First of all, could you give the readers a brief introduction of Artifact?
Pål: Artifact is an industrial metal band from Norway consisting of Tor Arne Fassotte on vocals, Bjørnar Landa on guitars, Svein Harald Kleppe on drums and me, Pål Evensen on guitars and programming. The band was started in 2002, but we didn’t see any action until 2005, some time after Tor Arne joined.
How did things get started, and why did you pick this bandname?
Pål: After I got back from military service in 2000, the other two members of my previous band had both moved to other parts of the country. I was still making songs, and after a couple of years I posted some of my music on the web and got in touch with our first singer, Kjetil Stensen. I also had a friend who played drums. Unfortunately, neither was right for the band, but Kjetil did lead me to Bjørnar. Me and Bjørnar continued the search and went through something like five different singers before Bjørnar heard a recording of Tor Arne’s other band; (Un)Pure. We were both floored; Bjørnar got Tor Arne on the phone, and that was that. The story about the band name is actually quite nerdy, as it was a word that kept popping up in the literature of a computer science course I was taking. I thought it would be a fitting band name as it was referred to as the outcome of a process or work cycle. At the same time, sonic artifacts are accidental sounds resulting from signal processing, which is a big part of our sound.
How would you describe the music you make?
Pål: Industrial metal with a touch of goth and a dash of synthpop.
Artifact includes members of Sirenia (formerly), Deathfare and This Negative Karma, which all sound quite different from eachother. How important is it for a band like Artifact to have different influences within the line up, and what are your main influences?
Pål: I listen to all different kinds of music, but my biggest inspiration as a songwriter has come from records like The Sisters of Mercy’s Floodland, Depeche Mode’s Violator, Seigmen’s Radiowaves, Rammstein’s Mutter and Ministry’s Psalm 69. The other guys are much more into metal than me, and the riffs Tor Arne brings to the table have a tendency to be very hard, so that also influences our sound quite a bit.
Tor Arne: I would say my main influence is Fear Factory, old Sepultura, Pantera, Machine Head, Metallica and Slayer. I’ve also been a huge Motley Crue fan, since 1985.
How do you usually create your songs?
Pål: Most of the time, I’ve created complete songs without any vocals or lyrics – just the music, and I would give them to Tor Arne, who would come up with his own melody lines and lyrics. Lately, this process has changed with Tor Arne often contributing guitar riffs, and sometimes even the basic sketches for whole songs. We’re also cooperating on the arrangements at a whole different level than before.
Despite the fact that you're existing quite long already, you just released one EP before the debut. What do you think is the main reason for this, and can you enlighten us a little on what we missed with the first EP?
Pål: The main reason for this was the lack of the right singer. As three of the songs from the EP are on the album, you didn’t miss much: the title track, Abandoned, a rather calm and atmospheric goth rocker, which is freely downloadable from our website www.artifact.no and a metal track called Mask of Apathy.
'The Only Salvation' is the name of your recently released debut full-lenght album. It recieved a great review from our zine, but what do you think of it yourself?
Tor Arne: I’m very pleased with the album, I think we managed to create an album, that most people can listen to, either you’re a metalhead (like me), or into goth,rock ect. There are some aggressive songs, like Revolution, Bled, The Machine, but there is also slower songs, like Senseless, Scapegoated and Weeping for a suicide.
What can people (who didn't read the review) who blindly buy it expect of it?
Pål: The music switches between heavy and melodic with lots of bleeping, noisy synths. Tor Arne has a doomy but clear voice not unlike Peter Steele from Type O Negative (I know he hates me for saying this), and a mean death metal growl. Add strict, heavy guitar riffs to this mixture, and you should get some idea of how we sound.
What is in your opinion the best track on the release, and why?
Pål: I’m not really sure because I’ve lived with the songs for so long that I’ve lost perspective, but if I was forced to pick one, it would probably be the title track because it has very much energy and heaviness as well as melodies, and it’s my favourite to play live.
Tor Arne: That’s a really hard question, at some point, they all have been my favourite track, I think I’ll have to say New Messiah, or maybe The Machine, I really like Revolution too. I know Bjørnar’s favourite track is One more shot.
What is in your opinion the major difference inbetween the new release and the old one?
Tor Arne: I think with the new release, the songs are a little bit heavier. The guitars on the new songs are tuned down to B, instead of drop D. I think that gives the songs more punch, if you know what I mean.
Your new album was released on Spiralchords Music, what made you choose for this label?
Tor Arne: We talked with them several months before signing the contract, they seemed really into our music, and that was important.
You already played a bunch of live shows, including one supporting Theatre of Tragedy. How does an Artifact live show look like?
Tor Arne: Well, since we have been support act, most of the concerts we’ve played, we haven’t had a chance to design any stage shows, but we are working on it. We just try and have a good time, when we play. I think every show is a learning process, we always try to do better, than the last show.
You recently played the Wave Gothik Treffen in Germany, which is known as one of the major festivals for alternative music. It must have been a great experience for you. How did the people over there reply on your live show?
Tor Arne: Yes, it was a great experience to us. The German crowd treated us good. We had fun, and I hope we can play there again, sometime.
Which was your most embarrasing moment live on stage?
Tor Arne: Haven’t had one yet, but I’m sure it will happen sometime.
Although Norway is mostly known for black metal, it delivers as well some big names to the industrial metal scene like MortIIs and The Kovenant. What are your views on the scene in Norway?
Pål: It’s been at a really low point the last five years or so. Most of the Norwegian bands getting exposure nowadays are copying Arctic Monkeys and other bands from the British indie-pop scene. We have a few great industrial bands like Zeromancer and Zensor in addition to the ones you mentioned, but there isn’t really any interest around those bands within Norway. I went to a Zensor show a couple of years ago, and we were almost the only audience.
What are, next to music, your other passions in life?
Pål: I very much enjoy reading, and I like to play golf sometimes, but I’m not sure if I’m eager enough to classify it as a passion.
Tor Arne: I like training, I do both weightlifting and kickboxing, its hard work, but also a lot of fun. I also watch a lot of movies, I’m a horror movie fan. I also have a passion for football, I’m an Arsenal fan.
What can we expect of Artifact in the near future?
Tor Arne: We’ll continue writing songs, we have two new tracks written, and a lot and new ideas. We have a concert coming up in August, we’ll also be filming a music video for one of the songs on the album. Hopefully more concerts, would love to do a tour in Germany, maybe as a support act.
Thanks alot for your time answering the questions. If you have some final words, please add them here.
Tor Arne: Thanks for the interview, and the good review on our album. I hope as many as possible, check our band out. Spread the word. C-ya
Interview by: Gerardo - July 2008