By Marcos Garcia
After years of waiting, Kråke’s first album, Conquering Death, is out now, showing a powerful sound, mixing the aggressive and heavy approach of Norway’s Black Metal and the oppressive and dark atmospheres, sound both symphonic and harsh, but a touch of elegance.
Taking advantage of this, Metal Samsara is proud to make one interview with the band’s core, Beist and Dreugh, to talk about the album, the band itself and their plans.
Metal Samsara: First of all, please, talk about the band’s history to our readers.
Beist: Well, Kråke was first founded by me and Dreugh quite some time ago, being brothers we had always had always known we wanted to do something musically together. It wasn't until 2008 we finally got to produce and release a Demo and start to focus on the band. Since then we have recorded and produced our Debut Album Conquering Death.
Metal Samsara: Well, this is a cliche one: what are the musical influences of both of you, the bands you like and the ones who you can name to influence Kråke’s music? Just by hearing, it’s not an easy thing to say…
Dreugh: This is a very good question and I could probably go on for ages in terms of inspiration sources and influences in terms of other bands, but if It had not been for bands like Satyricon, Dimmu Borgir, Old Mans Child, Emperor, Bal-Sagoth to name a few, Kråke would had never excisted. These pioneers have been very important to us as a musician.
Beist: Me and Dreugh being brothers seperated only by a year, we grew up together sharing much the same taste in music and it still the same now a days. Of course our influences made their way into our music in some sense or another but I hope we have managed to capture something of our own, something unique to Kråke.
Metal Samsara: Another one about band’s history: the name Kråke, in Norwegian, means ‘Crow’, but in the vision of yours, it has a meaning beyond this, isn’t it right? Can you tell us the conception you had in mind when you chose it? Is it linked someway to Hugin and Munin?
Beist: Our band name has actually stirred up some controversy over here in Norway and we have gotten some questions as to if it is a joke name or not. I can tell you that we are pretty serious concerning our band name. To us the crow is much more than just a bird. It is quite an ominous figure and have been given many mystical properties by many different civilizations and cultures throughout the ages, be it a herald of woe or a sign of wisdom and cunning. Odin's ravencompanions (being close realtives of the crow) Hugin and Munin are other great examples on how these dark avians have beeing elevated to almost god-like creatures, both feared and respected.
Metal Samsara: Sorry for ask this, but the band, in the beginning, was supposed to be a studio band? The question comes from the fact that all on the album is done by both of you only, with no help from anyone…And talking about this, was there a specific reason for both of you do this?
Beist: It has never been our intention to keep Kråke as a studio-band only, but I can see as to how you would think that. Producing our debut album has been a long process as we have had medical issues interfering with the production and at the same time we have had some bad luck with our studio equipment. The main reason to the delay however is the search for the perfect sound to suit our music. Throughout the span of this process it is safe to say that we have accumulated invaluable knowledge on how to actually manufacture the music we want, in the way we want, giving us the posibiliy to keep doing it our way. This would probably not be possible if we had simply booked a studio and had outside engineering help when recording Conquering Death. Well it being true that the entire process of recording and producing Conquering Death has been done mainly by Dreugh on his own, we have also had some help finalizing the product as the mastering has been done by Jens Bogren at Facination Street.
Metal Samsara: The sound that comes from the CD is very clear and showing a production done with a careful attention to each element of you music, so Dreugh, did you have some experiment on music production? And how was to have Jens Bogren on the mastering? Did you like his work?
Dreugh: Beside producing the demo we released back in 2008, I have done a couple of mixes for some local bands like Ainarikiar and Hellnight. When it comes to Conquering Death we had a clear vision in therms of the "sound" we wanted, and all the gear I used on this recording was carefully selected. The production and mix took ages, and I have learned a lot during this process, and I now know what to do next time right from the start! Jens Bogren is a very talented guy, and I knew from the start that he was the right person to contact when the mix was done. He did a fantastic mastering job and I cannot thank him enough for this. Jens and Tony at Fascination Steet are very cool guys, and I really hope we can work together in the future.
Metal Samsara: About Conquering Death, can you tell us the idea behind the title? It’s a very strong one.
Beist: We didn't decide on the album title until very late in the process, and we wanted something really powerful to put a fitting label on our music. The lyrical themes I camp up with during the writing process was heavily influenced by the subject of death in one way or the other, be it being emotinally so or actually fighting it. Working out from this we came up with the title and we feel it is a fitting one at that. It is also the lyrical concept of the song Victorious, I so you can in a way call it the title song of the record.
Metal Samsara: Hearing the band's music, it’s not only strong and heavy, but it’s intense, dark and very symphonic. And the most important: it’s full of life and personality, so, can you tell us about how were the composition process of the music, and the writing of the lyrics? By the way, what is the message on them?
