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18-06-2020

Kråkstad is a small Norwegian town located to the south of the capital Oslo and where events took place that marked the history of Black Metal for all time. It was MAYHEM land, the place of suicide of Per Yngve Ohlin (Dead) among many other things. But today we will not talk about that, because extreme metal continued its course with new and talented generations of bands in those lands. The past is there, but the present is just as interesting. We have come to that place to interview our friend Kjetil Ytterhus, an active member of PROFANE BURIAL, OMNIA MORITUR, HOGSTUL, to tell us about the update of his projects and what is to come. Enjoy this extensive interview where nothing is left unanswered .. !!

1 - First of all thanks for your time answering our questions my friend..!

My pleasure Fabio! It's an honor doing an interview for the mighty Oscuro Funeral Webzine and my good friend from Argentina.

2 - Can you tell us how Profane Burial was born and what inspirations turned its music into that sophisticated and chaotic black metal?

Profane Burial was founded in 2013 by me (Kjetil Ytterhus) and André Aaslie known from such acts as Images At Twilight, Funeral, Abyssic. It all started in 2012 for my part when I was supposed to help out with editing on Images At Twilight's mighty "Kings" record. I started to learn Cubase and orchestration, and I thought the quickest/best way to learn that was to compose something. One thing leads to another, and suddenly I had enough material to an album which André then worked further with.

In 2016 all tracks had been finished for some time as a "pre-prod", but we were lacking band members and Profane Burial was also booked for a gig! We got in touch with the highly skilled drummer; Bjørn Dugstad Rønnow (Viper Solfa, Trollfest, Borknagar) and he recommended Jostein Thomassen on guitar (Fracture, Viper Solfa, Borknagar) and Ronny Thorsen on vocal (x-Trail of tears, x-Blood Red Throne, Viper Solfa) to have a listen at our music. They really liked it, and we started right away composing new guitars, drums and adding vocal to the music.

Some of the first thing me and Andre agreed about when we started Profane Burial was that the band had to differ from Andres other bands he is involved in (Gromth, Images at Twilight, Abyssic, Funeral). The first step was to drop the incorporation of Mellotron and Moog, and other 70's approaches. We have astonishingly similar music taste!  Andre was also comfortable with the composing method, as he could rather strip down parties, usually down to the chord progression, and create his “footprint” with it as a starting point. That way, it did not come across a pure conflict with composing for the other bands. Because of our similar music taste, Andre nevertheless felt a hundred percent of artistic freedom, dedication and ownership of the songs. It is not strange the difference in mindset between us when it comes to chord progressions. However, pure orchestration, we have a different approach, which has given the songs a very rich and divergent expression. Another element is the pace of the songs. We agreed on a more normal pace in around 80-90 and not 110-130 as in Images At Twilight.

When it comes to the guitar, drums and vocals they all have artistic freedom, as far as they do it within Profane Burials boundaries. We want the same quality and sound on every song, so there has been put a lot of effort and work from all the members in order to get the result we strive for. We always want to create a musical orchestral piece which also could be played without the metal part and be enjoyed, hence prominent but not to dominant orchestra since we after all are an extreme metal band. All the orchestral arrangements first, then we add the metal.

Regarding writing the music I can be inspired from almost everything. It does not necessarily have to be directly music related to come up with an idea; experiences and sensations are quite as important. When I lack words, music is a great way to express feelings. As an example, the music on track #2 “The Stench Of Dying Roses” was inspired as a result of a great forest hike with my family… not the lyrics, he he. I guess the music I compose really reflects my present state of mind at that precise moment(s).

…but of-course I am also very influenced by music. Since I started quite late composing music, I had the advantage of being a fan/listener for many years and have discovered tremendous fantastic bands which must have inspired me one way or the other!

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 “The Rosewater Park Legend” -  (The Review)

3 - What concept enclosed “The Rosewater Park legends”, who make the music and Lyrics?

