Østen Bergøy Interview

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Østen Bergøy Interview

Post by Talantless on Sat Nov 22, 2008 12:23 am

Phoner interviews are always hard for me, so after Tarja Turunen, male vocalist Østen from Tristania has the hard job to understand my questions. When he calls he sounds very relaxing and during the conversation he shows a lot of patience. There is enough to talk about, because there happened a lot these last two years. With their new masterpiece ‘Illumination’ the band has proven again that they have a very diverse sound. I hope you get a climp from the new chapter in the story of Tristania.


Illumination

Illumination reminds me of the art period in the history, like the golden century in Europe. For Østen the word has a totally different meaning. When I ask him what comes up in his mind, he needs a few seconds to think about it:
,,Up flaming when you know what I mean, like energy. I have defenitly a positive feeling about this new record. Some parts are slower, but the drum- and guitar lines are very heavy.”

For a moment he is silent and than he says:
,,The title can also refer to a ‘spiritual awakening of the mind’, a deeper understanding.”

It is clear that he is willing to talk more about the new record, but first we need to go back to the past. The last two years were very busy for Tristania.


When ‘Ashes’ was released in 2005 there was the support tour with Nigthwish, a big tour in Norway with Gothminister and also a South- American tour with Kreator. They stood on many summer festivals and also wrote new material in between.
Østen Bergøy: ,,We finished the record already in april, so it was a lot of waiting for us. I am ready to get it out and tour again. I look forward to play with the band again. Touring is important to us, it is a privilege to play live.There is not a tour confirmed yet. We have some offers, but we will wait untill the release.”
Grunter Kjetil left the band and that had his influences on the sound from the band. On the new album the band found a perfect guestvocalist: Vorph, frontman from Samael. When I ask Østen if he knows how the chemistry was with him, he explains that there was no real contact between him and Vorph.
,,It was the idea from producer Waldemar Sorychta (Within Temptation, Samael, Tiamat – SD) because he knows Vorph very well.We knew Vorp’s work with Samael. Waldemar talked about it with Anders and Einar and we sent our sketches by email. Vorph did his part and it is mixed into the songs. We are very pleased with the results"


For the first time in the history of Tristania the band used a string quartet.
Østen: ,,This was also an idea from Waldemar and Einar, because he knew the people. It turned out very well. It gives a different atmosphere in the songs and we might want to use it in the future again.”
After the release of ‘World of Glass’ (2001) vocalist Østen became a fulltime member of the band. He was involved with the previous albums, but more as a guest vocalist.
Østen: ,,I am more and more involved with Tristania. In the beginning I was only doing the guest vocals, but now I am writing lyrics, finding melodies…I am more dedicated to the band. At this point we are very close. It is not only the musically, but me and Anders are often together. We see eachother every week and became close friends. The other members I don’t see that often.”



Changes

The new album ‘Illumination’ is totally different in comparison to the other records. The male vocalist from Tristania makes easily a checklist:
Østen: ,, In compare with ‘Ashes’ the new album has a lot of changes. I think there is more power and energy in the songs. On ‘Ashes’ it was heavy because of the grunts. Now we have less grunts and still it sounds more powerfull to me. Especially the drumsound and also the guitars.”


How was it to work with producer Waldemar?
Østen: ,,That was a difference also. For the first time we worked with a real producer.We did two pre-productions in Norway, with Waldemar.When we went to the studio to record ‘Ashes’ we had maybe two songs ready. This time we wrote a lot in Norway and when we went to Germany there was more to start with. There was a plan and that makes it a lot easier. Of course there is a time limit, but not in a bad way this time: there was a lot of positive energy. Waldemar is also a musician so he knows how the sound must be, but it was a democratic process. Every song has his own emotion and Vibeke did a great job. Personally it was a challenge to have a producer that’ pushed’ me - in a positive way - to get the best out of my voice. It was very different from previous studio- sessions.”
When I heard ‘Illumination’ for the first time it gave a totally different impression than after five times later. It is defenitly an album what needs to grow. Østen can understand that very well: ,,Some songs are very catchy, others are not as obvious and need more time. I was tired to hear the songs after it was all recorded, but I understand the fact that you have to give it more time. You have to pick up the mood..”


Than he is silent and is searching for the good words: ,,You know what I mean. It needs to get under your skin. There are many layers in the music. Every song has is own mood and some are easier to get into.”
That is also a hard part for the liveshows: to translate all those different emotions. Each song has his own caracter.
Østen: ,,We already played some songs on stage. On the Metal Female Voices Fest (indoor festival in Belgium. Tristania was headliner the last edition - SD) we played ‘Mercyside’ and ‘The Ravens' from our new album that went quite well. It is often harder to play soft songs than the more ‘upbeat’ ones. Everything becomes more transparent, more fragile. We practise a lot before we do a gig and we need time to find a good performance. Also we played ‘Shadowman’ (from the ‘Ashes’ record - SD) for the first time. I wrote a lot for that song and it is very special to me.”
On the new record the blond curly singer, wrote a lot of lyrics besides the vocal lines. The question is always, what was firs the lyrics or the melody?
Østen: ,,You have to fit in the lyrics to the songs. That can be a huge stuggle. I have sketches, parts: that can be long or short. Than I have them fit into the melody. In the beginning Anders and I work separate, but come together when we have some good ideas. So sometimes I am able to get the whole lyrical idea into the song. For other songs I have to write new lyrics, because they need to have the same mood.”
I get the idea that most of the lyrics are not very positive, am I right?
Østen Bergov: ,,The songs are dark, so the lyrics also need to be dark I think. Also I like it when it is not too obvious. I often use words with double or triple meanings: it gives different views and not a too specific story. Most lyrics I have written through the years and have a personal view.


