Right after the grand premiere of their 4th album “Bodies” and the band’s recent performances at this year’s SXSW festival, Norwegian experrrimental punk act HAUST sits down with IDIOTEQ to break down their avant-garde work. Read the full interview below.
HAUST lets you dig into the vaults of the obscure style that’s very dense, yet overwhelmingly refreshing. These guys are not striving to find that signature sound. HAUST are one of the few that already found that middle ground between old and modern.
Oh, I’m really glad we have the opportunity to discuss your rrrrough blackened ugliness. How are you? How’s 2015 been treating you guys so far?
Greetings! So far 2015 has treated us really good. We just released our album Bodies and now we will play the United States for the first time ever. We are really comfortable as a band these days. Ready for everything!
Everyone’s super stoked about your new album and you are receiving more and more great reviews for “Bodies”. This is actually your fourth album, yet not everyone knew that. Let’s take the opportunity and tell the people your full story. When did you guys form, how have you been led to your current form and what makes this new album different from your previous releases. I mean both the meritorious and promotional values.
Yes it’s our fourth album, and the second album with a change of line up. When we released NO in 2013, we had been on a hiatus for a long time. Founding members Ruben and Dag Otto left the band on a friendly note, and me (Vebjørn) and Pål decided to ressurect HAUST with new members. We worked really hard with reinventing the HAUST magic and it ended up in a quite different sound than the first 2 records. We left metal for raw noisy rocknroll.
The earliest signs of HAUST goes back to the mid 00s when me and Ruben still lived with our parents in the white trash suburban town Notodden. Inspired by the local heroes in EMPEROR, we wanted to play Black Metal. We really liked the neo-norwegian lyrics of the fenriz solo project Isengard and decided to call our “band” HAUST (meaning Fall/Autumn). In 2006 we played our first concert as a real band at Stavanger Punk Rock Festival, and released a CD-R on a swedish label shortly after that. The owner of Oslo’s great underground music shop Tiger, contacted us and said he was interested in releasing our debut album as the first release on his new record company Fysisk Format. This led to Ride The Relapse and Powers of Horror.
Our new Album is the continuation of what we started with NO. Still you will find that Bodies is more dreamy and even slightly psychedelic sounding at times. With chanting mantra-like lyrics and a wall of monotone synth & guitar noise we want to put the listeners in a trance state. With our newest member Trond Mjøen’s guitar magic added to the mix, we explore raw minimalistic rock with complex details.
Apart from the band members, who else is involved in the “making it happen” process? What labels, producers, and guest musicians did you work with this time?
We have released all our records through the Oslo based label Fysisk Format, and the labelboss Kristian Kallevik has been really important for keeping us alive all these years. Our good friend Jørn Tore Egseth was involved on the producer side as well as playing synth, organs and piano on NO. He helped us with arranging and playing synthesizers and organs on Bodies while our guitar/synth player Pål, produced the record together with Milton Von Krogh in Milton’s studio Taakeheimen. Guest musicians on Bodies are Henning Wisth (OKKULTOKRATI) on the song Peephole Maze and Milton Von Krogh (PIRATE LOVE) on the song Fall.
How would you describe the Norwegian counterculture in 2015? Music-wise, how thriving is Olso these days?
There is a vital scene around the Blitz House in Oslo. This long existing self organized punk cave hosts concerts with not just generic crust bands, but also strange, noisy, artsy stuff. We have played there several times these last years and there is always a great crowd. The guitarplayer in the quite new hardcore band URBANOIA continue to put up great shows under the moniker SVART SAMTID. And our friends in DARK TIMES, MOE, OKKULTOKRATI, ÅRABROT and HARABALL release great records year after year. My all time favourite Norwegian band that are still standing strong must be NOXAGT from Stavanger. They also inspired a scene of similar bands on the west coast of Norway.
What inspired you to develop this alternate approach to blackened punk and noise rock music? Tell me about your biggest inspirations and intentions when it comes to the form of art.
We have always been really inspired by arthouse, horror and trash cinema. On our first album Ride The Relapse we paraphrased dialogue from John Waters films, and the song “The Artist and his Dog” was inspired by Dog Star Man by Stan Brakhage. And The title Powers Of Horror was stolen from Julia Kristevas essay on Abjection.
We really like musical chameleons like David Bowie or EARTH who keep evolving on every release and exists as living proof that both pop music and metal don’t have to follow trends or be pure to remain interesting over the years.
What was the inspiration behind “Bodies”, its themes and what did shape the final effort?
In the process of making Bodies we listened to a lot of synth based music and stuff like CLUSTER, CAN, and SUICIDE. We were interested in exploring the organic textures of music and not just riffs or groovy hooks. Lyrically, Bodies are based on personal experiences as well as Horror films like Society and Eyes without a face. We wanted to evoke the psychedelic meditative experiences of the great bands of the 60s and 70s as well as the cold minimalism of 80s synth music, all blended into our usual aggressive nekro rock & roll. Milton Von Krogh who worked with us in the studio really helped us shaping the sound we wanted. It ended up more towards the raw power of THE STOOGES than the typical huge massive metal and rock production of our times.
How would you describe the process of transforming ere do ideas come from, how are they transformed in your mind and how do experiences and observations turn into a work of art?
With Bodies it was more a collective process than with our earlier recordings. We have evolved into an organic entity that floats into different shapes, expressions and moods as one big body.
What are some of the other genres and artists that you’ve been praising recently? What a song must contain to be truly engaging and infectious? What aspects of the music art do you tend to admire?
We really love DESTRUCTION UNIT – Deep Trip. That record keeps us glued to the stereo from the beginning until the end and has a conducted solidness to it that most rock bands can only dream of. A good song must manage to drag the listener into its world and be surprising and pleasing at the same time.
You’ll have a variety of occasions to interact with other artists at this year’s SXSW festival. Are you excited? Tell us more about this trip.
We are really excited for the festival and look forward to explore new bands and films on and off the program. We are playing march 19th at the cedar street courtyard and at Icenhauer’s the day after.
Are there more performances already booked for the rest of this year?
We are playing a release show for Bodies when we are back in Oslo and are currently booking tours for the summer/autumn/winter.
Ok guys. What else? Would you like to add anything before we sign off?
Thanks for the interest! We hope people will stay open minded and dive into our musical project as it evolves in the future.