Interview With Sigurd of Grand Alchemist
In our ongoing Hammerslag Festival coverage and in an effort to help raise awareness about the bands on the bill, we sent out some questions to Norway's Grand Alchemist, who are playing the December 17th leg of the festival at the old church in Tønsberg, Norway. Sigurd (vocals, guitar, synth) was cool enough to respond, and here's what he had to say:
deathbringer: You've recently enlisted a stand-in drummer (from the band Core) to fill in for your Hammerslag performance due to your regular drummer suffering from tendonitis. How much time has the new drummer had to learn the songs on your setlist? How is he performing in rehearsals
Sigurd: John had exactly 6 weeks to learn the set. Due to the fact that some of the songs we will perform on Hammerslag not are released yet and therefore totally new to him this has been a huge challenge both for John to learn all the songs and also perform well on the stage. We have been rehearsing almost every day for the last six weeks and the all of the pieces are now starting to fit together. John has done on hell of a job learning the songs. His technically performing-skills are very high so I'm sure he will do a great job. The whole band are now ready and looking forward to enter the stage on Hammerslag Saturday.
deathbringer: How has recording the new album been different without having the drum tracks laid down first? Is it much more difficult or simply different from how you are used to recording?
Sigurd: In the pre-recordings we used drums that I programmed in my sequencer and we will use the same drum-tracks in the recording, before the real drums will be recorded. It's very early in the recording process yet, to see how much this will affect our performing in the studio, but since we have done a pre-prod of both the keyboards and guitars I don't think it will matter that much actually. The new songs have a very complex sound so we are using a metronome to make them sound as tight as possible, so it will be quite easy to track the drums after worth.
deathbringer: When can we expect the album you're currently working on to be completed?
Sigurd: To be honest, we're hoped it would be completed this autumn but due to Stoelans injury it didn't went the way we planned. The way things are looking now, we're truly hoping to see an end on this process during February 2006.
deathbringer: Will this upcoming album be distributed by Sound Riot as well?
Sigurd: I don't know actually. We haven't sign a new deal with the, but they have told us that they are interesting in signing with Grand Alchemist for a new album. We just have to wait and see how things are turning out.
deathbringer: Have you ever toured North America before? If so, how many times and with who? When can we expect you to tour here next?
Sigurd: No, we have never toured in North America but we hope that we will be able to do so when the next record is released.
deathbringer: What is the biggest tour or festival you've played?
Sigurd: Unfortunately we haven't been able to tour outside Norway yet. Here in Norway the biggest festival we have played on is Inferno Festival in 2002. This was one hell of an experience to us. The Inferno Festival is the biggest metal happening here in Norway.
deathbringer: If you could tour with anyone, who would you tour with?
Sigurd: It's hard to say actually. There are so many great bands that it would have been great to go on tour with, so it's actually hard to pick just one or two, you know. Personally I think that a tour consisting of Tool, Meshuggah and Grand Alchemist would have been one hell of a atmospheric power package.
deathbringer: What are your plans once the new album is complete?
Sigurd: We will try to do as many concerts as possibly to promote the album and meet the audience. I also hope that we will get a budget so we can do some touring as well.
deathbringer: What is the status of the side project Sanefall?
Sigurd: I don't think Sanefall ever will see the day of light anymore. It was a cool thing when we started it back in 2000, but the project just died out.
deathbringer: That project consists of most of the same band members as Grand Alchemist, correct? How does that music differ and why does it warrant a separate moniker to play it under?
Sigurd: The music does not differ that much from Grand Alchemist. Actually I haven't heard the demo in years, so I don't quiet remember exactly how it sounds. The thing was that Terje, Roland and a guy named Tom had this project going on and I joined on keyboards and Stoelan on drums. It was fun for a while but soon it just faded out and Terje and Roland joined Grand Alchemist instead.
deathbringer: How do you see the Norwegian metal scene evolving over the years that you have been playing music together?
Sigurd: Hmm. It has changed a lot since day one, that's damn sure. When we started to play ten years ago the whole genre metal in Norway was much more controversy to the rest of population than it is today. I mean, you could get your ass kicked when you wear black clothes and listened to black metal. Today I think people are much more aware of the quality and musically strength extreme-metal bands actually inhabit.
deathbringer: Thanks for taking the time to do this interview. Do you have any last words for our readers?
Sigurd: Thanks to you too! Please check out www.GrandAlchemist.com for updates about the new album and meet up at Hammerslag 2005.
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