Death From the North
CoC interviews Christer Espevoll of Extol
by: Alex Cantwell
Anyone who is a devoted reader of this publication probably knows by now that I hold Extol in extremely high regard. Although I love to tell their tale, and how I discovered them, and blah, blah, blah, I have done it already in past issues and will not go into any of that here. I was extremely curious as to how their recent and third tour of the US had been, seeing as how I was not able to attend one of their shows this time, and I also wanted to see what was in their immediate future, following recent triumphs such as the release of _Undecieved_ [CoC #49] and a feature in Metal Maniacs. After months of inquiring about the possibility of doing an e-mail interview with the band, I was finally granted that honour with guitarist Christer Espevoll, and the results are as follows...

CoC: Tell me about your US tour this past Summer.

Christer Espevoll: We had a good time and played a lot of shows. Thumbs up for the crowd at Club 412 in Ft. Worth, Texas, the best crowd we ever played in front of. Cornerstone was fun as usual; too muddy this year, though. I'm really happy we stayed at a motel...

CoC: America has had a mad influx of Norwegian black metal bands touring this year, but most are not able to. Why have you been here three times already and why is touring in America so important to the band?

CE: Touring is good no matter where. It's good because we get to meet new people and we get to talk about Jesus. Musically it's good because the stage presence gets better and we grow as musicians. The reason we've only toured USA so far (by touring I mean lots of shows in a short period of time) is that's where we have contacts, and that's where we've had the chance to tour. We love touring. It rocks.

CoC: But as big as metal is in Europe, don't you think it will be important to the future of the band to try to tour there as? well Does SolidState require you to tour the US after each? release ?

CE: Oh yes, we really want to tour Europe, but since we don't have very good distribution in Europe people haven't heard of us, so that's a problem. SolidState doesn't require anything like that from us, we just love touring.

CoC: How does Extol fit into the metal scene in Norway?

CE: Very well, I think; the only "drawback" is that we are Christians. I think that's how the secular scene looks at us. They respect us for the music we play, but not necessarily for us being Christians, which is kind of sad, but the music is a good opener for us to get to talk about our faith anyway, so that's really cool.

CoC: What is Extol doing currently?

CE: Writing music for the next album. And we're dealing with a new label for distribution in Europe. Can't tell you which one... We're also doing a few shows in Sweden and Germany before Christmas.

CoC: Could you please inform me on the details of Ole Borud's departure from the band?

CE: Well, he felt like doing other things musically, and he was tired of metal. We knew it was coming, so when he told us around Christmas last year, we were prepared for it. Of course there are no hard feelings or anything, and we wish him good luck further on whatever he does in music. He is a very good musician, so I have no doubt that whatever he decides to do is going to be good.

CoC: He introduced clean vocals into your sound, has served as co-producer and sound engineer for your recordings, and contributed musically. How will you replace him?

CE: We won't. As for the clean vocals, that was something we wanted to exploit because we knew he was a good singer. It was never part of our original sound. But we might do some clean vocals on the next album in another form... you'll just have to wait and hear. When it comes to the engineering part, we've been really lucky to have Ole and his family's studio, because we had the privilege to take the time we needed to make our albums as good as possible, but there are several good studios around here with good engineers, so I don't think that's going to be a problem on the next album.

CoC: Are you guys still friends with him?

CE: Yes.

CoC: So is Tor Magne still not an actual member of the band?

CE: Well, he is, but he is not. Right now Lengsel and Extol are helping each other out. Tor Magne and Jon Robert help us out on guitar and bass, and David and Peter help them out on drums and vocals. So Peter, David and I are still the core of Extol, but still both Tor Magne and Jon Robert are more than just stand-in musicians. They are really good friends. Officially, though, they are not permanent members.

CoC: _Undecieved_ is full of very technical death metal with many mdark elodies, but with less of a black metal influence mthan previous aterial. Why did Extol make an album like m_Undecieved_?

CE: We felt that was the direction to go after _Burial_. Our next album is probably going to be more towards black metal. Not pure black, of course, but faster and more chaotic, I think. We still have a lot more songs to write, but that's the way it looks right now.

CoC: How much influence does traditional Norwegian music have on you guys? There have been hints of it during the orchestral parts on both full-lengths, but then you have bands like Manegarm, Twin Obscenity, and (early) Ulver who really incorporate traditional sounding music into their own. Do you think Extol might ever travel down this road?

CE: As far as I know we are not influenced by any of those kind of bands. Some of the things Ole wrote I know were inspired by the Beatles and some classical composer (can't remember which one), and then of course you have Rush. Ole loves Rush. As for myself, I have never listened to any Norwegian folk music at all.

CoC: Where do you see the band going in the future, musically?

CE: Like I said, it's going be faster and more chaotic, but we'll still keep the melodies. Peter [Espevoll, vocals] puts it very nicely when he tries to explain our new direction: it's more beautiful and more brutal.

CoC: Is there a chance that you will ever record in one of the more well-known studios in Norway or Sweden?

CE: Probably not. We know what kind of sound we want and don't really feel the need for a producer or a famous engineer.

CoC: What is your favorite Van Halen song?

CE: Don't have one.

CoC: Please tell me about your "Believer wannabe" thrash band.

CE: Well, it's just a project and we're not Believer wannabes, but we're Believer influenced. We love Believer and David and I wanted to make some thrash music... so sometime in the future when we've made ten or twelve songs we'll probably release it.

CoC: Why was the _Mesmerized_ EP never released in the US?

CE: It was, through SolidState.

CoC: And finally, what up-and-coming Norwegian bands do we need to know about?

CE: Can't think of any right now. Oh yeah, Umbrella (girl punk) and Silver (old school rock and roll) are names to notice.

CoC: That's it, I guess -- I could ask you 100 questions. Monga tusin tuk. [I was attempting to say "many thousand thanks" here -- Alex]

CE: Hehe, that would be: mange tusen takk.

(article submitted 10/1/2001)

7/7/1999 A Cantwell Extol: Anointed For Burial
1/20/2005 J Smit 5 Extol - Blueprint
10/25/2000 A Cantwell 8 Extol - Undecieved
8/12/1999 A Cantwell 7.5 Extol - Mesmerized
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