The orchestration is a collaboration between Kjetil and Andrè. The main composer in Profane Burial on the debut album was me Kjetil Ytterhus, I send finished orchestral themes to Andrè Aaslie, and then he makes interpretations of the themes and re-arrangements. Sometimes stripped down to just the chords, and then he orchestrates it the way he feels. The result is an album extremely rich in ideas around the same themes. The funny thing here is that the guitarist seldom knows which parts are André's and which are mine, which really is the same part in the basic chords. So, he actually adds new ideas to each theme, instead of just playing the identical riff on the two themes. This way of working can perhaps make the songs too chaotic for a listener who is not willing to make an effort to go deep within the material, but we try to have some repeating substantial chorus themes in the songs that will bind it all together.

“The Rosewater Park Legend” is indeed a detailed story, as is every song. And together they make up an entire story, so yes, this is actually a concept album. For instance, track #2 “The stench of dying roses” takes place after the witch is dead, and there is peace in the village. The children mock the witch in their little nursery rhyme, and everything is fine. Until …

The story itself is mainly about a witch and her revenge on those who killed her (through her granddaughter) and it follows different persons through the ages. It has it’s twists and turns, and things may not be as straight forward as one may think. Yes, it has elements of a ghost story, witch-hunt and religion, and the last song is written in Norwegian. Why, you might say? Well, Profane Burial is a Norwegian band, and we felt it suited the album. This song deals with a letter that was written by an old Norwegian Witch, and it was a nice way to end the story.

Reaction wise we have got very good feedback so far regarding the story. People who has read the lyrics find them extremely intriguing; a witch tale by Bjørn Nørsterud.

I believe that people who write lyrics really would like to deliver some message or story, not just random words put together to sound cool. I truly enjoy Bjørn’s words and in general appreciate great lyrics.

4 - Who made the album art-work?

The name of the artist is Dalila Belazi, during the art-work creations we had regularly contact where she presented ideas for me based on the music and the lyrics. I am extremely grateful for the job and all the artwork Dalila did for us. It was a very unique and exciting process to get pictures of the music and texts!

We are very pleased and have got a lot of positive comments regarding the artwork.

How it ended up the way it turned out; I contacted the artist because of a picture I saw that I liked very much (ended up printing on the CD itself). I asked the artist if it meant something special or whether it was possible to use it for a band. One thing led to the other and suddenly we were in full collaboration with both cover and an 8 pages booklet, since she enjoyed the music and wanted to make a picture for each song. Every painting in the booklet is tailor made from the story, and the cover is mixed by several ideas into one grand epic piece!

Worth mentioning that the logo is designed by none other than Christophe Szpajdel, a name that should be well known to the vast majority. I showed him the cover with his logo on, and got very good feedback!

5 - How did they join Apathia Records?

Pure luck, ha ha! We did contact a few labels we knew from before, but it’s not easy to get a record deal as a new unknown band, even though we have a few members with names people do know. I sent mails randomly to a lot of labels and got positive response from a few. Apathia stood out due to how they communicated with me, and I also had knowledge of them because Apathia have released some very cool albums I have in my possession!

Even though Apathia Records was a smaller company we were extremely satisfied with their work with Profane Burial! The close communication we had with the guys in the label, very unique and quite different from the bigger labels. Jehan is a true gentleman who stands by his words!

6 - How was the album reception by the metalhead?

We have in general got very good feedback from people who reviewed the album. One year ago, we counted over 32 reviews with an average score of 80.25%. That’s amazing and I am overwhelmed by all the positive words we have gotten.
Judging by comments here and there on the Internet I have seen; I do believe in total there are a majority of positive and inspiring feedbacks.

What counts in the end is that we, the members in Profane Burial are pleased, but of course it is extremely cool to get good reviews and feedback. If they all were slaughtering us, I think we had to reconsider the continence of the band, he he.

