Norway is a country with a very small population, but the output of high quality music is simply astonishing. Bands like Audrey Horne, Djerv, Kvelertak and Dunderbeist receive more and more international recognition. Ribozyme is another great outfit from up North. Drummer Cato Olaisen was more than happy to answer a couple of questions on behalf of his band about the latest Ribozyme album, musical influences and the greater Norwegian rock scene.
Thank you very much for doing this interview. Your latest album, entitled “Presenting The Problem” is a very fine example of what Norwegian rock has to offer. Are you happy the way the album turned out?
Thank you, I’m glad you like it. Yeah, we’re very happy with how the album turned out. It has been the most demanding and challenging record we’ve ever done, and I think we were able to create an interesting album with many different elements for the listener to be intrigued by.
“Presenting The Problem” is very diverse and eclectic album, much in the vein of Faith No More, Jane’s Addiction, Nine Inch Nails, A Perfect Circle and Deftones. Are you guys inspired by any of the aforementioned bands?
Absolutely. But when it comes to writing we can draw inspiration from just about anything from art, books, movies, music etc. We like to mix different elects in our music and we’re not hung up about being true to a certain genre or anything like that. And I guess that’s how we’re able to make it interesting as well.
How does the creative process work within the band?
We always write the music first, the three of us together in the studio. One of us may come with an idea and we work it out together from there by jamming together and everyone throws ideas around on top of that. That’s probably one of our greatest strengths as well, that all three of us contribute equally in the writing process. we’re all inspired by different things, and all ideas will be tested. The lyrics are always the last thing to be written, and Kjartan writes most of them.
How did the recording process go for “Presenting The Problem”, compared to previous experiences?
As i mentioned earlier, it’s our most challenging record so far, and it was recorded in our own studio, Mackwerk Recording. The process has been quite similar on the previous albums, but this time around we really pushed ourselves to the max and in a shorter time period. It was some intense weeks in the studio with a lot of trial and error, but in the end it paid off and we’re very happy about how it turned out.
Norwegian rock is becoming more and more popular nowadays. Bands like Audrey Horne, Kvelertak, Djerv and yourself are quite well-known. What are your own thoughts on this?
Well, there are many great rock bands from Norway, and it’s really good to see that many of them are making it abroad as well. I’m not really sure why particularly Norwegian bands are getting more popular these days other than that all the mentioned bands really deserve it. I hope that we’ll see more Norwegian bands having success outside of Norway in the future.
Shining’s Jørgen Munkeby makes a guest appearance on “Leverage”. How did you manage to get him aboard and what extras did he bring to the track according to you?
We were done recording the song in the studio, but we felt that something was missing. We are all fans of Shining, and came up with the idea of having Jørgen Munkeby playing some aggressive sax on it. We called him up, he liked the idea, and we basically told him to go nuts. That sort of completed the song, and it couldn’t have turned out any better.
Many Norwegian musicians are active in several side projects besides their main bands. How does this work for Ribozyme?
All of us have done different things musically in different projects and bands through the years. As of now, Kjartan is the only one with a steady side project, a kind of 70’s rock band called Father of A Thousand Kids, and they’re finishing up their debut album these days. I think it’s important to tinker with different music styles as a musician, to always have an open mind to things, and we have learned a lot from doing so.
What are the records you’re really looking forward to this year and why?
The new Meshuggah album, “Koloss” which came out in March was a long-awaited gemstone. And the new Tool album is probably the release all three of us are most excited about. I can’t wait to hear what they have done this time around.
Time for the final question. What is next for you and Ribozyme in terms of touring, festivals and possible other projects?
We just finished our Norwegian tour with El Caco, and we’re doing some festivals this summer, a new round of tour Norway, and we’re also working on putting together a tour in Europe this fall.