Interview with Kim Olesen

Denmark is well known for it's quality metal acts such as Pretty Maids, more than likely been the biggest act. Along side them are the likes of Artillery, Jackal, Nartia, Royal Hunt, Invocator, Pyramaze and now Anubis gate among others. If you are a fan of Epic or Power Metal then I am sure this band is going to be right up your street, why? Well because if you're  a fan of Crimson Glory or Lordbane then you're gonna love this band. Other influences that come to light are, Fates Warning early era, Cauldron Born... With this band's debut 'Purifaction' which is released through Locomotive records and managed by Intromental the band's debut is a great debut which I recommend for any fan of this type of music. I managed to get some questions to Kim Olesen to dind out more about Denamrks new hopefuls. Here is what he had to say. Thanx for doing the interview Kim and also thanx to Claus from Intromental management for passing the question onto Kim. Epic Power Metal at it's finest!!

Ok first of all, I'd like to ask u when the band was formed and who formed the band??

Hi this is Kim Olesen Of Anubis Gate. I hope this will be good enough for youJ Jesper formed the band with Morten some years ago. It’s a bit hard to say exactly when because the origins of A.G. can be traced back almost 8 years to a jam that Jesper, Morten and I had where we made 2 songs (which will actually be on our next album, to be released in the spring of ’05). Then I was out of the picture for a long time but Jesper and Morten kept on trucking, forming piece by piece the backbones of Anubis Gate.

Has there been many line-up changes?? If so who replaced whom?

Well when Jesper and Morten approached me if I’d be interested in doing some work on Purification I was naturally thrilled. And as it happened my work-slot was VERY concentrated. I got so much done in so short times that it burned me out. And I guess no one was sure (least of all myself) what my status in the band was so I decided to leave at the time the final mixes were being done.  I asked to be credited as special guest on the first album, but really I always felt like a member, and for the short time I worked on Purification I guess I functioned like one too. I’m not sure if the others then searched for another lead/synth player or if they just hoped I’d come to my senses sooner or later, but when work started on the new album, I gradually became more and more involved and finally rejoined the band on a permanent basis. Henrik Fevre who did the entire choir on Purification, and wrote some of the vocal stuff on it too, has also joined ranks with us. He is a fantastic writer and a very good bass player so he’ll be doing live basses as well as choir vocals.

What bands were you all in before this band was formed?

Jesper and Henrik started as kids in a band called Death Axe. (Trivia: On drums in that band was actually The Haunted drummer, Per Møller Jensen.) Later I played with Morten (who was then doing the vocals, Chuck Billy old Testament style), Jesper (and also Per) in the thrash band “Extreme Feedback”. Per and Jesper then joined Invocator. I drifted off to playing pop and far out fusion jazz things after Extreme Feedback called it quits. By which time Jesper had actually rejoined it for some time. Morten and Jesper then ended up in Danish rap metal group “Geronimo” Our mighty vocalist Torben Askholm Originally sang in “Prophets of Doom” who, I believe, did an album in the late eighties called “Access To wisdom”. He later played with northern empire, a kind of experimental metal group who did some pretty interesting music for its time. Not so sure what Henrik has been doing other than he, as well as I, has taken a conservatoire education. But he has probably been doing a lot of gigs on the pop gig circuit.

Who are you're influences and who do they reflect within you're music?? I can certainly hear Crimson Glory and Lord bane in there, do you agree?? Also fates Warning (no Exit) era. Also how would u describe you're music?? Power, Epic or what???

I think we can call it epic-prog-power;-) As for the others influences I’m not sure. But Both Jesper, Morten and I have a great affection for the Iron Maiden stuff around the Somewhere In Time album. In fact it’s both Jespers and mine favourite metal album. My personal inspiration lies more in the early prog genesis stuff (“Selling England By The Pound” and “ A Trick Of The Tail” in particular). Also King Crimson. In metal my influences are mainly Iron Maiden and to a lesser degree Megadeth. Morten is a huge Queensryche fan. Jesper is a big fan of Lord bane as you mentioned. Torben comes off, in my honest opinion, as very Ian Gillan influenced at times. Especially in “Hypernosis”.

So why the name you chose for the band and what other names did u have in mind besides the name you have now?? Also what does it mean?? Does the name of you're band sum up you're music?

Well the name I wasn’t sure until but I believe it was Torben. He got it from a Tim Powers novel. But once they had it I’m pretty sure it set the agenda for the lyrical writers. And it did kind of lend a feeling to the first album musically also. I remember discussing the running order with the others and getting goose bumps because I could sense that it all came together, lyrically and musically.

So how many demos have you recorded, what songs were on them and how well did they sell? What were the titles of the demo tapes?

In a way (maybe I shouldn’t be saying this..)  Purification was the demo that turned into a fully-fledged album. Jesper and Morten had recorded all the basic drums, rhythm guitars and basses all on their own, over a period of several years. Spending a lot of time to get the basic parts just as they wanted. Then it was all put in Jacob Hansen’s (producer on Purification) Pro Tools rig. And the rest of us did our stuff on top of it. It then was kind of clear to us that this really wasn’t just a demo so we send it to Intromental who agreed to be our management. They in turn got us our deal with Locomotive Records. But before that, no demos I believe. Only for internal use. Work in progress….things like that.

