPEN: I would actually like to do it more, like to play more shows, release more CDs. The daft thing is that what destroyed many things for us was childish, internal affairs which could have been overcome very easily if we’d been a bit more mature in our heads at some points. It’s difficult because there’s lots of emotions, like working with songs, working with people, everything. So that’s the tricky bit. That’s my only wish that, if we’d overcome that, we would have done much better promotion for our albums…and still continue. That’s the only thing I regret, that we didn’t overcome these things. All in all, that wouldn’t have led to other things like ‘Storm’ and ‘Forever is the World’, and also the other albums would maybe not be like they are now. We’ve played big shows, we’ve played small shows, we’ve played shit shows and good shows…we’ve done everything, but I would like to play more! [laughs]
(Lorentz Aspen on what he wants Theatre of Tragedy to be most remembered for)
"For not making any compromise. We do compromise on the inside but, outside, we’ve always walked our own path...It’s not wise, commercially, to do that but no-one can come up to say “you sold out”."
Lorentz Aspen in The World's End pub, Camden, London, UK, 14th March 2010
Photograph copyright © 2010 Mark Holmes - www.metal-discovery.com
Interview & Photography by Mark Holmes
Official Theatre of Tragedy Website:
Official Theatre of Tragedy MySpace:
THEATRE OF TRAGEDY DISCOGRAPHY
Theatre of Tragedy (1995)
Velvet Darkness They Fear (1996)
AFM Records Website:
Thanks to Mike Exley at M.E.P.R. for arranging the interview.
Forever is the World (2009)
Closure: Live (2001)
MD: What would you say your greatest accomplishments and proudest moments have been with the band during the last seventeen years?
LA: It was actually getting the ‘Storm’ album to come together. We got united, and we made it, and we worked really hard to get that album done and, also, changed record companies, changed management, and all the odds were against us. So we achieved that very good, I think, and very satisfied with that. Also, to make this last album was a very nice experience because everything worked out so well with all the members. It was a very good atmosphere.
MD: Yeah, I remember Hein telling me it’s the first time you got together properly as a band to write together in a long time.
LA: Yeah, it was magnificent; I had very much fun. I get shivers when I look back on it now. It was so rewarding. But, also, going a bit back as well, to get the record deal when we were first signed, and then go on tour, and also when we were on the way up, like bigger and bigger audiences, bigger festivals. That was also very fun. But to make the songs for ‘Forever is the World’ was a very good atmosphere.
MD: Do you have any festivals lined up for this summer?
LA: We’re talking about some of them but nothing is confirmed yet.
MD: Do you have any offers on the table?
LA: That’s the thing, we don’t talk to many people. We’re not high up on the bill so we don’t get a lot of money at the festivals. We live in Stavanger which only connects with aeroplanes down to the continent. It’s very expensive so we need a significant amount so we can get covered for plane tickets. So probably M’era Luna and With Full Force but I’m not quite sure.
MD: The converse of the last question - what would you say has been the lowest or worst moment in the band’s history?…if there are any…maybe there’s been none and it’s all been good!
LA: No, there have been many, many episodes which have not been good. Raymond and Liv, they were together at the beginning and she broke up with him. Two days into a tour she broke up with him and then we knew two days after that she was together with one of the guys from the record company.
MD: Who was that?
LA: Alex, her husband now. That was terrible, not only towards Raymond but the whole band, we got affected by it. We’ve had arguments with the record companies and, also, many internal affairs which needed to be sorted out. But the worst thing was actually that tour. That was not great but we managed to get through.
MD: When I was talking to Hein, he said he’s into English comedy and you nickname Raymond “Manny”, the character from ‘Black Books’…
LA: Yeah, but I’m not into that series. I’m more into the Rowan Atkinson stuff.
MD: Right, ‘Blackadder’ and all of that. You’re a fan of English comedy too then?
LA: Yeah, we’re brought up on English comedy in Norway, you know.
MD: You’re living in Australia at the moment?
LA: Yeah, I just did a Masters at university in Australia, in Perth, so I flew down in July and came back for Christmas. So I’m back home in Stavanger now, but I was studying abroad.
MD: A good experience?
LA: Yeah, yeah. Lovely! There were nine people and we rented a villa thing with a swimming pool, barbeque area. In July/August it was not warm, it was like Stavanger, but in the end it was forty degrees.
MD: Too warm!
LA: That’s why I went diving! [laughs]
MD: You kind of mentioned the DVD already but what can fans expect from that apart from the final show that you’re filming?
LA: Yeah, we’re gonna do the show in Stavanger and it’s going to be filmed, and we are using video cameras now on this tour.
MD: Are you filming tonight as well?
LA: Yes, because a friend of ours, he works for TV2 which is the second biggest channel in Norway, so he’s gonna film these shows now, and he’s gonna come to Stavanger and do one-on-one interviews with members. We’re thinking of including some, maybe, with the former members because we have more former members than new members! [laughs]
MD: Will Liv be on there?
LA: Maybe, if she wants. It depends…we haven’t decided on anything yet. Maybe. She will probably have something to say! [laughs]
MD: Finally, what do you hope Theatre of Tragedy will be remembered for most of all?
LA: For not making any compromise. We do compromise on the inside but, outside, we’ve always walked our own path. We have not copied…we’ve copied a lot of music over the years, but we’ve incorporated it into our own music, so we’ve taken a lot of the influences and tried to do something ourselves, and to challenge ourselves every time, for every CD, just to make it interesting for us. It’s not wise, commercially, to do that but no-one can come up to say “you sold out”. Every album we did, or everything we have done, is pure us.
MD: Artistic integrity.
LA: Yeah, that’s basically it.
MD: And you’re still credited with what’s become known as…I’ve spoken to Hein about Goth Metal…I don’t like the term, but what Goth Metal became with growls and female vocals, you were the first band to do that so hopefully that will be recognised more in the future.
LA: Yeah, and I hope so. It’s very nice for us in the way that Wikipedia…if you go into Gothic Metal, we’re the originators of the scene.
MD: Cool. Did you write that yourself on there?!
LA: No, no, no! [laughs] There’s other people writing it! Also, in an interview with the Nightwish keyboard player he said we’re one of his main inspirations. That’s also good for us to know that, to get recognised by other artists. So I hope our music will live on.
MD: Definitely, I’m sure it will. Thank you so much for your time.
LA: Thank you very much.