From the ashes of hard rock band SPAN, TrashPit was excited to hear Dog Almighty. The new band displays a much more aggresive and heavy depature from the members' previous band and is an altogther completely different animal. Following the albums release in their native Norway the band have been faced with searching for a new singer just as they launch the record in the UK. Whilst most bands would be crushed with this, Dog Almighty forge forward and TrashPit spoke to bassist Kim Nordbaek and guitarist Fridtjof Nilsen.
What has been the response to the album in Europe since it's release? What do you hope for the release in the UK?
Kim: Well, unfortunately the album has only been released in Norway up until this point. So we're very excited about the UK release. We're really proud of the album, and it deserves to be heard! I hope people dig into it and that we get to do a proper UK tour to support the release.
How did you hook up with Stunted Records?
Kim: John and Jill contacted us about a year and a half ago, wanting to release our album. We had already signed to an independent label in Norway, and the reason why we wanted to go indie with our album was that we wanted to work with someone doing music for the same reasons as ourselves - for the pure love for music rather than the dollars. Also we wanted to be in 100% control ourselves on both 'where, when and what'. In the Span-days we spent a whole lot of time waiting for our label executives to get their heads out of their asses. I met John and Jill at By:Larm in Oslo, and we seemed to be on the same page. They're really dedicated and believe 100% in the album, and that's all that matters.
There's obviously a heavier and more intense direction with this band compared to SPAN which had a lot of pop sensibilities and hooks. What influenced this?
Kim: I guess the new blend of people meant a lot. As soon as Jarle left SPAN, and the three of us remaining started to write new material it instantly turned heavier. And when Sindri joined us we turned even heavier. It was a great relief to have every band member pulling in the same direction. That was new to all of us, and we didn't realize that we'd been pulling in different directions in SPAN before we hooked up with Sindri.
Joff: It was more important to make something that grew on people instead of being immediate. I love it when I'm challenged by music. I think all the pop hooks are there still, but we've hidden them a little better.
The second SPAN CD 'Vs Time' seems very hard to get hold of, did it have a limited release and if so, was this somewhat frustrating for the band?
Kim: 'Vs. Time' didn't have a limited release. What happened was that Jarle told us that he wanted out of the band only two weeks after the Norwegian release. That meant that we had to go through with everything we had committed to in front of the release. We had a long tour booked throughout the summer, but there was no point in releasing it elsewhere as we decided to split.
Joff: Releasing an album is a tool so we can get out on the road and play to people. With a dying band, it sort of lost the point. The Norwegian tour was like fucking your ex for ages, and we didn't wanna repeat the experience.
Was there anything in particular you took from your time in previous bands and wanted to bring (or do differently) in Dog Almighty?
Kim: To me, writing music is about instant chemistry. That sounds like a cheezy cliché, but it's true. I'm currently in two other bands besides Dog Almighty, and each one of them just sounds completely different because of the blend of musicians. I've been in many bands over the years and I've done a whole lot of freelance work with various artists across a huge variety of genres both as a producer, recording engineer and bassist. I guess everything influences me in many ways but it's really hard to point out any specifics. Having that said, I think my contribution to whatever band I'm in is energy and edge, or at least that's what I try to do.
Joff: To me having a band is a lot like having a kid. You never know how it'll turn out, so you just have to come along for the ride and do everything you can to make it the sum of the people involved. That is the beauty and the curse. Mostly the beauty.
Did you all know Sindri prior to him joining the band? Had the two bands performed together in the past?
Kim: Actually none of us knew him. But what is funny about how we met him is that we'd been tipped about this guy and we tried to get in touch with him over several weeks without any luck at all. Then all of a sudden he contacted us out of his own interest. It took a while before we found out that Sindri was the guy from "Farout Fishing" that everyone had been talking about. I'd never heard him or his band before. Turned out that Sindri had seen a documentary on national Norwegian television about SPAN, Gluecifer and Gåte parting ways, and decided himself that he wanted to check out what we were up to. A strange series of coincidence...? And when he showed up at our first rehearsal everything just fell into place. We'd been auditioning for a frontman for months and everything had felt completely wrong all along, and then all of a sudden it worked. We actually wrote 'Drunk With Fear' on that very first rehearsal.
You built your own studio, recorded and produced the album yourselves and then literally put together the sleeves into a very unique package. Where does this DIY ethic come from?
Kim: The key words are 'total control'. As I mentioned earlier we were really tired of working with big corporations and spending months waiting for decicions to be taken. If we were to rent a big fancy studio it would be way too expensive for us as we didn't want to commit to any stupid recording deal to raise enough money to do that. Also we wanted to be able to spend as much time as needed in the studio without being dependent on an engineer or producers schedule, and even without ruining ourselves on studio costs. Joff, Fred and myself are also complete geeks when it comes to equipment and recording. We love spending hours in the studio and would much rather spend months on pointless fooling around in the studio than waiting for some label to get stuff done. In the end it feels really good to be totally responsible for everything, we've got no one but ourselves to blame. And the CD packaging is the first thing anyone who buys the album will see. It would be stupid if that was made by someone else who never was part of writing or recording the album.
Joff: And it was fun to do everything ourselves. The more you do the more important it is to you, and I hope that will transgress to the people buying the album. Music is supposed to be important.
How does the material translate into a live show? I imagine it's a pretty intense experience?
Kim: We did about fifty shows as Dog Almighty before we lost Sindri. As we went along every show turned more intense than the last one. I miss it for sure.
Joff: There was always blood and sweat, and I loved every second.
The video for the track 'Already There' has some very dark and creepy imagery. What influenced that?
Kim: I'll leave this one to Joff. He's the man behind the idea...
Joff: I hope everyone has a dark side hidden away somewhere. I know I do, and the best way for me to deal with it is to make it real through music or visuals. I love the way the video turned out, and I'd never made a video before. We had good help from a few friends, but it was a no cost video.
Do you hope to tour the album in the UK and what does the rest of 2009 hold in store for the band?
Kim: We seem to have a re-occurring issue with singers and Sindri has now left the band. So to be honest, we need to find ourselves a new singer. We have high hopes for that to happen shortly. Any rumors about Dog Almighty splitting will have to rest, because we can't wait to get back on track. This album deserves some proper touring and we can't wait to start recording some new material. This whole situation with releasing an album without even having a singer feels a bit strange, but the three of us forever remaining refuse to have our path decided by singers. What's put on the album remains the same and Sindri sounds outstanding on it. The album is what it is, and it rocks! So the people should hear it. Let's not sit around and wait!
Anything else you want to add......
Kim: We supported Stone Sour at Rockefeller in Oslo, and we connected really well with them. And we had a blast hitting their crowd. If anyone from the band reads this; you should put us on the bill on your next tour. We'd like to tour with you guys. Hehe.
Joff: I liked answering some questions that were out of the ordinary. Almost every interview consists of the same questions, but you'd obviously listened and read about us, and that makes it a lot more worthwhile. Props.
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