Was the music pretty much the same as it is now and also were any of the songs from the demos sounding the same as they are on the record? or did they sound different back then, if so in what way?

As our two first songs are being rerecorded for the next album it’ll be easier to judge from listening to them. Part of a 3. song we did a year later (around 7 years ago) ended up as the long instrumental middle part on the track Discrowned on the Purification album. Maybe the very first songs were a bit simpler in structure and riffing. But only slightly so…

As you are from Denmark , how do you see the scene over there and did the local fans, press help you in any way?

Well we have bands like the reformed Invocator, and also Mercenary who are very good. But in a way I think AG stands apart from the scene as we aren’t yet a gigging band. So even though there are some cool bands we aren’t that much influenced by it. The Danish metal press have been very supportive which is nice.

What labels did you shop the demos to in order to get the deal you have now? What did they offer you in terms of a contact? What did they also say about you're music?

I actually don’t know that one as I was out of the picture for that period, sorry.

So was the album recorded before the deal or after the deal was signed??

The album was finished with artwork ready and all when Intromental got us the Locomotive deal.  Well the album was sold, I believe, on basis of the first set of mixes. But they were kind of a rush job and in the end Jacob redid the mixes. But as I said the album was several years in the making.

How did you hook up with Intromental Management and what did they offer you, which was better than the others??

For starters they were pretty convinced they could get us a record deal, and we were happy with that. Also their contract (which I wont go into details with, hope it’s ok) didn’t prohibit any of us from doing any number of side projects we might want to. And that was a crucial thing for me as I play in other bands as well.

How long is the deal with you're current label Locomotive?? Are you happy with the way they are doing promotion 4 the band? Or do u feel it could of been handled better?

LOL this is again one of those “I’m not sure” questions. I have actually never seen the contract before my eyes. Intromental handles all that stuff. Which is very fine with us, because that leaves us with what we love…..Doing music. As for the promotion I think we can blame something on ourselves, since this band has never done any gigs. That lies in the nature of AG because Torben and I live over 300km away from the others. So if it hadn’t been for all the improvements in the home studio department and reasonable internet connections there would probably not be any Anubis Gate. (Not in it’s present shape anyway). But if the right gigs should come up after the release of the next album we’ll most likely add a session synth player to the line-up and go gigging.

Have you been receiving rave reviews from the press? What about the fans how do they see the album, what do they think of it?

All in all the reviews has been pretty positive We have gotten anything from lukewarm to overly fantastic reviews, calling it a masterpiece at times even. Out of all the many reviews we have only gotten a couple of really bad ones. Usually from Italy for some strange reason. They really don’t like us there. (So I’ll never go camping by the lake Garda again. Bastards LOL) err… not sure if we have any fans haha, but through the website we’ve gotten a lot of positive response ;-)

Ok so could you tell me where the album was recorded and by whom?? Did Jacob Hansen have anything to do with it??

Now it gets complex. Ok: Jesper And Morten spend some years writing and refining the basic tracks for the songs. Jesper did the main bulk of writing with Morten adding good bits and suggestions along the way. Whenever Jesper (and in case of the new album, also me) has an idea we mail a recording to Morten. Either we get a positive mail back. Or he doesn’t comment it, which usually means that he is not that happy about it. Jesper is a fantastic riff writer (and rhythm guitarist/bass player  as well) My guess is that he has had hundreds of riffs in circulation during the writing. Morten has a great taste so we kind of rely on him to tell us when it’s not good enough, because sometimes the ideas can be really far out. With all the rhythm guitars, basses and drums (and some synths and acoustic guitars as well) recorded by Jesper at his place, it was all exported to Jacobs Hansen’s Pro Tools rig. He must have believed we were barking mad at first because Jesper and Morten relied on me and Torben to flesh out the sound later. But all Hansen could hear was a pearly string of riffs with bass and drums.  Torben came around by means of an audition held at my studio. He demoed “Downward Spiral” and there was no question that he was THE singer for AG. So he came down to Hansen’s studio with some things he’d written in advance. Henrik had also done some writing (we’re talking vocal lines and lyrics here). He then did his vocals in astonishingly short time. Something like a weekend or so. Then it was my  turn. I already had done my parts for Downward Spiral at my own place, but for the rest I had to do it in three days. Which included writing all my parts there, cause I didn’t know any of tracks in advance. I was given totally free reign  to do whatever I wanted, which was a daring move by the others. And a great challenge to me. So my role on the album is all the leads (except for Jespers fantastic lead on the title track). All the harmony guitars. Most of the synth work. And a little bit of rhythm en rare places.  Then Jacob and I did the first set of mixes, but they weren’t really good enough, so Jacob had to redo them. Which he did fantastic. He is such a nice guy to work with. Very easy going and always a bit humoristic. So it’s a lot of laughs besides the work. But also  a total pro behind the mixing desk. “Hall Of Two Truths” and “Kingdom Of Duat” were done at my place.

