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In Vain: Singing in the (latter) rain

In Vain: Singing in the (latter) rain
BANDS : In Vain

Metalfan: Hello, Johnar. First let me congratulate you for In Vain's latest record, The Latter Rain, I think it is one of the best records of 2007. How is the band these days? What was your activity since the release of the album?
Johnar: Hi! Thanks man. The band is still out there, but there has not been too much activity in the band after the release due to the fact of me moving to Belgium and Sindre moving to Oslo. We’ve just played a couple of shows. Now I’m focusing on trying to get time to write new music.. I’m really busy down here, but I already have a lot of riffs from earlier.. Just need to find the time to arrange everything and put things together. Hopefully we’ll record a new album next year. And btw, we’ll play in Oslo in November.

Metalfan: Let's get back to the beginning: "In Vain" is a strange statement to make when you start to build something, like a band, for example. If it is In Vain, why do it? What is behind the band's name?
Johnar: We just thought it sounded cool. Actually, we were looking for a name to put in front of “In Vain”, but we never found anything we really liked so we just decided to go for In Vain. It has a vibe that fits the band as well.



Metalfan: The press has given an extremely warm welcome to the band's debut album, are you surprised?
Johnar: We have been blessed with amazing reviews on all our releases so far and since I find “The Latter Rain” better than both our EPs I was not surprised that it also received great critics. I honestly believe it deserves it as well. But the record is really long and very varied so I expected some reviewers to give us a hard time for that. Just a few have done so. We didn’t exactly make it easy for ourselves putting out a record with a playing time over 65 minutes and which such great variety.

Metalfan: Since almost everyone agreed that The Latter Rain is a great debut album, how is your reputation nowadays, a few months after the release? Is In Vain still a newcomer on the European metal stage? Or are you already getting better deals, or even offers from major labels, maybe... ?
Johnar: We are a getting more and more known. Every day we receive mails and messages from all over the world. However, I would not say we are a very well known band. A band which is that innovative and ground-breaking as us will always have struggles becoming a really big band, commercial wise. On the other hand that’s not our motivation either. We are doing this because we want to create quality music, record it and release it. We are currently on Indie Recordings and are very satisfied with that.

Metalfan: Now a predictable question, it is about the album's title, but you have to agree that it is an intriguing title. The Latter Rain. Was Rain is that?
Johnar: To be honest, we really struggled with coming up with a title for this album. We were waiting for the right name to “pop up in our mind” for some time, but all suggestions were never approved by all the guys in the band. Finally we decided to go for The Latter Rain. Is a pretty monumental title plus it is sort of intriguing as well as you mention. The title is a metaphor of which direction the world is heading and that we are closing in. This can be applied to everything from families breaking apart because of divorce, etc to the climate changes. Btw, in connection with this I want to note on this point that In Vain is not a political or religious band. The Latter Rain is in fact also a religious dooms day movement (which we discovered later), but that’s not why we choose that title. On the other hand it doesn’t bother us either. It just adds more mysticism to the title, hehe. People may speculate as much as they want. The blanket in front of the eyes of the guy on the cover symbolizes that people’s eyes are covered by blankets of deception. 

Metalfan: You wrote all the music for The Latter Rain, do you intend to continue doing so in the future? Is In Vain a band, or the means to express your artistic vision alone?
Johnar: I will continue to write music and when I write a song I always have ideas on not only the guitar parts, but also the vocal lines, drums, bass, etc.. That’s just the way I do it. The other members are comfortable with that and I always present the songs to them with all the instruments, etc (in MIDI) to get their reaction. We are indeed a band, but so far it has been me who has made all the music. It’s not because I didn’t allow others to write, nobody else wrote anything.. However, Mr. Fuglestad (guitar) will start to write songs, and hopefully he can come up with something cool as well.



Metalfan: What do the titles "Det Rakner" and "Sorgenfri" mean?
Johnar: Det ranker means (in a bad translated way) something like everything going down the drain. It’s more like a Norwegian expression and can’t necessarily be translated that well into English. At least with my scarce English knowledge, hehe.. Sorgenfri means something like to be without any worries. Sorg= sorrow, fri= to be free. Actually I just liked the word and wanted to write a song with that title.

Metalfan: Guitar and sounds, these are your instruments as stated on the official website. How do you write, do you do everything on guitar, is the guitar your only instrument?
Johnar: I can play bass and some piano as well. When I compose I don’t use my guitar that much, but I sit down and “think music” and use my mind. So, unlike many other guitarists I don’t play the guitar when I try to come up with riffs. On the other hand I sometimes use the guitar to figure out how to play the riffs I hear in my head. When I come up with cool stuff I write it down on my computer and I use a MIDI-software program for that. I write down guitar riffs, drum patterns, etc.. And arrange the whole song in that program. So I actually have MIDI versions of all In Vain songs that sound pretty much the same as the recorded versions, although it’s MIDI of course.

