Friday, May 29, 2015

May 29th, 2015 - Building With Fire: An Interview With Enslaved Guitarist Arve Isdale

God ettermiddag!  A very special treat for you today my friends, an interview with the amazing Arve Isdale (aka Ice Dale), guitarist of Enslaved! 

Norwegian progressive black metal/Viking metal band Enslaved was formed in 1991 by Ivar Bjørnson and Grutle Kjellson (also known as Kjetil Grutle).  Since that time they have recorded 13 wonderful studio albums, including their latest release "In Times".  (See my pairing of "In Times" here:  Arve joined Enslaved in 2002.  Along with his work with Enslaved, he is very active in the Norwegian metal scene as both a member of bands and as a studio session player.  Brews and Tunes recently talked with Arve about Enslaved, music, his influences, and touring:

1.           How did you originally get started in music? 

-         When I grew up I listened to my parents records and the ones I liked the best were ABBA, Dire Straits, The Shadows and the Norwegian band A-HA. We didn’t have too many radio channels back then and they usually didn’t play any good music so my parents albums were my first experience with music and at least the album format.

When I was around 7-8 years old a friend of mine called me and said he had gotten a VHS tape of a great band I had to see. He came over and it was a KISS concert from the Animalize tour!

I was totally blown away and I knew instantly that THAT was what I wanted to do the rest of my life. Play in a band!

2.           You joined Enslaved in 2002 and worked on the wonderful “Below The Lights”.  How did you come to start playing with Enslaved?

-         When their former guitar player quit, they asked me to help them out on some gigs and I have been in the band ever since.

We became friends at once and had the same musical influences, so it felt right from the start!

3.           Enslaved has evolved significantly over the years while still staying true to their black metal roots.  What has been the driving force (or forces) in the progression of your sound?

-         To evolve and always try to get better at what we do!

Enslaved have always evolved musically and never tried to make the same album twice, which is a great quality I think!
4.           What can you tell us about your style and the gear that you use?

-         My style is a combination of inspiration from the bands I have listened to like KISS, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Guns n Roses and so, mixed with my personality I guess.

I have a more rock n roll approach in an extreme metal setting.

I use Gibson guitars mostly and a Les Paul Custom (Black Beauty) is my main guitar both live and in the studio. Peavey 6505+ amp and some different pedals (Boss, Ibanez, mxr, line6 etc..)

5.           What musicians have influenced you most?

-         The bands I just mentioned and I have also been a lot into Nine inch Nails, Mike Patton (and his bands), The Beatles, King Crimson, Yes, Prince, Frank Zappa and a lot of Jazz stuff..

I like all kinds of music and as long as its good and I like it, it inspires and influenses me!

6.           What metal musicians/bands are currently on your radar?  Who do you listen to in your down time?

-         I have a little Beatles period now so listen a lot to them and also the last album from Lissie “Back to Forever”.  I totally love her music but its not metal though haha.  Also I've been listening a lot to the Royal Blood album, which is really good.

When it comes to metal I have listened a lot to YOB lately and they are an awesome band! We just toured with them in the US and they are really great guys too.

7.           Enslaved is currently touring with your latest release, the brilliant “In Times”.  What can you tell us about the writing, recording, and production of the “In Times” album?

- Ivar [Bjørnson] writes the riffs and the music, then sends us sketches of the songs and then we all comment on the arrangements. Grutle [Kjellson] and Herbrand [Larsen] makes the vocals and I put on some melodies and soloes and then we practice the songs all together and make the final adjustments. We have recorded the latest albums in Duper studio and Conclave&Earshot (my and Herbrand`s studio) as well as some additional recordings in Ivar´s studio (Peersonal sound studio). On “In Times” we also recorded some additional stuff in Grutle´s cabin. The album was mixed by Jens Bogren in his studio (Fascination Street).

8.           What is your favorite Enslaved song to perform live and why?

- Right now it’s the songs from the latest album “In Times”. Its always fun to perform new songs and see how the audience react to them. "Allfadr Odin" and "ISA" are songs that always sounds good too. We just played "Fusion of Sense and Earth" [2006, "RUUN" album] again on a festival for the first time in years and that’s a song I have always enjoyed to play live and works great!

9.           Where can my readers catch one of your shows?  What upcoming shows does the band have for the remainder of 2015? 

-         Now the festival season is on so we will play a lot of festivals around in Europe. Then we will do a UK tour in late September and we might go back to US in the end of the year!

Check the Enslaved facebook site for updated info!  (

10.       What do you see as the future of Enslaved and for yourself as a musician? 

-         Enslaved will keep on doing what we do which is making new albums and tour.

I don’t think any of us could see a future without the music. We have been doing this all of our lives so if its not all we know, its at least a big part of who we are.

I will also keep on doing the same with my other band, Audrey Horne, so I will stay busy for sure!
11.       If there was one thing you’d like your fans to know about you, what would that be?

-         I don’t know. Some things should be kept a secret haha!

A fun fact is that I was very much into sport and so when I was a kid.

I won a school tournament in Chess and I also won a Championship in Tennis in my hometown, so me and Lars Ulrich should play a game some day!
12.       Brews and Tunes pairs craft beer with hard rock, progressive rock, and metal.  So Arve Isdal comes home from a long day at the studio or from a show… what beer does he grab and what album does he spin to help decompress?

- I would grab an IPA beer and put on Hellacopters “By the Grace of God”. Cheers!

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