Interview: Extol

mit David Husvik vom 10. Juli 2013 via Mail
Christentum und Heavy Metal, das sind zwei paar Schuhe, die man nach Ansicht vieler Musikhörer niemals mischen kann, darf oder soll. Man denke nur an all die heidnischen Bands, die unter der Fahne des Pagan Metals wohl zu den schärfsten Kritikern einer Vermischung von christlichen Inhalten mit harten metallischen Kängen gehören dürften. Auch scheint es schon durch die allgemein bekannten Rockerstereotypen recht schwer sein, als Rockmusiker aktiv zu sein oder ein entsprechendes Leben zu führen. Sex und Drugs sind dabei wohl der Knackpunkt. Naja, für einige Persönlichkeiten ist ja schon die bloße Diskussion dieser Fragestellung reinste Blasphemie - interessanterweise auf beiden Seiten.
Und doch scheint man immer wieder auf Leute zu treffen, die nicht in in einem solch engen sozialen Gedankenkonstrukt gefangen sind. Dabei muss man gar nicht in die White Metal-Szene latschen, um einen Haufen Musiker zu finden, die auf den ersten Blick so gar nichts mit chritslichen Werten am Hut zu haben scheinen, diese aber konsequent zu vertreten versuchen. Man nehme nur Dee Snider oder Alice Cooper. Ist es wirklich unchristlich in einer Rockband zu spielen und ist es untrue als Christ in der schwarzen Szene aktiv zu sein? Das ist wirklich keine leichte Frage.
Um Antworten zu dieser Thematik zu finden, sprachen wir mit Schlagzeuger David Husvik, welcher in der Norwegischen Band Extol aktiv ist. Die Truppe steht in dem Ruf eine dieser christlichen Metalbands zu sein, doch wie die gleichzeitig dem Progressiven Extrem Metal zugeordnete Truppe sich selbst sieht, ob sie tatsächliche gläubige Menschen sind, oder sich nur an die grundlegenden Fundamente der "westlichen Gesellschaft" halten, das erfahrt ihr im unten stehenden Interview. Außerdem berichtet David über das neuste Album der Band, welches aus Anlass der letztjährigen Neugründung nun das Licht der Welt erblicken darf.
Viel Spaß beim Lesen.

The Interview:

