EINHERJER - Frode Glesnes on NORTH STAR, nostalgia, crazy touring experience & more | INTERVIEW 2021
Hello, all you Metal Pilgrims and welcome to the new episode of our interview series with our today's guest the frontman and a co-founder of the Viking Metal pioneers from Norway Einherjer Frode Glesnes. Frode and I will be speaking about the band's new studio album North Star, the atmosphere in the band, nostalgia, remember his craziest touring experience during his almost 30-year long career, and much much more. Yet before we start, and especially if you're new to the community, I'd like to invite you to like, comment, share this video, and of course subscribe to the Metal Pilgrim channel on YouTube and any other social media for more exclusive rock and metal content! Here you go! [Music] MP: Nice shirt, man! My favorite Metallica album! FG: Yeah that's a good one, that's a good one! MP: Cool, man. How are things in Norway? How are you guys coping with the with the pandemic, especially now that the work on the new album is over? FG: Yeah it is what it is, but actually it's not that bad, especially not here on the west coast, because this is probably the best place to be right now in Norway.
So yeah we're doing all right. MP: That's good to hear man. But yeah enough about the sadness, your new studio album, the eighth one if I'm correct, North Star, is out on February 26th via Napalm Records! Congrats on finishing it up despite any pandemics or anything that is going on around the world. So could you actually take us back for just a little bit and talk about the creative process behind it? When did it begin and how did all of this come into this one piece that we can hear today? FG: Yeah sure, the music is written prior to the pandemic, so we got all the music written down, and we started the recording in February. And we got all the drums down I think wewe actually laid some guitar tracks down as well, and then everything that goes down mid-march. So unfortunately that kind of
led to weeks and weeks when you are with home tutoring and home kindergarten and all that stuff. MP: I know, I have two kids so I know. FG: I can't imagine more of a vibe killer. It was kind of hard to, after staying home with the kids all day, and then go out in the studio and try to be creative for the rest of the day. So
this album is recorded at my studio, and Gerhard's house is next to my house so it is just walking out one door and in the next, and you are in the studio. So it is quite an easy task to get stuff going here, to just sit down and be creative, but those weeks were kind of hard to do that, so we didn't get anything done for a few months. So that led to that the album was postponed from October, it was supposed to be out October last year, and was pushed to now February 26th. [Music] When we started the recording process again we couldn't go due to the restrictions and stuff. We had to work separately, so I was basically doing stuff here in my studio alone. We were done with the drums so that was a good thing, and I laid down most of the guitar tracks and stuff, rhythm guitars, myself. And the lead guitarist,
he did most of his solos at his home. And I just Reamped them here in the studio, so this was probably the loneliest record I've ever done. But still I think we managed to get a good vibe going, because we really like the material we've done, so so it was kind of very easy to get excited about the songs we did, and when everything came together in mix and stuff, and I sent that out to the others it was a really cool vibe going. And we kind of knew that "All right this is something really really good!" So in the end it turned out good, but I would prefer if the whole process was a tiny bit different. MP: That's for sure, and I think that's an unfortunate reality we all have to adapt to at the moment, and hopefully that will go away very very soon. But yeah I hear you, man, I'm exactly
like that in terms of staying at home and not going out - it's very very hard process. And how do you guys usually divide responsibilities when it comes to writing material? Is it mostly you who are righting music and just giving it out to everyone? How much actually do the others contribute? Gerhard contributes a lot! Me and Gerhard, we started the band, and we have always kind of shared the the writing duties between us. At some albums he's done more, some albums I've done more, but we are more or less... approximately 50 each I would guess. bBt other than that we're not very democratic. [Laughter]
But that's just how it is, we've always had a kind of understanding between us of how this band is supposed to be. And of course when we also have new guys in the band now, and when we have done this for 25, I don't know, 27 whatever years, and we have new guys that have been with us for just a few years... I don't know, everyone is welcome to contribute and stuff, but I would imagine that me and Gerhard probably are not the easiest guys to convince. But that's okay, because me and Gerhard, we go way back, way way back! Way before we started Einherjer in 93. I actually moved into the house next to him in 81. So we've been friends
for like 40 years now, and we kind of developed our musical taste together. It started with KISS and Status Quo, and Boogie Rock. KISS had this fantastic PR campaign here in Norway during the late 70s and early 80s, with the collectible KISS cards that are sold together with candy.
