Last year I’ve arranged with In Vain this following interview. Due to Gmail problems, I received the answers just today, with a “slight” delay on delivery! Here’s the interview with Johnar Håland, vocals, guitars and main composer for In Vain.
RAM: Hello Mr Håland! Thank you for this interview, let’s start with the questions. By the way You could find some question not so common…or strange compared to the other that usually recurs in an interview. I discovered your band listening to your last album “Aenigma”. How do you found my blog and my review? Did you google yourself? I do sometimes…
Johnar Håland: Hi! I guess we came across in through google, or perhaps someone mailed/PM us on Facebook. That happens quite often as well.
RAM: Talking about the new album, what do you like of it most, why a young Metal head should listen to it?
JH: My take is that In Vain strongests points are that our music never gets boring and that it keeps you at your toes. Additionally, the music is very varied and carries a strong character, thus setting us aside from the other bands out there.
RAM: What are the songs from “Aenigma” that made you discuss or “fight” in the studio? If there were, obviously.
JH: Well to be honest, we did not really fight or discuss that much. I write all the music and so far the other members seem to like most of what I write. I guess you can have more tensions if there are several songwriters involved in the songs, and if their opinions differ. That has not been the case in In Vain so far.
RAM: The album is very interesting because it full of different feelings and sensations. For example a very strong aspect is the epic mood that certain melodies have. A song like “Hymne til Havet” makes me intensely recall a movie like “Valhalla Rising” by Nicolas Winding Refn, a beautiful film that talks about the Vikings in a very particular and evocative way. Being the text of the song in Norwegian I do not know what you mean, you could briefly explain what it’s about “Hymne …” and tell me if the mood of the album is epic we wanted or is it just me?
JH: The song title directly translated is “A hymn to the sea”, and that is indeed also what the lyrics are about. The song is a hymn to the sea, both musical and lyrical wise. We were aiming for a majestic song with this one, in order to echo the sea as the powerful natural element it is. All of the members have grown up in places close to the sea and we all feel a special connection to it. We talked about it and agreed that none of us would be able to live in a place far away from the sea for a longer period of time. Obviously, the sea is nice for recreational purposes, but there is also something special about just looking out to the sea and listening to the waves. It’s a good way to reflect upon life.
RAM: Still on the different moods of the disc, “The Times of Yore” is a track that is very reminiscent of the American Death Metal and Morbid Angel in particular. Do you feel the same or it’s just my ears that are failing?
JH: I agree with you on that one.
RAM: I find particularly annoying the saxophone, which leads me to the question: how did you choose to insert it into the album?
JH:I totally disagree with you and I love sax in metal, when used in a smart and appropriate way. The sax is nothing new to In Vain and has been with us since our second EP ‘Wounds’ from 2005.
RAM: Are you thankful to the social networks like facebook or curse the man who invented it everyday? Do you know that this interview is born from your sharing of my review for “Aenigma” on your official facebook fan page? This could be a point for the cursing!
JH: I think Facebook is a very good way for bands in order to communicate with fans. Easy too.
RAM: What do you think about illegal downloading of Music? Do you think that “Aenigma” has been downloaded illegally in a high percentage?
JH:Definitely. If you google the album you will find tons of sites that you can download it from. I think it sad that someone does not have more respect for the art, after all a CD is not that expensive and there is plenty of hard work behind it. In my opinion you should support the bands you like and my guess is that we have yet to see the negative consequences that downloading will have for the music industry. In the end it’s only the really big bands that make money, by further raising their concert ticket prices, etc. Other thing is that people have asked us many times to come to this and that country, but it’s simply a matter of money and it does not make sense for us to tour that much when you do not have enough income to support it. We need to take time off work and a tour is really expensive. With higher CD sales, more things would be easier to finance basically.
RAM: Pick the five most great records from Norway you like…
JH: In the Woods – Strange in Stereo
Extol – Undeceived
Emperor – The Discipline of Fire and Demise
(just three, maybe for him these are enough)
RAM: Talking about Norway, what is your opinion about the “True Norwegian Black Metal”?
JH:I do not really care that much about it too be honest. I am not really into that kind of music myself.
RAM: Do you know any Italian band?
JH:Yeah, some like Aborym.
RAM: Thank you again for giving me the interview I ask you one last thing: how is boring promoting an album? Did you really enjoy this interview?
JH: Interviews are not boring, but they can indeed be very time consuming. However, one should always be thankful for someone who shows interest in your craft; so thank you for the interview!