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Arabrot - Interview

  by Tom Fogarty

published: 27 / 10 / 2011

Arabrot - Interview


Tom Fogarty talks to Norwegian noise rockers Arabrot at a Halloween show in London about their new album, 'Solar Anus', and recording with its producer Steve Albini

Norwegian necromantic/noise rockers Arabrot performed at the Shacklewell Arms on Halloween, as part of their European tour to promote their latest album, 'Solar Anus'. Pennyblackmusic caught up with band members Kjetil Nernes and Vidar Evensen before the show. PB: For anyone in the UK not familiar with what you do, can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about your music? KN: We are called Arabrot and we are a Norwegian noise rock act. We’ve been going for ten years this year. We’re a touring band and we’ve released five albums. We’re touring at the moment to promote our latest, 'Solar Anus'. Critically it’s gone down very well. PB: Do you prefer touring or being in the studio? KN: Those two worlds are so different – it’s very hard to compare them. For me personally and artistically the most important thing is to produce something. Create some art, whatever. Your mission is to put stuff out there. I’m comfortable with touring – I enjoy it very much. But like I said before, it’s very hard to compare the two aspects as they are the opposite of each other. PB: Critics have claimed that 'Solar Anus' is your best album yet. Would you agree? KN: Yes I do. Absolutely. All our albums so far have culminated towards what is 'Solar Anus'. We’ve properly found the soul and the shape of Arabrot now. PB: 'Solar Anus' was produced by Steve Albini. How did you find working with him? KN: He’s an interesting fellow, a real character to be around. It was great working with him. It was hard at times and some people find him hard to work with, but we enjoyed it. PB: Was he difficult at times? VE: No, as long as you know what you have to do. He has a certain way of recording – as long as you know what you’re supposed to be doing when you’re in the studio he’s great. We liked him. PB: To what extent did he influence the sound of the album? KN: It’s us making the music. We wrote it and played the music – the ideas were ours. He didn’t shape the sound of the album but we had that already. We were there to make some music and he was there to record the album. VE: He has his job. He is professional, like a mechanic. He captured it really well and he was fun to work with. PB: The lyrics on 'Solar Anus' are really very intelligent. People might not be expecting that from a noise rock band. Can you tell us about some of the themes of the album? KN: Well first of all, thank you. There are a lot of different themes in there, representing the high and the low. I’m really into the duality of the world – heaven at one extreme, and then the seedy filth at the bottom. I was very influenced by the French writer and philosopher Georges Bataille. It’s not a concept album by any means, but there are many themes and jokes in there. I picked up a lot of references from art and literature, and they’re all in there to be found! PB: Do you worry that people might be put off by the title of the album? KN: To be honest, we’re not worried about those kinds of people. In Germany occasionally people don’t get it, but here in the UK people always do. It’s almost like a little joke we’re having. And usually people get it. The first track is called 'Solar Anus' which is from Georges Bataille. The second track is called 'And The Ass Had Spoken' which is actually from the Bible, and so it goes on through the album. VE: If anyone was offended by it, or thought we are some kind of joke act – that’s their problem, not ours. PB: The music on 'Solar Anus' sounds very rich and densely layered. Is that sound difficult to reproduce on stage as a two-piece? KN: No, not at all. It’s very simple what we do. It’s not hard to do live. That was the whole point of doing the album this way really. There is no bass on there, just baritone guitar and drums. We get other people in to help if we need them. PB: Do you work better as a duo? KN: We’ve been together for ten years now. We get on well together. VE: Yeah, we get on well together, work well together – and that’s where the creativity comes from. Bouncing ideas off each other. PB: Were you happy to be nominated for the Norwegian Grammy in 2009? KN: I thought it was great! It felt like kind of a joke in a way. Very unexpected. I never thought of myself as a “metal guy” before, but I was happy about it. PB: How has the tour been going? KN: It has been going fairly well, I’d say. We’ve had a great time with Dethscalator, who are supporting us. There’ve been ups and downs, but that’s always how it goes. Turnout-wise it’s been really good. It’s really busy here tonight – I’m looking forward to the show. PB: And finally, what’s next for Arabrot? KN: Right now, we’re concentrating on the tour – working hard to promote the album that is out. We’ve recorded a very special EP that will be coming out. It's very different from anything we’ve done before. PB: Special in what way? KN: It sounds a lot like Arabrot, without sounding like Arabrot at the same time. Or even the other way round! PB: When is it coming out? KN: Within the next half-year hopefully. For the next half-year we’ll be touring, then bringing out the EP. We’ll probably start working on some new songs soon for another album. We like getting in the studio. PB: Will you be working with Steve Albini again for the next album? KN. Yes. This time round we’ve figured out how things work with him. We tried a few things out, played with ideas, and I’m pretty confident already how I want the next album to be, sound-wise. So we’ve got it all figured! The last album 'Revenge' was very different. And then we made the latest album 'Solar Anus' and we’re very proud of it! PB: Thank you.

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live reviews

Shacklewell Arms, London, 31/10/2011
Arabrot - Shacklewell Arms, London, 31/10/2011
At a packed show on Halloween at the Shacklewell Arms and the only UK date of their European tour, Tom Fogarty enjoys a set of ferocious noise rock from Norwegian band, Arabrot


Solar Anus (2011)
Strong combination of both the highbrow and the lowbrow on fifth album from Norwegian noise act, Arabrot

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