Ahead of their show in Manchester (keep your eyes peeled for our review of the night in our upcoming issue!) we caught up with 1349’s guitarist Archaon to talk Massive Cauldron Of Chaos, touring and beer!
This is the final show of your Chaos Raids Europe tour – how’s it all gone for you?
Very nice! This is our first tour in Europe for a very long while, and we’re here in Manchester after playing a few other shows in the UK and some of Europe – and it’s been great! We’ve of course included lots of new material, and considering the fact that we haven’t been out in Europe for such a long time, we’ve had great receptions. We started off with three German shows and that was all-in-all quite good. It’s been a long time since I’ve last been to Germany, so we were a little uncertain about how we would go down, but people came out to see us which was good. Especially the last show, that was killer!
Which one was that?
Oberhausen. There was a really good energy, there was lots of people going really crazy and they were absolutely amazing. That was definitely one of the highlights. Then we did some shows in the Netherlands and Belgium. Paris was also amazing, but we always tend to have really good shows there.
I’ve heard the crowds are incredible in Paris – everyone seems to praise them!
They were just so violently into it, it was crazy! Also London, which has the high importance factor to it naturally because it’s the capital, and you know there’s always going to be a lot of people there. So the pressure is really on, but thankfully London was a big success for us. I would actually say the best two shows have been Paris and London.
If you had to choose a favourite of the two, which one would it be?
London, definitely. I was very very happy with that show – it was insane! Because we were so concentrated on doing the best we can do, and sometimes things go wrong and we have stupid Spinal Tap-ish mistakes and we don’t want any. However this time around, the shows have been just like we want them to be.
So no mishaps onstage then?
No! And it’s felt really really good, so it’s made the whole tour feel great.
So what can we expect from tonight’s show?
What you will see today is a more mature version of the band, I would like to think. Our newest album, Massive Cauldron Of Chaos, works as a statement for us almost, and it’s an intense show that will serve the new album’s purpose in many ways.
Talking of the new album, how did you approach writing and recording it?
In many ways, similarly to what we’ve done with past albums.
So did you find the approaches you took on past albums worked well and didn’t change anything?
Well, a little bit here and there. It wasn’t too different this time around because the writing thing starts off with me writing a skeleton or template for a song, then everyone will add their own little bits. I’m not a drummer or a bassist, I’m hopeless at that! So the people that know those areas work on their things, and then we bring it all together. Then we rehearse it a lot, and arrange and rearrange if needed, because we’re always…it’s not like we just get up and make a song – it’s not the way it works.
I expect it must take a bit of time, there’s no point in rushing.
Exactly. We take a lot of time making a song because we want to ensure it’s at our own very high standard of quality.
Some bands put out releases every year, but it makes no sense because they always seem rushed and unfinished to me – it makes much more sense to take a bit more time with it like you do!
I don’t understand how bands can do that! Perhaps if it’s an easy type category of music but with the art that we make, it’s just not that easy. When you sit down and prioritise, there are always things that we have to scrap because they’re just not good enough. Then we have a selection process and that goes on for each individual, the whole band helps out because we have a good grip on what holds the 1349 quality.
Yeah, from being a band for so long now you’ll know what works and what doesn’t by now!
Certainly. And that’s the first stage of our writing process. The lyrical content mostly consists of contributions from Destroyer from Nocturnal Breed and lyrics written by us. However something that was different this time around was that we flew in our US front of house to do the production on this album for us, which was quite a different twist to it than before because we’ve never done that.
He’s been with the band since 2008 and knows us very well, so it was just a matter of time before we worked with him in the studio. It worked very well and he worked wonders for us. It’s got this very Bathory-esque guitar sound with one really ethereal thin eerie sound backed up by a thick rhythm guitar sound, so we worked on that in addition to a bit of 70s sound in the total for it, so that is how we approached it. We had individual conversations with one another and we all worked really hard on getting the best things in the studio – he really pulled out everything from all of us. It felt good and we were all really happy with the results.
Moving back to touring, what’s do you like most about it?
Probably the beer!
Can’t say no to a bit of free alcohol!
Yes! But it’s not necessarily the free alcohol for us, it’s actually the adventure of walking round and finding a pub or whatever – we’re all beer geeks! Everyone in the band is pretty nerdy about it and we like craft beers. One of our main tasks when we’re on the road is to walk around and find somewhere to have a beer. Belgium was good because it’s a country known for specific types of beer. For us to come from Norway and travel round the world and pick up beers from everywhere – I find that to be a privilege besides the task we’re actually there for. As you might know, we launched our own beer recently.
I’ve not tried it but I’ve been meaning to – I bet it must be superb!
It’s really fantastic and it will be even better in about ten year’s time. We’ve got some stored in oak barrels, like those ones you get red wine in, so it’s going to be really exciting to see how it turns out! We’re also planning another brew in the not so distant future – that’s in store for when we have a bit of time off.
So what would you say your favourite beer has been of this tour?
I would like to say one of the beers I hadn’t tried before because it’s always good to try the new ones, but I don’t know if I can recall because there’s been so many now! I actually tend to keep a list of all the beers I’ve drunk to try and keep a record for myself. The Bacchus Lambic was good, it was a classic store version but it was really nice change and broke things up a bit, having so many intensities. Also we’ve had a couple of good IPAs, strong ones. We had some darker ones as well. I really can’t remember my favourite though…I’ll need to check my register!
Have you had one today yet?
No, not yet. I woke up at three because we had a very late night yesterday and I’ve just been soundchecking and prepping since I got up. It’s the last gig of the tour, as well, so I’ve had to put a bit more work in! But we’ll try and go somewhere before the show starts.