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Photo by: Micke Dinkel

First of all – can you introduce yourself?
My name is Okoi Jones at the ripe age of 33. I come from a loving, musical home, my mother being swiss and my father english/nigerian, and 3 younger sisters living around the globe. I was born in Switzerland, but my parents immigrated to New Zealand when I was 4 years old, so I have spent a proportionate part of my life there, having only moved back to Europe in 2006. My sisters and I attended a Rudolf Steiner school, furthering my interest for music, art and history. My father Paul Ubana Jones has made guitar and voice his life’s profession and I guess having him as a role model and the plethora of musical styles I grew up with at home spurred me to pick up the guitar at 12.

Can you tell us about your band Bölzer?
We are a duo from Zürich, playing a more unconventional hybrid of the black and death metal disciplines. Master of percussive disasters HzR and myself began jamming together back in 2008 and a tangible direction was established soon afterward. Our music is in essence minimalistic, utilizing only one guitar, voice and drums. This initially came about out of necessity as we were unable to find a suitable bassist, but soon grew fond of the challenge we faced when writing and performing with sparse instrumentation. The concept of the band and my lyrics revolve heavily around existentialism, philosophy, history and a general love for nature and the human condition.

What peaked your interest and got you into death and black metal in the first place?
I always loved the 70’s rock records my parents had, and it wasn’t long before I was listening to Nirvana, Metallica, Slayer and Obituary – much to my mother’s dismay I might add! During this time I started making music with a few friends, and black metal became a big passion of mine. It was the perfect soundtrack to a tumultuous adolescence, with a fascination for all things unconventional and existential. I continue to listen to a wide variety of music, including a lot of classical but my fascination with the heavier tonal spectrum remains strong… the sounds of existence!

Reading older interviews, you’ve mentioned that you’re into psychedelic drugs, which might come as a surprise to a lot of people as you’re not exactly the flower lovin’ paisley kinda guy that pops to mind when talking about LSD, acid and mushrooms – how big of a role does the psychedelics play in the music you make?
Haha, well I believe that was intended to be a passing comment, but it seems to have secured itself regular appearances ever since! We are not the drug-fueled psychonauts some take us to be, at least not to the extent of allowing any kind of substance to directly influence our music. We very rarely consume anything grossly mind-altering and even then it never finds it’s way onto a stage or rehearsal room. Needless to say, the experiences we’ve had left a lasting positive impression I’m sure and certainly allow us to view certain aspects of life from a different angle. We are both very imaginative and curious by nature so doing things differently comes naturally.

You just released your debut album ‘Hero’ a couple of weeks ago – how was the build up and the process of doing so?
Arduous! Well at least with respects to completing the artwork and layouts, and then coordinating the finer details with the pressing plant. We are well accustomed to obstacles as a band – if anything can go wrong it usually does! But any hindrances only make you stronger, so we see the process as fruitful either way. The recordings as such went very well, only more time was needed to reach a satisfactory mix which was obtained in the end. Everything was done with two stellar engineers and friends, Michael Zech and Victor Santura at the Woodshed Studio in Bavaria, so a very enjoyable, albeit demanding time! We remain overwhelmed with the growing response to the new record, something we are very grateful for!

Which three words would you use to describe the album?
Warm, resplendent and courageous.

And last but not least, why Orange?
Because aside from good looks they give my guitar the gain-laden voice of death she needs to perform victoriously on the fields of reckoning! The suffocating drone I get from my low A string and a hot Rockerverb is unmatched!

 

Kvelertak-Maciek-and-Vidar

You just finished touring with Slayer and Anthrax – how was that?
Maciek: It’s been really fucking cool, and kind of a milestone as they’re bands we all look up to. Definitely something to tick off our list.

How long have you been using Orange?
Vidar: We’ve been using Orange for long time, since before we started recording. Bjarte’s been using Orange for as long as I can remember. I had an old vintage Marshall amp that caught fire, and after that I swapped to Orange.
Maciek: I’ve got the TH30, Rockerverb and Thunderverb, and they just always deliver and they’re very reliable. And it looks fucking cool.

Do you have any specific pedals you feel work well with the amps?
Maciek: Well, yeah, there’s quite a few, but Orange sounds really good on it’s own. It’s a really good base, and then you can have fun with some pedals on top. I always use my Echoplex Preamp from Dunlop. Since we’ve got three guitars we all have to be on different levels, and I think it works really well with that one.
Vidar: I try to use as few pedals as possible, if it was up to me I’d just plug it straight into the amp and go, but obviously I do use some, I’ve had a Big Muff for a while and that works well, but then again, all my pedals works well with Orange.

Kvelertak (1)

Do you remember the first time you saw an Orange amp?
Vidar: I think it was Hellacopters, in the Toys and Flavours video.
Maciek: Not really, but I remember that when we started in 2009 Norway got kind of like an Orange boom, because I cant really think of any other Norwegian bands besides us having used Orange..?
Vidar: I’m sure there are a few, I just can’t think of them.

You’re one of few bands with Norwegian lyrics to have made it outside of Norway, was there ever any doubt, or moments when you considered English lyrics?
Vidar: We’ve actually never had a proper conversation about it. There’s been a few people saying we’d get further if we did, but I guess we kind of just proved them wrong.
Maciek: It’s a part of our sound as well, we’d sound completely different if our songs were in English. We’ve got one English verse, that’ll do. And to be fair, I don’t really know how much of a difference it would have made if our songs were in English, we’re doing really well as it is. It’s pretty cool doing gigs outside of Norway when you see people singing along, trying to get the Norwegian words right. It’s almost tempting to stop and ask them what they’re actually singing.

Kvelertak.

What kind of music did you listen to growing up? Was there anyone in specific that got you into music?
Vidar: Whatever my parents were listening to, so a mix between Dire Straits and Abba, but I guess what kind of sold music to me was when I got a Guns N’ Roses cassette.
Maciek: I’ve always liked music. I used to be really into skateboarding and listened to a lot of punk. It wasn’t until a bit later I got unto metal. Death was one of the bands that made me want to be good, but I guess it was mostly punk that got me started.

What are you currently listening to?
Maciek: I listen to quite a lot of hip hop, there’s been a lot of Lars Vaular lately, and Yelawolf.
Vidar: There’s a Finnish band called ‘Vasas Flora och Fauna’, which is kind of folk music. While touring with bands such as Slayer and Anthrax and listening to metal non-stop, it’s nice to unwind with something completely different.

Norwegian hip hop and Finnish folk music, I can imagine a few people will find that quite surprising!
Maciek: I listen to a fair bit of Hawaii music as well, like Johnny Pineapple.
Vidar: We’ve been playing Scorpions in our tour bus, which I never knew I liked.
Maciek: Erlend’s got Hellbillies backstage playlist, which consists of a bunch of bands that sounds just like Hellbillies. We’ve listened to that a lot.

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