Ihsahn Discusses New Album "Eremita" In Metal Sucks Interview
MetalSucks.net has snagged an exclusive interview with Ihsahn in regards to his upcoming new album "Eremita," which is set for release on June 19th in North America. Snippets from the interview follow, in which Ihsahn discusses his fourth solo album and the guest musicians who make appearances on the upcoming release. You can also find a recently posted teaser trailer for the album at this location.
MetalSucks: I know you worked with Jeff Loomis, Devin Townsend, Tobias Henderson, Jørgen Munkeby, Einar Solberg, and Heidi Tveitan. That’s a lot of people. How did coordinating everything work out?
Ihsahn: To be honest, it’s been very, very easy. Tobias and Einar are both are in my live band, so it was very natural for me to bring them along. Tobias plays for the whole record so he’s kind of the biggest contributor, whereas Einar only sings clean vocals on one song. As for Jørgen Munkeby – the second biggest contributor — he did some demos on top of my rough mixes. He lives just two hours away, so he came to our studio and recorded the rest here and kind of put it together. As for Jeff and Devin, I had the privilege of them asking me to do vocals on their records so it was easy to ask them [to do vocals on mine]. They got tapes and instructions or files from me, recorded their parts, and sent them back, and then I sent them to my system here.
Metal Sucks: I wanted to talk a little bit about the album cover. You used an upside-down photo of Nietzsche. How much is that tied into the music?
Ihsahn: Throughout all the solo albums I’ve done, Nietzsche has been a huge influence on me. This time, or for at least the last two albums, the influence of Nietzsche hasn’t been as clear as on the first two albums. But still, he’s my hero. It’s kind of a coincidence that he ended up on the cover. I was working on the cover with the designer, and he came to talk with and me and my wife and we went through ideas with him. She communicates great with him and has worked with him on many covers before. We went through the whole atmosphere of what we wanted, how we could make the music and the cover art represent what we were trying to get across.
We saved the front cover for last; we started on the inside artwork and added the cover to go with all of it in the end. Everything else was done, and it was hard to come up with a particular idea of what the front cover would look like, apart from maybe having a black and white image with the title. So we sent back and forth some files with pictures and ideas, and I sent that picture just because I thought it was a really good picture, and when he presented it like that with the title broken up all over it, it really caught some of that atmosphere I feel the album reflects.
Metal Sucks: About the title as well, it means “hermit” in Latin, right? Was that related to any concept in the music, or was it just a title?
Ihsahn: It’s the symbolism of the hermit. I’ve associated myself with it for a long time. Not just because of the solo stuff, but because of the whole solitary figure who stands out in regular society and does things in a different way. Throughout my whole career I’ve come back to this image as a logical figure — whether it’s Prometheus, or Icarus, or any of these solitary figures, you kind of represent those that break away from what is publicly accepted. It’s about going away from everything else. For me, that’s intellectually but also artistically just something that I find very natural and beautiful. It sums up all of the ideology I involve myself with.
For the concept of the album, it’s all a contrast to my previous album, After. After was going to be an end of the first trilogy I did with Adversary, angL, and After – three A’s — not with any chronological concept, but I had a very clear concept for each album, and over the years I’ve developed a systematic way of working when I get together with my wife. We put out the scenario of the album and overall atmosphere. For After it was a very desolate, bleak landscape. There were no signs of life in any of the lyrics. For the new album it’s kind of much more introverted, much more paranoid and kind of schizophrenic. I tend to bring up many of the same themes, but lyrically it comes from a different perspective. Just having a kind of synopsis for the end goal, for the whole album – that keeps the writing process very focused on that goal. It’s not just a collection of songs that I happened to write in one period of time.
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