Vulture Industries

Theatrical, gothic, grotesque, weird, progressive, metal, rock… and many other things can be found on “The Tower”. All those “ingredients” surely make it a rather “intriguing” & “strange” album. Grande Rock contacted the band’s vocalist Bjørnar Nilsen and had a very “strange – out of the ordinary chat”… thus read below…
Vulture Industries band pic

Hi Bjørnar & welcome on Grande Rock. In a way, I think that “The Tower” is your most complete work to date.
B: Thank you! I agree. I am proud of our other albums, but this I feel is closer to a profound expression of ourselves.
Is it something of a tradition or you just happen to release new albums every 3 years?
B: Three is the number of sides in the Bermuda triangle. By chance is also seems to be the amount of time we need to gather enough new impulses and inspiration to make a new album and record it.
So, what are those elements that you’ve added, increased or decreased in order to succeed a more consistent and updated music outcome?
B: We lived a bit and once again it turned out that time has a changing effect on our characters. Then we added some more vocal harmonies and shitloads of tambourine and improvised percussion.
What’s the most accurate way for someone to define VI’s sound? What would you say?
B: It relates to “Dream Theater” in exactly the same way as “Titanic” relates to “A Clockwork Orange”...
I’ve noticed that the extreme metal influences have been reduced to minimum in the new album. Why’s that? We are at a point when every band is trying to be “extreme” just for the sake of it (money as well)!
B: It felt right for us to go in this direction as we are all rapidly becoming old mellow farts. We never had any wish to be particularly extreme when it comes to playing faster or being louder or sounding harsher. We’d rather go in the direction of a package that is extremely thoroughly worked through.
You’ve also done a great job on the song arrangements. Full & complex orchestrations need more time and attention. The “trend” is to follow the simplistic song structures of the 70s & 80s rock era nowadays. So, isn’t it kind of risky when you swim against the tide?
B: I guess swimming against the tide shows a profound effort and keeps us from forgetting where we are going. If we would try to follow it we could wind up in all sorts of troublesome waters. We might even run the risk of becoming really popular. Anyway… Popular culture seems to recycle itself at regular intervals within a movement – counter movement cycle. One day the tide might accidentally turn our way no matter if we want it to or not.
I like much of the stuff from the 70s and 80s rock era, so I don’t necessarily see a big problem with bands drawing inspiration from it. Many bands wind up as bleak copies of their idols though, only touching the surface of what they are trying to recreate. Time has done its part in sorting gold from rubbish from that era, so the artists that are still left are mostly those with a profound expression and something exceptional. Getting a retro hairdo and doesn’t really get you there.

So, where is “The Tower” and what’s the secret meaning behind its title?
B: The title refers to “The Tower” as a metaphorical construction that represents the society we live in and the world we create around ourselves. It might look crooked and bent from the outside, but as you are drawn into it and become part of it all the imperfections and absurdities become logical and infallible. The higher you are drawn up into the tower, the more you lose sight of the ground and the harder the fall when falling down. In part it is also a reference to the symbolism of a tower being a harbinger of destruction, the prison (the tower of London), and the tower of babbles trying to reach the heavens.
How is the cover artwork related with the album’s title?
B: I could spoil it all by going into every little detail, but it is an illustration of a tower so the basic link is quite obvious. We first got in touch with the cover designer Costin Chioreanu in Romania a couple of years ago. He was in house artist at a festival we were playing at, and held an exhibition there. I was really inspired by his art, and as we talked it turned out there was a mutual fascination and Costin was also a fan of the band.
When working on the material for “The Tower” we realized that we would need an illustration this time, not a photo like we have done on the previous two. From this realization the way to contacting Costin was short. He got really turned on by the project as the ideas and concept of the album really matched with thoughts and ideas he had himself. He made 4 fantastic pictures for the CD and vinyl and as a continuation of the collaboration he made a fantastic animated video for the track “Lost Among Liars”. The video is a very dark and gloomy journey through a surreal universe and fits the music perfectly. You can check it here.

