Audrey Horne

Radio Metal: It’s that time of the year where you look at the outcome of the previous year. What happened for AUDREY HORNE in 2009?

Ice Dale (guitars): First we came back from a European tour in November and December 2008. Then we went straight back on tour in Norway in January and February 2009. After that we started writing for the new album. We spent most of the year writing, then we went to L.A. to record in mid-September. 2009 was basically about playing live, writing music and recording the new album!

At the end of 2008, you went on a massive European tour with ENSLAVED and played something like 40 gigs in a month and half. That’s quite a lot! Did you have any hard times regarding the heavy schedule? I heard Toschie had some difficulty singing at the end of the tour…

Yeah, Toschie got sick at the end of the tour. He kept singing because we didn’t want to cancel any shows, but his voice got worse and worse, so in the end we actually had to cancel a couple of gigs. He managed most of the tour, but we had to call off a few shows. It happens. There’s not much you can do about it!

You actually play in both bands. Was it demanding for you to give yourself fully for both shows?

Before we did it, I thought it was going to be really hard, but hey, I’m going to do it anyway! It wasn’t that bad, in the end. We always played right before ENSLAVED, so I was already on stage, could take a couple of drinks, and then I was back on track. It was OK, it was interesting.

Nowadays, ENSLAVED is a progressive black metal band, while AUDREY HORNE is straightforward and more melodic in its musical approach. Did you feel it right for AUDREY HORNE to open for ENSLAVED? How did ENSLAVED fans welcome you?

It was pretty good. We were a little bit nervous before the European tour, but I think we got a lot of new fans. It’s not always easy to be on the extreme scene, because we’re a more classic rock’n’roll band. Still, we have a lot of fans on the extreme side of metal, so we thought, why not!

You’re about to release your third album, which is self-titled. Usually, when a band release a self-titled album, it’s because they want to mark a new beginning in their career, or because they feel the album is their strongest so far. Is it the case here?

Yeah, kind of. When we wrote the first album, there were six of us, and we did the music that everyone loved. On the second album, two people left, and for this album we took a lot of ideas from what we’d written all together. For this third album, there’s only four of us left. It’s like starting all over again. We spent a lot of time writing songs and preparing the album. This is what the band is all about now. You can say it’s a new beginning. We’ve got a new booking agency, a new management… It’s a new start for everyone.

Le Fol, your previous album, was self-produced. For this new album, you called Joe Barresi, with whom you already worked at the time of No Hay Banda. Does this mean that the self-production experience for Le Fol was not very conclusive?

Like I said, when we did Le Fol, it was a bit chaotic in the band. At the time it felt right to do it ourselves. I think it’s a very honest album, it shows where we were standing as musicians at the time. For the next album we took a step forward, took a producer who could help us with our sound and our playing and everything. We really wanted to go away and not do it in Bergen this time. When you make an album in your hometown, there’s a lot of interruption: private life and friends get in the way. We’d always dreamed about going to L.A. and do a record there, so we did it. It was great to work with Joe, he’s really professional and has a good ear for drums, for example. It was a whole new experience. Before that I used to go to the studio with my guitar and my amps and say: “OK, this is what I’ve got”. This time it was really different.

Some bands like to do all production/mixing duties by themselves for the sake of creative freedom. They don’t like having other people tell them what would be right for them. Do you still have this kind of freedom with Joe Barresi or do you like to have somebody with an external ear on your music tell you what they think of it?

Joe mixed our first album, he accepted to do it because he loved the band and the music. When we started working on the second album, we realized he wanted the exact same thing that we did. We couldn’t have worked with a big producer who would have made changes to what we wanted to do and taken us to a new direction. That’s why we chose Joe, because we knew we wanted to achieve the same result. I know bigger bands are bothered by decisions from their label and stuff, like: “we want to do it in a different way, because we want to play this on the radio”. But we’re not that big, so we have a lot of control. The label didn’t actually hear the album before it was done and mixed.

