Thanks for taking the time to talk to Metal on Loud, Jorn! Could you tell us a little about yourself and your role in Nordjevel?
I am a founding member, guitarist, and the designated composer of Nordjevel’s music. I have been writing music in many different forms over the years, and I also have a degree in the field of music. In Nordjevel I prefer sticking to the creative part. We have many people involved in our operation at this point, and it feels good focusing solely on the stuff I’m good at.
Where are you from?
I come from a small town (village rather) in eastern Norway, about 90 kilometers from Oslo. I still live in that same general area, but with greater distance to stores, roads and people than in the place I grew up.
How did you get started playing music and playing in a band?
It’s really the typical story. I was introduced to Kiss, and everything changed from that point on. I came to a point where listening simply wasn’t enough, so I had to learn how to play it. I’ve been in local bands since my early teenage years, and when you know a few musicians, you get to know more musicians. It ultimately led me to what I am doing today with Nordjevel, which is a good place to be.
What does black metal as a genre mean to you? Have you always been into it? What kind of music influenced you growing up?
My earliest influences are bands like Judas Priest, AC/DC and of course Kiss. The artists that really taught me the craft of playing guitar were Yngwie Malmsteen, Timo Tolkki and Jason Becker. They opened my eyes up to a new dimension of guitar playing.
Black metal meant a lot to me, as it was a manifestation of something that had been undefinable to me up until that point. It was something unique, and there were seemingly no borders, which resulted in an album like Fjelltronen by Wongraven, in which I enjoy to this day.
What kind of music influences you now? Are there any other black metal artists you can cite as current influences?
I rarely listen to black metal nowadays, so I must say my influences come from elsewhere. I listen to a lot of older progressive music, death metal and more melodic genres. The current influences were established years ago, with bands such as Burzum, Dissection and Emperor.
You released your self-titled debut album last year. Tell us a little about the production process. How did you release the album? How was the reception?
The production process was strange since all the members were located very far from each other. I dealt with the instrumental parts on my own, but I kept in close contact with Fredrik Widigs (drums) during the process, so we pretty much shaped all the songs together. He played a huge part in arranging the songs. After hearing a couple of demos, Osmose wanted to sign us. They released the debut on all formats (including vinyl) about eight months after we formed the band. The world of metal has been treating us good so far, and the reception of the album has been beyond anything I had expected when we first started out.
You’re currently working on new music, correct? How is that going? What kind of new things are you bringing to the table this time around?
Yes, have just started writing our second full length. In the meantime we have a 7″ EP coming out with three new songs as well. The EP called Krigsmakt works as a bridge between the first and the second album. The upcoming album has a much more violent and brutal lyrical concept, and the music will follow in that direction. I always have a very musical and melodic approach to writing, so don’t expect a noise album. It’s very challenging to write music with this level of speed and brutality without sacrificing the musicality, so it’s an interesting process indeed. Expect more of everything, basically.
Your music, to me, has a very dark sound reminiscent of Dark Funeral, Immortal, Abbath, and the like. Are those fair comparisons to make? How do you feel about the aforementioned artists?
I think we have more in common with Dark Funeral than Immortal, simply because of the speed in our music. You can say we have a mix between the Swedish and the Norwegian sound. Norwegian atmosphere and Swedish speed. I’ve listened a lot to both bands, and they are great torchbearers indeed. We had the pleasure of playing with Abbath at Aalborg Metalfest a couple of months ago.
What are your thoughts on the state of black metal today? Is the scene thriving?
It’s a bit hard for me to tell, since I’m not very involved in the scene outside of my own band. What I notice in Norway in particular is a lot of nagging and shit talking behind people’s backs. That’s one of the reasons I stay away from the whole thing. As I got older I noticed that the “follow the leader” aspect is just as prominent in black metal as it is in society in general, and I have distanced myself from that.
Tell us about the subject matter of your music. Who does the lyric writing and what inspires it? What kind of things have happened in your life or the lives of your bandmates to inspire your music?
Doedsadmiral is in charge of the lyrics, and he’s a brilliant writer. He doesn’t share much of his thoughts, but by reading the lyrics I understand they come from a very dark spiritual place. I know he’s had things happen in his life that directly influences the lyrics in Nordjevel. I don’t know if I should comment much more on that.
I noticed the track “The Shadows of Morbid Hunger” has some chanting at the end. What language is it in? What does it mean?
It’s an occultic ritual in Hindi language, performed by Vishudha Kali. He came aboard pretty early in the process, and we hope to continue working with him in the future.
What are your thoughts on heavy metal as a genre today? What are some things you like and dislike about the heavy music scene as it stands in 2017?
The popularity of heavy metal is at an all time high since the 80’s, it seems. What I really like is that the genre is more musically diverse than ever, and that there’s so much high quality music being released. The downside is that it has become part of mainstream culture, with all its negative aspects such as political correctness, censorship, artist worship and so forth..
Are there any non-black metal or even non-metal artists you respect that influence you?
Of course. Yngwie Malmsteen and Randy Rhoads are some of my biggest influences guitar wise. I listen to music in most genres, and I also create music in genres completely alien to what I’m doing in Nordjevel. I consider myself a musichead, not a metalhead in particular. I especially find a lot of inspiration in baroque music and the romantic period of classical music.
I’ve always wondered: do black metal artists view black metal as the pinnacle or “true” incarnation of heavy metal? Is “trve kvlt” a phrase that has any importance to you?
First of all, “trve kvlt” is a ridiculous term that probably was invented on some online forum, and is mainly used by fifteen year olds (at least mentally). I certainly don’t view black metal as the pinnacle of metal music, but I view it as a pretty unusual genre. It’s very easy for me to relate to it as a Norwegian, and I can really relate to what they were projecting on the early albums of the genre. The thing is that the early period is over, and the whole deal about being “true” has lost its meaning. Remembering the past is always a good thing, but trying to recreate it is a very strange phenomenon in a scene that is constantly bragging about individualism.
Here’s a secret; quite a few black metal artists would have been playing death metal if they had the musical skills. Luckily there’s more than enough musical challenges in Nordjevel for us to never become lazy.