Ahead of his very first appearance on Australian shores, Ihsahn took some time out of his schedule to talk to Metal Wani‘s Jake Patton about the upcoming tour and his upcoming album Ámr.
Taking some time to talk about his expectations for his upcoming tour of Australia, Ihsahn remarks “I’m very excited about it… everybody I know loves playing there”. He then discusses the difficulties in making it down to Australia and also outlined his desire to have a reduced touring schedule with the inception of his solo project in the 2000’s.
When pressed on the subject of his thoughts about the other bands appearing at the Direct Underground festival that will shake part of his tour, comprising of Belphegor, Revocation and Wiegedood, Ihsahn comments “Playing festivals is kind of cool like that as It is perhaps a more of an open-mindedness with the audience because the audience is there to experience a wide range of musical expression within certain parameters”.
Delving into the impending release of the upcoming album Ámr, Ihsahn notes that while the release date coincides with the first show of the Australian tour, that it wasn’t intentional and was a very happy coincidence. He then outlines his thought process in creating the album and how he tried to achieve “core emotional vibe about it, everybody while exploring the extremes within it”, before discussing the creative process and what he tries to achieve to make not only the audience, but also himself excited about it.
On the subject of the albums unique sound Ihsahn remarks “it’s never my intention to sound like anything else, it’s always my intention to sound like me – just in a different way” and noting the mono drums, analogue synthesis and other influences that he had leading into the album.
When asked about whether he feels afraid to experiment for fear of fan backlash, Ihsahn quipped that he has had “so much shit and so much praise for the same albums”, that he just focuses on purely artistic ambitions and that he focuses on keeping his music genuine, and unaffected for any reviews or any label.
The interview closes out with a question on what Ihsahn feels about the current landscape for extreme metal now compared to when Emperor was formed, to which he provides an interesting response and highlights the difficulties much harder now to find the gems. He said: “I miss something that’s pushing it, something that’s cutting edge. Extreme metal doesn’t feel dangerous anymore.”