7 - I know that you are currently working on a Profane Burial new album. Do you have an estimated release date for this new work?

You are well informed my friend - yes, we are working on the second album. So far, we have six tracks ready arranged with orchestrations, and think that would do. We have also some suggestions when it comes to drums (where we would like fast, mid and slow pace) and some guitar guidelines as well. We will work further with the pieces to make them sound Profane Burial, but there are a few surprises I can guarantee you! When it will be released - time will tell... we are currently without a label due to Apathia chose to close down, but do not fear - we are in contact with some!

8 - Will "The Rosewater Park Legend" go on the sound line?

I have no idea what Ronny will write about, but since he did not write "The Rosewater Park Legend" I do not believe he will continue that saga. He has written tons of amazing lyrics for his past bands, so I do trust his pen will work the magic once more!

9 - Once the Covid-19 lockdown ends, are you planning a tour with the band?

We have nothing planned at the moment. Impossible to plan anything outside your own country now, everything is so uncertain and will only end up in a money drain. What the future will bring is impossible to predict, I could never imagine such a scenario like the lock-down situation. Its crazy lazy days... with tons of music work to do!

 

 

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"Profane Burial"

 

10 – Everyone at Profane Burial has their projects. Can you tell us about your solo project called HOGSTUL and if its concept is more personal ?, because I have a strange dark feeling when I heard the single "A Nightmare at 40 Fathoms"…

Hogstul is indeed a very personal (solo) project. All the songs are a result of Profane Burial and Omnia Moritur (another band I have contributed with compositions/orchestrations), let me explain...

I have written tons of material for Profane Burial, and my band mate and dear friend André suggested we could use some of it for another project. We were playing with the thought of making the world’s longest doom song, he he. I started rearranging some very interesting ideas and came up with the band name Omnia Moritur. Long story short, Omnia suddenly took a turn to a completely different band/genre and we only used a very limited part from one of my tracks. The result was that I had three longer tracks left over which I was very proud of, but unused... what to do? I played with many ideas on how to use them, and also presented them for a few bands/persons but time passed on and nothing happened.

Then I came up with the idea to use them in a solo project, first actually as a pure orchestral symphony, but when working further with the tracks I realized this must be a metal project. The first track I made into pure Hogstul horror was "A Nightmare at 40 Fathoms". I did everything myself without any hesitation nor fear... I had never written lyrics nor done vocals before, but I am very proud of the result. Of-course drums, guitars and bass was also very new to me, but what the hell - how hard could it be, ha ha ha! The only help I have got is with the mix/master which is honorably done by my Swedish "brother" Göran Setitus (X-Setherial).

I have just finished a track called "Tomb" which will be 15 minutes long (I guess you have heard it by now, Fabio!). I did present a rough mix for two friends and the response was tremendous, so I am positive that I have followed up the first track very well. I am really eager to continue the Hogstul journey since I have the next track more or less ready as well; 18-19 minutes long epic track called "The Beast"... and it will be! I have also planned for two more tracks, "shorter" but still in the spirit of True Hogstul Horror Metal. So, after the album is done more music will be produced!

A lot of the music was rearranged and rewritten in a special period of my life, and the lyrics do reflect a lot of personal moments from various settings. You might say that Hogstul is a mirror of my inner thoughts and is the closest you can come to the truth...

 
 

Hogstul - "A Nightmare at 40 Fathoms"

 

11 – What bands have influenced you so that your orchestrations are like this?

I started to listen to metal music when I was quite young around 1980 with bands like Kiss, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and other NWOBHM. In 1987/88 I discovered harder music (Thrash/Death and Black-Metal) and has followed that scene ever since. In addition to metal I really enjoy classical music and also movie themes and compositions from games. "Subconsciously" I have combined my passions for these genres into Profane Burial which I started to work on only a few years ago.

