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 .. !!
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.
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!
What concept enclosed “The Rosewater Park legends”, who make the music
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.
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
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!
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!
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
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!
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!
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!
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
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...
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.
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).
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?
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
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!
15 - how is to live
in the legendary Kråkstad
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!