22.00 PM. 20. August, the last days of summer, the arrival of autumn as shown by the dying daylight before the midnight hour. The pouring rain outside doesn´t bother me, as I find myself at Café Natur, an old pub/restaurant in Tórshavn, getting ready for an interview with Ken Johannesen (guitar), Torkil Thomsen (vokills) and Jóhan Bjartur Kjćrbo (bass) from THE APOCRYPHAL ORDER, undoubtedly the heaviest and fastest band from the Faroe Islands. Once the guys show up, it´s all business, except Ken, who´s going up to the bar to order a beer, probably while speculating if riff No. 338, is good enough for future brutalities hehe. They may produce extreme music, but the guys are very laid back and polite during the whole interview, so read on and find out more about their debut EP, future plans and bad experiences involving several SEPULTURA albums hehe.
1. Ok guys, let´s start off with the obvious question – How has the EP been received here at home and outside the Faroe Islands?
Torkil: Well, the main response I keep getting from people are comments like “your music is great, but it´s not my style," you know, and that´s cool, it´s not for everyone.
Ken: The people back home, who are into the whole Metal thing, dig our music, but the music itself is too extreme to be played on radio stations hehe. We´ve got fans from over 40 countries outside our home country, who like our music as well, so things are progressing slowly.
2. The EP was conceived at Kohlekeller Studios, Darmstadt, Germany. Could you elaborate on how everything went down, and are you´re satisfied with the end result?
Ken: We chose Kohlekeller because I had already been there with HELJAREYGA, and “Kohle”... well, he´s a machine, working long hours without breaks, he knows what he´s doing, so it made sense to use him for this EP, plus it wasn´t that expensive, 40.000 – 50.000 kroners, including flight tickets.
Torkil: Of course we´re satisfied with the EP, even though we could´ve made some changes when reflecting upon the songs after they´d been released.
Ken: Almost forgot...the vocals were recorded here at home, in Martin Rói´s (the band´s drummer) basement with assistance from Theodor Kapnas (the beardy dude from HAMFERĐ). Once finished, the files were shipped to “Kohle."
Torkil: I remember having a nasty cold during the recordings, feeling feverish and snotty, really a case of bad timing.
Ken: Yeah hehe, things got heated, with everybody in the band going “Torkil, you´ve gotta grow some balls man and start nailing those screams hehe. But in the end, we got the sound we wanted, just to show people that there´s a new player in town!
3. I think there´s an interesting mix of styles in your sound, may I ask about the musical influences that fuel THE APOCRYPHAL ORDER?
Ken: One band we all have a passion for is TESTAMENT, you know that kind of energetic execution. When I started writing the music for the EP, I was listening alot to DIMMU BORGIR and OPETH, hence the melodic and progressive aspects of our music. The influences are everywhere, you hear a new Death Metal band, a few days later you´ve written an insane song, twice as wicked as the last one you finished hehe.
Torkil: When I joined the band almost two years ago, I had a combination of vocals styles in mind, which included some of my biggest influences, namely Chuck Billy, James Hetfield, and Randy Blythe. I´m not trying to copy their style, but use them as inspiration to form my own type of growling and screaming, you know?
Jóhan Bjartur: Hey, I´m just the bass player, I just play what Ken tells me to haha! I think Cliff Burton has been my main inspiration, not just wanting to playing bass but also his attitude of not caring what others think.
4. The artwork has a really stark quality to it. Who did it, and is it tied together with the lyrics somehow?
Ken: We got in touch with Visual Decay studios, managed by a guy named Fernando Garcia. We just sent the songs to him, almost everything on the cover is inspired by his interpretation of our songs, an example would be the circle with the rebelling masses being derived from the title ”Beyond The Depraved Scope Of Salvation” and so on, we´re happy with it.
5. How come you decided on THE APOCRYPHAL ORDER as your band monicker?
Torkil: It´s inspired by religious ignorance, the biblical apocrypha, because that´s what alot of our lyrics revolve around, preaching a false, divine message to the people.
Ken: The name goes well with our music, as it´s pretty aggressive, symbolizing our frustration about the subjects we deal with in our lyrics.
6. Alright, let´s move on to some lighter questions! First off, what do you think about the latest TÝR album, “The Lay Of Thrym”?
Ken: Well, I’ve been a huge fan of TÝR since “Eric The Red," and even though their music has changed since then, I really enjoy their works. “The Lay Of Thrym” may not be as progressive compared to previous releases, but it has been blasting through the speakers of my car since I bought the album, it rocks.
Torkil: It’s great music, I’ve been a fan of them ever since I heard them. The latest album is great, though I don’t fancy the heavy focus on the guitars...otherwise great music in general.
Jóhan Bjartur: As I haven’t bought it yet, I have not heard everything, but sitting in Ken’s car on our way to band practice. I like what I’ve heard so far hehe.
