Sunday 24 October 2010

Interview with Espen T. Hangård of Diskord

Rounding off my Live Evil coverage is the full-length interview with Espen T. Hangård, of Diskord, a portion of which featured in the last issue of Vice magazine.

Diskord open today at Live Evil, and if today is even 1% as good as yesterday, it's going to fucking kill, ha ha. Thanks again to Marek, Mark and everyone that played and got wild with us yesterday, its been amazing.

So, when did you join Diskord?
Espen: Early 2007, after their previous guitarist Chris Piss/Bowelripper quit. He wanted to focus more on Lobotomized. I had known the Diskord guys for five or six years before that, mixed their second demo, and made some guest appearances on the demos/album. They asked me, and I told them I wanted to hear the album, which was finished by then, and was pretty much blown away.

The album is very very interesting indeed. Who wrote it, or was it kind of an amalgamation of ideas?
All three of them wrote pretty much entire songs by themselves. A couple of songs they worked on together, I think. They all have a pretty distinct style, but it still works well together still.

It has a really unique style, huh? I mean, it is easily classifiable as death metal, but that is not really covering half of it. In parts it's almost jazz-like in its construction.
I agree! Having not been in the band when it was written, I think I am fortunate to have a relatively objective look on it. I think it is very much a death metal album, even though it uses some odd elements. And there is a very strong signature in the riffs, the structures, the playing, and the sound. I'm amazed, and a fan, he he.

You are entering the studio in the next couple of weeks to record the follow-up, will it be similar in style to the last two releases?
That's right, we're starting on Monday and will be tracking for 15 days.

With your style, is everything written before you go in, or are there parts that you are left open to some studio spontaneity?
I think the album will be more of the same, basically. Eyvind and HJ have written five songs each, and I have written two. It's all very much set now, except the solos and a couple of the lyrics. We're discussing the production and the aesthetic for the most part now.

Cool. What sort of stuff influences you guys? other music, nature, movies, drugs etc.?
I think I'm mostly inspired by music! I listen to music for a few hours every day, so that is all being processed somewhere. I love going out in the forest, but haven't done it much lately. Don't think it inspires me directly, but it can clear the mind very effectively. We're probably one of the least drug influenced psychedelic bands in the world, though, ha ha.

Wow, really? you wouldn't really guess it from the music/artwork!

We're naturally fucked up.

Haha, that's always good. But there must be tonnes of 'shrooms etc out in the forests in autumn, no?
Yeah, they're called fleinsopp. Never tried it, but I think it's pretty potent stuff. The Mysticum guys were big shroom heads, I heard.

Hey, have you ever been into Dag Nasty?
I was more into Minor Threat and Fugazi, he he. I admire Dischord immensely, but I don't think the Diskord guys had even heard of them when they started the band. One of them probably read a book or a dictionary and liked the sound and meaning of it. Band names- you can't win.

You mentioned you were into hardcore, is that how you got into metal, or the other way round?
Metal was first, but I got into hardcore around 1990, when the Blitz squat in Oslo was making headlines doing demos against Thatcher, etc. and they had great bands playing there, like Life But How To Live It, Stengte Dører. Napalm Death even played there in 88, but I found out the next day.

So there was a big scene in Oslo before black metal overtook?

For hardcore there was a scene, yeah. The Blitz bands toured all over Europe and paved the way for other bands later. Touring German and Spanish squats is still called the "Blitz Route" here in Norway. But for metal, there wasn't really a scene before the BM thing blew up.

Wow, cool. Did you play in any bands then, or were you just there for the music, beer, chicks etc.?
We started noplacetohide when we were 15 or so, and didn't play in Oslo until around 1993.

How was that transition from punk to bm? Did you see a lot of the same guys at the shows?

No, I don't think there were many people into both scenes at that time. Although I read Fenriz used to hang at Blitz. He's a couple of years older than me, and I lived in Tønsberg. Didn't notice him until the Bootleg TV shows. Early black metal had a lot of national symbols, flags, folk tunes, etc. And the Blitz scene was very much politically correct, AFA, etc. So they were pretty much opposed parties in the music scene.

He's everywhere! What was the Bootleg TV show?

Bootleg was a youth house in Oslo that put up shows. And they recorded the concerts and it was broadcast on National Television late night. So I'd sit up every Friday till 3 in the morning and would catch Darkthrone, Equinox, etc. Bootleg was great, Darkthrone got signed to Peaceville from a live recording there. Fenriz was this young opinionated brat with very quotable statements, ha ha.

Ha ha! He still is very opinionated and very quotable, nothing changed there, ha ha. Was there any conflict between the two scenes at all?

The Blitz activists had a fight going with the skinheads. I remember someone wrote an article about how they had seen black metal guys mingling with skinheads, so it was pretty chaotic, ha ha

When you say skinheads, you mean the racist type, right.
Yeah, racist. The SHARP skins were buddies with the Bltiz people. Not too sure about the motivation for the Nationalist imagery in BM. I thought it was extremely corny and hillbilly-ish, myself.

Was it exciting to be around, or was it a bit like 'fuck, anything might happen at any moment'?

I think most people were surprised when the shit really hit the fan, it didn't feel dangerous or anything before that. Mayhem were going off in interviews a couple of years prior, but it didn't seem too serious, still.

So, the Live Evil fest in London in a few months, what are your thoughts?

We're very excited to be invited, and I am very much looking forward to seeing some of the bands! Great initiative to bring so many underground acts together.

I like how there's a lot of respect between the bands, as opposed to competition.
Yeah, I think the atmosphere is very friendly, and I think most death metal bands are pretty happy there is an actual scene here in Norway for it now.

I bet. There are a lot of really good bands there with yourselves, Obliteration, not to mention the thrash acts Deathhammer, Nekromantheon, Black Magic etc. Why is it so big in Norway, do you think?
Not sure. But I think we're seeing more diversity in the Norwegian brutal metal. One reason might be that the domination of black metal has diminished, somewhat. I used to play in noplacetohide, which was more technical thrash/death, in the 90s. That was pretty lonesome, ha ha. Black metal can be fantastic, but I think a lot of youngsters were hopping on the bandwagon when they saw how easy it was to get signed if you put on make up and used some Norse references.

So, lastly; when is the album scheduled roughly for release?

Yeah, we're negotiating with a label now, hoping for an early 2011 release. There has been talk of a cassette release of Doomscapes, as well as a cassette live release. Don't know how those projects are going, though.

Diskord (Norway) hdfh (2005)



1 comment:

Mari said...

Thanks for this! I saw them at the Live Evil festival and enjoyed them quite a lot. They remind me a bit of another Norwegian band, She Said Destroy.