So you got all the kids in the country wild for KISS, but they didn't even have to hear it! It was just the pictures on those cards - that was enough to tip you off! So that kind of started the whole thing, and we also followed each other very closely when it comes to developing our musical taste. So we went from there to Did, Maiden, Motley Crew, Accept, all that stuff in the mid-80s. And then discovered Metallica and Slayer and all the Thrash things, and even the more extreme stuff we also kind of discovered together. So we have his kind of very unique musical understanding between us. And that is
kind of impossible to to replace, really. So when we have a riff, I kind of know in advance how Gerhard will feel about it. If this is a perfect angle riff or not. Because we have done this together for
so long. I know we probably sound like an old married couple! It's a very unique thing! MP: But it's great to hear that you work together like this machine, like a living organism that interacts, and then you something unique comes out of it. It's great to hear that, man. And you mentioned that the music has been written before the pandemic started. What about the lyrics? Any lyrical lines running through this album that were particularly affected by the current times and everything? FG: Yeah I'm sure there is, or I know there is! Because the way I work when it comes to doing vocals and writing lyrics, is that it is the absolutely last thing I do. I actually start mixing stuff before I record vocals normally, and so I also write the lyrics while I'm doing the vocals. So that is absolutely the last thing I do. Probably a very aware way to do it, but it kind
of works for us, for me. So that's okay. But all the lyrics were written post-pandemic. And maybe especially Listen to the Graves is a song that I've let myself and the lyrics be affected by the pandemics. They're just looking at the world from a very very dark place. So yeah it is at least one thing that I can say that has had an effect from the pandemic. MP: Okay, it makes sense. I was actually able to listen to the album a bit earlier than most of other mortal human beings on this earth. And and I gotta say that despite it being
very diverse it is actually extremely cohesive. It kind of keeps you engaged and focused from the opening notes and to the very last accord. I personally loved it a lot, I think you guys did an amazing job on this one. Congrats. And were there any particular inspirations for its sound that weren't there before? Any bands or anything like this? FG: Not really bands, but the thing is that this album was recorded here in my studio, and I also did a mix. And on our previous record we did the exact same thing, and that was the first record that I did both the recording and the mix. And that made me...
I learned a lot from that experience, because when I started recording this album I already knew what the last one was missing. And the equipment is the same, the preamps are the same, the mics are the same, the drums are the same, the guitars and the amps and everything are the same! So I could go into this recording knowing what I need to change before I started. So I think that was actually a very smart thing to do, not to change anything, because then I could, like I said, I could add those things that I knew that I would be missing when I was starting to mix this. I could
add it in while recording so I think it sounds more powerful than the last one, 100 but it is basically the same. But just minor tweaks that kind of made a difference. It's also mastered by the same guy, the same place, so I think we just found a recipe that worked really good this time. It's not that we changed the recipe, we don't really do that, but this time all the pieces kind of fell together. MP: Okay makes total sense. And judging by the reaction from the fans, from the singles you've already released, it was received extremely well from what I saw on the internet. And do you personally have a favorite track or it's like a favorite kid question - an impossible one to choose? FG: It is impossible to choose, and it also kind of varies, because we have lived with these songs for a while now, and it's kind of easier when you get a new album from someone that and you haven't heard anything about, any of the songs, then it's kind of easy.
"Okay, that's my favorite"! And I don't like that, I think that's more or less impossible with your own songs. And it is kind of what you are looking for [Music] at any given time. So at some some days it could be Chasing a Serpent and some days become a West Coast Groove. I think the album shows very good diversity with the variety of songs and stuff, and they are very different, so it is kind of hard. Of course everyone's saying that
that "You can blah blah compare the songs," and all that, but to some extent it is true, because this is more than just: listen to the songs and say if it's good or not. This is the last year and a half with all kinds of [ __ ] attached to it. So it makes it hard.
MP: You've also invited a new guitar player Tom Enge, right? How was it working with him? Did you guys have a chance to get used to each other already? FG: He kind of came in really late to the party, when it comes to his album. So he's not even on it. Most of the guitars and stuff were done by that time we were ready to jam and stuff with him. We were also done with most of the guitars. But I think he's not new for us. Tom is a new guy in the band, but he's not a new appointment for us.
We've been known for years and years. And probably all my adult life. I worked them in the studio before, on the other bands. And he's also a drummer, an amazing drummer! And a guitar player of course, and also a great singer. So he has
a lot of qualities that we hopefully can use the next time, but this time he, like I said, he came a bit late to the party. MP: But hopefully you'll be able to hit the road, you and all the other bands, before releasing the new album. And you'll get used to each other on stage, while traveling the world. And actually, while you cannot do it, any plans on doing an online show event, or something like this? FG: No! No! MP: You aren't a fan, I can sense from the tone! FG: Yeah, I do understand that some bands need to do it. And that's all good, but it's not for us. I don't know how to put it, but when you don't play in front of people but you're still kind of doing a live show, it has this added kind of awkwardness, that is not the good thing. And I personally don't care if this
is happening right now, if this is live or this is some YouTube concert from whenever. I don't care if it's happening right now, so live stream - it only has this added to awkwardness, that I kind of don't really like. And you can see it on the bands, there's something not completely right. MP: I think that's very unfortunate, that this is the reality we all have to adopt to at the moment, but I say that all the time, that I personally believe that rock and roll and heavy metal lives in clubs, sweaty clubs and real concerts and festivals. Online, I guess, would be okay for some bands at least for right now, for the time being, but I wouldn't want this to be a new reality we all have to adapt to.