Do give us a hint about each track…
B: “The Tower”: One might lose sight of the ground on ones journey heavenbound.
“Divine – Appalling”: My death has a face and it’s an image of you…
“The Hound”: It’s a nasty job, but somebody’s got to do it…
“Blood on the Trail”: Whom does it tail?
“The Dead Won’t Mind”: They never do…
“A Knife Between Us”: I hold it, but you put it there yourself.
“The Pulse of Bliss”: Don’t worry, be happy…
“Sleepwalkers”: To some extent we all are…
“Lost Among Liars”: The hint is in the title.
You did the album’s production, while the mixing was done by Herbrand Larsen (Enslaved) & the mastering by the renowned by Jens Bogren (Opeth, Katatonia, Devin Twonsend etc.) at Fascination Street Studios. Are there any things that you’d like to change if you had the chance?
B: I vowed never to regret my decision. (i.n.: Fair enough! smiley)
Apart from the animated video by Costin Chioreanu for “Lost Among Liars”, are there any thoughts of releasing another video in the near future?
B: Yes, but it is too early to reveal any details.
How was the tour with Leprous across Europe? Do you plan to hit the road again anytime soon?
B: Yes. We will both do some touring in Europe and are scheduled for festivals across Europe for 2014.
Does “The Tower” showcase the band’s evolution over the years and in what way?
B: I believe it shows a stage in our evolution as a band. I believe an album to be a historic document showing to some extent what a band was and who the people who made it were at that period of their lives. “You cannot step into the same river twice”.
What can we expect from VI in the future?
B: Something different…
How do you see the future of this so called “free music” culture? What shall the musicians (and the labels) do if they want to keep producing music without losing their money and time?
B: I think you need professional artists to get quality art, thus as a general rule you also need the willingness to pay for art to maintain quality. Still, I do not think a primarily economically motivated creative process is what produces the best art. Then art would become to conform and complacent.
The world is a rapidly changing place. With the introduction of the internet and its starting days of music sharing clients the music industry showed a very reactionary attitude. This has caused a lag in adaptation to a new reality. People are still using music. To a greater degree than before I believe, so I am not so negative when it comes to the future of the musician. I’m more concerned for the future of the planet in general.

Vulture Industries band pic

And some weird Questions now!!! How did you come up with the name Vulture Industries back in the day?
B: The name comes from a story from the beginning of the last century. Somewhere in east Europe there was this big factory producing munitions for WW1. The factory director was widely known for being a cold and cynical man who cared little for his employees and even less for people in general. His shells were marketed as the widow makers of Europe, and he boasted little concern for any deaths or mangled limbs caused by production accidents. He was even said to molest his employees and once it was rumored he had shot one of his foremen for disturbing his lunch.
Anyway, then man was very reclusive and was said to live for days isolated in his office, only ringing a bell from time to time to have meals delivered through a dumbwaiter connected to the kitchen below. At one time his reclusiveness extended to not being seen for weeks and when the workers’ wages were due and there was no sign of him, concern turned to unrest. Being terrified for trespassing into the man’s office no one dared enter to confront the man on the missing wages, so they started delivering anonyms’ letters of complaint through the office mail slot.
Nothing continued to happen, but as the factory cook said; “The man is surely there, for he rings his bell for meals and eats the best parts before I take down the plates”. As more days passed frustration grew and finally the resolute wife of one of the workers came storming into the factory to confront the director. As she ran up the stairs towards the office others flocked to follow and just as they reached the door they heard the bell from the inside and they all froze. Still the resolute wife was not daunted and broke open the door to the office. As the door was opened a great nauseous stink surged out from the room, stopping the party dead on their tracks. The stink was followed by a great racket from within the room, flapping of wings and a terrible squawking. The noise ended abruptly with the sound of breaking glass.
After remaining frozen in terror for minutes the most courageous of the party dared peer into the office. There they beheld an utter mess. Much of the room was covered in feathers, bird droppings and letters of complaint. A warm wind came through an open window rustling the feathers an pieces of paper. On the other wall, trapped in the shards of a broken window, there hung the twitching body of a dying vulture. Close by, slumped over his desk lay the director. His body dead and decomposing and in his rigorous clutch the bell.
(i.n.: Wow! That’s a fancy story!)
Do you believe that all those incidents in the early 90s… in the Norwegian black metal scene have caused some kind of problems or helped the scene become more known all over the world?
B: There is little to get the ball rolling as some church burnings and a couple of homicides.
Were you obliged to give just one album to extraterrestrials that would represent the whole human music evolution, which album would it be and from which band/artist?
B: It depends on my mood. On a shitty day I might be tempted to commit planetary suicide and send them Justin Bieber, so they would eradicate the earth. On a better day I might send them Magma – “Udu Wudu”. That might tempt them into coming down to check what the hell is going on down here. (i.n.: The Justin choice is challenging!)
Which is the record you wish you had written and why?
B: The fourth Vulture Industries album. Then I wouldn’t have to write it again.
Do you believe in luck and coincidences or you believe that the human mind and will can affect all things in life?
B: Our lives are all made up by a hysterically vast and complex array of coincidences. We can maintain some control of some aspects, but…
Who is your favorite philosopher and why?
B: I don’t have a favorite.
Is fiction part of reality… or reality is fiction’s flaw?
B: I find reality to be a relative concept. As a continuation of that logic fiction, as a counterpart to what is real or true, becomes a pretty absurd concept.
Which is your weirdest fear?
B: I heard about this guy who realized he needed to get of LSD when he was arrested and hauled into a banana with blue blinking lights. That sounds pretty scary so I’ve kept my distance to acid.
Imagine that your wife/girlfriends is selling your whole album-collection just to buy an expensive ring for herself. How would you react?
B: She sometimes gets pretty crazy when her blood sugar gets really low, so I think I would feed her a banana.
Finally, we come to an end… Thx very much for this “weird” interview dude. Thx for the music! The last words of this interview belong to you… Take care!
B: In the absurd spirit of the season police in Ukraine were beating up protesters under the pretense of putting up a Christmas tree.