Beist: Concerning the lyrics, as I said before they are very much themed about the different states of death and dying. I try to focus more on story-telling in my lyrics and would rather try to stay clear of the sterotypical topics of religion for the most part. I don't think my words are too cryptic and I would rather challenge our audience to make up their own mind on their meanings.
Metal Samsara: Another thing the calls the attention is the beautiful cover, done by Marcelo HVC. How did you contact him? Is he up to your expectations?
Beist: We actually contacted Marcelo quite a while ago, me and my brother both being fans of his work, and asked him to do our cover artwork. He gladly accepted even though being swamped in work and came up with a draft for our cover. As I mentioned before things have been dragging out during the recording process and it went quiet for a while. After a while we were standing with a completed album and a record deal with Indie Recordings and things kind of escalated from there. Indie wanted us to wrap up the process and we provided them the first cover artwork being done by Marcelo. The first draft diddn't quite make it to print but Marcelo, working around the concept of the first one, quickly came up with another. It is safe to say that everyone involved in the process was more than pleased with the result. He is a phenomenal artist and a great guy and we are very grateful to have him on our team!
Metal Samsara: Talking about the line-up. How did you find the guys? And will they contribute in your music and lyrics in the future releases?
Beist: Filling out the ranks in our band was no problem as we know most of them from before, them being active in the local metal community with other bands and such. As Kråke stands today me and Dreugh will probably be writing the music and lyrics for our upcomming releases. Although I`m sure the other members have a lot to contribute, we want to keep things simple and in the spirit of what we already have created. Nothing is set in stone though, and nobody knows what the future will bring.
Metal Samsara: Conquering Death is out now, via Indie Recordings, so are you satisfied with their support? Are they up to all your expectations? And how’s the CD going through the Metal media worldwide? I think the reviews are great!
Beist: When we first set out on this project we had really diddn't have any expectations when it came to choosing our record label. We simply wanted to get our music out on the market. As time went by and we came up with more and more material for our album we felt that we were really on the right path, so we held out searching for a label until we could show our work in its entirety. This payed off in the end and we were contacted by Indie after they had received a tip from friend of the band who had heard the first master of the album. The rest is history, and we are very pleased to be situated at Indie Recordings, them being our top choice of Norwegian labels by a long shot! The reception we have gotten on Conquering Death has sometimes been more than overwhelming. We mostly score very high when the points are dealt, and although we can't please everybody, we seem to have gotten something right when looking at the scores so far.
Metal Samsara: You come from Norway, a country with a tradition on Metal, especially Black Metal, so, how do you see the things on Norwegian Metal Scene by now? Some years after all the things that happened and the band’s exposure to world fans, can you say that there’s a strong Metal scene there? And can you name some new and good bands that are starting to show their music? And how’s Kråke’s reception by the public in your own country?
Beist: As you said Norway has a strong tradition when it comes to metal music, and we are quite famous world-wide for the things that happened here during the early 90s and of course for bands like Dimmu Borgir, Immortal and Emperor. The metal-scene here is still going strong and although we have quite a small population, Norway have been the birthplace of many great bands, also during the recent years. To mention some up-and-comming bands I can only point the finger at the bands at our record label Indie Recordings. They have gathered quite a multitude of bands from all different metal genres under their name, and there certainly are many exiting acts, both new and seasoned, amongst our collegues! Concerning the reception of our firtst full length album, we have had some quite favorable reviews on our album by Norwegian media so far. Though we have yet to show any sales numbers, we are told they are supposed to be pretty good as well.
Metal Samsara: The CD is on the stores, so it means that some shows are about to happen, I guess. Is there some excursion in sight by now, even some shows on great festivals on Europe, and maybe on USA and America? And do you have plan for some video for CD promotion?
Beist: At the moment we don't have any plans to go touring in the immediate future. Our main concern as of now is to promote our music and build an audience. This is our first release ever and I think you can understand the importance of promoting ourselves and getting our name out to the world. Don't get me wrong , we are very eager to take our band out on the road and perform our music wherever we are wanted, but to do that people would need to want to see you. Who know what the next couple of months will bring, if we keep getting good reviews then people will most likely start to notice us. Concerning a video for the cd promotion, that would be awesome! Though there are no plans to do that as of yet, we can only hope we get to do that in the future, this release or the next.
Metal Samsara: We thank you a lot for your kind attention and words, so, please, leave your message to Brazilian fans (NR: and worldwide as well, for from now on, all the Metal Samsara's interviews will be shown in English as well) and the readers of Metal Samsara as well.
Beist: We want to thank you for this oppurtunity to introduce our band to all the Brazilian metal-heads out there, we hope our music is to your liking and check us out if you enjoy symphonic/atmospheric black metal! Who knows, we might be visiting you guys somtime in the future...