It has been nearly a decade since the last Susperia studio album, and the Norwegian veterans return with a new vocalist and a new record, The Lyricist. Bassist Memnock fills us in on the lineup change, the new album, tour plans, his other bands and more.
Chad Bowar: What led to the nearly nine year gap between albums?
Memnock: The reason it took almost nine years is the fact that Athera (their former vocalist) was doing lots of other things and didn’t have the time nor inspiration for Susperia. We had the album finished almost two years before he decided to leave the band.
How did vocalist Bernt “Dagon” Fjellestad come to join the band?
Back in 2008 when Athera had a heart attack, we were about to do a tour, and despite the fact that Athera wasn’t able to do it, we didn’t want to cancel the tour. We had a former drum tech that suggested Bernt. I called him up and asked him three important questions: Do you have long hair? Do you do drugs? Can you do a tour ASAP? The answers to the questions were yes, no, yes, and the rest is history.
How did the songwriting process for The Lyricist compare to previous albums?
The way we work is pretty much the same on all the albums. Cyrus (guitar) has loads of ideas and calls us and we meet up and put the riffs together with the whole band. Sometimes there is only Elvorn (guitar) and Cyrus or Tjodalv (drums) and Cyrus, But mostly the whole band is together. It is really a social thing with Susperia. We hang out and we are still the best of friends after almost 20 years together as a band.
What will be your strongest memory of the recording of the album?
The fact that Bernt used only one weekend on the entire album and had no problems doing a growl, black metal voice. He is truly a mega talent in my point of view. I don’t know any other person that would do it as fast as he did with the same result.
How has the band’s sound evolved from Attitude?
The sound is pretty much the same as always, but we decided to go back to our roots of black metal because we still love it. Black metal is to me the ultimate way of expressing one’s inner anger and wrath. I simply love to play these extreme parts in Susperia.
Is there a lyrical theme or thread?
You’l’ need to ask Dagon about this, but no, I don’t think it is a theme or thread. He simply writes about things he has experienced in life or simply saw on TV .
How did you come to sign with Agonia Records?
No magic there. We simply sent them a demo and they gave us the best deal of all the record labels that answered us.
What are your goals and expectations for the album?
World domination and become a stadium band! (laughs) Seriously, we hope that the fans like it, and that the album can get us back on track when it comes to the metal scene so we can do loads of live gigs and touring.
You’ve released a couple of videos from the album. How important are videos these days?
Personally I think videos are as important as back in the MTV days. The fans actually like to see the music as a story. It gives them a personal and close bond with the band, I think, and they can see it and relate to the story of the video.
What are your upcoming tour plans?
We just signed with a management company and are waiting for something concrete. It will be announced soon.
What has been your most memorable Susperia live show?
We played a small gig in the mountains in Österreich. It was in a small pub and we were playing right on the floor with no P.A. The crowd was just crazy and the gig was fantastic.
You recently got the rights back to much of your back catalog. Any plans for re-releases?
Yes, we are planning on re-releasing the whole back catalog on vinyl and CD.
What’s the status of the band Antiqva, which also includes members of Cradle Of Filth and Ne Obliviscaris?
We are working on making music as we speak, and as soon as we are done touring with Ne and Cradle we will come together and start recording the debut album. Hopefully we can release it within the next year.
Give us a preview of the upcoming Abyssic album. When will it be released?
I’m going to finish the vocals in March, and then the mix will be done right after that. We hope to be able to release it this year.
Is it difficult balancing being in multiple bands with family life?
Not for me personally, but I think that for some musicians it is difficult and this is the reason so many eventually quit bands and leave the music industry. I must also say that I have a very patient wife, and that she loves the fact that I’m a musician and she always supports my way of life.
What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
I’m listening to loads of doom bands, but my favorite is My Dying Bride.
Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
Want to thank the fans for being patient and waiting for us for almost 9 years! Without you we are nothing.
(interview published March 15, 2018)