Ahab – Afloat In the Fever Sea
By: David E. Gehlke
Blistering.com: I wondered with Ahab if you’ll ever get to the point where you’ll write a regular album without concept. Do you foresee the band ever doing that?
Hector: Eh, no, I don’t think so [laughs]. There are so many bands who are doing that, so I think Ahab wouldn’t be that successful, if you could say “successful” in the underground genre - if we were just one of a thousand bands with no concepts. When I listen to music, I like to have some overall art, if you know what I mean. That’s more interesting. Of course, if you listen to a Motorhead album…
Blistering.com: That’s beer-drinking music.
Hector: Right, and it’s just something different. I think the concept of the band to be a concept band…I think we don’t want to change that. It’s just fun. The fun thing about it is that you can’t just sit down and write something. You have to think about some good, artistic stuff. Then you have to cope with that and that’s a cool thing to do.
Blistering.com: You had Herbrand Larsen from Enslaved join in some clean vocals. What was that like having him contribute to some of the songs?
Hector: I wasn’t there at a concert in Spain – we had a session guitarist at the time. Daniel went over to the Enslaved guys and asked him about their clean singer and him doing vocals. Hebrand wasn’t there when Daniel asked, so the Enslaved guys said to drop him an email, so we did that. We dropped him some rehearsal demos and he actually recorded it in his own studio in Norway, in Bergen. He sent us the vocal lines – we didn’t tell him anything. We were just stunned by it. He’s a really cool guy…we paid him with three bottles with Cognac [laughs]. He’s really nice. I think other guys who are as successful as Enslaved wouldn’t have done it all.
Blistering.com: He adds a great touch to the songs. It also looks like Daniel has opened up his vocals more.
Hector: Oh yeah. Most of my friends kept telling me and I was already thinking about it – this sounds like Alice in Chains. I’m still a big fan of theirs, so I was like, “Great!”
Blistering.com: The artwork really moves away from the traditional funeral doom covers. It leaves a lot to the imagination, so what’s the story behind it?
Hector: We saw something similar with Long Distance Calling. On their last album, they had something psychedelic, and we really liked it. I dropped them an email and they came up with the contact for Sebastian Jerke. We told him about the book and he read it. Then we told him we want something psychedelic with the giant on the cover, and the rest he did himself. When you have a great artist, you’re not going to tell them what to do. He sent us sketches and we told him what was cool, but the rest was done totally by him. He’s a great painter.
Blistering.com: It’s a 70’s-styled cover, which is cool.
Hector: That was done on purpose. I like that kind of illustration personally. I thought it was time to do something different than a classical painting. We wanted to have something on our own. This time, it’s one artistic piece on every level – the music, the lyrics, the illustrations, so you have something that’s a great package.
Blistering.com: I think the whole concept and packaging behind The Giant moves you away from the funeral doom genre. Don’t you think?
Hector: The problem is no one is “true.” I listen to 70’s stuff; I even listen to 20’s stuff and classic death metal and black metal. No one is like that true. It’s okay for me if some genre purists are like “You’re not funeral doom!” We had that discussion since the first demo. The nice description was like, “It’s tempting to call Ahab a riffing funeral doom band.” I mean, of course, we’re not pure funeral doom at all. We’re not at all funeral anymore. For me, funeral doom was more of the vibe…something like a trance. I listen to Skepticism or Shape or Despair, it’s different.