Fresh interview with Arabrot!February 18th, 2014
There’s always some storm brewing around Fysisk Format’s flagship Arabrot. Always some soup of uncategorisable noise rock, sludge and metal cooking. A fur-clad and hat-donned edition of Arabrot maestro Kjetil Nernes dropped by the mystic chambers of Fysisk Format’s cellar the other day to unmask Arabrot’s current activities.
So what’s going on in the Arabrot camp for the time being? Your Facebook profile tells tales of a coming EP…
Lots of things on the Arabrot agenda. We’ve recorded several songs with Milton Von Krogh at Taakeheimen Studios, Oslo, Norway. Also did a recording session with sound artist Concept.Virus in Stavanger just before Christmas. So we’re looking at a few smaller releases coming up this year. I am also currently working on the lyrics for an upcoming full-length album. More on that later. A few shows coming up too…
What direction will the new stuff take in relation to the self-titled LP? Will it follow in the same vein, take an entirely different approach, or something in between?
Most of recently recorded songs are classic Arabrot material, but thematically the most lascivious and obscene to date. Smut talk!
Are there any tour plans in the works? What about less traditional Arabrot performances, such as playing a live soundtrack to silent film classics like ”Faust” and ”Häxan” which Arabrot has been doing at showings around Norway the past few years? Is there something in a similar vein to be expected?
Yes, we play the infamous bunker Hulen, Bergen next week, then the Inferno Festival in Norway, plus a UK tour including Desertfest in April. We just did Faust in Trondheim last week in addition to a special avantgarde noise show to an arts film in December. The improvised and more artsy side of Arabrot is definitely to be expected in the time to come.
You’ve been known to comment on a variety of philosophical themes in your work. Are there any philosophical or literary references that are present on the Arabrot releases to come? Any concepts?
I am always working on specific themes when working on the texts and writing the lyrics for these albums. There are philosophical topics, lots of classical literary references, general existentialism and smut. Still working around these themes but with a slightly more military outlook.
How will the visual profile be this time around? Will you continue your partnership with Johannes Høie?
Absolutely, my maybe-not-so-secret plan is making him a steady member of the band. The visual profile is up to him responding to the lyrics.
The music videos of Arabrot are art projects in themselves. Can the listeners/viewers cross their fingers for more on that front?
Yes, we have plans on making another video with filmmaker Olle Lundin next month. Hopefully we will find the time and resources to indulge in more video arts in the years to come.
Arabrot has a fluctuating extended membership, with a lot of people being involved in the band besides you as the sole full member. Can we expect any familiar names this time around? Any first-time collaborations?
There’s been a lot of confusion on who’s actually in the band so maybe a good idea to try to distinguish the different roles. Me and fellow founding member Kristian Kallevik still run Arabrot as we did back in 2001- me as frontman and general impetus and Kristian as label boss. We have several great musicians and artists contributing on a steady basis such as Emil Nikolaisen, Concept.Virus, Karin Park, Johannes Høie and Steve Albini. Live musicians include Magnus Nymo, Guro S. Moe, Boris Lifschutz, Henrik Myrvold and Pål Bredrup. Deadly Nightshade and Marakel are past members and not a part of the band anymore.
In the latest years Arabrot has finally gained recognition at home, however the Norwegian letter “å” is replaced by an international “a” in the band name. From Årabrot to Arabrot – how come?
A much smaller deal than some people think. We’ve throughout the years played most of our shows in Europe/US where we always are Arabrot with an A. We will probably alternate between Arabrot and Årabrot in the years to come.
Despite all your artistic evolutions: is Arabrot anno 2014 still “anti-Van Halen” and still “Norwegian noise rock”? Is Arabrot still the garbage dump in today’s musical landscape?
Ha! Yes indeed, now bringing the landfill site to the art centers.
by Erik Johan Egenes for Fysisk Format