(One of our Norway-based contributors, Karina Noctum, had the good fortune of recently interviewing Ihsahn, whose new album Àmr will be released on May 4 by Candlelight/Spinefarm, and we present their discussion here today.)
You mix together several genres in one song a lot, and this is complicated enough, so how do you compose? Do you have lots of riffs first or does the song develop out of an idea?
I think it’s more the latter. Although in my early years my way of doing it tended more towards having lots of riffs and then putting them together. But as a solo artist it has been more centered around an idea and developing everything taking it as a starting point.
But what about this idea, is it a musical one or can it be anything?
It is a musical one. Often times it has been just one vocal line. Take my first solo album, there is a song called “Called by the Fire” in there and those were some lines that I sang while driving, and all singing started from there. But frequently it is a musical theme, or a progression for example.
Does the music you listen to influence you when it comes to writing music?
I get inspiration from lots of sources. You named the fact that I bring in many genres… I do feel I still create music that belongs to extreme metal and Black Metal, but I get inspired by other musical landscapes. Other musical textures are something that I like to combine with the music, as it gives it a special character.