Cronian - 02/08/2006

Upon realizing a common creative ground and like-minded artistic approach back in 2000, Borknagar’s main songwriter Øystein G. Brun and Swedish multi-instrumentalist Mr. V (a.k.a. Vintersorg, prior to even joining Borknagar) decided to get together one day to create a band-project with musical output that slightly differs from the style of their main bands.

Having pinpointed each other’s wishes and ideas back and forth for some years, while also working on releases with Borknagar, CRONIAN (in its first incarnation still referred to as Ion), didn’t come into material existence until 2005, when the proper work of the final musical expression for the debut album “Terra” started out.

 

Sharing a passion and interest for movie soundtracks, Øystein and Mr. V decided to go into a the unexplored atmospheric vibe of such soundtracks to combine it with their metallic roots. Anybody that has been witness to the musical evolution of Borknagar throughout the years but also understands the variety shown by Mr. V with his main band Vintersorg but also in projects like Otyg or Fission, will now too appreciate the more avant-garde appeal of CRONIAN that never loses its catchy songwriting. Being lyrically inspired by human near-death experiences and emotional extremities, one could picture desolate arctic landscapes, “Terra” carries a through and through cold feeling and attitude to it. As atmospheric and gloomy as the frostbitten visual presentation of the release might first appear, it also carries a pure and majestic note to it, which easily relates to the music as well.

 

“Terra” is a challenging personal journey of the soul as well as an authentic Winter-Manifesto (recorded in snowy times with minus 20 degrees Celsius), spanning elements from ‘70s art-rock to current Nordic Black Metal with supreme melodies and experimental soundscapes. A soundtrack for our current arctic times…

 

 

First of all, I want to congratulate you with Terra. I really like the album. It really makes me feel relaxed.

Can you tell us a little about the history of the band? Terra was certainly worth waiting for, but why did it take so long for you guys to start writing the material?

Thanks for the kind words mate! Well, Mr. V. and I have been playing around with ideas for a band, separate from our respective bands Vintersorg and Borknagar, almost since the day we first met. We early on in our friendship realized that we shared much the same interest, or should I say passion for making music. We are both musicians that love to progress and evolve our musical horizon into something new and unexplored. That's something we wanted to do with CRONIAN.

 

It took us some time to finally release the first CRONIAN album.
The reasons are simply due to two reasons. First off we have been quite busy with BORKNAGAR/VINTERSORG the last years and last but not least we wanted to spend some time to shape and establish the musical expression. We didn't want to hurry; we felt no need to rush it.........quite simply.

 

How did you launch into writing the material for 'Terra'? Where did the inspiration/ideas come from?

To actually write the songs didn't really take too much time. We used most of the years since "the start" to mentally prepare the whole thing. We kind of knew what musical elements we wanted to bring forth in the music, but to find the formula of balancing everything was the big challenge for us. Inspirations- everything and nothing I guess.........  I don't really have a clue, I just make my music.

 

Did you have a certain idea of what you wanted to do on 'Terra'? Any elements you definitely wanted to have on the album? Who was responsible for writing the songs on the new album?

From my point of view I always wanted to do something that had a very distinct "movie- soundtrack vibe" to it. I have been fascinated by soundtracks for many, many years. With CRONIAN I wanted to make music that had a very visual and atmospheric approach and I really think we succeed in that......... I wrote most of the songs actually but Mr. V contributed allots being a wizard with sounds and effects.

 

Could you please describe the implications the title 'Terra' has for you? What does it stand for and is there a special meaning behind it?

“Terra" was simply the best word being the literal spearhead for the lyrical content. It's as easy as that. We just felt that everything fitted together very good: the music- the lyrics- the layout and then the title...........

 


Who wrote the lyrics for this album and can you tell us something about them? I read they are inspired by near-death experiences and emotional extremities. Why the fascination with near-death experiences? Ever had one yourself?

With CRONIAN we wanted to have sort of an ethereal approach and that also go for the lyrics. Therefore we used this arctic landscape as the scenery for the lyrical content. The arctic landscape somehow represents the very last pristine parts of the globe. The environment is utterly beautiful, yet so fierce and deadly for the humans. I have always been very fascinated by this. Some of the ideas behind the lyrics are the close encounter between Nature and mankind in such environments. What mechanisms in the human brain make us risk our life to explore these wastelands? I mean, this basically breach with our strong instinct to survive and protect the life of yourself and your offspring. You might say that the album is a small honor to the pioneer- spirit" of our forefathers.

 

This is your first record for Century Media Records. Why did you sign with them and how did you get in contact with them?

Century Media Records came up with the best package for us. The deal they offered was good and they were willing to work with CRONIAN on our principles. Since I have been working with CMR for about 10 years with my other band BORKNAGAR I know them quite well and we trust that they do a good job for us. Naturally I got in contact with them since I already knew the label...

 

You recorded this album in the Unisound Studio and in an authentic Winter-Manifesto (recorded in snowy times with minus 20 degrees Celsius).Was this a conscious choice and why?