On ‘Illumination’ there are two songs were I have tried to get under the skin and into the minds of persons committing horrible deeds. Without being judgemental. ‘Open Ground’ is about a man who has just killed his girlfriend (happens quite often these days) While ‘Fate’ is about a young suicide-bomber. I am very interested in what it is that can push people over the edge. I have not written all the lyrics on ‘Illumination’, Einar and our webmaster has written a couple."
Illumination’ has the typical Tristania sound in it: the dark mood, diversity and still it sounds totally different from all the other records. When I try to understand that a bit more, Østen is very realistic about it:
,,We like to create a dark mood. Tristania wants to challenge themselves with every new record. To push ourselves and to develope our sound further more. Otherwise you will repeat yourself and get boring.There is no reason to repeat oneself, It became a trademark to be divers and different each time.”



Challenge

Tristania was one of the first bands who used female vocals with grunts and heavy guitarlines. Later it became wellknown as gothmetal. Østen understands that people need to put a label on the music, but still is not very happywith the ‘gothic’ idea.
,, We are always melancholic. On the new record also with songs like’Lotus.’
This is my favorite song at the moment. Everything comes together: the melody and lyrics, it fits well. Also we have a diversity: the heavy and soft parts in our music, those contrasts. We use elements from the goth metal and doom metal. You hear it in the verses and refrains. Some parts are very catchy others more slow and dark. Every female fronted band is nowadays called a ‘gothic metal’ band. Tristania is much more than that. I don’t see ourselves as a real gothic band: As most bands we don’t want to put tags on our music.”
A personal challenge is the changements in the vocal lines. Østen is well known about his deep, warm doom/melacholic voice. He became together with Vibeke more and more the face of the band. Especially in the live performance he is an eye-catcher. On ‘Sacrilege’ he suddenly has some very high parts.
Østen Bergøy: ,,That was very hard for me to record those parts. I think I am not able to do that live on stage. I was really pushing myself to the limit. That was a real challenge. I think I couldn’t reach the high parts when I wasn’t stop smoking. At least that is what I keep telling myself as an ex-smoker(god, do I miss those cigarettes) It gave me a lot of energy to do this with my voice. I must say Vibeke also did a very challeging, outstanding job: she is grown so much in her sound.”



Catchy

The band also will release a video and single. In the past singles were made to get the attention from radio stations and they represented the album. Nowadays with the internet downloading that purpose seems to be gone.
Østen: ,,The single and video will be released from the song ‘Sanguine Sky’ because it is catchy and with a lot of energy. Internet can be an advange for the bands, because you can get more attention. On the other side people download songs and do not buy the record.”
In the past Tristania was more bombastic, but nowadays the sound is more catchy and even more powerfull.
Østen: ,,When you compare the last two records an obvious thing is that we not frequently use extreme vocals. We used other sollutions. Every song has a different sound, more than on ‘Ashes.’ I think it is more catchy and in a way more metal than ‘Ashes.’ There are more melody lines in the songs and especially the drumsound is grown a lot. I know the upcoming album will be much different from this one also. That is out trademark and it is important not to get stuck in the past. That is a part of the musically development.”


Personally I don’t know a lot from Østen’s history. He hasn’t studied music, but always played in a band:
,,Since I was twenty I had different bands. Also I played in a theater group where I learned the singing and performing. My first recording was on ‘Widow’s Weeds’ and Tristania made this carreer bigger. We all can’t make a living from it yet. Still it is amazing to do this. We could do a five or seven months tour. The question is: would if pay off? I don’t know… We will try to do a tour in the USA: it has a hell of a reputation with the long drives and bad conditions. It is not easy to have a breakthough over there.At least that is what people tell me.”
At last, thank you for the time. He needs to laugh when I told him that I specially asked for him, because I was so curious to get to know more. ,,I am not so good in phone calls, so that makes two of us. It was nice and I hope to see you soon again…”



Soon the conversation goes about the terrible weather, rain and storm, and the pressure is gone. Hopefully we see Tristania soon on the road again.
I want to thank Østen, the other members from Tristania and Frank from
Petting Zoo Propaganda.

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Re: Østen Bergøy Interview

Post by The Key on Mon Nov 24, 2008 4:26 am

Thanks for posted it here!!
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Re: Østen Bergøy Interview

Post by Talantless on Sat Nov 29, 2008 3:55 am

The Key wrote:Thanks for posted it here!!

Anytime. Smile

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