Ihsahn Comments On Latest Album And Emperor Rumors
Band Photo: Emperor (?)
In a recent interview with Sevenstrings, Ishahn of Emperor fame commented on his latest album and rumors about whether Ross Robinson was slated to produce the fifth Emperor album. Excerpts from the interview are below.
SS: When I first started preparing for this interview it dawned on me that, for a guy who's only in his thirties, you've already achieved an amazing amount as a musician. How does it feel to know that you've recorded albums that have defined a genre and are now regarded as classics?
I: In general, I think I’ve been very lucky having had this as a career since I was 16 when we signed to Candlelight in 1991. Very lucky considering; I’m from Norway (which in itself does not spell out "potential international music-career") and I started my career by playing one of the most infamous and un-commercial forms of music to date. Things are different now, but 1991 was Death Metal era, and Black Metal was close to nothing. Getting back to your question; it is a double-edged sword, I guess. I am of course proud of previous albums and things I’ve achieved. However, with Emperor kind of living a life on it’s own, it is sometimes like being my own little-brother, with all my current work being compared to things I did as a teenager. At 32 I do not feel retired, I am just as passionate about my music as I ever was and I still believe my best is yet to come!
SS: Some would (and did, at the time) argue that the intricate, bombastic nature of Emperor's later work was somewhat antithetical to the raw, single-minded ideology of "true" black metal. Do you agree with that statement?
I: I would argue that having rules for what is "true" or "false" would be the antithesis of Black Metal. I always thought that "Do what Thou wilt shall be the whole of the law (Crowley)" was the name of the game!?! That’s what I did, anyway.
SS: Is there any truth to the rumour that Ross Robinson was in talks to produce the ill-fated fifth Emperor album? He seems like an odd choice, to say the least.
I: There has been many rumors concerning that He came backstage after a show in LA in 1999, together with Casey Chaos from Amen, and said he would love to work with Emperor. However, we always liked doing the decision making on our own, so we said no thanks. To this day I´ve never worked with a producer, though I try to be one myself I guess Apparently, Ross got hate-mail for even suggesting working with Emperor, which is kind of stupid, as in all black-metal-ideology fairness, I think we were capable of deciding who and who not we wished to work with.
SS: Over the years your lyrics have gone from being blunt and hateful to more esoteric, but as a solo artist you seem to be more direct than ever. Is this something that has happened consciously?
I: When starting to write on my solo-material, I was getting somewhat fed up with a lot of nonsense music with no apparent stand in anything. So, I kind of set a goal for myself to be very direct and "in your face" with the lyrics, trying to make a point or two. I’ve been very inspired by Nietzsche doing these two albums and "Thus spake Zarathustra" in particular. Compared to my previous work, I think I succeeded to some extent in leaving out the grey-areas. Compared to f.ex Rage Against the Machine’s "Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me", I guess some lines during the album were excessive.
Source: Seven Strings
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