Ross Allen recently put some questions to Greg Chivers, vocalist and guitarist of Fornost Arnor. They talked about the new album “The Death Of A Rose”, Mikael Åkerfeldt, early 90s black metal, Talanas, Radiohead and Special Brew!
Congratulations on “The Death Of A Rose”, it’s a stunning album. It’s quite different in style to “Escaping The Abyss”, was this a conscious effort or was it a natural progression in the songwriting?
Thank you. It was more a natural progression than a deliberate attempt at being a different style. The big difference was that I wrote this as a complete album from start to finish. ‘Escaping The Abyss’ just kind of happened. I learned a lot about song writing after the first release. I feel it is a lot more stable as an album. ‘Escaping The Abyss’ was quite erratic in places.
Was “The Death Of A Rose” the notorious difficult second album to write/record?
No not at all. It was far easier. It took about six months to write. Then, another couple of months for Will, Sam and James to add their own influences to it. I haven’t suffered any form of writers block yet. I think my intensely vivid imagination is what keeps me writing music with ease.
You once again used the vocal talents of Elle Torry for “The Death Of A Rose”. Who else would you most like to work with and why?
Probably Mr Åkerfeldt, I think most people can here that he is a bit of an influence of mine. Realistically, I wouldn’t mind getting Hal from Talanas to do some vocals, he has a great voice. I would only use guest vocals though to enhance the mood of the music.
Fornost Arnor played a couple of live shows last year, do you have any plans for more live shows any time in the near future?
It is something we all want to do, and, I would love to say we were touring and playing loads of shows. In reality, we are struggling to all be in the same place at the same time at the moment, we all work full-time and live quite far from each other. We have a couple lined up for the end of the year, which we will announce soon.
Which bands and artists have inspired you in the past and which bands are inspiring you today?
The black metal scene of the early 90s has always provided a lot of influences… Emperor, Satyricon, Darkthrone, etc. There are a lot of prog influences in the music of Fornost Arnor too, such as Opeth, King Crimson, Genesis and so on. To be honest, I don’t listen to a lot of metal at all nowadays. If I’m honest I don’t listen to a lot of metal at all now days. I have Talanas’ ‘The Wasp Keeper’, which is a great album, and I’m looking forward to the new Opeth release too. I’m Really into Eddie Vedder at the moment, along with quite a lot of popular music.
There’s a discipline and focus around all the tracks on the record- How easy are you to work with when writing and recording?
We have a very simple way of writing and recording. I will write the whole album from start to finish. Once the songs are written, Will, Sam and James have the freedom to do whatever they want with regards their own instruments. I’m lucky to be able work with three great musicians. I would say I would be extremely difficult for anyone else but Sam Wale (our producer) to record with. I have the attention span of a chimp and end up doing anything but playing the correct riff.
The music business has never felt so crowded or as competitive as it does at the moment- what’s driving you guys on?
I have been very close to throwing the towel in a number of times over the last few months. For me, it’s more for a sense of achievement, an escape from working a mind-numbing, monotonous day job. I want to create good music and be acknowledged for doing that.
If you weren’t playing in Fornost Arnor, what band would you like to be a member of, past or present, and why?
I would like to have had Trym’s role in Emperor. I always wanted to play drums, and just double kick and blast beat for hours. I have the double kick side nailed now but can’t use my hands at all. I look like a crazed orchestral conductor. I think I’ll stick to trying to sounding like Satan instead.
TINAS is buying a round: what’s your poison?
Your probably find me outside on a bench drinking special brew in all honesty. If I was led inside then quad vodka, monster pitcher please!
What are your hopes and aspirations for Fornost Arnor in 2011 and beyond?
I want to get the live thing sorted because it’s really bugging me. I’ve already started writing for a future album, but that’s going on hold until I have fulfilled touring ‘The Death of A Rose’ first.
If you could choose one album, and one album only, to listen to for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
OK Computer by Radiohead. It still means so much to me since I bought it in 1997. I wouldn’t have started playing guitar if it wasn’t for that album. It’s musical perfection as far as I’m concerned.
Twitter question: How would you describe what you do in 140 characters or less?
Vocalist/guitarist in prog metal band Fornost Arnor. Check us out!