1. First of all why have you decided to release "Electric Violence" with three different artworks? Any special meaning behind it or just a question of art...design?n or maybe some implicit rules?)
Hello Michael! All the three images that you see are actually parts of the same cover, front, back, and inside. Although the main motive is the same, the expression is somehow changed with the colours. I guess It is a way to describe the audible emotions as varied, but within the same universe.
2. The project, -is project the right describtion (?)- , was founded in 1999. So was the type of music or better say the direction always like the songs we can hear on Electric Violence?
Yes, it was once a one-man research project, but I think now it´s more of a band with activities in many scenes. Such as doing music for dancepieces, games, short movies etc.
It has always been important for Next life to create a connective space between computergame-music and music that already is being taken seriously in music buisness. I grew up with punkrock and metal, so it was natural to develop from these genres.
The closing track on “Electric Violence” and some others was actually written during 1999-2000, but has been modified and further produced up to the time of the recording in 2004. You can hear that the metal-part of “The Dungeon” track is more typical than in “The Mirror” or “Vanished” which were written in 2004. But yes, the direction has been more or less the same from the beginning: progressive, electronic and violent.
3. How do you get signed on the fantastic Cock Rock Disco label? ... and from where do you know Jason Forest?
My dear friend Are Mokkelbost, who is member of KILL and Single Unit, gave a CD-R to Jason Forrest some years ago when he was still in the U.S. Later I saw a show by this crazed individual in Norway, which I in many ways felt highly related to. He also had a lot to say about my work and showed interest for a possible release. Then we made a long term contact which was, and still is of great inspiration.
4. Electric Violence is your first Long player, I know you also had a 7" inch release before, so you can name Electric Violence a Debut album. What kind of reactions have you received so far?
A lot of the reviews are very positive, and mentioning highly relevant stuff, I am very happy for the response that we get. We have also had a couple of real slaughts. I guess Next Life is one of the bands/projects that either can open doors in your mind, or be really annoying. Maybe a little because of it´s intensity and restlessnes.
5. What about your love to Heavy metal music, when have you started to listen to this music?
I began listening to Helmet, Biohazard etc. around the age of ten and was fast driven further into this universe. Later I was fascinated especially by Straight Edge hardcore for it´s high level of adrenalin on stage, and because this scene was influenced by many styles within hard music.
But I also remarked some ...hm .. call it progressive influences in your music, am I completely wrong?
No, that is very correct. I dig hard music, but I also want to develop Next Life in new ways to create images that differs from the heavy bands I like. The prog-element also makes it easier to break with atmospheres, and to tell stories that not only concerns doom, horror or dismay. Several bands have done this before though, such as Zeni Geva and Opeth.
7. So you started as a guitar player?
Actually I started out as computer freak, my family bought a Commodore 64 when I was four years old and I became pretty fast addicted to both the sound and games. Guitar became interesting later as I developed a consiousness towards “normal” music. I started doing electronic music two years after starting playing guitar around the age of ten, but then I kept the two universes separated as my bandmates from that time were not interested in computer audio. My first performance with Amiga and guitar took place in 1995.
8. I remarked that the Katrine was replaced by Tormod. Is Next Life a open project with changing members? What can you tell me about the structures and philosophy of Next Life
Tormod has been in the project since 2000, when Katrine joined in 2005 we first became a trio. However Tormod had to quit and move out of town for while, and the project was left with only the two of us. Katrine was already established in other businesses and had to quit pretty fast. But as Tormod moved back to Oslo fast after Katrines disappearance, we are still a two-piece. But yes, we keep that open as guarantee for continuation, as Next Life originally was founed because lack of musicians for this kind of music. Also it suits our way of writing songs: one composer per song.
I would also like to say that it is important when writing songs for Next life that the composer at least have the will to build an image that has not yet been presented in music. It is supposed to be kind of music for the future, hehe.
9. This leads to the (boring) question number 1 what's behind the name Next Life...is it connected to some video games or a book?