That's half the story....hehe... Actually everything is recorded in my studio and Mr. V's studios. We both have quite descent equipment to do such things. We basically did everything ourselves, including the recording and mixing. We only mastered the album in Unisound Studio. The album was mixed in late December 2005 in the Northern part of Sweden. And yes it was bastard cold! When we did the band photos (a break form the mixing) we went to a mountain nearby and it was freezing cold. You can almost see on my beard that it's about to freeze. Made a nice touch to the whole atmosphere while mixing the album!

 

How did the recording process proceed and how much time did you spend in the studio?

We worked sporadically during about one and a half year I think. I recorded and programmed my stuff in my studio and the same did Mr. V. We spend samples to each other via the internet, talked on the phone and so on. A really interesting process- to see how far you can push things without going to an expensive studio.

 

 

 The new album was produced by Dan Swanö. Are you satisfied with the result of the album and how was it to work with him?

Not totally correct. Dan only mastered the album in Unisound. He is a mastermind when it comes to such things so that really helped us to complete the overall sound of production. Great working with him, easy to communicate with and really professional!

 

I must say that the Cronian logo is beautiful. Who created that? Is there a thought behind the logo?

The logo is done by a guy named Robert L. Smith. Mark his name as he is a brilliant drawing artist. We just wanted a cool and classic logo and that is what he made for us........

 

Listening to Terra makes me think a bit about Borknagar, but then in a more relaxed way. Can you understand that feeling and why?

Yeah, sure I can understand that! The reason is simply that I make most of the music and Mr. V does the vocals and so on......... So whatever we do together, peoples will always tell us that we reminds of BORK or VINTERSORG, even if it is just mentally. That doesn't bother me at all. I am quite proud to have established a musical identity that marks out somehow. I see the link between CRONIAN and BORKNAGAR but to me those bands have a totally different character.

 

As you say on your website Cronian shares a passion and interest in movie soundtracks. You can really hear that on the album. I think Terra is a metal soundtrack itself. What do you have with movies? Were you in any way influenced by certain movies? Which soundtracks do you love yourself?

Thanks for the kind words! Well, I have always been very fascinated by movie soundtracks and how they empower movies. What would "Lord of the Rings" be without the music? Movie soundtracks have a very important role when it comes to creating atmospheres, feelings and so on. With CRONIAN I tried to use these "principles" and blend it into our music..........Movie soundtracks that I love is many, everything from STAR WARS (John Williams is THE mastermind) to SVIDD NEGER (Norwegian movie where Trixter G.Made the score).

 

Have you already received any feedback on the new album and what do you personally think about this album - are you satisfied with the outcome or would you liked to have changed anything in retrospective?

Yeah, we have got loads of feedback. Most of them have been positive (more positive that expected) and some has been negative. With CRONIAN we expected very diverse feedback due to the fact that we do some musical "side jumps" on TERRA that evidentially have provoked some fans around the globe.........But do we care? NO!


Can we expect some live shows? If yes, where and will you come to the Netherlands?

Nope! CRONIAN will not appear live. We never intended to that with CRONIAN and I thing the music not would suit a live stage. CRONIAN is not the ultimate head banger music....hehe........

 

What can we expect from Cronian in the future?

A new album coming up. We are currently working on the new material (the music is already written) for the next album. We hope to finish the album by the end of the year and most likely it will be released early next year............musically it will be massive and atmospheric. Maybe a little bit darker that "Terra".......................So beware!

 

 

Ok, now some questions to enable our readers to get to know you a little bit better:

 

How did you get involved in the music business?

I started out with distributing flyers, tape-trading and reading underground fanzines back in 1989 or so.... I got in contact with peoples around the globe and through the years everything evolved to where I am now. Have been a long but interesting journey.

 

What songs and bands do you listen to yourself these days?

Has to admit that I don't really listen so much to metal anymore, at least on daily basis. I am for example a big fan of David Sylvian, his new project Nine Horses, is really great. I am really into the last David Gilmour album and so on........ As you may notice, I like atmospheric music quite allot.

 

Is there still something you like to do besides Cronian and all your other bands. Do you have jobs or can you live from the music you love to make?

I guess much the same as everybody else. Being together with my family and friends, watching movies, take a walk on the mountain and so on. Yes, I have a regular job beside the music. Even though I from time to time could have lived from music only, that was or is not in my interest. I don't want to be a slave by the music industry in any way. I want to make my music without concerning about the sales of the next album in order to get money to pay my bills.... That's elementary for me!

 

What is your opinion about the Nordic black metal scene these days, do you miss something?

Yes, I miss burning passion for the music back in those days. Nowadays, I think it is too much about everything around and beside.............metal has become a fashion for the masses..........thousands of goth- clones with make-up and crap like that.........

 

Is there anything you want to tell us after these questions?

Yeah, I really have to take a leak...............take care folks and thanks for your support!

 

Thanks very much for your time. I am looking forward to receive your answers.

 

Answered by Øystein G. Brun, July 2006

 

(Harmen Vermeulen)

Cronian is:
Mr. V: Zang, Bass & Programming
Øystein G. Brun: Gitaar & Programming

Cronian Albums:
2006 - Terra