Norse: Incorporating The Human Element

What Had To Be Captured In The Album? ....An explosion.


All Is Mist and Fog – the anticipated sophomore release from Southern Highlands brutes, Norse. It  has been stated that as the follow up to Hellstorm was to move into a new direction, we caught up with vocalist Treelo recently to discuss the latest album.


What inspired this new direction and where did you end up with All Is Mist & Fog? “For the new album we wanted to do something different and move away from all the current trends.  We were tired of hearing so many ‘polished’ metal albums, whose over-produced sound left little room for any human elements in their performance. The atmosphere and human connection is all but gone on these kinds of albums. On All is Mist and Fog, what you hear is us playing our instruments as we would play them live. There is nothing more disappointing than hearing a band perform amazingly on record and then seeing them struggle to recreate that sound live.  We want to make sure what you hear on our album is what you see and hear live”.


What new challenges (if any) did you face in the recording process with this new direction? “Working on the basis of keeping it ’raw ‘and natural, we had to approach this album differently from Hellstorm. On the last album we weren’t really sure what we were doing, we had a rough idea but there was a lot of parts we thought we were capable of playing.  Once recorded we soon realised we fell short of the mark. Naturally this kind of ‘no editing’ idea leaves us totally exposed to the listener. If you mess up on the recording, then it’s very noticeable because we didn’t want to use all the tools and tricks modern software allows to ‘polish a turd’ - so to speak. We had to practice rigorously to perform at this level. We also demoed extensively, worked and re-worked the songs till we knew them inside out. There was also a very high standard this time round; we scrapped about 3 albums worth of material until we were happy with the final songs”.


In my opinion Norse is definitely music for musicians, how complex is the music of Norse in actuality? Do you like to challenge yourselves as musicians when writing? “We do enjoy the challenge of writing complex music, but the majority of the songs are based on the golden rules of song writing:  verse, chorus, bridges etc. it’s just hidden under blast beats and crazy guitar work! The music of Norse isn’t overly complex. Well, not for us. As the composers we have to understand how everything works in each song. When we write music we do often challenge ourselves, but not because we feel music should sound ‘complex’ for the sake of it; we just want to make sure the music feels right to us”.


You have mentioned in the past that you are highly critical of your own work – so reviews wouldn’t worry you then? “Not really. That being said, no one likes to be told that their hard work is shit. But in this industry you can’t please everybody.  We knew the overall sound would confuse or not fit peoples’ ideals of the genre, however at the end of the day you have to please yourself”.


Not reflecting on past albums is important to the band; at this point do you see yourselves heading down several different paths throughout your career? What impact with this have with your fans in the future do you think? “At this point in time it’s hard to say. All I know is that we aren’t fans of recreating our own work. While Hellstorm and All is Mist and Fog are great to us in their own ways, our next release will probably be a different sound again”. Treelo mentions the few fans that were lost after the band moved away from the style of Hellstorm and its cheesy, happy-sounding riffs; admitting it is no great loss.


I remember seeing Norse for the first time in my home town when I was about 21 I think and I remember that I was absolutely blown away, I believe I still have my signed copy of The Unrelenting – how far has the band come since 2006, in terms of musicianship & style? [Laughs] “Well that was our first year of Norse! We were a very different band back then. We had lots of different members and Frog and I didn’t have the same roles as we do now. The true Norse line up didn’t take place until 2011. Before that, we were basically just a thrash metal band that didn’t really take it too seriously. We had fun for sure, but it’s a totally different band now, and it’s far more enjoyable to be a part of it these days”. The band, now standing at two members with session members for live performances – how does this aesthetically work? What involvement do Marcus & Shayne have with the music of Norse? “Marcus and Shayne are great guys, and it’s a real pleasure to work with such professional and sensible musicians.  Basically Frog and I will write all the music, and handle all the business for the band. The session guys turn up for rehearsals close to gig dates and perform what we write live.  So basically they have the fun job!”


What are plans to promote the latest album through 2013? “We are currently signed to European Promotions Company, Metal Promotions. We are hoping this spreads our work overseas and gain a wider audience. Touring internationally for any Australian band is such an expensive, time consuming venture, but if we can at least raise awareness of Norse, it’s a step in the right direction”.


The latest album has received critical acclaim both nationally and internationally and has propelled the band to the stage with several very prominent international bands, what’s next for Norse? “While we plan on playing more shows throughout the year, we have started the pre-production phases of recording our upcoming EP. We are inspired to try and write and record as much as we can outdoors. Tracking guitars and vocals in the pine forests that surround Frogs home to try and capture some real atmosphere! It will be a fun venture for sure”.