Interview by Frank Godla & Stefan Raduta
Back in July, I reported that the "ugliest band in the world", Aura Noir, will embark on a U.S. tour with the original line up for the first time ever. Now just a few short days away from the start of the tour, I thought it best to talk to the band about their 24 years in history, and what we can expect from the upcoming North American run. Carl-Michael Eide better known in the black metal universe as Aggressor, was prompt to answer a few questions while sober, and a few while drunk, which made for a very interesting mix of answers.
You can see both versions of the interview below, and don't forget to grab your tickets to the upcoming Aura Noir run in North America. If Aggressor's responses are any indication, it'll be loads of fun!
Your taste in music must have changed tremendously since you were younger. Which albums changed you as a teenager, to the point where you decided to write music, and play in a band?
Actually my taste hasn’t changed at all. It’s only widened a bit, then narrowed down again, then widened again. I still listen to Overkill by Motorhead. I still clench my fist and bang my head to The Seven Gates of Hell. Venom, everything that’s so imperfect about the band,and I’m talking about the REAL Venom (’80-’85), is so damn fucking perfect! I have around 20 copies of Welcome to Hell. And I don’t know exactly why.
How did you and Rune Eriksen (Blasphemer) meet?
Elm Street, of course. We have mutual absurd humor. I believe that’s the reason we’ve stuck together for all this time, all three of us. A strong sense of comedy.
How did Ole Moe (Apollyon) come into the picture?
I’ve known Ole since Queen Mary the First broke her left thumb. It seems I’ve known him many centuries, at least one whole life. I don’t even remember how we met. We were just around each other all the time, this was before we were allowed in at Elm Street. We hung out at a place called Møllers and gradually we got to know each other. We’ve been partners in crime ever since.
I heard in the early days you’d switch instruments various times during a show. That had to be wild…I can’t even imagine. Details please!
We switched between playing bass/vocals and drums almost every second song. We’d play the first half of the set with Appolyon behind the kit and me on bass/vocals, then we’d switch. While we were switching and changing the drum-set to my specs Blasphemer had to entertain the audience by playing a guitar-solo, which he hated!
Do you ever get nostalgic about those days? What do you miss the most? Not only Aura Noir-related, but the scene as a whole?
I’m nostalgic about the energy-level. I’ll never reach that again, that level of creation. I remember I was manically writing music all the time. It was also very rock’n roll, you know, speaking of the scene. A haze. Literally a haze, since everybody was chain-smoking. I miss smoking actually… Thin roll-ups.
What’s the closest Aura Noir album to your heart?
To me it’s Hades Rise. It’s strong in content, and to me personally it sort of marked me coming back to life after my accident. Also it was pleasant recording in Apollyon’s basement. Deep Tracts of Hell, though, has a darkness to it that will be hard to follow up.
Tell me a few crazy stories from Aura Noir’s past.
Here, Apollyon would be the right bastard to answer. I never remember. Last time on the way to Romania, we flew via Istanbul, I threw a pillow at the guy in front of me and Tank fell asleep face down in his food. Apollyon was screaming something in a weird Norwegian accent throughout the last half of the journey. We were fucked up beyond recognition and must have been a nightmare to have as co-passengers.
Aura Noir toured South America last year, what was the experience like? Any standout shows?
It’s weird to come back from a tour like that and feed the cat and go to your day-job. It’s a bit of an anti-climax you know. You’re treated like half-gods. We must have given hundreds of autographs and took hundreds of pictures with people. People greeted us at the airports. Crazy feedback on the gigs. They go nuts over there. Probably our coolest tour so far.
I was stoked to hear Aura Noir will embark on a North American tour, with the original line up, for the first time ever! Why is now the time to do this? What has changed in the Aura Noir camp that got the three of you on board with a full U.S. tour?
Well, it’s so goddamn well payed, and since Blasphemer needs another moped for his moped-collection, Apollyon needs another swimming pool for his smimmingpool-collection and yours truly needs new kneecaps badly, this is the only reason we’re coming to the USA. Also a thick bunch of dollars looks real good on Instagram and on Snapchat, and we love those goddamn Greyhound buses, they are awesome and I wanna lick them in real life, no problem.
I’ve always found Aura Noir to be the prime example of riding the line between black metal and thrash, in a way that has inspired many bands since your debut full length, Black Thrash Attack, in ’96. How do you feel about AN being the inspiration behind a younger generation of blackened thrash metal musicians?
Black Thrash Attack I’ve never heard about, but man, those Greyhound buses.. If I ever see one up close I’m gonna lick it.
I imagine it’s no easy task to compile 24 years of history into a single set list, what consideration went into picking the tracks you’ll be playing live?
First we pick one song, then the next and before you know it – PÆNG!!! – there’s the setlist, no problem, hasta la vista.
Speaking of history, you guys have been through some hell and back along the way. What do you think has been the biggest challenge of the AN career thus far?
It must be that day when Blasphemer agreed to give his elbows up for charity then he regretted it so he had to give away a beautiful 73`Husqvarna moped instead so now he has to buy it back and that’s why we’re coming to the states.
Any expectations for the upcoming tour in America? Anything on your bucket list that you’d like to see or experience while here?
Greyhound buses, and the Bush library. Also meeting Bush in person by the bushes on the lawn outside the Bush Library.
I understand earlier this year, you completed the follow up to Out To Die. Can you tell us anything about the upcoming release, and will you be playing new tracks live during the run?
It will sound like all of us has some weird skin disease and really don’t give a fuck about how it sounds or the songs or anything.