Metalfan: Your music is complex and yet emotional at the same time, what was your main focus during the writing and recording process?
Johnar: I always try to incorporate what I find the best in different musical styles into my music. So I try to balance aggressiveness, groove, emotions, complexity, etc in my songs without making the songs sound too diverse and unnatural. During the recording process our main focus was to record everything as good as possible. We basically just recorded everything as it was in my MIDI-files and tablatures and then added something here and there. We also got some of the guests to improvise in the studio. Also the producer, Kirkesola, had some ideas here and there..

Metalfan: Did you have any problem allowing a producer to interfere in your musical "masterplan"?
Johnar: Sometimes it was difficult yes. I like that the producer has ideas, but I still think the band shall have the final vote on everything. I have to admit that there’s stuff on the record that I actually didn’t want to have there at all..

Metalfan: So many influences spanning on a huge specter of genres are to be heard on this album. But whose influence weighs the most on your career as an artist?
Johnar: Some of my all time favorite bands are Opeth, Emperor, Extol, Arc Singers, In the Woods…, Shai Hulud, Strongarm, koRn, … Zyklon is important because it was the first extreme metal band I listened to (World ov Worms), so I have not been into metal for a very long time.



Metalfan: What is the most important thing about your music?
Johnar: Contrasts, quality and originality.

Metalfan: One of In Vain's trademarks is putting together contrasting musical structures, of very different moods and rhythms. Is this done in order to surprise and puzzle the listener? Is eccentricity one of your assets?
Johnar: I never think about what the listener will like and not when I write music. I write music the way I like it myself. All my favorite bands have some sort of originality and of course they also know how to write good songs. We try to create quality music filled with contrasts and originality. To be honest, I can’t think of any band I really like that don’t have some originality. They do not have to be Zappa, but just have something special. I will only listen to non original music if the songs are really good.

Metalfan: The bio on your website is referring to The Latter Rain as an addition to the extreme metal genre. What does extreme music mean to you?
Johnar: In my opinion the term extreme metal should be used on music that blends death and black metal. But of course you can put black, death, grind, etc.. metal in to one big category and call that extreme metal as well.

Metalfan: How would life be without music?
Johnar: Not the same. Music is an incredible gift and it’s amazing how much one can create with the twelve notes that we have.

Metalfan: What kind of listener you think In Vain's music would appeal the most to?
Johnar: Open minded people, metal fans in general. I do not think that persons who want metal to be pretty strict within in the genre boundaries will like us.

Metalfan: How fan-friendly are you? Do you keep a regular contact with your fans?
Johnar: We answer all mail and myspace messages we get. I would say we are very fan friendly. Frigstad is although refusing to do any interviews anymore, because he feels it conflicts with him as an artistic person. But he’s friendly to the fans of course.

Metalfan: Some of the songs use spoken voice samples that give more insight on the subject of the lyrics. Your music is carrying quite an important message, then, isn’t it?
Johnar: Sometimes we use spoken words, but we use it more like an instrument to create an effect. The lyrical purpose is not the main reason.

Metalfan: What do you do in your everyday life besides making music and in what way do you think it affects your art?
Johnar: I work a lot, go to the gym, practice the guitar and hang around.. I’m not sure how this affects my art, but my work keeps me really busy and that’s not good for my art at all, because I hardly have time to write music these days..

Metalfan: Where do you see In vain 5 years from now?
Johnar: I don’t know. Hopefully we’re still releasing records. Of course it would be cool to be a bigger band, playing at bigger shows, etc but the most important would be that we still release good music and are enjoying doing it.

Metalfan: Where do you see the world 5 years from now?
Johnar: I’m not very optimistic.

Metalfan: What comes to your mind when you hear… ?

Money – Necessary to have, but should not control your life.
Beer – Belgium has a lot of good beer! I currently work here..
The E chord – Good chord.
Adidas – Sports clothing
Record labels – Struggling these days..
Ozzy Osboure – Rock’n’Roll
Downloading – Here to stay
Tobacco - Smoke
Christianity – Jesus
MTV – Has some cool shows.

Autor: Klawz
Vezi galeriile trupelor: In Vain

   October 26, 2007  | 9 Comments  | 8851 Views « BACK

Comment on: In Vain: Singing in the (latter) rain

  • Misto interviu, nice job, Klawz!

    1. Posted by just_me | 31 Octombrie 2007 18:09
  • Nu exista "acord Mi".
    Mi este o nota.
    Un acord trebuie sa contina cel putin 3 note diferite.

    2. Posted by acord mi | 01 Noiembrie 2007 16:30

    3. Posted by klawz | 01 Noiembrie 2007 19:19
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