Borknagar Ė The Pulse Is Still Genuine
By: David E. Gehlke
Bork circa 1998, storming the castle...
Blistering.com: You mention going back to some of your earlier albums and Urd reminds me of Quintessence. Do you have the same feeling?
Brun: [laughs] I think itís interesting that kind of feedback. I spoke to another journalist in the U.S. and she said the album reminded her of The Olden Domain [laughs]. Itís more interesting because different people respond and listen to our music in a different way. Some people easily focus on certain elements that Iím like, ďOh, cool!Ē Thereís some traits definitely that are from Quintessence, but itís also a blend of Empiricism and even some stuff from The Archaic Course, actually. Iíve always felt that weíre a band thatís always expanding and expanding, but the root concept is still there.
Blistering.com: Speaking of roots, you were one of the first pagan/epic metal bands to come out during the 90ís, and now these bands are everywhere. Whatís your take on this scene?
Brun: I donít pay too much attention to it, honestly. I did when we first started, but in the last couple of years I have really distanced myself from it. I remember back in those days, there were all kinds of black metal bands to check out, but Iíve limited myself these days [laughs]. I think itís cool, though. Some songs are a bitÖpowerful. These bands are using some of the same elements we used on The Archaic Course like in-tune vocals and Hammond organ, so I think itís cool.
Blistering.com: Letís have a quick breakdown of each of your studio albums, so Iíd like to get the first thing that comes to your mind when I bring up a particular album. Letís go back to the beginning with 1995ís self-titled album.
Brun: [pauses] Extreme passion and the kind of dedication to do something new. To love something in a certain way.
Blistering.com: The Olden Domain .
Brun: To me, for some people, itís our first. Thatís the album that gave us and established our sound. Some people consider the debut more of a demo, but The Olden Domain had a good production and was groundbreaking for us.
Blistering.com: The Archaic Course .
Brun: Thatís the album that is really close to my heart. I have a really good feeling and is one of those albums that I can listen to as a listener and enjoy, without having to think about what we were doing [laughs]. I love that album.
Blistering.com: Quintessence from 2000.
Brun: Aggressive. Thatís the lineup he had at the time. After The Archaic Course, we wanted to do something more aggressive, but itís also a bit emotional. I love the feeling of the album.
Blistering.com: Moving along to Empiricism .
Brun: A new vocalist, which was Andreas. It was some kind of a new deal for us. We changed studios, so it was different to record that album. I donít remember too much recording that album, but it sounds fresh.
Blistering.com: How about Epic from 2004?
Brun: With that album we wanted to speed everything up. We made everything complicated; philosophical songs and philosophical lyricsÖwe just wanted to take the next step up. I have mixed emotions honestly, thereís so many great ideas, but we got a little too ambitious.
Blistering.com: The acoustic album, Origin .
Brun: I love it. Itís a very personal album for me, actually. Itís something I wanted to do from the very beginning of the band. We were told doing that would be commercial suicide, but we did it anyway [laughs]. I always wanted to show the acoustic side of the band, so for me, I write most of the songs on an acoustic anyway, so it worked.
Blistering.com: And finally, Universal from 2010.
Brun: Back to basics and there was a lot of attention to detail. I think the songs are great, but I think the album suffers from the production. Thereís something from the mix that I donít like. The songs turned out really good, but I know the songs from the inside-out, but the mix could have brought out more of the melodies. Itís a good album, though.
Blistering.com: Along the same lines, what would you rank as your best moment as a songwriter? Iíll point to the final moments of ďOceanís Rise,Ē [off The Archaic Course] where you drop in the acoustic guitars. Whatís your best moment?
Brun: I have a couple of ideas, but the one that Iím always amazed by is ďUniversalĒ from The Archaic Course. The mid-section, the riffs were very central and I remember being ďWow, this is going to be very good!Ē Then Simon came into the band and did some vocals and we were all ďWow!Ē That was one of the moments that was pretty good for me. Probably the most important, actually.
Blistering.com: Whatís the touring schedule looking like? I know youíre selective in what you do, so what do you have planned for this year? Rather, any plans to make it back to North America?
Brun: I would love to make it back to the U.S. I think all of us. For us, itís a time issue, but we will be doing more live sets than the last five-six years. We all have lives, kids, and such, so itís a little complicated than it was before. That part makes it hard. I really want to go to the States and our tour with Emperor [in 1999] was one of our best. At some point, weíll do it. I just donít know when.