DATE OF INTERVIEW:
7th March 2009
BJōRNAR E. NILSEN
METAL DISCOVERY: Thereís a fairly eclectic mix of influences on your MySpace page including...
BJōRNAR E. NILSEN: It comes more natural, and itís just what we listen to and like. We have quite a wide scope of different influences individually in the band, so itís just whatís working around in your head and works for you. Iím guessing itís not only music thatís influencing us; itís also life and everything in between. My personal favourite is Tom Waits and Devil Doll.
(BjÝrnar E. Nilsen on the fallacy inherent in having a genre called 'progressive')
"I guess that, basically, progressive being a genre at all is a bit of a paradox because, as long as itís progressive, you canít term it properly."
Kyrre Teigen, Eivind Huse and BjÝrnar E. Nilsen backstage at the Underworld, London, 7th March 2009
Photograph copyright © 2009 Mark Holmes - www.metal-discovery.com
Interview & Photography by Mark Holmes
[at this point, drums are being sound checked a few metres away so we decide to relocate backstage in Vulture Industries dressing room to finish the interview]
MD: Öyeah, thereís a fairly eclectic mix of influences including the likes of My Dying Bride; Camel; Devin Townsend; Tom Waits - how would you say those manifest in your music? Do you consciously try to combine those styles or does that come more naturally as a subconscious thing?
MD: I can hear a lot of Tom Waits in your music.
BN: Yeah, there definitely is some, yeah.
MD: I can hear a bit of Green Carnation in there too - maybe just in ĎGrim Apparitionsí I think, the final song on the album. Are they an influence at all?
BN: Not a very big one but I loved ĎLight of Day, Day of Darknessí.
MD: ĎGrim Apparitionsí reminds me a little bit of that - itís the phrasing of the vocals.
BN: Yeah, I havenít heard that comparison before but when you say it, yeah. Thereís definitely something there.
MD: You have a very experimental metal sound - do you make conscious attempts to be different when composing music, or does it just come out to be very progressive?
BN: We just do what we want and go along with what feels right. And if it feels right, itís okay. We try to be as boundary-less as possible basically.
MD: You describe your music as progressive, what does the term progressive mean to you in terms of music?
BN: Progressive means new and different. Thereís a lot of progressive power metal out there thatís more like regressive, I guess!
MD: Yeah! Iíve not heard that term used in music before; thatís quite good actually! The Ďreg-metalí scene! I guess when you get bands like Dream Theater, and clones of Dream Theater, who call themselves progressive, and even bands that sound like Pink Floyd and say hey, weíre progressive, but Pink Floyd progressed something but what are they progressing? They just sound like a band that was once labelled as prog because they were.
BN: And I guess that, basically, progressive being a genre at all is a bit of a paradox because, as long as itís progressive, you canít term it properly.
MD: You kind of mentioned this earlier, but what non-musical influences do you have when composing music?
BN: Walking is often a very good stimulant to get new ideas. I often take out myÖI have this record function on my cell phone so if I get any good ideas Iíll sing them into the cell phone. And then Iíll have a plan to listen to it and work something out from it later onÖbut I never do! So I have tons of material on my cell phone! One day, I will!
MD: If you ever get writerís block then just get your cell phone out and youíll have a whole album on there!
BN: Yeah! [laughs]
MD: Iíve read you describing a Vulture Industries live show as having a theatrical element - what form does that take, and do you have any kind of theatrical experience outside of music?
BN: Itís basically trying to express the lyrics body-wise and like with the whole show. Itís not like weíve put lots of choreography into it but we try to make the live performance represent the lyric, and represent atmosphere of the songs as best as possible and, since we have a bit of a strange sound, the live show turns out a but strange!
BN: And I have some theatrical experience. Iíve been in a couple of drama groups and also did one or two shitty short movies.
MD: Oh really? What are the titles of those so anybody reading this who might want to check them out?
BN: I donít really rememberÖerÖno, Iím not sure. But itís short films and I guess theyíre only shown in Norway.
MD: Maybe theyíre on the imdb.com - might be worth checking out!
BN: No, I donít think so! No way! [laughs]
MD: I understand you wear a suit onstage - is that symbolic for anything in particular or do you simply just enjoy wearing a suit onstage?
BN: Er, I guess that was his idea [points over to Eivind Huse]. We started off playing in suits and then we got a deal from our local tailor - we got them free, soÖItís not really a symbolic thing, it just felt more right since we have theatrics in the music. It felt more right to do something different than to do the standard metal stuff and play with nails and black leather.
MD: What or who is your inspiration for incorporating such theatrics in your stage show?
BN: I guess it was mostly my idea to do these things so I would say my theatrical experience from before, and also Tom Waits because he has a different kind of live show. And also Devil Doll, which is my other favourite.
MD: If you had an unrestricted budget, whatís your vision of a dream stage show for Vulture Industries? How theatrical would you take the stage show?
BN: It would be a big stage with a big white sheet on the back, and lights on the back of the sheet, and lots of actors doing shadow acting behind the stage while we were playing. That would be great!
MD: Cool! With Vulture Industries members playing in other bands too, would you describe this band as a side project or do you not really think about that and just get together to make music?
BN: We donít really think about it too much but itís basically the main project for the main band for all of us, because the other projects arenít touring as much. Both he [points to Eivind Huse] and ōyvind are in Sulphur and theyíre mostly just doing albums and playing in Bergen. And me with Black Hole Generator, itís mostly a studio band really. I donít have time to do so many bands that are touring.
MD: Are there ever any conflicts between the different bands schedules or do you find it fairly easy to fit everything around each other?
BN: Fairly easy. Thereís some problems with our drummer from time to time because heís also playing in Malice In Wonderland which is a glam rock band and theyíre often doing big festivals and stuff in Finland. They obviously like glam rock in Finland.
MD: Does he dress up in sparkly, kind of silvery clothing and big platform shoes?!
BN: No, not so bad, but he looks a lot more feminine when he is playing with them! [laughs]
MD: Lots of makeup?
BN: Yeah, yeah!