Interview with Blood Red Throne founder/guitarist Daniel “Død” Olaisen | By Hutch | Photo By Karen Toftera
Daniel Olaisen—aka Død, Norwegian for “death”—explains he is trying to escape the heat. Southern Norway is at 86 today, a far cry from the wintry forests one pictures when thinking of Norway. Olaisen is packing to play a fest in Finland in two days. The energy in his voice carries through the computer’s speaker. That excitement drips as he talks about Blood Red Throne’s new full-length, Union of Flesh and Machine, out now on Candlelight Records. He also adds that he just found out he will be touring Asia this summer for the first time in the band’s 18-year existence.
That long duration has seen over 15 members of Blood Red Throne. Olaisen explains, “I am the father of the band.” In 1996, at 19, Olaisen was recruited to play live guitar for black metal legends, Satyricon, but the vicious, snarling death metal of Blood Red Throne was calling him. So, he grabbed Satyricon’s bassist, Terje Vik Schei—better known as Tchort, which means “Devil”—who had sick chops from playing in Satyricon, Emperor, and Carpathian Forest. Together, they formed the band. “Yeah, that’s the story,” Olaisen says. “We had people leave who didn’t want to tour or be in a band. I’ve never kicked anyone out of the band. What’s cool now is that [drummer] Freddy [Bolsø, formerly of Enslaved] from the first album is back. He has toured with us the last few years. It’s nice. I fucking love this lineup now; it’s the strongest ever.” Other members have been in the band for five or six years, and Blood Red Throne solidify their chemistry by playing many shows each year.
At the Finnish fest in two days, Blood Red Throne will arrive and will not practice. “We just hit the stage,” Olaisen calmly states. This is a commendable feat considering the synchronicity of the aggressive and complicated songs on the new record, which heavily rely on precise and tightly delivered music. Olaisen admits, “It leaves each member to rehearse at home and know our stuff,” but he feels confident in the fact that they “play so many gigs and have been playing together for years. We try to meet to rehearse for the new songs, but basically, we just meet to play live.”
The new material on Union of Flesh and Machine is as savage as anything the band have ever made. “I make most of the music,” Olaisen explains. “On this album, [guitarist] Ivan [Gujic] made three songs. We do all the guitars and bass in my home studio. I program the drums and send it over. Then, we book a professional studio to record drums. The vocals are recorded at [my] studio. Basically, we use three studios. Then, we send it to be mixed at another studio. That’s how we create our music. We don’t rehearse as a band.” This is due to geography. Bolsø lives 10 hours away; Gujic lives in the same town as Olaisen, but, bassist Ole Bent Madsen lives three hours away and vocalist Yngve “Bolt” Christiansen, eight hours. Olaisen allays any skepticism with a placid tenor, saying, “It’s the Internet time now. It’s no problem.”
As he ponders Asia and the myriad European fests lined up this summer, Olaisen explains his approach to the band’s setlists. Blood Red Throne have eight albums to plunder. “We always keep playing a good combination of old and the new songs,” he explains. “I love the new songs. I am super happy, man. Still, a lot of people think 2005’s Altered Genesis is our best. Personally, this new album is as good as Altered Genesis. I cannot wait to promote the new tracks.” It must be asked whether people actually tell him that. He laughs, “Yeah,” but then resigns with empathy, “Well, you know, people always like bands’ older material. It’s up to people to decide if this new one stands up.”
Assured that it does, Olaisen will take this new batch of songs around the world. The sinister death metal, with brutal breakdowns and nasty riffs, will serve as a foundation to warn hordes of what he calls the impending “downfall of mankind, because of our dependence on machines.” Luckily, that didn’t happen on July 15. Our turntable don’t yet have the A.I. to rise and revolt.