ThisIsNotAScene‘s very own Raymond catches up with Lars the drummer for Gazpacho to talk about their new release and if its a concept album or not. Amazingly, this band does it all themselves, all the while holding down full time jobs. Given the joy that Raymond got from their latest release it seems as if Gazpacho can do it all.
Hi there and thank you for doing this interview. “March Of Ghosts” is an excellent release in my opinion. Are you happy the way the album turned out?
We’re really happy with the album. The production is getting better and better and things fell in place quite naturally. There are a lot of strong songs on the album and there is a musical thread throughout so it’s enjoyable on many levels.
I can’t escape the feeling “March of Ghosts” is a concept album of sorts. Am I right on the money here?
Lyrically it’s a collection of short stories. It’s almost like a more twisted version of “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens where the character gets haunted by ghosts that tell their stories. These stories are reflections of his past in a way. Musically it’s definitely conceptual. There are many different musical influences on the album ranging from folk-like themes and more riff-based music and even classical music. The main thing though is the focus on melody and solid song writing/arranging. The main guitar theme fades in and out throughout the whole album and sort of ties it all together.
What I really admire about “MOG” is the combination between brilliant songwriting and delicately shifting atmospheres. What is your own view on this?
Well, I don’t think you can come up with a formula when it comes to these things. If the ideas are good enough and you let the songwriting progress naturally, without imposing too many preconceived notions of what it should sound like, you might come up with surprising things. I guess it’s about trying to give what the song “needs” instead of what you “want to do” sometimes. And to know when to quit as well.
How did the creative process go for “March Of Ghosts”? What were you guys aiming for?
Thomas Andersen, Jon-Arne Vilbo and Michael Krømer met up and jammed for a couple of days and that was really the foundation for the whole album musically. From there we would start sending things back and forth until the arrangements started to take shape. After that we started to record drums and bass and then the rest built from that foundation. We tried to make it as a huge 50 minute piece. That would probably also be the best experience from listeners point of view. On the other hand there are many songs that are just as strong when you take them out of context.
The production of “MOG” is brilliant as well. How did you manage to achieve that?
That is a long process of trial and error, opinions, compromise, experimentation and listening. When you have so many elements in a mix it’s a huge challenge to give space to all the little details without having to sacrifice anything. All in all I think it came out rather nicely.
How important is it for you to evolve and grow as a musician and can you give any particular examples, please?
It’s obviously important to evolve at some point or you’ll end up doing the same thing over and over. But I think everybody in this band are aiming to try new things and the influences come from a wide array of sources. Just by living you’re bound to change in some way and sometimes that comes out in the music as well.
Norway is renowned for its share of extreme metal bands. Is there a vibrant prog scene as well and if so, what are the bands to look after?
The prog scene in Norway is very underground as it gets no national airplay or media attention. Some of the “progressive” spirit might have snuck into the thriving jazz scene which is more rock oriented than earlier. But if you want music that is different and have substance Susanne Sundfør would be a one of the more exiting things right now.
Many musicians from Norway have a lot of different bands and side project going on. How does this work for Gazpacho?
We try to put our main effort into Gazpacho, but there are also some side projects from time to time. Some are hobby bands and some more freelance oriented bands. The music range from industrial death metal and folk music to pop and electronica.
It’s still early in the year, but what are the albums you’re really looking forward to?
Personally I’m looking forward to hear the new Meshuggah album. And as mentioned earlier the new Susanne Sundfør record. Time for the final question. What can we expect from Gazpacho in terms of touring and possible side projects? Right now touring will be limited to 2-3 weeks a year. As for side projects we’ll just have to see what opportunities that presents themselves. Apart from Gazpacho I’ve also released an industrial metal record with my other band, Ground Zero System, recently. It really could not be further away from what we do I Gazpacho but it’s nice to let off some steam now and then.