Bilateral, the third studio album from Leprous, is easily one of my favorite releases this year (review here). The mix of prog with metal combined with a vintage feel but a modern sound all came together to create an album that I just cannot stop listening to. So I was beyond excited when I got the opportunity to chat with vocalist/keyboardist Einar Solberg. We discussed the album, the sounds and tones used, the artwork, and Einar’s thoughts on horror. Check it all out after the jump!
BD: How are you doing?
Einar Solberg: I’m doing just fine! What about you?
BD: Doing very well! So, first of all, I have to say that I love Bilateral! I have a feeling I’m going to be coming back to this album for a very long time.
ES: Oh thank you! That’s very good to hear! [laughter]
BD: The album has so many different genres mixed together and yet it all feels so cohesive and uniform. What is the writing process like and how are you able to combine these different inspirations so effectively?
ES: Well, the thing is, when we write the music we don’t put too many limitations. We just write whatever feels right without considering genres at all actually. We just write the sketch of the song first and then we go through it and perfect it for a long period afterwards. But in the writing period, when we write the song, the sketch, we’re not very critical. We allow everything almost. The creativity part comes in the beginning of the song writing process and the structure comes at the end, if you know what I mean. So yeah! No limitations!
BD: Another thing I noticed were the vast amount of tones and sounds through the various instruments. Can you tell me how you went about picking some of those sounds and how you decided what fit best and where?
ES: I use a Clavia Nord Stage and a Clavia Nord Wave and then I’m just using, for example, a Rhodes sound and then adding a lot of different effects, LFO filters, all until they’re not recognizable anymore [laughs]. I really want to create my own sounds on the keyboard.
But some of the sounds were run through guitar amps. Like in the beginning of the track ‘Thorn’, we recorded the keyboards with a line signal first and then we ran it through a guitar amp in a church in Oslo to get the “Church reverb”. That was done to get that really authentic and original sound.
BD: Is there a song on the album that you are particularly proud of or really want people to hear?
ES: I’m very happy with ‘Forced Entry’, ‘Restless’ and ‘Thorn’. I love all the songs but those are ones that I really like.
BD: That’s funny because ‘Forced Entry’ and ‘Restless’ are two of my favorite tracks on the album!
ES: [laughs] Nice! We have the same taste!
BD: The artwork was done by Jeff Jordan, who did work with The Mars Volta. Can you tell me what it is about his work that appeals to the band?
ES: Well, in the beginning it felt like it was really unrealistic to try and use a guy like that because, well, it would be really expensive! [laughs] We’re not that famous yet [laughs] so we don’t have that much money. But the thing was we were working with out previous album art designer and when we told him what we wanted to have on our album cover, he told us “I can’t do that. It’s beyond my skills. It’s not my kind of thing.” So we did some research and our guy sent an email to Jeff Jordan and it turned out he really wanted to do the project because he really loved the music. That was how it happened!
BD: Speaking of surreal art and visuals, and since I write for Bloody-Disgusting, I’m curious if you or the band itself is into horror in any way as there were some very eerie and unsettling moments on the album?
ES: I like horror but I’m trying not to think too much when writing music because if I do, it becomes boring, you know?
BD: What are some of your favorite horror movies?
ES: Well, I love a lot of David Lynch’s films: Mulholland Drive and Twin Peaks.
BD: Oh man, Twin Peaks is one of my favorite TV shows of all time! Plus the music of Angelo Badalamenti is just fantastic.
ES: I totally agree! It’s one of my favorites as well.
BD: Einar, thank you so much for your time and best of luck to you and Leprous!