heavy metal

Green Carnation Interview

One could use many adjectives to describe Green Carnation's music. Eclectic, bizarre, epic, somber, rockin', and serene are just a few modifiers one could use in a vast dictionary of terms. Their first album "Journey into the Night" was a doom metal classic. The next album "Light of Day-Day of Darkness" retained dark elements of the first album, but added so many instruments and moods that it defies classification. From there, these Norwegians released "A Blessing in Disguise" and this year's "The Quiet Offspring." Both albums saw the band heading in a more progressive rock direction. "The Acoustic Verses" is set for release early next year, and shows the band broadening their musical horizons even further than before with acoustic ballads. The title may be somewhat misleading because there is SO much more to this album. The following interview with band leader Tchort explains what makes this album so unique, along with a discussion of many other topics related to the band.

The Gauntlet: How have you been able to manage you time between Green Carnation, Blood Red Throne, and Carpathian Forest? Do you have a black metal secretary?

Tchort: I split up part of the year for each band. For instance, I worked with Blood Red Throne in the winter, and then worked with Green Carnation in the spring. I do all the booking for shows myself, so I am able to plan everything myself.

The Gauntlet: You know I'm going to ask you this question, are we going to see you playing bass for Emperor on their mini-tour of the U.S.?

Tchort: No, they are using one of the members of Mindgrinder. Members of Emperor have been working with this band, and it is easier for him to play bass with them because he lives in same town as they do.

The Gauntlet: The last couple of Green Carnation albums are very different from the first two records. Do you feel your vision of the band has changed since the birth of the band?

Tchort: I didn't start the band with a particular vision. We just started out playing songs of bands we liked like Slayer. We had had a dream back then to be in a band and play music we all loved, and we fulfilled that dream. I never felt like we needed to have a certain sound. The first two Green Carnation albums "Journey into the Night" and "Light of Day�Day of Darkness" were very personal albums. Those albums were vehicles for me to express these major emotions I was feeling at the time. The first one, "Journey�" was about the death of my daughter, while the second one was the birth of my son.

The Gauntlet: I ask this because the first couple of albums were dark and doomy, while the later material went in more of a progressive rock direction. "Journey�" was about the death of your daughter and "Light of Day�" was about the birth of your son. I can understand the dark tone to "Journey into the Night," but why did "Light of Day" also have these creepy, haunting elements when it was an album about life?

Tchort: "Light of Day�Day of Darkness" is uplifting in that fact that it is a tribute to the birth of my son; however, it has that dark tone because I was still in mourning over the loss of my daughter. Even though it was a joyous day with my son's birth, I could not forget my daughter. That is why "Light of Day�Day of Darkness" has both the soft and light elements and the hard and dark elements.

The Gauntlet: Once In The Woods split, did it make it easier for Green Carnation to progress as a band now that Anders wasn't playing with In the Woods?

Tchort: No, that never really made a difference because In the Woods rarely played together. If they recorded an album, it might be several months before the members of the band talked to each other again. They rarely rehearsed anything, so Anders never had a conflict of interest or time. When the band split up, every member quit what he was doing and started several solo projects.

The Gauntlet: How has Tommy Jackson assimilated into the band? Has it been a smooth transition into the band?

Tchort: His transition was very smooth because he is such a fan. He listened to our material for so long that he knew it quite well. He grew up jamming with members of the band because he was such good friends with us. Even though Anders played on "The Quiet Offspring" album, Tommy is listed in the CDs credits because he was part of the band when we released the album. By this time, Anders had left the band.

The Gauntlet: How do you feel about the yet-to-be-released album "The Acoustic Verses?" Are you happy with the finished product?

Tchort: I am very happy with the finished product. This album was a challenge because it was never rehearsed. Everything was written out, and then recorded in the studio. We were a little nervous about how the album would come out because everybody in the band participated in the song writing process. We were afraid of the album sounding like a compilation of songs, and not one smooth album by one tight unit. Everything came out very well, though. This album was also difficult in the fact that there are so many instruments being played. Some of these instruments we had to learn how to play before we went into the studio. Michael had to play around with the theremin to make sure he could get the correct pitch because he was not used to this instrument. This album was a challenge and it was different, but in the end we made an excellent album!

The Gauntlet: When did you first decide you wanted to make an acoustic album?

Tchort: I think I first decided to make an acoustic album was during the recording of "The Quiet Offspring." We recorded some acoustic versions of these songs for "The Burden is Mine�Alone," E.P. Also, we covered the Chris Isaacs' song "Wicked Game." From there it all came together.

The Gauntlet: Why did you decide to translate Edgar Allen Poe's poem "Alone" into a song?

Tchort: I decided to use this poem because it was something I have never done before. I had never tried to translate a poem into music. I had the music to the song and none of the lyrics I wrote fit, so I got out this book of poems a fan had given to me, a book of Edgar Allen Poe's poems, and started looking for lyrics that would fit my music. I found "Alone" fit the best.

The Gauntlet: Has anyone ever mistaken your "Sweet Leaf" song for the Black Sabbath cover?

Tchort: No, I don't recall anyone ever confusing our song for the Sabbath one, although a number of reviews make a note to their readers that our song is not a cover of the Black Sabbath one.

The Gauntlet: I just wondered because when I first saw the song title that is what I thought it was.

Tchort: Well, actually did do a Black Sabbath acoustic song. I got a copy of the song after we recorded "The Acoustic Verses." I believe it was from the Black Sabbath album "Paranoid." Because we did this after our latest recording, it wasn't released anywhere. We might put it up on our website as a good Christmas present.

The Gauntlet: In the past, you used Niklas Sundin to create your cover art. Why didn't you employ him for "The Acoustic Verses?"

Tchort: Well, for one we had used him for three albums already. With me having released three albums in the last year, he couldn't fit into the budget for another album. The designer of the album's cover, Jon Tonnessen, is a friend of mine. I came up with the concept then checked out with him. We both agreed on what he came up with, so we used his cover concept for the album.

The Gauntlet: How did your performance at Canada's "Day of the Equinox" go?

Tchort: It went very well. We played a two and a half hour set. The first part of the set featured material from "A Blessing in Disguise," and other material. We took a break then did a second set of "Light of Day�Day of Darkness" in its entirety.

The Gauntlet: Wow, was that hard?

Tchort: It wasn't hard playing the entire album. The most difficult thing was getting set up for the concert. We had done it before with four keyboards, but coming over here we had weight limits so we couldn't bring that much equipment. We didn't think we would be able to bring all the equipment for just the one keyboard because of the weight limit, but exceptions were made, and we got it over there.

The Gauntlet: Was this your first trip over to North America?

Tchort: Yes.

The Gauntlet: Do you have any plans of doing a North American tour?

Tchort: Right now, our booking agent is planning a major North American tour for sometime next year, maybe in April. This tour is going to be very big, spanning across most of the United States. It should reach most of the major cities in the United States.

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Tags:  Green Carnation  , Tchort - Guitarsinterviews

    December 18, 2005

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