By Andrew Bansal
Former Gorgoroth mainstays King Ov Hell and Gaahl have finally come together to work on a much-awaited studio album. God Seed, the band that was formed after these two parted ways with Gorgoroth, is active again with a new lineup and will release the album ‘I Begin’ on October 22nd in North America, October 26th in Norway and October 30 in the rest of the world via Indie Recordings. The release will be immediately followed by a European tour. Earlier today, on October 12th 2012, I spoke to King to discuss the reformation of the band, the music on this album, and a few other things. Read the conversation below, and visit the official God Seed website for more info.
A lot of people have been waiting for you and Gaahl to work together again on a studio album. It must be a relief for you to see that it’s finally happening.
Yeah! I’ve been working on it for a long time, and it’s good that the process is over.
He took a sudden retirement a few years back, and the album you were supposed to release under the God Seed name, “The Underground Regime”, had to be released instead as an Ov Hell album. Were you satisfied with that release and how it was received by everyone?
Yeah, we made that album some two years ago, me and Shagrath. We didn’t tour on it or play any concert or anything, so it was a studio-only project. It’s part of my past, and has nothing to do now with God Seed.
Yeah, that’s true. But because that was the last album you were involved in before this one, do you think people might compare the God Seed album to the Ov Hell album rather than Gorgoroth?
I don’t know, I don’t think like that. I don’t really care what people compare it with. It’s up to the listeners. But they should listen to it as a unique album and shouldn’t really compare it to anything.
You’re right, but musically do these two albums have any similarities, or is the new album a completely different thing?
Of course, it’s not a completely different thing because I wrote the music on the latest Gorgoroth albums and the Ov Hell album, and I also wrote the majority of the music on this album, so of course there will be similarities because I wrote the music. But this is a different band with different people involved. We have a keyboard player Geir Bratland [from Dimmu Borgir] who has contributed the keyboard parts, orchestras and stuff like that. So that has made the album a bit different, and we also have members not linked to the black metal scene. There’s a different approach towards music and metal in general which has also contributed to this album being different, in my ears at least, to Gorgoroth or Ov Hell.
Would you say it’s more atmospheric and may be more diverse than anything you’ve ever done before?
I put a broader set of thinking into it. I included lots of my 70s influences into God Seed, which I didn’t do with Ov Hell or Gorgoroth. So in that respect, it’s probably showing a bigger picture of my musical influences from the past, into God Seed.
There’s a lot of interesting stuff on it like organs and other instruments. What was the reason for using that?
Well, I met Geir while touring with my other band Sahg. He played with Dimmu and I played with Sahg. We went to tour together 2 years ago, I think, and we became friends on that tour. Because of that, I started thinking about using him as a guy who could help develop the songs I had created, which we did together and I think it works. Personally, I never heard anyone linking our expression with that kind of keyboards before, so hopefully it opened up new ways of thinking about music. So it was definitely something that shaped up and gave the songs a new direction.
How did the rest of the lineup come together, and how long did it take you? Obviously, the core of the band was already there, but did it take a long time for you to assemble the whole lineup?
Not really. I had written most of the material for ‘I Begin’ before anyone was involved. Being home in my own studio I programmed the drums, did all the guitar parts and so worth, and then we decided to get musicians that weren’t limited by a genre or anything like that, and musicians who could contribute with original playing. Like, Kenneth Kapstad is from Motorpschyco, and he’s also a jazz drummer. His approach of playing drums is different from any metal drummer I’ve played with before. And Geir of course was a new approach for me because I’ve never used any keyboards before. The two guitar players are very good metal and pop-rock guitarists. So, with these people combined, I think we found a sound that is defining God Seed.
Talking about fans of straight-up black metal, do you expect them to may be take more time to like the God Seed album and get used to the sound of this band?
First of all, I’m not sure that what we’re doing right now is black metal. We used metal music as a platform to express something we really want to do musically and lyrically, but if it’s black metal or not, other people must decide that because we don’t have the Satanic approach in the same way that we used to have in Gorgoroth. It’s more linked to Northern mythology and that side of things. I don’t see any contradictions between the two styles myself, but of course, for limited minds there will be a problem with this album, I guess. I don’t really care.
You’re right. So just to clarify for anyone in doubt, the other guys in the band that you just mentioned, have they played on the band or are they just going to be live musicians for the shows?
Everyone has played their part on the album. I didn’t play the guitars, for example. I played the bass, the drummer played the drums and so forth. And they are also going to take part in the live shows. They are members of the band, equal as me and Gaahl.
Awesome. Before this you released the ‘Live At Wacken’ DVD. Did you aim to release that as a buildup to this album?
Not really. I view the ‘Live At Wacken’ DVD as the closure of a chapter that has been a big part of my life, my 10 years in Gorgoroth. It was the closure of that expression, you know. So it was important in that way. Of course for me that is the best concert we have ever done that was taped to DVD or anything like that. So if you want to experience a lot of our songs in a live situation, I think that is the highlight of what we did.
Finally, you have a European tour coming up with Cradle Of Filth next month. They’re such a commercial band these days, and they don’t sound anything like how they did a few years back. Do you think God Seed will fit in with their music and fan base, or is this just a way of exposing the band to new audiences?
We toured with Cradle Of Filth in 2008, and Dani Filth is a friend of mine. We have a band together called Temple Of The Black Moon. So yeah, we’re there on this tour because he’s a personal friend of mine. It was good the last time we went on tour with them. Of course, Cradle Of Filth is representing Cradle Of Filth and God Seed is representing God Seed. Cradle Of Filth has a much bigger fan base than God Seed at the moment, and no one really knows what to expect from us. So it’s good to present our music for a bigger audience.