Monday, 8 October 2018

RECORDS OF THEIR YEARS...with ENSLAVED songwriter and guitarist Ivar Bjørnson

ENSLAVED's latest album, "E", was released last October via Nuclear Blast. The follow-up to 2015's "In Times" was recorded at Duper & Solslottet Studios in Bergen and was once again mixed and mastered by Jens Bogren at Fascination Street Studios in Örebro, Sweden.
ENSLAVED are currently on the road in support of “E” undertaking a co-headline European tour with riff masters HIGH ON FIRE. The string of dates started in late September and will run through to mid-October, 14 shows across seven countries. Following two UK headlining shows in Milton Keynes and Leeds, ENSLAVED will take in the following shows below:

Oct. 08 - Academy 2, Manchester, UK
Oct. 09 - Tivoli, Dublin, IRE
Oct. 10 - Limelight 2, Belfast, UK
Oct. 12 - The Mill, Birmingham, UK
Oct. 14 - SWX, Bristol, UK
Oct. 15 - The Dome, London, UK
Oct. 16 - La Machine du Moulin Rouge, Paris, FR
During a break in between touring, we were fortunate to hook up with ENSLAVED songwriter and guitarist Ivar Bjørnson to discuss some of his favourite records.  Welcome to Records of their Years…

SLUDGELORD: Favourite album from the year you were born?

Ivar: 1981 - it’s got to be ‘Animals’ by Pink Floyd. It’s such a wonderful album with such a great mythology around the cover artwork, surrounding the flying pig above the factory and how it broke loose. It ended up in some, I think Welsh farmer’s field? He found a name tag on it and returned it. When they did the next shoot for the album they had some local posh dudes with shotguns hanging around, just in case the pig broke loose so they could shoot it down.  Just the music on the record is incredible, like the songs ‘Sheep’, ‘Dogs’, ‘Pigs…’ it’s amazing. I know with Pink Floyd there’s other albums that tend to get mentioned more, but ‘Animals’ is a big one, a really important one.
I first heard the album when I was about to turn 11 years old. At some point during the year when I was 10, my dad told me that when I turned 11, he would hand over his entire vinyl collection to me. Around ’87 many of his friends started getting rid of their LPs and buying CDs, you know. Many of his friends threw their LPs out or gave them to pawn shops, second-hand stores or charity shops. Luckily for me, he had a moment of clarity and thought - ‘at least the Pink Floyd albums gotta keep on going, so I’m going to give them to my son.’ I remember listening through the collection and listening to ‘Animals’, and it was really an eye opener. It was quite a lot to take in for an 11 year old, but I had already been listening to ‘Wish You Were Here’ and ‘Another Brick in The Wall’ quite a lot, and some of the stuff from ‘The Dark Side of The Moon’. But there was something about ‘Animals’ that has been following me ever since.
SLUDGELORD: The first record you bought with your own money?

Ivar: The first record I bought with my own money was Europe ‘The Final Countdown’ I believe. I think it was at around the same time that I inherited my dad’s Pink Floyd collection. I don’t know why I made that specific choice; I must have heard ‘The Final Countdown’ and it had an impact on me. No matter how cheesy that one is, it’s still a good song. I got hooked on it, and there are so many other good songs on that album. The circle was finally completed when I went and saw them play live at Sweden Rock festival in 2004. It’s still one of the best concerts I have ever seen.  They’re a very underrated band because of ‘The Final Countdown’ thing. They have so much more to offer than that one track. They’re amazing instrumentalists, with an amazing singer, and quite an intellectual band I would say actually, when you read their interviews and hear what they have to say about what’s going on in their minds behind all of these heavy metal classics.

SLUDGELORD: Your Favourite Non-Metal, Non-Rock Album?

Ivar: That’s a tough one… I would say ‘Bitches Brew’ by Miles Davis. It’s a very psychedelic album, a weird album. When people said he had a psychedelic period, I was like ‘hmm what do they mean, it’s still jazz I guess?’ but when I listened to it closely I was like - ‘WOW, now that is something really different’.  And it opened my eyes to a lot of jazz from that time, the fusion that was going on from that sort of pure jazz, that lead into something so wild and psychedelic. I guess it was sort of around the same time when rock music went into the psychedelic era, but it just feels like the jazz people got even more out of it in a sense.

SLUDGELORD: The Album that most disappointed you?

Ivar: That would be W.A.S.P ‘The Last Command’ – it came about quite early in my days as a record collector. Everyone was talking about W.A.S.P, and about how fantastic they were and so on. EVERYONE. I guess that I’m talking about the 3 other kids where I lived who were into heavy metal. I bought the record and I kind of liked the title song for a little while, but then I listened to more of it… Nowadays it’s okay to not like W.A.S.P, but I lived through many years where people would really give me shit for thinking W.A.S.P were crap. I guess it helps that Blackie Lawless started acting weird, and not being so nice to people. But I’ve said it for 30 years now; they’re not a good band.

SLUDGELORD: Favourite album of all time or if you prefer album (s) you’d run back into a burning building to rescue

Ivar: If the building was on fire I would make sure that I grabbed from my vinyl shelves; Pink Floyd’s ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’, Mayhem’s ‘De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas’, Bathory’s ‘Hammerheart’ and King Crimson’s ‘In the Court of the Crimson King’. Those defined me when all else was lost, those four albums would be the perfect soundtrack for a new start.

SLUDGELORD: Favourite album (s) of 2018?

Ivar: Krakow ‘minus’.

SLUDGELORD: The last album you bought? 

Emmerhoff and the Melancholy Babies ‘Circle Six’ (on vinyl).

Enslaved’s latest album ‘E’ is out now via Nuclear Blast, available HERE.

Band info: Facebook