7. If you were stranded on a desert island, which three cd´s would you have brought with you?
Ken: The first one would be my favourite, METALLICA – “And Justice For All." It was the first Metal album that I ever heard, and I still consider it to be the greatest Metal album of all time. As a teenager, Hetfield´s riffing really inspired me to pick up the guitar and start shredding, so that album means a lot to me. The second album would probably be one of the best newcomers in Technical/Melodic Death Metal, ALLEGAEON´s “Fragments of Form and Function." The third, well... I could imagine being stranded on a desert island would be quite depressing from time to time, so I’d bring a good ol´ DON WILLIAMS album hahaha. I’m a sucker for depressing and sad country music, I must admit, NOT the hillbilly kind!
Torkil: TESTAMENT – “The Gathering," LAMB OF GOD – “As The Palaces Burn,” and AT THE GATES – “Slaughter Of The Soul” or MACHINE HEAD – “The Blackening.” There are of course a lot more albums I would have grabbed with me if I could, although these three came first to mind.
Jóhan Bjartur: MEGADETH – “Endgame," METALLICA – “Master Of Puppets,” and DIRE STRAITS – “Money For Nothing."
8. Do you have a cd in your collection that really disappointed you and never gets played?
Ken: When I was younger and really started to dig Metal, I used to go to the local record store and spend all my money. I remember one time I bought three SEPULTURA albums, and I just hated them. Each album was worse than the other hehe.
Torkil: The only album that comes to mind is one I got as a present, a Faroese band called PARADOX. Not to insult the artists if they read this, but it’s horrible.
Jóhan Bjartur: Well, I´ve never had enough money to pay for my music haha! So...can´t help you there hehe.
9. You mentioned TESTAMENT earlier on. Picture this: what if they called you guys up and asked for advice, as to which T.A.O. song they should record as a bonus track for their upcoming full length album? Which one would you have chosen for them?
Ken: Hmm, which one would suit them best... “Deteriorate To Gain."
Torkil: Yeah, I was thinking that too hehe, it has to be.
Johan Bjartur: I agree.
Ken: That particular track is mainly inspired by TESTAMENT, very thrashy but we´ve kinda upped the progressiveness to make it our own.
10. Ok then. Now, you´ve played some shows over the summer, and since the music is quite demanding in a live situation, I was wondering if you are ok with having just one guitar player, or if adding another would´ve strengthen the songs live?
Ken: Funny you should mention this. We´ve actually found another guitarist to play with us live, his name´s Theodor Kapnas (again... the beardy HAMFERĐ dude). It´s hard to find guitar players that are playing the same style as me, I know that sounds egocentric hehe...
Torkil: Yeah, it does haha!
Ken: The simple truth is that there are very few guitarists on our islands, who are playing this kind of music, but we´re lucky to have found one. I do alright by myself, but I must say that future live shows will benefit from having another axeman on stage; the stage will be more packed, there´ll be more headbanging, more hair, more everything haha.
11. Will you put this theory of “more headbangin' and more hair” to the test with live shows in the near future?
Ken: Maybe. Everybody in the band is going to take some time off to take care of personal stuff before we all relocate abroad next year, most likely Sweden or Denmark. We´ve figured that the Faroe Islands are too small for this kind of music; once you´ve played a few shows here and there, there´s not much more to do, you´ve covered the Faroese market.
Torkil: Like Ken said, there´s other stuff going on right now, so there are no planned concerts at the moment.
Ken: There are no shows planned for the next couple of months, but I mean, if something comes up, one or two shows, we´ll probably get onstage and take Theodor with us, see how it goes.
12. What else does the future hold for THE APOCRYPHAL ORDER? Have you written any new music? Do you have plans of maybe recording a full length album?
Ken: There are plans, yes. The EP has given us a lot of feedback on the streets from friends and fans, both good and bad. Many have said that our music is awesome, but that it´s also missing some solos hehe. It makes sense, so the new tracks have at least one or two solos, all the basic trademarks are there, but I think it´s more balanced.
Torkil: Another critique is the lack of variation in the vocals. I´m gonna try to get more screaming and deeper growls and shouting choirs into these new tracks, overall more varied vocal work than what´s on the EP.
Ken: There´ll be no SEPULTURA styled riffs, or screamo vocals, the sound will stay the same only with added maturity.
13. Alright. Thanks for doing this guys, do you have any last words for the TMO readers?
Ken: First of all, we´d all like to thank you for the chance of doing this interview, really appreciated. Of course we´d also like to thank those that support our band and music. Lastly, if Martin Rói (band´s drummer) were here, he´d probably have liked to add “SAKIN!!!”
2011: The Apocryphal Order EP (Tutl Records)
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