Thursday, March 31, 2011

Eddie Risdal - Legacy of Emptiness - Ancestral Legacy - Interview

Eddie Risdal is a man whose been around the block in the Norwegian metal scene. Bands like, V:28, Ancestral Legacy, Skydom, Misvita, and now Legacy of Emptiness have counted him among their members. 

This is a man who Deserves attention, and commands it when you hear him perform. Be sure to check out all of his work. it's well worth your time and trust me, You'll fall in love with it as i have! 

Check out the following links!
Legacy of Emptiness on Facebook
Ancestral Legacy on Facebook
V:28 on Facebook

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Shawn: Good evening Eddie, Thanks for taking the time to sit down for an Interview. You've been in the Norwegian metal scene for awhile now. With your band Ancestral Legacy and your previous band V:28, and now with your new project, Legacy of Emptiness Tell me what do you think of the nowadays metal scene in Norway? and what if any, Influences do you have from the Norwegian scene?

Eddie Risdal: Hi Shawn, it's always a pleasure doing interviews, they are still not coming in heaps so I answer them all with great enthusiasm still! It's funny but I've not thought much about just that, how our scene is in 2011. Every metal fan from abroad knows Norway from the black metal bands, and later from the gothic female fronted bands as well, but I think that we've now have a more diverse style than ever before. The drawback is maybe that we don't "rule" any genres the way we did before, even if of course some of the old masters still are holding the throne. On the other hand there is maybe not that much new bands that make it to a big international career anymore. In the end it's still about following your guts and please yourself musically, not going straight for the big money, right? Of course there are some bands that greatly have affected me musically, still not that much when it comes to shape the music in the bands I've played in I think. Bands like Ancient, Arcturus, Emperor, Enslaved, Gehenna, Green Carnation, In The Woods..., Limbonic Art and Ulver are all bands that I really like, still I don't think much people can hear obvious influences from any of these in the music I create

Shawn: You recently reunited with the original members of "Ancestral Legacy" and created the Project "Legacy of Emptiness" to coincide with Ancestral Legacy. And you also have an album coming out soon with Legacy of Emptiness as well. How was the recording process? and was it a pleasant experience getting the original members back together again?

Eddie Risdal: The split of Ancestral Legacy back in 2002 was not about any musical differences, arguing or anything, it was just something that simply had to happen, and me and the two other guys have been good friends all the time since the break. So last year we felt the time was right to wipe the dust of old gems, we have thought all the time that we have a chest full of gold (old demos), but they didn't shine like they should, so thus we simply wanted to re-record them to give them a hifi sound. Firstly we didn't have any plans on forwarding the stuff to external forces, neither to announce what was going on. The latter was due to the fact that we didn't want to release anything if we weren't 100% satisfied with the outcome. Then after we had recorded everything we thought, what the heck, why not get someone who knows it to mix and master the shit, we had already done what we could. And now the album sounds like "a million bucks", lol.

Shawn: You've played in bands that span a wide variety of metal, From the industrial Influenced V:28, To the more symphonic sounding Ancestral Legacy. So i take it you have a broad musical influence. Name some of your personal influences if you will, and what convinced you to start singing?

Eddie Risdal: You are very much right about that I have a broad influence. Still I know myself well enough to know what musical territories to explore myself. For example, I even dig some country music, but I could NEVER EVER see myself onstage playing or making country music. There are a few artists here in Norway doing that, and it simply sound terrible. We should leave it completely for the Americans, he he. In addition to V:28 and AL I've also been in less known bands and projects which have been everything from straight rock and pop to necro black, still I feel that I've definitely put most effort in the bands I could use most of my abilities in, as well as being comfortable with.

When it comes to some overall faves I could shout out: AC/DC, Anathema, Cradle Of Filth Curve (UK fuzzpop band), Emperor, Enya, The Gathering, Helloween, Lacrimosa, Mew (Danish art rock), Moonspell, New Model Army (UK punk/rock), Opeth, Tom Petty, Pink Floyd, Rapture (Finland, not the punk band!), Sentenced, Skyclad, Testament, Tiamat, Twisted Sister, W.A.S.P., Don Williams (country) and a lot more. Sorry for the huge list, I could have listed a hundred more!