Alex: Hi David! How are you doing and how is the weather in Norway?
David Husvik: Hello, the weather here in Norway is surprisingly good. Twenty degrees celsius and great summer atmosphere.
Alex: Your musical style is mostly described as Christian metal. How can one imagine the faith of rock musicians? Are you praying prior to a show or do you regularly attend Church?
David Husvik: Well, that is a description given by fans and the music industry. All three of us share the spiritual bond of wanting to follow Christ. We have spiritual fellowship together and, yes we all attend different Christian churches. We believe God gave us creativity to create and perform the music that we do. Metal can not be Christian, but people can.
Alex: In your opinion, what role plays religion in our everyday live?
David Husvik: I believe religion sometimes is an obstacle for people to have fellowship. Its part of the human nature to defend their own perception of reality and also to define their origin and a possible god behind everything. We end up creating distance to each other because of our different opinions instead of intimacy, which I believe is the message of Jesus.
Alex: Are there any points where music and faith come together or even complement each other?
David Husvik: The ability to make and perform music in general is a gift by God. My experience is that faith and music walk hand in hand. Music is such spiritual force, and I believe it is totally up to the composers and performers to affect whatever setting they contribute in with the spirituality they hold.
Alex: What’s the intention behind your music? Do you want to transport a certain message – or different ones in different songs? Or is it more like pure entertainment?
David Husvik: We definitely want to make the best music we can. Most of our fans listen to us because of our songs and the specific genre we operate within. But the lyrical content and what we communicate with our songs reflect our hearts and minds. We write about different aspects of life, but also about how difficult it can be and how much we as humans are in need of a divine presence.
Alex: What has been the reason for the hiatus of the band between 2007 and 2012?
David Husvik: Yeah, we needed a break for sure. Tor Magne, Ole Halvard and John Robert established their own band, Mantric, that was out on Prosthetic Records. I was busy doing drums for Doctor Midnight & The Mercy Cult with Turbonegro's Hank Von Hell, and also some other projects. The current, and also earlier guitar player, Ole Børud, has his own successful solo project he's been committed to the last years. Peter, who really needed a break from music seven years ago, has been giving his family and personal life full attention. When you have done music and the same band for such long, we all needed a change and we wanted to do something different. It just became that way.
Alex: Why, after five years, was this the right time to get back together again?
David Husvik: A lot of this has been depending on Peter's health and well being. Extol cannot exist without him. He has struggled with tinnitus for a while, and in 2011, when he started to feel creative again, Ole, Christer, Peter and I teamed up and the idea of a new album came to the table. Unfortunately Christer backed out during the process because he realized life was too busy, but rest of us decided to go for it. The timing just felt right.
Alex: How did your current line-up come to bee?
David Husvik: I guess I kinda answered that in the previous question. This was the only line-up that made sense to go back to, right now. With Christer, things would be complete, but when it ended up with only the three of us, it felt quite comfortable. Three opinions instead of potentially five, is a huge difference.
Alex: You're back with a new self-titled studio album. What can you tell us about it? What makes it special?
David Husvik: We believe this might be the strongest album we have made in our career. The album has a good variety in songs and challenges the traditional Extol sound without ending up in the most experimental part of town. It's melodic, progressive, and at times cheesy over-harmonic, but first and foremost the music should be described as death metal. I believe the combinations and good blend of all the different elements just make this album unique and standing on its own in the Extol discography.
Alex: And how about the recording process? Did you work it out at home or at a professional recording studio?
David Husvik: Things were recorded here in Norway on three different locations. Drums and vocals were done in Oslo, bass and guitars and add ons were recorded in Stavern. Extol produced the whole album ourselves and Jens Bogren mixed and mastered the complete recordings in Örebro, Sweden.
Alex: How do you write your songs?
David Husvik: We present to each other ideas that might be in the shape of a riff or perhaps a tiny arrangement, and basically take it from there. Sometimes one of us might even have an entire song ready more or less, but we always make sure it goes through a collective inspection. Obviously a lot of mp3s are being shared via mail during such a process.
Alex: What's the most difficult part of this whole production process?
David Husvik: Personally, it must have been all the preparing and rehearsing I had to do before the drums could be recorded. I spent several months improving my skills and adjusting my drumming to the actual songs. Musically this album keeps a very high level, so to take my drumming up to that level was challenging for me.
Alex: What can you tell us about the artwork of your latest album?
David Husvik: All the artwork is this time done by Travis Smith. He's a phenomenal artist and we feel so honored to get to work with him. The cover portrays the spirit of mankind in the form of a hand rising to worship God while being obstructed by evil circumstances. Our human weaknesses quite often hold us back from turning our face towards God.
Alex: How do you know when you are finished? Today, you have so many possibilities to put more and more into a song and rework it over and over again until it's literally “produced to death”. Is there a point where you lose objectivity?
David Husvik: No, it didn't feel like that this time. The new technology has been very helpful and given us the opportunity to take the time we needed to fully optimize the song arrangements. After a session of hard work, we were this time able to take a step back, and we could pick the process up again whenever it felt comfortable. I think the freedom with no time limits, the endless possibilities to turn and twist, just made it all easier for us to make desicions. We trust our own judgment and know exactly when we've reach our goals for arrangements and production.
Alex: Are you satisfied by the results or are there maybe some things you’d have done in a different way now?
David Husvik: No, we are actually very happy with how things ended.
Alex: So, what makes a musician professional? Is it the fact that they can live from their music or is it more about their skills?
David Husvik: My reflections on this concludes that a professional musician must be able to meet the expectations that is set to him in every situation. He must be able to solve the given tasks.
Alex: Are there any special gigs or a bigger tour planned for 2013?
David Husvik: Nothing is planned yet. Peter, the vocalist, struggles with tinnitus and fear of loud stage volume. This makes things difficult considering future live shows. There is nothing more we would like to do than to get around and perform this new material, live. But from how it looks now, it will probably take a while before we see that happening.
But of course - we will consider every offer that comes to the table.
Alex: How long does it take you to prepare for a show? Do you have some kind of a special ritual or is it just a regular warm up?
David Husvik: Of course we would need to rehearse for weeks in front of a show. But on a specific gig day, we normally spend a couple of hours warming up, talk through the set and try to tune in to the right modus. Normally we pray together as well.
Alex: When you’re touring the world and you’re meeting so many people, is it like you actually see them again here and there? Or isn’t it so many that come and go that they’re merely faces for you?
David Husvik: That totally depends on how much time you get to spend with the different people. Some times you develop good friendships and you automatically keep in touch and maintain contact. But, yes, when you talk to hundreds on a tour it is impossible to give everyone the same amount of attention and to remember all the faces, that's naturally.
Alex: Have there been any disturbing experiences? Maybe fans that went “too far”?
David Husvik: Some of our members have had stalkers, haha. Some fans will contact you at times when you are not prepared for it at all, like in the middle of the night and stuff like that. Thats just follows as a part of exposing yourself to bigger audiences, and issues you have to learn to deal with. Most fans are fantastic people and really enjoyable to be around and talk to.
Alex: Surely a lot of fans have questions they would like to ask you. Now think the other way ‘round: If you had the time to ask any metal fan in the world a few questions, what would that be?
David Husvik: Don't you guys ever get tired of this music? Why do you guys always have to wear black? Does you favorite band always have to make the „same“ record again and again? Is there never room for them to create something new? Haha...
Alex: What can you tell us about your future? Already working on new songs?
David Husvik: If we're lucky we'll get this band out on a tour, at least that's something we would hope for. We haven't started making new stuff already, but we all meet on a wish for another album, thats for sure.
Alex: Then thanks for the interview! Would you mind saying a few final greetings to the fans out there?
David Husvik: I think you all should go and buy our new album. It comes in three different colored vinyl editions, two CD versions and of course in digital formats as well! There is also a documentary about Extol in the make right now. Stay tuned and make sure you don't miss out on all the things that are going on around us in the upcoming months!
Alex: Thanks for your time and all the best for your future!
Moderation: Alexander Kipke

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