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28th June 2011
METAL DISCOVERY: The Konsortium, the band, has been a long time in the making. Can you tell us about the development of the band? Are the same people involved that were there in the beginning still a part of the band?
#001: The Konsortium started out as kind of a "loose" project back in 2003, meaning that we had no goals or intentions of releasing anything. However, after the decision was made to release a demo in 2008, things started to get more serious. We still work much in the same ways as before, though. Exchanging ideas, developing stuff over time... There have been some members that have been replaced since the beginning, yes. Some just weren’t up to standard, and then there’s nothing else to do than to let them go.
(#001 on The Konsortium's unconventional image)
"...the masks are kind of a necessity - for example, they make it possible to involve different people on different productions and such, while still maintaining a "the Konsortium-identity". Hypothetically, they allow us to change all of the members on any given release - but no matter what, it will still be The Konsortium..."
Interview by Jason Guest
Official The Konsortium MySpace:
The Konsortium (2011)
Thanks to Nathan T. Birk for arranging the interview.
When The Konsortium’s 2008 demo first appeared, it received much critical acclaim. And then the band disappeared, or so it was thought. But what was really happening was a very different story. With no apparent line-up, save for mainstay #001, The Konsortium were slowly sculpting their debut. Concealing their identities behind Phantom-style masks, suits, and numeric pseudonyms, the syndicated approach to The Konsortium meant that the finished work would be the product of many minds allowed free reign to incorporate many different genres into their music to create a sound as unique as their image. Their debut album (reviewed on this website) fuses black metal with thrash, avant-garde, and non-metal influences and sets them apart from the black metal horde. In this interview #001 gives Metal Discovery an insight into the band’s history, their development, their writing and recording process, and what to expect from them in the future.
The Konsortium - promo shot
Photograph copyright © 2011 [uncredited]
MD: Instead of going with the conventional corpsepaint and spikes of black metal, you’ve chosen phantom-style masks and smart suits. What was it that led you to this choice of imagery? Was it to purposely differentiate yourself from black metal?
#001: Well, the masks are kind of a necessity - for example, they make it possible to involve different people on different productions and such, while still maintaining a "the Konsortium-identity". Hypothetically, they allow us to change all of the members on any given release - but no matter what, it will still be The Konsortium, and the masks make this possible. As for the suits, yeah, maybe you are right. I don’t have any particular need to have a distance from black metal personally, but at the same time we are not a "standard" black metal band either. The full package with spikes and all signifies in some ways a very specific type of metal or music, and I don’t think any of us want that. There’s no limit as to what our music should or could sound like.
MD: The identities of the contributors to The Konsortium are a well-guarded secret (besides Teloch). Why have you chosen to keep them hidden?
#001: It’s not a rule or anything to keep one’s identity hidden amongst us. I prefer to do so myself, simply because I enjoy the privacy it gives me. So do some of the others. But if a member wants to go by their birth name or artist name, that’s not a problem at all.
MD: The album has been a long time in the making and features the 4 tracks from your 2008 demo. Can you tell us about the evolution of the album, the writing, etc?
#001: Yeah, it has taken a lot of time. But the way we work, with members living far away from each other and being involved in other bands and so on, stuff just takes time. For this production we used three different studios, in three different locations... In addition, the release of the album itself took quite some time, as it was actually finished December last year. Myself, I can use anything from 5 minutes to two years before finishing a song. So we are a slow bunch, but that suits us fine.
MD: Did you rehearse the songs as a band at any point?
#001: Sure we did. Some of us rehearsed like a "normal" band for quite some time before entering the studio, actually. Right before it was time to put everything on tape Teloch also came over here and stayed for a week, just to make sure that all the details of the riffing were in place. Now we’re back to being very unorganized again. Too bad, as we were rather skilled at one point...
MD: In an online interview from 2008, The Konsortium discussed how it made use of the internet to bring together the demo material. Was it the same process for the album?
#001: Apart from the creation of the songs, no. We rehearsed like a “conventional” band, until everything sounded good enough to enter the studio. Teloch came over here and stayed for a week to go through all the riffs etc, before he returned to Oslo and entered a studio there.
MD: What are your thoughts on the internet in terms of making music and its effects on music?
#001: It’s a great tool if you use it like we have done ourselves. The possibilities for collaboration are limitless. When it comes to Facebook, MySpace, etc. I have mixed feelings... a lot of the magic from the old days has vanished with everything being so “social” and “connected”. At the same time, it’s a must for any band nowadays in order to promote themselves – like we also have done. I have noticed that the underground has fixed this transition very well, though. Lots of magazines and forums to be found, which is a cool thing. (Illegal) downloading? There’s not ONE good argument for doing so.
MD: Each song on the album, in terms of composition, is very different. How do your compositions evolve? Is there a main writer in the band or are they a collaborative effort?
#001: I’ve written most of the material on this album – but there’s always feedback from the others, which is extremely important. Had it not been for the other members, the songs would not have turned out to be what they are today. So it’s a mix of both a personal and a collaborative effort. For the next album(s), the other members have already written some material, so it’s definitely not going to be my compositions all the time.
MD: Do you have an idea of how you want each song to sound before you record them?
#001: Sometimes I do, and sometimes I don’t. They usually start out with a single riff, a certain feeling or whatever, and then evolves from there. Songwriting is – for me at least – a very long process. I can use up to two or three years to finish one song.
MD: The songs lend themselves very well to visual imagery. Will we be seeing any videos or DVDs from The Konsortium?
#001: That would be cool, yes. But we won’t do anything half way, meaning that for a video/DVD, there must be a proper budget – there’s absolutely no point producing some crappy shit covered up with cheesy visual effects. It has been done too many times already. So if we ever get a budget to produce something of quality, then we’ll do it. If not, then it’s better to leave it be.
MD: The album is available in a number of formats. Why have you chosen to have different artwork for CD and vinyl releases?
#001: Partly because some of us are music nerds and vinyl freaks, thus we are suckers for anything with a “special” touch to it. Also, the artwork represents two sides of the Konsortium: one being disciplined, sharp and cold (CD) and the other one being darker and more chaotic (vinyl).
MD: Are there any musicians that you would you like to collaborate with as part of The Konsortium?
#001: That list would be too long for this interview to include! There’s a whole bunch of people that would be great to bring on board for a project....
MD: How do you see the future of The Konsortium in terms of the lineup, the sound, and future recording?
#001: Who knows? The line-up is constantly changing, that’s the nature of the Konsortium. Or rather, we don’t have a line-up, only members who step up to the plate when needed. Very practical, that is. As for sound, I wouldn’t be surprised if there are some changes here and there... There’s no rules or limits, we’re up for anything. Maybe not dubstep, though.
MD: Will The Konsortium be playing live? Would it be the same line-up as on the album?
#001: We’re constantly working on this. Working like a consortium has its advantages, but also its downsides... For playing live, a steady line-up is a must, and this is something that we’re constantly working on. We were supposed to play live on the 24th of June, but lo and behold! Problems with a complete line up, in addition to the shipment of all merch from the label being delayed, forced us to cancel the whole thing. Not easy doing a gig without a drummer and a bassist. But as said, we’re working on it. Hopefully it will work out in the foreseeable future.
MD: Thanks for taking time out for this interview.
#001: Thanks for the interest Jason, keep up the good work with the mag.