Some of my favorite bands are Burzum, Darkthrone, Slagmaur, Faustcoven, Kvist, Urgehal, Tartaros and Ulver where I find none references to Profane Burial. I have of course my fear share of listening to bands like Limbonic Art, Bal-Sagoth, Septic Flesh, Dimmu Borgir and Carach Angren where more inspiration and links might be natural to compare.

12 - Have other members collaborated on the HOGSTUL project?

No, Hogstul is and will always be a solo project by Kjetil Ytterhus! It’s so relieving to have one project/band where I do not have to compromise and discuss every little detail with somebody else. Don't get me wrong, I really love the collaborations with the other bands I am involved in, and working with highly professional musicians - I learn a lot from them!

I find it really privileged to do a project like this (writing music and lyrics, doing orchestrations, drums, bass, guitars and vocals), but without the other bands I never could have done this due to all the inputs, feedback’s and discussions we have had over the years regarding our creations. Due to what I have learned I really think I have taken my skills to a whole new level with Hogstul, and I am 100% certain that Hogstul is as professional as the other bands I am/have been involved in!

The only thing except mix/master that I not have done myself is of course the cover artwork, but the layout/logo etc was done by me. To be in total command and decide when things should happen and not rely on external factors (tours, studio recordings, rehearsal, job, family etc by other members) is really something I could get comfortable with. I do of course respect that people have a life and should be able to choose when to work with music, but when I am creative and in the mood it’s so frustrating when things do not happen immediately, ha ha.

I did however have a minor setback two-three months this year due to tendinitis in my right arm, that was of course a bit unpredictable, but never the less I am still on schedule!

13 - When will be released the debut HOGSTUL full-length?

Hopefully next year (2021). I would like to release it myself as I did with the single, all the plans are made and I have a few cool ideas to be modest... Let’s see if time is on my side. Total control - no compromise!

14 - Are you working for other bands too?

Yes! As I mentioned I have done quite a lot for the band called Omnia Moritur, hopefully release 2021. It has taken a few years, but believe me – this will be something else!

I have also contributed with orchestrations for a Swedish band called Haimad. Extremely cool 90's symphonic black metal, you would never have guessed that the EP "The Return" was not written in 1994 if you did not know otherwise. A fun fact; opening/ending on the track "The Prophecy" was originally written for Profane Burial, but I never was able to incorporate it into a track, hence I re-wrote it for Haimad. It’s out on all known platforms (spotify, youtube etc) check it out - its mandatory!

Early this year I also joined a very talented band called Khôra. They have just released an album (Timaeus) which is mind blown! I have recently begun the work with music for the second album and is quite different from what I normally do - but please be warned; this is really something out of the ordinary - high quality sophisticated extreme metal!

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Hogstul - "A Nightmare at 40 Fathoms" - 2020 - (single review)

15 - how is to live in the legendary Kråkstad town?

Kråkstad is a very good place to live, even though there are some Christian sects and cults here (ha ha) - they are luckily not as hardcore and devoted as a certain band who used to live a few hundred meters from my house! It’s funny that very few people who lives in Kråkstad actually know about the legendary red house in Sørumveien and The True Mayhem. I have walked pass that house a million times, but every single time I think about all the great madness that took place there, who formed the legend called True Norwegian Black Metal!

16 –To end I want to ask you to give us a few words for South American fans from those Nordic lands!!

I have never been to South America, but would really like to go there some day. I have been to Central America though, but I reckon it is not the same. The fans over there seems to be more dedicated and emotional, living a much harder life than we do in Norway. We are so fucking spoiled and take everything for granted - you guys are truly amazing and seems to treasure and value all aspects with music at a whole different level than we do. We have a lot to learn from you on how to enjoy and still be proud of the heritage we must never forget to past on to the next generations... Thanks for your devotion and loyalty towards Norwegian bands - I salute you!

 

More Information: Profane Burial Facebook / Profane Burial Instagram / Profane Burial Bandcamp / Hogstul Facebook / kjetily@online.no

 

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