“A good bit of Lucifer”. An interview with Bjørnar E. Nilsen from Vulture Industries

by Gabriel Szünder

VULTURE INDUSTRIES, one of the newest bands on the notorious Norwegian black metal scene, seems dead set on breaking every rule of the genre.

Which is the best way to save it. Soon the band will start recording their third album, expected to match or even to rise above the greatness of the previous The Malefactor’s Bloody Register. Meanwhile, VULTURE INDUSTRIES will return to Romania to play at the third edition of the Dark Bombastic Evening festival. The band likes playing here. Bjørnar E. Nilsen said it.

VULTURE INDUSTRIES sounds to me like the name of a leftist band? Are you a leftist band?

“The personal politics of the band members are not very relevant for the bands expression. Our lyrics, music and esthetics reflect my views on the world, right and wrong, certain philosophical questions, etc. Thus it will of course have its political implications. Even if many of these views coincide with the left side of politics, I wouldn’t tag us as a band with a political agenda. I don’t want to tell people how to think, I just want them to think.”

You said in an interview that the central idea of your second album is “humanity seen through the justice system”. What kind of justice system did you mean? Some kind of a metaphysical justice, or just the human justice system?

“The human justice system. How we perceive justice and form our justice system says a lot about us as people and raise some interesting questions.”

If I would describe your music as black metal cabaret – or the black metal version of dark cabaret – would you agree? Could you see yourselves performing with a band like The Dresden Dolls for example?

“I guess that would be a decent genre for us as any. I’m not very occupied with putting our music into genres as I feel it creates boundaries rather than opportunities. I heard an album by the Dresden Dolls many years ago. I don’t remember the music to well I have to admit. Only that I liked the photos and the album layout.”

Was the image of the band conceived explicitly to alienate “true” black metal fans?

“[Laughs] Not really, but we’ve never been about belonging to a scene and dressing up in uniform clothing to express belonging. I think a lot of the trueness going around is a bit of a joke. To have black metal you need a good bit of Lucifer. One of the core features of Lucifer is individualism. So how can you be black metal if you fit your conception of music into a tiny box built by somebody else almost two decades ago?”

A colleague of mine from our site www.carteadenisp.ro  called The Malefactor’s Bloody Register a masterpiece. I agree with him, by the way. But what faults do you see in that album?¨

“None [laughs]! No, I’m kidding. There are some, but I don’t want to point them out for you and ruin your listening experience [laughs].”

And how is your third album coming along?

“Very good. We have a bit over half of the music ready and I am now starting to work on lyrics and concepts. So far it looks like it will become a quite varied album combining elements from both previous albums with some new and old influences. Our current working plan is to have everything ready to enter the studio by the end of this year.”

Last year you already had a Romanian concert at the Labyrinthic Metal Evening festival. What memories do you have of that particular show?

“We have played twice in Romania in the past twelve months. Both times have been fantastic experiences. We love playing for the Romanian crowd and have always been treated very well by the organizers handling the shows. It seems the people of Romania have a fancy for music a bit on the side of normal which works well for us, so we seem to have a growing following in your country. That makes is easy to do as good concerts as we can possibly do when we visit your country.”

Did the Romanian bands that played at the Labyrinthic Metal Evening – KISTVAEN and INDIAN FALL – impress you in any way?

“I don’t usually don’t see much of the bands playing before us on festivals, because I’m busy getting ready and into the mental state to do the show. I caught a bit of KISTVAEN though, and I remember I was quite impressed by the vocals.”

The Dark Bombastic Evening 3 Festival brings together neo-folk, post-rock, doom and black metal bands. This will probably attract a mixed audience. Do you usually consider it a challenge to play to such an audience? Do you like festivals like this or do you prefer playing to your own fans?

“I think it will be a very good fit for us. I know some of the other bands on the bill, and they deliver very good music. As long as we play to a quite open minded crowd, which I think we will find at DBE 3, it usually works out very well for us. We like meeting new people, playing at new places for new faces, so this will be a thrill for us.”

Why do you think Norwegian bands played such an important role in the development of black metal? I mean, do you think there is a reason why so many important black metal bands came from Norway?

“There was something strange in the drinking water during the 90’ties. I actually turned temporarily into a Buddhist at one point.”

OK, now I’m laughing. Let me ask you about movies and books that – as you said in some interviews – influence your music.

“There are tons to choose from so I’ll have to limit myself to some select few I really like. Everything by Jens Bjørneboe, for example. He is my favorite author. Notorious for digging into the dirt nobody want to talk about, and a master of portraying the humanity inside the monster. Much history books… For example In Europe by Geert Mak. I also enjoy Orwell, and much of the old gothic horror stuff like Frankenstein, Dracula, the E.A. Poe stuff, some H. P. Lovecraft. Wikipedia and the internet are also great sources for reading about strange fates and characters throughout the history of mankind. Truth is often stranger than fiction. As far as movies go, there’s Dr. Caligari’s Cabinet, a great expressionist movie from the 1920’s with fantastic esthetics and a nice plot twist that has been copied in tons of movies afterwards. Another one would be Bad Boy Bubby, a dark and dirty Australian movie, with some great characters, no real plot and great dialogue.”

Tribute and cover albums are quite popular these day. If were to do a cover album what bands would you cover?

“Devil Doll, Tom Waits, The Cure, NickCave, PENTAGRAM, BLACK SABBATH, Camel, and some traditional Balkan folk songs.”

Will you play any new songs at the Dark Bombastic Evening 3?

“Wait and see.”