How long did it take to record

That depends if you count all the basic tracks in. In that case there is no telling. Several years. But in actual efficient work time?…… It’s hard to say. No one has ever kept track of it so…..But once we came down to Hansen’s place we spent 14 days or so spread over a couple of months.

Are the songs wrote as a team effort in the lyric and music or by certain members of the band?

Jesper (and to a lesser extend Morten) did most the writing for all the basic stuff: the skeleton of all the songs. I fleshed the sound out, and Torben And Henrik wrote the vocal stuff as well as the most lyrics. Lyrically Sonia Vasan also aided us.

What is each song about please, in you'rer own words, thanx.

Hall of two truths. The place where the Jackal God Anubis reigns. Anubis is the equivalent of saint Peter in the Christian mythology. And Anubis Gate is the same as the pearly Gates. So this is where the souls are summoned after  they die but before Anubis decides how to judge them.

Downward Spiral. A song about religion as an addiction where it hurts more than it does you good.

Purification is a real life story about a woman cleansing her soul after struggling with the torment of being abused as a child.

Hypernosis. This is more open to interpretation. Basically all the songs share the theme of facing ones inner demons whatever they might be. Cleansing the soul. Hence the album title Purification. If someone shouts “Concept album”  they are on the right track. A loosely based concept that is.

In the Comfort Of Darkness. A kind of love song, but with rage and hate perverting the love.

Before Anubis. The moment when Anubis judges the dead and decides who will be allowed to pass his gate and go to heaven.

I, Demon. A song about demons (not necessarily real demons but more  symbolically speaking) and their ability to eat out your soul until we become dead from within.

The Shadow.  This one is based on the Hans Christian Anderson story with the same name.

Discrowned.  A song about fearing the apocalyptic end to the world. And realising that there might be higher powers after all.

Kingdom Of Duat. The  place that the souls go if Anubis lets them go through the gate as purified entities.

Did the album feature any special guests if so who?

Well I was credited as a special guest. And Henrik also. But as I said I think we both feel like we were members in the process of making it (…or…well… I do when listening to it)

Are you happy with the end results of the album if not what do you think could have been improved?

There will always be certain little things that are annoying but all in all I think we are quite pleased. It turned out much more than we hoped for. In the last stages it was like something else was breathing life into the album. We felt quite magical making it. I know that sounds pretty lame and pretentious but we really had that feeling. Jesper and I calls it “the good fairy”.

Does any band member have any side projects? if so what style and what are the names?? Do u have any demos or albums coming out?

I do have a solo album called “Geographic” which is kind of an ambient half electronica half King Crimson like thing (for which I actually had a deal, but those things go down the drain so easily). And I do play a lot of non-metal music. Both normal rock and jazz and more experimenting stuff. But right now my main focus is the next AG album. Don’t really know about the others. I know that Henrik plays in other bands as well. And Torben has been lending his mighty voice to some other productions as well.

So what bands have you played with so far if any and what band would you like to tour with (within reason please). I think Crimson Glory or Fates Warning would be a good tour, or even Pyramaze.

Actually as I said earlier, we’ve never done a gig. But we plan to next year.

Well guys do you have any new material wrote for the next album, if so how will the music differ from that on the debut album? Do you have any titles? Also when will the next album be released??

We have pretty much all the material written for the next album. All that’s missing are some vocal stuff on a few numbers. We have demoed all the songs at Jespers and my places. But recordings will start for real at Jacob Hansen’s studio  in less than a month. Expected release will be spring 2005. The main differences on the new album have their root in a very different workflow. This time Jesper and I collaborated on all but a few tracks. We both write riffs and things for  this one so it’s much more varied. Where the strength of Purification lies in the (and this is a point some would argue)  the similarities between songs, the strength of the new album lies in the variation of songs. They are faster, slower, more rough yet more melodic. Some are a bit simpler yet others are very complex- Also this is reflected in how long the songs are. It varies from the shortest being 3 ½ minute to the longest being around 12 minutes. Also the boundaries between Jesper as rhythm guitar player and I as lead and harmony guitarist have disappeared. And Morten lets a lot more rip on the next album. He restricted himself a lot on Purification in order to give the album a darker feel, but in the new songs he truly shines as a drummer. We are very enthusiastic about it. And can’t wait to get into Hansen’s studio and get going. Some titles:” Sanctified” “Children Of The Pauper King” “Approaching Inner Circle”

The Album will have 11 tracks and will be titled “In The Valley Of Kings” So be on the lookout cause it’s going to be a really good album.

Before we finish what are you're fav top 10 album of all time?

A hard one. But I’ll give it a go:

1-      The Beatles: Revolver 2-      Genesis: A Trick Of The Tail   3-      Jethro Tull: Songs From The Wood 4-      Iron Maiden: Somewhere In Time

5-      King Crimson: Discipline   6-      Kraftwerk: Computerwelt    7-      Pink Floyd: Animals.   8-      Jean Michel Jarre: Oxygene

9-      Depeche Mode: Songs Of Faith And Devotion    10-   Voivod: Dimension Hatröss

Thanx again do you have anything to say to me & you're fans before we finish??

And to those who might have bought Purification: We are glad and honoured to have found our way to your ears.

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