1. Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording and release of the new album?
The recording started sometime late 2017 when I did guitars and bass, and as I didn’t have a band at the time I also had to do the drums and vocals. So everything on the album is just me doing my thing. After the recordings I started the lookout for musicians. I already had a bassplayer; Jarl. So I needed a drummer and a second guitarist, after some try outs I landed on Kristoffer on the drums and Roald on rhythm guitar. So the live band was complete. We rehearsed for a couple of months and did our first gig at 12 Bord in Kristiansand with Vanvidd late December 2018 (On this gig I had another guitarist named Kim). We then headed back to the rehearsal studio and rehearsed for the Equanimity Norwegian Tour that took place from September to October 2019. The album was delayed, the release was supposed to be out by September but was delayed but all good though. It was a ok tour and we had a blast together with Flukt, Uburen, Damnation and Istårn. Plans now is to basically just play as much live as possible and we are in the booking zone for 2020 so we will see what happens.
2. Recently you have released a new album, musically how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?
This one is a more listener (user) friendly album production vice, and the music itself is a bit away from previous releases. All the albums are pretty different to eachother for some reason. This one here has more intensity, song structures are pretty straight forward and quite simple and is written mainly with the focus of NOT creating another Black Metal album, however, when listening back to it now, I had to admit that there is some black metal elements in this one as well, old habits die hard..
3. What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects you explore on the newer album and also how would you describe your progress as a songwriter over the years?
Lyrics are based around the concept of the occult, death, life and love(!)
I absolutely suck at writing lyrics, this is my weakest side, it was much easier to write lyrics for the Dødsfall albums. I somehow more enjoy to write lyrics for others than for myself. With music it is completely the opposite.
Regarding general songwriting I think I have become more aware of how the structures in the songs are supposed to turn out. I avoid these stereotype BM riff structures and try to incorporate thrash and death metal elements instead to make the intensity present.
4. Some of your earlier albums had more satanic, occult and anti Christian themes. can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in the dark arts?
Yeah well, I was pretty much into all this when I was younger for various reasons, and the whole concept around these matters has somehow stuck with me since I was around 12 or 13 years old, and hasn’t let go.
It is not at all about Satanism vs Christianity (I have a foot in both philosophies) but more about a deeper personal interpretation of these philosophies combined.
All this is extremely personal and individual. Some people are into belonging in a sense, like the LaVeyans and the Crowley followers who may be members of a congregation, sect or simular, but to me it is about NOT belonging to anyone or anything.
No Love and little or no interaction with other people at all..
It is a commitment to the ‘I’. There is no rituals etc.. It is a ‘Me against the world’ kinda thing. It is a pretty lonely way of living but you get used to it and in the end it makes sence somehow.
There is ALOT of people who claim they live like this and practises this lifestyle, but ONLY behind the screen when they babble about on the internet and in social media on various Facebook Black Metal Groups and such…You know, ‘’the more evil and misantroph – the better’’ kind of kids.
But in real life they submit to the masses and have tons of friends and participates in social activities, and have girlfriends/boyfriends etc on a regular basis..
There is at all nothing wrong with this, but do not pretend to be something you can never be, that’s all. Be true to yourself and your surroundings and the ones you are around, and of course yourself.
5. I have read that you do not really like your music being labeled as black metal, can you tell us a little bit more about it?
It comes from that I don’t actually like black metal or what people define as black metal nowdays. I am more the old shool type so I am more into the South American style from medio 80’ to the beginning of 90’ style. Not the style that Norwegian bands made popular. There is of course some fine bands from Norway uptil 96 but after that I dropped out. I simply just stopped listening and follow the scene in general. Today’s black metal bands has fewer and fewer good acts, but of course there are exeptions. I don’t have time to follow up on what’s new etc.. there are way too many bands and projects and they all sound the same usually. But as I said, there are exeptions. And I do follow up and listen to bands where I know the members personally or bands I have been a part in before. I am more a thrash/death metal kind of guy.
6. Can you tell us a little bit more about the artwork that is presented on the new album cover?
Yes, it is done by a guy who calls himself ‘’All Things Rotten’’. He does artwork for alot of different extreme metal bands and artists, he also does paintings and posters etc..He contacted me and offered to do this one as he is a fan of Arvas and we have been in touch before. I explained what I wanted and he did some scetches and we landed on this that ended up as the artwork. There is no symbolic undertones in this, just a natural expression of fine art.
7. In the studio you work more as a solo project but have a different line up for shows, do you feel you are able to achieve what you want musically a lot more by yourself then you would with a full band?
All albums up til this one is done with a band line up more or less. Equanimity is the first one with only me as the performing musician.
When you do things solo you get what you want but there will always be something missing… I do compose all music and when you record this with a full band there will always be a fuller outcome because they have ideas I haven’t thought about which makes things somewhat better in many ways.
However… you never know what is the best solution. You just have to trust your instincts really. Equanimity was written for a full band participation but as I didn’t have musicians able at the time of recording I just did it myself, but the result came out great after all. I recorded everything in my own studio so I had time to mess around and try out alot of things all by myself without interferance from others so in those terms, I felt more confident as to wehter this could be something worth releasing.
The next album however will be recorded with the live band as we are per now.
8.Out of all the live shows you have done which one stands out the most?
Difficult to answer because everyone of them has a certain feel to them, they are all different to each other. I don’t remember them all either, and there are different members appearing here and there as well so I don’t really know. But out of the most recent ones, I guess the one we did in Sandnes on the Norwegian tour 2019 with Flukt and Uburen really was a killer perfomance, and the reception from the audience was outstanding, the whole vibe was perfect.
And I have to pick one older perfomance as well from the Black Satanic Mysticism Tour in Germany 2016 where we did the Kings Of Black Metal Festival, that one was also one of these crazy cool gigs.
9. Do you have any touring or show plans for the new album?
We are in booking mode so there will be some concerts in 2020 for sure, first one is in Kristiansand February 21st, and maybe a small EU run etc.. bookers/promoters get in touch…
10.The new album was released on 'Satanic Art Media', can you tell us a little bit more about this label?
It is a divison of Allegro Talent Management. The boss is also a very good friend of mine and works as my manager as well. So we agreed on him releasing this one. He also did relase the long awaited Örth album that originally recorded back in 96. Anyways..
11. On a worldwide level how has the reaction been to your newer music by fans of black and extreme emtal?
I am not sure, but from what I have heard and read people seem to like it a lot, there is always people who don’t like it and that is absolutely ok. I first and foremost compose music for myself and if others likes it too, that is a great bonus. Honor your listeners!!!
12. Where do you see yourself heading into as a musician during the future?
I wouldn’t know, been doing this since mid eightees so you never know, anything can happen. I have hopes and all but I keep things close to heart.
13. What are some of the bands or musical styles you are currently listening to nowadays?
I only listen to Hard Trance/Europop/EDM.
This genre is appealing to me and has been since the eightees more or less. Artists here are more newer acts, but some older as well such as Shach, Infinity, E-Type, Rollergirl, Solid Base, E-Rotic, LaCream and Da Buzz.
Newer acts would be; Broiler, Alan Walker, Rimini Project, Adelën, Kygo etc..
14. Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Thanx for taking time for this interview, and thanks to the readers, the fans for supporting and never giving up on Arvas. Also I would encourage you all to check out our youtube channel, our instagram and facebook. I do weekly entries on the youtube channel, where I talk about different topics, and I will have guests in on a later point, kinda like ‘’Coffee With Ola’’ (Ola Englund) only I will name it ‘’Beer with V-Rex’’ :D
Check it out.