The name was really connected to a feeling that I had around the period Next Life was founded. I knew few people that cared for hard music also being played with much synth, and as already mentioned, most of my previous bandmates one by one quit for different reasons. Therefore, the only thing to do was to write down a stream of compositions on my Amiga 1200 as I had many ideas, and to play fuzz-guitar over it. The saved files were called “Next Life 000.dbm”, because at that time it seemed like music that would never see daylight.
But I showed it to Tormod as we had become great friends, he convinced me to do a show later the same year with the audio that was already there.
10. How long have you worked on the Electric Violence? and is it recorded in a studio or is it a kind of home production?
I guess this is already answered above, Electric Violence is part of a Next Life collection of 49 songs written from 1999-2004. It was recorded in my office using Amiga and PC for composing, and Mac for production and recording, we put the guitar amp in a closet in the hall. However it was finalized at Strype Audio, leaving the sound slightly less metallic and with more punch.
11. A part of your music are computer game sounds, are you addicted to computergames? What's behind it? And which kinnd of games and computers, consoles have you used to get these sounds?
Here is answer for the part I have not already answered, hehe: I like the feeling of intensity and precisesness. Computergames have a great ability to cover these needs, especially many of the old 2D games.
Audiowise I like the sound of Super Ninendo a lot. It can generate beautiful and distinct drums, and also have nice chipsynths, but with everything left a little unpolished. But I also like more crystal-like soundscape as for example Sega Megadrive, it is more metallic and more on-going. I have used sounds that has been generated from soundchips such as the above mentioned, plus Commodore 64, Famicom, Gameboy and much Amiga which is the computer of Next Life´s origin.
12. How do you manage to play so exactly live do you play with a "click" in your ear, or what?
Usually, we pray for proper monitoring and soundcheck so we can clearly hear the audio. If those things are cleared, there is no problem since we memorize the songs to a kind of subconscious level.
13. Can you tell me more about your live setup? Who do you manage the video, the beats on the laptop, do you use any foot controllers? What about your setup I mean the keyboard and the guitar- amp? I am really curious.
The videos are pre-written to fit the composistions, it is not done live. We choose to do that in order to present a directed drama. Everything on a Next Life concert is usally pre-calculated, except for the physical performance, and performance of guitar and melody-synth. Technically there is not much to tell. The machine runs the show, we try to hang on to it.
14. So many questions about your live set up...when can we see you live on stage? Also any plans to play outside of Europe?
I hope we get to play outside Europe soon, maybe we get economical support from the Norwegian government and can go to USA or Asia in the future. Meanwhile we have shows coming up in Latvia, Denmark, Sweden, Spain and Norway.
15. This question is a little bit unfair, but how would you describe your album to a person which haven't heard Next Life?
Hmm, the music is certainly melody-based, but very hard-hitting. A little like battle music in computergames, intens and dramatic. Other than this there is also safe spots where you can rest, re-equip and save your game before the next level, which is a great thing to do because there are no extra lifes.
16. More and more artists and fans sign up for MySpace. Your opinion about this movement? Do you think My Space can be described as a Webspace in the Web? Your experiences...is it more direct than running a webpage?
We have only been there for a short time, but the system seems pretty effective as many people are informed about what you are doing and can easily check it out. But it is a lot of information, and a band that might be interesting over time is too easily forgotten when you click “close” on the window. The high tempo on internet also makes one more impatient.
Next Life has actually not been properly available on web until now, and the official page is currently maintained by Are Mokkelbost. I did not use internet very much until just a few years ago when I “quit” using Amiga. In our case MySpace is much more direct than our own website, also because we have chosen not to have a guestbook.
17. Electric Violence sounds a little bit scary:-). Hai how would you describe yourself as a calm person or more like a person you can meet in the first line jumping and dancing at a metal concert?
Hehe, I danced a lot in the moshpit when I was younger, and I still do if I really enjoy the music. On the surface it may not seem like a friendly dance, but for those into the music, it is about love and passion. I often feel hyperactive but I also like to relax, that is maybe why I enjoy complex and fast-going music so much, then at least the brain can be hyper so the body can relax.
18. What do you need for a perfect day?
A good idea. A good art discovery. Hang with friends. Videogames. A horror movie.