FG: If the world comes back to something that we can call "normal", I'd be surprised if people actually are continuing those online shows. MP: Actually I have like 10 tickets to different shows that were postponed and I'm not intending to sell them, I still believe that those will happen, and I'll see Priest live very soon again. Man, I don't know if you can see from here... it's
this is deviating from the theme of the album just a bit. I don't know if you can see it from here, but I'm a bit of a vinyl nerd, I love listening music on vinyl, and holding it actually. And this album is being released in a variety of forms, several records will be out. The question for you though is: what do you think, why do some people still hold on and go crazy about having this physical piece of music, when everything is available online with just a couple of clicks? FG: I can just talk to myself, but nostalgia is a very important factor! I mean that is the most important factor when it comes to music in the first place and that also goes for like vinyls and stuff. And that's probably also the reason that I still buy albums, vinyls. But
I do see that I tend to buy albums that I already have, different versions, and I find something that looks amazing. Really really cool, because every album is coming in some sort of Anniversary or the Box Set or whatever, that looks just killer! And when you open up that stuff, you get a lot of photos, and a lot of stuff from that time, from that era. And I'm turning 12 again when I look at the stuff being released in the mid 80s I think it's just amazing! And if if kids today can can have that same feeling, not the nostalgia feeling but decaying that same excitement when you have a new album, open it up, put it on, read the lyrics, just look at the whole thing in the package, and get excited, and enjoy the stuff you're listening to. MP: 100 percent agree with you, man. And speaking about the bands that you
love and you purchase vinyls from. Is there one band you think you would absolutely love to play on stage with, that you haven't yet? FG: Many bands, but most of my favorites, they are starting to get so old now! They're either dead or... There are a lot of the classics that I would love to see live, but I see that one by one they're kind of disappearing for different reasons. And some just going to retirement, some die, and some just don't play live anymore. But if there's one band that I really like to see but I never got to see.
One of my favorite bands - Rush! And that really annoys me, I had a chance many times, but I didn't. And now it's too lat, so that keeps kicking me. MP: That sucks, man. That just brings us to the point of
going out and seeing the shows while you can. Support the the artists, go out, enjoy your time at a real live concert. And let's not forget the small important thing, that actually today most of musicians don't really make money of the albums themselves, they make money out of tours, so by going to the concerts you're not only having a lot of fun, you're actually supporting your favorite artists! So please do that! FG: And that also goes out to the fans of whatever band, not just ours, but any band.
If you want, this is a very hard time, we're not touring and everything at the standstill, so if you want or if you really like a band, go to that website and buy merch directly from the band. That is that is probably the best way to support the band these days, because you don't really get to play live, and so it is hard, and many people, many bands really really need it! And for some for some bands that might even be the only way that they can still be around when they smoke clear. So yeah, go out there support bands you like.
MP: 100% agree with you, ma. And the next one is actually something I'm really interested to hear from you. What is your personal guilty pleasure in terms of music? What do you listen to when you're drunk and if it's not metal? Selena Gomez? FG: 80s music! I love it! I really do! No problem admitting that! Actually for the last tour, or in 2019 when we were actually doing gigs, we actually started for the last half an hour-hour before going on stage, we're actually firing ourselves up with some good old 80s [ __ ] music to get the vibe going! [Laughter] The stuff that used to be a Bathory and Motorhead and Metallica and all that stuff, these days it is pop! MP: That's fun, man! I really don't want to keep you too long here so the last question if you don't mind. Can you tell us just one crazy ass touring story from your 25 plus year-long touring career? FG: It's been many, probably. I think the craziest tour we've ever done, that was in 1998. We went on a five-week tour with Cradle of Filth
and Old Man's Child throughout Europe. That was the first really big tour we had. And five weeks - that's a lot! And then every night it was a party like there was no tomorrow! For every night! It came to the point that we had to... there was a gig cancelled in Portugal I think, so we were somewhere up in Spain, and and so we were saving ourselves two days of driving. One day down and playing portugal, and then up again. So instead we were partying so hard that it was also a weird vibe going on between the buses. So the tour managers, they found out
that these guys need some time apart! MP: Like in high school! FG: Yeah really! So the Cradle, we stopped at some city. It wasn't like a tourist kind of city, a small town in Spain somewhere with a beach and stuff. And this was a really small town. So the Cradle bus, they kind of went to one side of of the town, and the others went to the other side. And we were supposed to stay apart from each other for a couple of days, until we found out there was only one rock bar in town! So we met there of course and everything that has been maybe starting to boil up, something that could have been really bad, the whole thing that was supposed to be avoided, that kind of exploded that night on that bar! But I think that was a good thing, because we had a good rough tumble, all the bands together, and everything was a mess! Like a good old bar fight thing! And the day after everyone's friends, all good! So yeah that kind of fixed everything. MP: This is actually a really fun story, and just hearing about those tour stories, it just makes me want to go to the concert once again very very soon. So I personally hope that
I'll be able to catch you live, preferably in Kyiv, because I'm from Ukraine. If not - somewhere in Europe or anywhere else at a real real concert! All right, thank you so much, Frode, for your time. Any last message for the fans? Anything you want to share with them? FG: I'm just really looking forward to the smoke to clear, so we can get out there, meet people again, play for people. I can't wait! MP: Absolutely! Rhank you so much for the good time again! Just a reminder, North Star is out on February 26th via Napalm Records, make sure you check it out! It's a great record, believe me you will enjoy it! Thanks a lot Frode, keep rocking, man! FG: All right, thanks! See ya!