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Manes

NoDamnBrakes

An album like “Vilosophe” demonstrates that Manes are as amazing as unpredictable. This interview with Torstein (bass, words and “thougts”) is a chanche to discover a little bit more this band.

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Fabrizio Garau (FG): A person is complex, so we don’t really know the man be’ind a musical project, and it’s not important, because is music that matters; we even know that many of you are currently playing in other different bands, maybe because of this complexity. So the question is: what can be expressed with Manes that is difficult to put out with another of your bands?

Torstein Parelius (TP): Manes is Manes, and — speaking only for myself — it’s not just another project, but rather another mode or another sphere, so to speak. It’s not like it’s an outlet for leftover creativity — like I make a riff that I can’t use in Chton (where I play guitar), and therefore use it Manes instead. If I have a cat and a car, I have to treat those differently. I can’t fill petrol on my cat (well, I haven’t tried, at least.) — so they need totally different attention and treatment. A stupid way of explaining it, I know, but I think I’ve made my point.

FG: “Vilosophe” demonstrates that Manes are open minded. How much is important for you to experiment with music, to make the path as you go?

TP: Very much so. This will differ a lot from band to band, but for us this is our objective. To explore and experiment. And to have fun while doing it. It’s just the spawn of creativity — unlike those who make their music a spawn of current trends, audience expectations, market research or whatever.

FG: In your opinion, who’s the open minded artist (not necessarily a musician) par excellence?

TP: What kinda question is that? Open-minded? G.G. Allin maybe? I don’t know. I can’t give you one name just like that. It could be lots of people.
And what does that mean, anyway? Who is most open-minded? I would have to know them personally to judge something like that. I don’t really care either, when I come to think of it. I’m really into a lot of narrow-mindedness too. People who stick to their guns like Lemmy, but anyway: maybe someone like William S. Burroughs or someone could be labelled open-minded. But who would win in an “open-mindedness competition” — I really don’t know.

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FG: In “Vilosophe” we find jungle and trip hop beats: many different artists have contaminated their music with these beats, from David Bowie (with “Earthling”) to Arcturus, from Bjork to The Gathering. In your opinion, what are the reasons of the strong attractive exerted by these two styles?

TP: I like both jungle and trip-hop to some extent, but why some artists choose to utilise elements from these particular styles in metal, or whatever genre they’re put in; I don’t know. Trip-hop-beats often has a certain laid-back groove going, and that may be a clue? And jungle-beats can stand in contrast to that as a tool for composition, maybe. Or maybe it just has that little somethin’ somethin’ that makes it good stuff? The Bristol scene certainly produced some good stuff from the likes of Tricky, Massive Attack, Portishead a.o. As for it being a contamination of the music, I must say I disagree — I kinda like it.

FG: Some years ago, you did a genetic experiment with the DNA of Ozzy Osbourne, David Bowie and an unknown element, called “the Asgeir element”: your singer was born. Tell me the truth.

TP: Yeah we did some experiments, as you say, with various DNA. We tried to create the perfect vocal blend by combining chunks of Ozzy and Bowie. It all went wrong, and now Eivind has a drooling gimp living in his cellar, eating dog-droppings and barking at the moon. So we decided to just go for Asgeir.

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FG: Basically, “Confluence” is a sample taken from “Der Todesking” by Jorg Buttgereit: we can hear a man talking about a terrible thing he committed because something like a nightmare has happened in his conjugal life; and we can hear him committing suicide. Artistically speaking, it’s a stunning choice. How did the idea come out? Who’s the underground cinema’s expert of the band?

TP: It’s a cool track, and I guess it was me who came up with the idea to use that on the album, but I’m no expert on underground film. Both me and Rune study film at the University here, but that doesn’t make us experts. We’re all interested in film and other visual expressions, so it was no big grumble about using that particular sample. It fits with the album, both as a part of the music and as a part of the “lyrical” theme, so we saw no drawbacks in using it. It seems like quite a few of the reviewers of the album has had a hard time with it, though — feeling it ruins an otherwise ok album, like some sort of anti-climax. It might be an anti-climax, but in my ears that ain’t negative. And, another thing — none of us really know any German. We’ve seen the film — so we know what it’s all about — but beyond that, it’s more of an ambient track that has more qualities as music than as a “message” or a “story”.

FG: This is a question related to “Der Todesking”: in your opinion, should art be provocative? Or could this be simply a consequence of the fact that art should be free?

TP: Getting me to define art now, are you? Well, I can’t give you any correct answer to this — nor is my opinion on that much worth. However, I don’t think art should be provocative. I don’t really know; art shouldn’t be anything. If art is provocative the artist forces the watcher/listener to involve themselves in their artwork — they become a calculated piece of the artwork with their reaction (if the artwork was intended as provocative), and that can be ok. Sometimes not. It’s all a matter of taste — and my taste, concerning all art within music, visual art, film etc, is that it doesn’t necessarily need to provoke. But provocation is a tool to get your message across sometimes, I guess. Art is based on your own subjective aesthetic criteria. Ain’t that answer good enough?

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FG: “Confluence” reveals an interest for visual arts: if you had to shoot a video for “Vilosophe”, which song would you choose? And how would you represent this song through images?

TP: We have some ideas for a video, but nothing concrete. We haven’t really focused on that, so we haven’t decided anything. I really like the Tool videos. And others too — like many of the Massive Attack videos (especially for “Karmacoma” and “Inertia creeps”). And the one for “Closer” (I’m not quite sure if that’s the one I’m thinking of.) by NIN etc. There’s lots of stuff we’ve talked about doing, but it’s all a matter of time and budgets — and we have little of both right now.

FG: Canaan’s Mauro created the artwork of “Vilosophe”. He told me that he used all that white because he “felt” your album as white. Do you agree with him?

TP: Well, yeah — but we did much of the work on that cover ourselves. Mauro did the final layout and had some creative ideas, but we more or less stood be’ind the whole thing. And about the choice of a white cover; we really had a dirtier white in mind, but we’re definitely pleased with the final result. I’m not sure if I “feel” this album as white. Do you? I certainly feel it’s a good cover, and it’s just the packaging (well, “just the packaging” is a little off), so all is fine.

FG: Probably, you will not answer this question: who’s the Vilosophe?

TP: It’s more like an associative word. An initiative.
Ok, last plugs — our web site will be done soon, so check in on www.code666.net for more info on that as it happens. I’ve also heard some rumours about some Manes-shirts, so I guess you’ll find info on that there too. Ok — Cheerio, and thanks for your time and space here.

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