We often say that the third album is an important step in a band’s career. Are there errors you made and learned from in the previous two albums that you really made an effort not to reproduce on this album?

The interesting thing about music and writing albums is that you learn from things. An album is a kind of “right at the moment” experience, in which you put your thoughts as a person, as a musician and as a band. When you think back on it, you think that perhaps you would do some things differently, but you still like it. I’m still proud of the first two albums, I think they’re really good. But you always evolve, and I think that when the time comes when a band think they have made the perfect album, they can stop making records.

In the last song, “Godspeed”, we can hear the line “These Vultures will guide you”, while the opening song on the album is called “These Vultures”. What are these vultures and what is the link between the two songs?

When you hear the last song, it takes your mind back to the first one. So you go back and listen to the album once again. There’s no other link than that.

Actually, if we play “These Vultures” right after “Godspeed”, the “sequence” sounds quite logical musically. Was it intended? Did you explicitly try to make an album that goes in a full circle?

Actually, yeah. When we put together the songs for this album, we wanted them to make sense as a whole album. It’s not like it’s a concept album or anything, but music-wise, all these songs fit together and make a whole. It was really important for us. We wrote a bunch of songs, picked out the best ten or eleven and tried to make a whole.

The Real Audrey Horne.

The band’s name comes from a character in David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. Usually the atmosphere in David Lynch’s movies is quite wacky. A song like “Circus” and many others in AUDREY HORNE’s repertoire also tend in that direction. Where does the craziness, or we could say originality, we sometimes find in your music come from?

Like you said, the name of the band comes from a David Lynch character, we all love this movie. But it’s not like we’re trying to base all our music around David Lynch. We’re more like a classic rock band, like BLACK SABBATH, DEEP PURPLE, AEROSMITH, GUNS ‘N ROSES. When we’re writing, we’re more focused on the melodies: if a song is lacking the melody, we don’t use it. I see us more as a classic rock band, maybe even pop.

How would you compare AUDREY HORNE the band with Audrey Horne the movie character?

She’s really sexy and mysterious. I think our music is like that! That could be the link.

So you think you’re a sexy band?!

Oh yeah! Sexy people with sexy music!

Tom Cato Visnes left the band in 2007. Since then no official bass player has been chosen to replace him, but a session musician plays on the album and on stage instead. Is it by choice or is it just because you haven’t managed to find the right person?

After he and our keyboard player left, I did the bass on the second album, and we decided not to use a keyboard. On the last album, I didn’t want to use the bass. We wanted a real bass player, so we hired a guy we knew, a fuckin’ good bass player from Bergen. We used session musicians because we didn’t want to get them involved in the band at the moment. We wanted to find out what the band was all about first. It’s like, when you meet a girl, you don’t want to get married after the first date; you want to try out and see what happens, see if you’ve got a connection. We’ll definitely get some new members eventually, but we want to try things out first and see how it works. We want to be sure we’ve got the right person.

I’ve read that Tom left the band because he chose to put more effort in GOD SEED and SAGH. Generally speaking, almost all AUDREY HORNE members play in other well-established bands. How difficult is it for the band to move forward while, at the same time, the band members are committing themselves to other bands?

All four of us are involved in AUDREY HORNE as their main band, it’s not just another band we play in. I think Tom choose to leave because he simply had to many things to do. At that time, he had a day job, a girlfriend and a kid. He also played in a lot of different bands and played a lot live. It was just too much and he had to choose, I guess. I’ve played in many bands myself, but right now, for all four of us, AUDREY HORNE is the main band. We’re going to release a new album in March, and we’re totally focused on AUDREY HORNE. It’s basically all about planning stuff. You release an album, go on tour, do the promotion and stuff… It makes things easier to plan. We’re doing good so far. It might become a problem in the future.

Interview conducted by phone on january, 2010

AUDREY HORNE’s myspace : www.myspace.com/audreyhornemusic

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