[Interviews] Red Harvest – « U2 and Dixie Chicks can take care of politics »

The future Red Harvest imagined in 1996 is catching up with us in 2017. Twenty one years later, the label Cold Dark Matter (named after the band’s fourth album) is reissuing their third and showing how far ahead of the curve Red Harvest was and still is. Industrial Metal, Black metal, Post metal, the Norwegian band was always impossible to classify but never reached the stardom of current forward thinkers like Neurosis or Meshuggah. With this reissue, the band has also announced plans to write and record a new album to explore some ideas left behind after their last, and excellent album, A greater darkness (2007). Most bands don’t have one great album in them, Red Harvest had four and might even had a fifth one. Time to ask a few questions about the state of the band around the recording of Hybreed and for the fan in me to get some sort of answers about some of my favorite aspects of the band (particularly the distopic songs on Sick transit gloria mundi).

Could you briefly introduce yourself as a band to people who have no idea who you are?

Red Harvest: Well, you kind of sumit up a bit belowher. Red Harvest started as a quite ordinary thrash metal band. Then we discovered new and alternative (for that time) directions to take our music. The band developed and had a quite success full career from 1996 until we took a break in 2009.

You started as a Thrash band influenced by Voivod on Nomindsland and transformed into an Industrial Metal band on There’s beauty in the purity of darkness. What happened between these two albums?

Red Harvest: Jimmi who was the creative force in the band at that band started looking outside the standard heavy metal at that time. Discovered gothic bands like Fields of the Nephilim and industrial bands like Ministry and Fear Factory. So with roots in thrash, Red Harvest started to implement synth and samples (LRZ joined Red Harvest playing samples on that album).

Your third album HyBreed is being reiussed by Cold Dark Matter records. Do you remember your intentions as musicians when you recorded this album? Why do you feel this album is still relevant today?

Red Harvest: At that time we wanted to challenge ourselves and the fans. And also break most of the unwritten rules for the metal genre at that time with both lyrics and music. It is relevant today, cause people that know their music history will clearly hear that we influenced a lot of other acts.

Hybreed is a unique album even now with its diversity of sounds, samples and atmosphere. You included a lot of electronicelements in it such as darkambient or by having songs based on circular beats (The burningwheel for exemple). What were your intentions musically? Did you fel llimited by the Metal conventions you explored on your previous albums?

Red Harvest: Yes, the typical metal fan did not like what we did on that album at all. It appealed more to the alternative scene. We also had Death prod that is more of an alternative noise/rock artist working on Hybreed with us and what he did was not « normal »way back then. The limits are what you make it yourself. We have always done what we wanted to do and followed our hearts. If we wanted to break some « rules » we did and we still do.

Hybreed stands out compared to the albums you put out after as a very diverse and melodic album. Why did you decide to get away from the melodic vocals and the more cinematic tracks you composed for this album?

Red Harvest: Basically cause we changed as persons. The music we make reflects our personalities and who we are at the time. Around Hybreed we read a lot of quazilitterature like Erich Däniken and liked to walk in the vast mountain areas of Norway. Then this and that happens and the next time you sit down to make music something completly differrent is the goal.

Your music has always dealt with dystopias and everyday it looks like novels are becoming reality with the measure taken by government and companies against anonymity as well as the rise of fascism around the world, do you feel inspired by these current events to write new music?

Red Harvest: What usually inspires me when it comes to lyrics and music is the darkness every human has inside. Someone hides it forever, other people crack one day. I am inspired by my own darkness and also of course movies and novels. We have always tried to stay away from politics. U2 and Dixie Chicks can can take care of that, hehehe.

I have always been a big fan of your cover of 7 YearBitch, Dead men don’t rape, on Sick transit gloria mundi. What were your intentions with this cover?

Red Harvest: I have just heard the GGFH version !? But we were all fans of GGFH and used to jam the songs while rehearsing. It was not supposed to be on the album, but we recorded the song when we were in the studio recording Sick… And the version became so cool it ended up on the album.

What can you tell already about the material you have started working on for your new album?

Red Harvest: It is a bit more complex and technical than before. At the same time more raw.

If you could choose one of your own songs in your discography to define the overall chaos in the world today, which one would it be?

Red Harvest: « Hole in Me » from the album A Greater Darkness.

What artists, outside of music, do you feel you share a similar aesthetic with?

Red Harvest: Hmmm, hard question. I must say that Dehn Sora, visual artist on the re-issue of Hybreed really hit something I like and has managed to visualize the atmosphere in a truly amazing way. I am also a huge fan of the Norwegian writer GertNygårdshaug. Amazing writer way ahead of his time.

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