Enslaved’s Grutle Kjellson Talks ‘In Times’ Album + More
Enslaved singer-bassist Grutle Kjellson was the guest on Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio show. The vocalist chatted with Jackie about the band's new album, In Times, and he also discussed how his relationship with longtime guitarist Ivar Bjornson has evolved over time. Check out the interview below.
Thank you for being on the show.
[laughs] Hello, good evening.
We're here to talk about the 13th studio album from Enslaved called In Times. You were young when Enslaved started. Kids that young are usually single minded about the music they like. What first made you think about incorporating different musical styles into Enslaved?
Well, I was 17 years old when we formed Enslaved. So yeah, that's pretty young -- simple minded in many ways but perhaps not with music. Back then, we had kind of a broad spectrum of influences. Obviously we were very influenced by bands like Celtic Frost, Bathory and all the contemporary bands like Mayhem and Dark Throne. [There were] other extreme metal acts, both Black Metal bands and some old school Death Metal bands. We still had been collecting records for a while even back then so we all own our Zeppelin albums, Pink Floyd and KISS and UFO albums. That goes not only for Enslaved, I got through most of the contemporary bands in the extreme metal scene. In the early '90s, people were listening to a lot of different kinds of music not just only extreme metal and not just only heavy metal either. Classical music, all kinds of music really.
Musically, where where do you want In Times to take Enslaved that it's never been before?
Pretty easy. We always wanted to take it one step forward. We hate the idea of repeating ourselves and hate the idea of working inside specific frames. So, when we started working on the new album we always just go with the flow. We always just try to very simply make our own contemporary, favorite music -- not have any goals or any specific idea of how it shall sound. I think that kills the whole energy, the whole nerve of making interesting music. To have a specific goal, it really makes music more static and sterile. That's something we want to avoid. It's something every band should avoid, sterile music is s--t music. Simple as that.
When songwriting started for In Times, how did positive response to the last few Enslaved albums affect your initial ideas for new music?
We are not that concerned about what other people think and we're not, as I've said, we hate to work inside any genre frames or anything like that. So, basically all the pressure we feel is the pressure we put on ourselves to try to avoid sounding like we have before. Trying to push things forward. That's always been the beauty of playing in Enslaved, because we've always had this creative urge to develop and not stagnate. This is actually becoming and making records, recording music -- it's actually becoming more and more fun over the years. It's actually a lot more enjoyable now than it was 15 years ago. So that's a good thing.
What makes the studio process fulfilling for you, specifically in the case of this new album In Times?
On the previous album we did, we decided to take it a few steps back when it came to actually recording the music. We decided we wanted to have a more live music approach. We decided to record the drums, bass and rhythm guitars live in the studio. I think we were onto something then so we decided to go for that this time as well and this time we decided to rehearse a lot more prior to recording so, it was pretty flawless this time. We were careful so we had a good time, the three of us recording the main themes, bass guitars and drums. That was a huge and great achievement for us. It's probably our most organic and dynamic recording up to date. I would say that recording process was a huge success.
You and Ivar have known each other a long time. Personally and musically, how has your relationship evolved and changed since you've first met?
We were pretty young back then. I was 17 and when we met I was actually 12 as far as I can remember. We used to be in a death metal band called Phobia prior to Enslaved. Back then we didn't know each other and we grew into being friends. We grew from being friends into being brothers and then we had to take a few steps back and think of how to [laughs] not step on each others toes and not have [laughs] gain some respect from each other. We developed that relationship over time and it works really well. I have huge respect for Ivar and he has huge respect for me and we know how / when to not interfere. We know how to interact with each other on all situations, actually. It works really good. It's almost like an old married couple without the mandatory sex, I'm just kidding. [laughs] It works really well.
Pick up the new album In Times. Really appreciate you being on the show. Good luck with this new record.
Thank you so much, hope to see you guys on tour and hope you enjoy the new album. Buy it, steal it, just get it. Anyway. Thank you so much.
Thanks to Enslaved's Grutle Kjellson for the interview. In Times is available now at both Amazon and iTunes. Full Metal Jackie’s weekend show can be heard on radio stations around the country — for a full list of stations, go to fullmetaljackieradio.com.