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Ravn – 1349 Singer

Date: 4/1/07
Interviewed By: Rich Catino



Backstage literally in a storage room (really a worker tried moving in a couple tables while we did this interview), our discussion included many topics upon their second set of U.S. dates after last years successful run with Celtic Frost, who were learn throughout the interview is a personal favorite of the singer. The basic philosophy of Black Metal music as an art form. The book Dante’s Inferno (brought up by our writer The Goat) as Ravn pointed out temperature change going from the heat in Tampa Florida to the cold at Jaxx in Virginia and Poughkeepsie, NY and its toll on his voice. Ravn said he always considered Hell a cold place, not hot, and the change in weather traveling in our country this time of the year was comparable to that.

Ravn experienced April Fools day here as they do also celebrate in his country of Norway, when a crew member lifted his bottle of Jagermeister liquor post show, a treat Ravn regularly looks forward to.

1. So you were recently interviewed by The Washington Post's Express. That’s a pretty big deal especially for a Black Metal band. How did that go and was the person conducting the interview knowledgeable about the genre and 1349’s music?

RAVN: Yeah that was really good for us, its a really big paper apparently in this country and the interviewer really knew what he was talking about. He didn’t ask any stupid questions like “So why do you guys wear corpse paint” he got a little more involved than that.

2. What type of lyrical direction do you like to take for 1349?

RAVN: Well its all about getting feeling out of the song. Its very rare that I write a lyric off the top of my head, I have to get inspiration from the music I hear. I tend to write based on a feeling or inspiration. I remember our drummer Frost wrote a couple lyrics for “I Breath Spears” off “Liberation” and that was the start to the rest of the track. The combination of the music with the lyrics, you know you listen to the music and you read the lyrics and that can form a third eye to get into the music. I think it is very important, and its what makes this music so powerful. Same thing with our live show, its very important to making the music come to life. I mean I could be happy with just creating the music in the studio like Darkthrone do but it is important to perform this music live.

3. What is the philosophy, to you, of Black Metal because I think people have several misconceptions of it?

RAVN: Black Metal, to me, it has to wake this feeling inside my soul, this was the first feeling I got when I first listened to the first Burzum album. When I heard them I was also into Bathory, Slayer, Hellhammer, and they all give me this kind of satisfaction when I listen to their art. Its all about the art.

The reason why I chose black metal is that it doesn't have any limitations. If I had been a religious person, like the Christians they say “I found Jesus”, its that sort of feeling because this is something I felt naturally. Nothing in a fanatic way but more spiritual. Black metal is about pursuing a feeling. Satan is just about the rebellion of man, and that represents freedom, freedom of the mind that's not suppressed by written laws from ancient times.

I was born in the seventies so I was influenced by hard rock like Deep Purple and Black Sabbath, like those bands from the seventies I think the main thing is the feeling in the music and they were really passionate about their music. This was before things were considered “commercial”. I could really relate to those bands. Its not that I am a quest to be a musician but I have a particular vision and goal for the music 1349 makes.

4. The name of the band comes from the year the plague hit Norway. So can you tell us about this choice is a band name?

RAVN: Well the story is a ship arrived and Norway in 1349 and was a dead ship that carried the bodies of the dead. It wiped out like two thirds of the population, killed the royal blood line too. A book was also written about this event and is a reading requirement is the country’s school system. I thought it was a unique name for a band, that being a number.

5. Have you started working on a new 1349 album?

RAVN: So far we have worked on a few ideas, we will do more after we get done with this tour. We will start working on the direction of the album, I know we are looking to progress on the next one. When I first formed the band I was only looking to write four albums worth of music. I may come up with some more ideas for a fifth or so but if I don’t have any ideas then this will be our last one. The thing is about Black Metal is we don’t set rules for ourselves, rules are for religious people. Black Metal is all about do what you want do what you like. Hell man look at Darkthrone its pure will and energy. Everybody needs to learn from that, you need to understand Darkthrone. You can hear that in the first Bathory album too and that’s where Darkthrone came from. Hellhammer had that same effect but they failed because they only had one e.p., but if you see the success of Celtic Frost the flame is still their from Hellhammer, its lurking underneath. I think Celtic Frost was always ahead of their time anyway, its that avant - garde metal that’s why I hold them in such high regard. Even their newest album “Monotheist” which took several years to finish I think they are ahead of everyone else with that record as well as their earlier stuff in the 80’s I am also good friends with Tom and Martin…. we have this connection once we start talking. We have an understanding of the music we make. Black Metal is really all about finding the true primal instincts of your soul and expressing that in a musical way.

6. Which Celtic Frost record is your favorite?

RAVN: I really don’t have a favorite. I have maybe several songs that I particularly like off each record…..well maybe overall “Morbid Tales”. Its dark, simple, primal. But if “Monotheist” was released in a proper time frame in comparison to when the last one came out (after “Vanity Nemesis” in 1990), Haha, its hard to draw the line then. I even like some songs off “Cold Lake” which maybe is considered not their best. Its like how do I pick a favorite album from Slayer. They each have their strong points, “Reign in Blood” is a classic, “Hell Awaits”, “South of Heaven”, to “Seasons”, “Devine Intervention” and the new one “Christ Illusion” all serve their purpose.

If you’re a journalist you really have to have an open mind and see each individual part of art. And when you listen to a band you have to figure they are an artist, and understand that what you are reviewing and writing about is someone’s art and you cant always look at it from the perspective of a fan. You have to try and understand what the artist is trying to do with their music at that time. Fans sometimes get stuck on a particular sound or moment and find it hard to understand if an artist diverges from that sound. Well then your not a fan, the your just obsessive.

7. What would you like to see done on the next 1349 record?

RAVN: I would really like to try some new things with my vocals, that’s my main goal. I know when we have been playing live I have been trying to do a few different things within my voice. I have been listening to our records to see what I would like to try differently on the next one. It doesn’t necessarily mean we are going to be better musicians, it just means we want to create better art. That doesn’t really mean we are going to be better musically, just better at the art we do. That’s what Black Metal is about in general. Its to enjoy what you do and keep it primal.

Official website: www.legion1349.com

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