metal talk
metal talk
  1st March 2010

FORMER EMPEROR FRONTMAN TALKS IN DETAIL ABOUT HIS LATEST RELEASE 'AFTER' caught up with former Emperor frontman Ihsahn to discuss his latest album 'After', including some new effects in the music such as the saxophone and eight-string guitars. Here's an excerpt from the interview: Have you made any progression as a songwriter and musician from 'The Adversary' to 'After'?

Ihsahn: It's definitely improved my production skills, I think. The previous two albums I mixed myself. All albums were like that, especially when I recorded them in my own studio and put on all the hats of being a guitar and bass player, keyboardist, vocalist, songwriter, producer, engineer, and mixer. I'm very interested in all those areas. So in that sense, I think I've learned quite a bit. It's not like I've made myself an extremely much better guitar player obviously, but it's more spread over a wide area. Where did the idea come from to incorporate a saxophone into the music?

Ihsahn: I've always loved the sound of the saxophone. In general, the texture of the saxophone has always for me had a strong, personal tension to it. For many years, I've wanted to implement the saxophone into my music. The complete idea for this album was because I had guests on the previous two albums. Garm from Ulver did guest vocals on the first album and Mikael from Opeth did guest vocals on the second album, so I wanted to continue the tradition.

Given the concept of this album, it is quite different from the previous two. There is no sign of life in any lyrics or anything. I wanted something more abstract. I wanted something that was still a very personal and distinctive sound. Was it difficult to balance it amongst the chaotic black metal sections?

Ihsahn: It was a bit of a challenge. I don't have any direct experience recording saxophone. There was always the risk of not being able to blend it in. I had to find a careful way to pick lines that I wanted him to play and which parts I wanted him to improvise over. I think with a combination of good/lucky choices, Jorgen Munkeby's playing style and his ability to come back towards the musical expression and also the final touch with Jens Bogren's mix made it flow in there seamlessly. I never intended it to be on the record for shock factor, like 'Ok, let's give this crazy part saxophone.' I wanted it to add layers.

For more of Ihsahn's thoughts on "After" as well as the concept of singles versus the album and illegal downloading, as well as his plans to tour the United States, check out the full interview by clicking here.


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