Why I started to sing? Well, my REAL singing abilities are very limited, so I've always been a screamer, lol. On the other hand that was just what was required in Ancestral Legacy, and (at least) one of us had to do it so I gave it a try. It of course resulted in a sore throat after about 15 minutes of the first rehearsal, but ever since that it's been going pretty well, except for when I've had long breaks from it. No real techniques for doing this, though I prefer some choco milk to grease the throat if I'm on a longer session, lol. Neither do I have any obvious mentors I've tried to copy. Of course there is difference in quality of growlers, still I don't feel like sounding exactly like this or that one.

Shawn: You've recently gotten a record deal for Legacy of Emptiness. How difficult was it to find a label? and was that one your first offer?

Eddie Risdal: We didn't want to send a promo to every goddamn one man label around the world, on the other hand we're realistic about the fact that we probably won't be interesting for any major labels either. Not because we're not good enough, but the fact that we're more or less complete unknown band. So we ended up with a neat little list of about 15 labels we thought would be of the right size and profile. We were prepared to wait quite a bit, but already within a week we got the first reply. Later there were a couple more interested, still we ended up going for the first one, the German underground label Ketzer records. I got the best recommendations from a guy I know who's already on the label. So all in all the task getting someone releasing the album wasn't that big job. On the other hand we already did the hard work when we recorded the album, he he.

Shawn: You managed to get your hands on Dan Swanö (Edge of Sanity, Bloodbath, Nightingale) For the mixing and mastering the new album, What was it like working with him? and I've also heard he did guest lead for one of the tracks on the upcoming Legacy of Emptiness album. Which track was that? 

Eddie Risdal: Yeah, at first it seemed like a crazy idea, we've been huge fans of Edge Of Sanity and much other stuff he's played in, as well as the impressive number of quality releases he's produced. Still we thought that the worst we could hear was that "you suck, I don't want to work with you", so I sent him a mail and to our relief he was two thumbs up! He had overbooked a bit so we had to wait an extra month, not a problem for us as long as we had one of our great heroes doing the job, fuck, we could probably have waited another 6 months! Lol. On the other hand, this is his living so he simply has to "take orders" to get a paycheck. We felt that he would easily understand what we wanted to go with the mix and finished product, and even if all communication was done by email it went even smoother than we could hope for. A lot of our issues were already sent him with the project files, so already when we received the first test mix it sounded very close to what we wanted. We had this one part in a song where I struggled to find the right solo for, so we simply agreed on taking the chance to send the song without anything and just let him test it out within certain guidelines, and he nailed it perfectly. Just before I sent the stuff to him I thought that it couldn't hurt to ask him to do another solo in the same song, as there is a relatively long intro part before the verse kicks in, and he nailed that one too, maybe to even greater success! We're talking about the only song that's completely fresh here, as all the other are from old demos we did with Ancestral Legacy approximately 10 years back. We've upgraded and rearranged a bit of it, still we felt that most of it was exactly how it should be, only with better production.

Shawn: You lost your vocalist, Elin Omholt, In 2008 and she was replaced shortly after by Isadora Cortina, a mexican vocalist, How did you come to find her and have you been content with her performance in the band thus far? 

