The Konsortium | Interview with One

Norway has produced some seriously innovative and weird music over the last two decades. For every five acts crawling out the deep and dense Norwegian forests and resorting to cult black metal methods, there is always a group of musicians clearly bound to take a leftfield road, making music that not only is entirely their own, but it’s also challenging and irreverent. This bizarre pedigree of vanguard musicians is vast and goes from The Third and The Mortal to In the Woods, from Ulver to Red Harvest.
And the well hasn’t run dry yet as a young Norwegian collective known as The Konsortium, definitely gravitate toward the more irreverent end of this spectrum, twisting a harsh black metal with some progressive overtones and epic melodies.
There’s precious little information about the band available, its members have deliberately made an effort to hide their identities behind masks and pseudonyms. With the exception of Teloch from Mayhem/Nidingr that plays guitar and Erlend Hjelvik from Kvelertak that lends his voice to some songs, no one knows who’s involved with band, although rumours suggest that they’re all prominent figures of the Norwegian metal scene.
Guitarist and founder, simply known as One discusses the genesis of the group, their self-titled debut release and the volatile nature of their music.

[The Konsortium]

Does this decision to keep your identities secret means that you prefer the music to do all the talking or are there other motifs?

No, that’s correct. But I have to add that there’s nothing mandatory about this – just look at Teloch or Ording, they have chosen to do otherwise.

Will you ever reveal the real people behind the masks?

Well, as I said, some of the members go by their birth or artist names, so anyone can find out who they are. As for myself, I prefer to stay as much in the background as possible. Privacy is an underrated thing.

How do you wish The Konsortium to be perceived, a super-group, a side-project or a bunch of kindred spirits bound to craft some irreverent metal music like the name suggests?

Definitely the latter! It’s more than a mere project, and we are not a “super group” as such. Teloch has some fame to his name of course, but what matters are his skills, not how many followers he has on Twitter.

Reviews and critics are comparing you to various artists like Arcturus, Borknagar, Solefald and Dødheimsgard, how does that make you feel and how would you describe your own music?

All of the bands you mention are capable of delivering music with serious impact, so I see no other way than to take it as a compliment. I haven’t heard the latest albums of Arcturus, Borknagar and Solefald, but I still know that all the names you came up with are of a certain quality.
Myself, I prefer to describe the Konsortium’s music as metal, plain and simple. We do things with a twist, but it’s still metal. Some describe us as black metal, and if that’s what we are to them, then fine, but in my own opinion, we stray too far off the radar to fit that genre exclusively.

Based on the reviews you’ve read of your album what bands do you see mentioned most frequently when trying to draw points of comparison to your style? Have you read any that just had you roll over the eyes and shrug in confusion? I’ve seen some pretty puzzling associations with bands like Fear Factory.

Hah, I haven’t seen that one. The usual ones are the bands you’ve already mentioned, in addition to Satyricon and Thorns, along with the later releases of Mayhem. I’ve seen a few reviews from Germany, where the reviewer just doesn’t seem to understand the music. If you don’t like the music, that’s fine, but at least give the record more than one spin before you make up your mind.
Anyways, I’ve also seen one review comparing us to “Bathory in space”, which is fucking great, hehe. I only remember one review that made me kind of pissed, stating that we were lacking ambition and just trying to be a copy of Satyricon, Thorns and DHG… Sure, you can hear in our riffing that there are similarities, and that we come from a certain style of metal… but a copy?? If you can’t tell us apart from those bands, you either have no clue of what you’re talking about or you’re simply plain deaf.

Tell us a bit more about the record. How did everything come together, the end result can be attributed to a team effort or does any member take the role of principal song writer?

I have written most of the material on this album, but it’s still a team effort. Teloch did almost all of the guitar work, for example. We don’t function as a “normal” band at all, but get together when we have to… Anyways, I guess it’s a mix of both team and individual effort.

Are you difficult person to work with or do you generally tend accept other opinions when it comes to songwriting lightly?

Well… I have been in several bands and have made music with quite a few people over the years… and I think it’s safe to say that I am not an easy person to work with. The conflicts are too many to mention, and there’s no doubt that others see me as a band dictator at times. But so be it.

I’ve read that you might invite other musicians from various fields to collaborate with The Konsortium in the future, if that is so, do you see the band as a volatile entity with no bounds to a specific genre or style?

Yeah, that’s correct! In other words, I don’t even have a clue myself where we’ll go next. But I don’t see any radical changes in the near future. There’s still a lot of ways to bend metal, and we’ve only just started.

What are your realistic goals for The Konsortium in the next few years? Where do you see your music going in the future?

Difficult question. I am happy as long as we continue to challenge ourselves and evolve, and don’t let anything run on autopilot or routine, you know. There are no plans on taking over the world or become massively popular or anything like that. Well, perhaps taking over the world, that would be ok. Apart from that, we’ll go where the music takes us.

David Alexandre