Norwegian post metal act KOLLWITZ caught my attention with their new album “Dissonance”, released on Friday 13, March, via Fysisk Format, known from their collaboration with a bunch of inspiring artists like HAUST (recently featured on IDIOTEQ), DEATH IS NOT GLAMOROUS or OKKULTOKRATI. “Dissonance” was a follow up to the band’s debut album released 5 years ago. The band “wed grandiose post-rock atmospherics to sludgy post-hardcore menace”, says the official press release and it’s pretty well said. The final effect of the band’s recent hard work is both trancey and foreful. It’ll make you body tingle.
Be encouraged to learn more about KOLLWITZ through my interview by the band’s latest music video produced by director/editor Trond Kvig Andreassen and cinematographer Lars Erlend Tubaas Øymo.
Hey there guys! First off, congratulations on your impressive new LP “Dissonance”! How are you?
Thanks, we are doing great! It’s nice to finally have the album out, and some gigs coming up.
I’ve been to Norway a couple of times and I can’t imagine too many better places with such an amazing atmosphere that creates a special, almost intimate climate for creativity. Can you tell us more about the place you come from, your local music scene(s) and the impact of nature and your art.
That’s a lot to answer in one question! First off, where we come from – The north of Norway – is anything but intimate. There’s a lot of open landscape for every house or person, and mountains make up the most of Norway. In conjunction with the light being almost gone in the winter and always there in the summer, it does create a special environment that can be both inspirational and tiring. Others will have to judge if that comes through in our music or not. As far as local music scenes go, we are located in the capitol, Oslo, so there is a quite a lot going on around us. It’s been great being on the Fysisk Format roster and kind of feeling a connection to bands like HAUST, OKKULTOKRATI, ÅRABROT and LE CORBEAU.
Apart from other musical inspirations, what has influenced your art so far? Tell me more about some of the most extensive sources of inspiration for KOLLWITZ.
You can find inspiration almost everywhere and in the strangest places sometimes. It is often a lucid thing and not necessarily something you remember or hang on to. Other types of art is obvious. On our first record there is a quite obvious nod to the Norwegian poet Olav H. Hauge that no one has seemed to find yet. Musically, we probably take most inspiration from bands and other creative people that is immediate to us – friends, label mates and such.
What were some of the reasons for your music having such a dark and atmospheric feel? Why are you attracted to the dark forces?
It is a good question and not an easy one to answer. We ask ourselves that question often. We are, for the most part, not «dark» people, but for some reason we are attracted to aggressive and dark expressions. It is a great outlet for the darker emotional matter one might carry around, at least. Perhaps a way to not become depressed or cave in under the pressure of modern capitalism.
How did you discover your passion for art in the first place?
Our drummer has had an interest i art his whole life and is now doing a bachelor in Fine Arts. We have a solid network of artists and musicians and it was one of those friends that introduced us to Johannes Høie who made our first album cover On the second album cover we wanted to go in a different direction than the first due to the duration it took in making it and the transformation the music had gone through. Our friend Magne Strand Lyngvaer had a series of photos from an arson on the island Frøya which had an atmosphere to it that fitted perfectly with our music. The graphical elements and packaging of it all is put together by Leon Johannessen, also a good friend of ours. We couldn’t be more pleased by the outcome.
Can you elaborate a bit on why you chose to name the band KOLLWITZ? Is there a general concept behind this project?
When we started this band we had a general idea of what sort of music we wanted to create. Heavy and hard-hitting! We chose to make a connection with the artist Käthe Kollwitz because of her expressive art and how that related to our music.
“Dissonance” is a really impressive work. How steep and hard was the path leading to this eventual offering? How did you work on your development?
Thank you! The path was long, steep and full of obstacles – the obstacles being mainly ourselves. It took us a long time to write the songs, and we had quite a struggle doing it. The general mood in the rehearsal space and the chemistry between us was awfull at times, and we had long periods of writers block. The direction for the record didn’t reveal itself before maybe two or three years after our debut album. The last leg of the process before we started recording was a bit easier, but it’s usually like that, it’s easier when you have more of a vision or wholeness to work from.
Did you go into the studio with songs fully written and ideas already set, or was it rather based on expanding some foundations and developing compositions through jamming?
Songs were structurally fully written, but quite a lot of arranging was done in the studio. In hindsight, we could have been better prepared for recording, but then again it is understandable that we at the time just felt like we had to start recording if we ever wanted to make this record happen.
Do you prefer this process over playing live shows? How many shows have you played so far and what was the furthest concert trip of KOLLWITZ?
That probably differs a little bit between us, but most of us appreciate recording and playing live more or less equally. There is something very exciting about recording new music and hearing it come to life, and the more stable environment of the studio can be a very relaxing and nice way to work (especially as we get older.) On the other hand the immediateness of live shows is great. That adrenaline rush you get before and during a good show is hard to surpass. For better or worse, this band is a little more reliant on a decent PA system and other such practicalites than some other bands we have played or play in, so it makes a little bit harder to do a really great show and tap into that energy.
Do you seek and consume a lot of new music? Can you recommend some inspiring artists to our readers?
We try, though we are getting older and are probably not as good at finding new music as we were. Check out most of the other bands on Fysisk Format, lots of great stuff there. HAUST just released a new record. Check out COLD MAILMAN and NAGEL, bands that members of KOLLWITZ are involved in. Check out OCEAN DWELLER which are playing with us in Oslo soon.
Ok guys, so what is coming up for the band now? Feel free to wrap up our interview and tell us more about your plans.
We have some gigs in Norway coming up, and we are working on plans for Europe and more gigs in Norway. Stay in tune and come check us out.
Thanks a lot for your time! ? Good luck!
Thank you very much for doing the interview.