Eddie Risdal: Yeah, sadly Elin had to step back due to health issues which at least prevented her from doing live gigs. In studio it could have still worked out as we then aren't that dependent of an exact time and place, we could adjust it to how she felt. But when you have a date and time nailed for a gig it's of course not that easy if your body won't work with you. I stumbled across Isa while I browsed the good old Myspace for potential friends to add for Ancestral Legacy. I never add randomly, it has to be someone who could possibly dig our music, and she did. She had also put up some recordings of her covering some tunes, and we discussed back and forth, about everything music related. When we were recording the "Nightmare Diaries" album we had a song that I thought we wouldn't get to finish, more or less because I thought Elin didn't have finished the vocals for it. So I asked Isa if she could be interested in doing a guest appearance with us, I sent the instrumental track and she agreed. A couple of weeks later she had written lyrics and recorded it, and it sounded great. I felt a bit ashamed though when it came to my knowledge that Elin DID have a finished vocal melody for the same song, so we ended up having two versions. On the other hand it was an interesting experiment as it displays how different a song can turn out with two different vocalists and their unique ways of sing the exact same song. So Elin's version, "Trapped Within The Wind", ended up on the album, while Isa's version "Atrapada En Pesadillas" was on the EP. Later, when Elin had to leave the band, we had already met Isa as she and our drummer, Christopher, had got good chemistry, and she had been traveling to Norway to meet him. So the replacement was already there you could say. It took some time until she was here permanently, but now she's been here for about one and a half year, speaks Norwegian almost fluent and we are writing new songs together, can it be any better? I think still she has not shown all her potential, so we hope a mix of giving her trust, time and more live shows will bring out the best in her.

Shawn: So you have the Legacy of Emptiness album coming out soon, Whats next on the agenda for Ancestral Legacy? Maybe a new record some time this year? or will you be focused on Legacy of Emptiness for awhile? 

Eddie Risdal: Well, I partly answered this on the previous question. We're busy finishing new AL songs as we speak, so far I think we have 3 songs almost completed and several more well into making. I'd be happy if we have enough good songs for an album some time in the Autumn, so that we can record them in Winter and have the album out next Spring. The keyboardist in LoE also have new ideas coming along the way so at least we record them in some random sessions, I dunno when we'll get together to structurize it yet, but some day it's time for that too. So there are lots of things happening, we also have to promote the LoE album the best we can, spreading info around the web, doing interviews and stuff.

Shawn: The cover art for the Legacy of Emptiness Album is awesome! who was the artist? and did they have full creative control? or did you give them ideas of exactly what you wanted? 

Eddie Risdal: The dude who drew the cover is a guy who is hanging on an Internet forum which I and the bassist in LoE have been on for several years. After a slightly hard start where our visions and his drawings didn't match completely it matched more or less completely on his third attempt, and now we're really talking the same language. The original idea was bassist Kjell-Ivar's, while both the artist, Jørn Melnes, and I have had our input along the way. And yeah, it turned out pretty awesome. The idea is to describe the fare to the other side after you're dead, waiting by the shore to be picked up by the boat. We could have added some grim reaper, but on the other hand that's maybe too cliché, and also giving more of a Satanic/Antichristian approach. We're not into that at all, it's all about creating good music and having fitting lyrics, of course they are dealing with the darker aspects of life, but you won't find stuff like "hail Satan" or "rape the angels" stuff. We're grown up I guess, lol. The artist have later made designs for merchandise, so there will be t-shirts in the making with exclusive design. This time he got the concept 100% right from the start, very neat.

Shawn: Ozzy era or Dio era Black Sabbath?

Eddie Risdal: Damn, I'm probably pissing off people by admitting that I don't like Sabbath much at all. My advantage though is that I can judge on a more reflective level than the hardcore fans, and thus I go for the mighty Dio. He was both an amazing singer and person, respectful, caring and grateful. What can you say about Ozzy? Ok, he was the first vocalist in Sabbath and they might not have become what they are today without him. But I mean, he's a living zombie, have burnt all the fuses from drugs, making a fool of himself on reality TV. Gimme a break.

Shawn: Well that will conclude our interview, Thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions. and if theres anything you would like to add or share feel free, The final word is yours!

Eddie Risdal: Thanks for the time and great questions S-dawg! It's very much appreciated if the readers check out my bands Ancestral Legacy (dark/doom/goth/black metal), Legacy Of Emptiness (symphonic/epic/black/extreme metal), as well as my now disbanded band V:28 (death metal with industrial and doom influences). Remember to still support bands by buying physical releases or official downloads if you really like their stuff and can afford it!


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