SJODOGG, ça ne vous dira peut-être pas grand-chose et ce sera normal, puisque le groupe vient juste de sortir son premier album, Landscapes Of Disease And Decadence. Sauf que quand le label culte Osmose Productions signe un nouveau groupe de black, provenant de Scandinavie de surcroît, nous sommes toujours très attentifs ici (Immortal ou Marduk, c’était eux au départ, rappelons-le !)… Sjodogg n’est certes pas le groupe le plus violent du black, mais le remarquable travail sur les atmosphères exécuté sur cet album a suffi pour que nous ayons envie d’en savoir un peu plus…
Interview à paraître également dans le Metal Observer FNAC n°15 de Janv. 2008
ENGLISH VERSION of this interview after the French one !
Interview de Dracunculus (guitares), par Will Of Death
Site : www.myspace.com/sjodogg
As it’s the 1st time we interview you, can you introduce the members of the band and do a short history of it?
The template for Sjodogg was a solo-project I worked with for many years, combining multiple acoustic guitars with sound effects, some female vocals, various classical instruments, even some didgeridoo to create a dark and atmospheric black/folk/ambient “thing”. The resulting 120 minutes plus of material came in handy when I teamed up with former Enthral-partner Kjetil early 2003 to explore new musical terrain. What followed was 3 demos, Demo Anno 2004/2005/2006, which we mailed around to every known record label trying to get signed. The ultimate goal was always to record an album.
How did you get the deal with Osmose Productions, and what do you expect of that ?
That`s an interesting story. At one point we sent a myspace-request to a band we had recently heard of in a Norwegian Sjodogg-review (!), namely Arkhon Infaustus. Later we got a positive mail from DevianT saying he deemed Sjodogg to be an interesting band for their label Osmose. Shortly after we got word from label manager Hervè offering us a recording deal. Osmose is a classic and infamous label, with a profound underground-feel, and in that sense I think Sjodogg suits Osmose and vice versa.
What was the main idea when you create this band ? Is there a special philosophy ?
The concept behind Sjodogg was to create dark, minimalistic metal, with emphasis on groove and atmosphere, rather than focusing on bpm and technical brutality.
What does « Sjodogg » mean, if it means something…
Sjodogg is a local Norwegian name for a tick-borne disease affecting sheep…not very interesting in its own right. However, to me, it is a word with great sound and atmosphere, it brings to mind obscure, haunting visions of plague and death.
Which sense do you give to the title of your record ?
The title “Landscapes of Disease and Decadence” has been with us for quite some time, and I feel it brings out the essence of what Sjodogg is about. The music is somewhat theme-based, it doesn`t jump from one riff to the next in a few seconds, many of the riffs themselves are repetive or hypnotic in a sense, and can last for many minutes. Lyrically, the concept revolves around the decadence of man (and woman) – disease, blasphemy, bereavement, the like.
In what way do you think Sjodogg is innovative ?
When I compose and arrange material, I don`t really think too much about what is innovative and what`s not. The important thing is creating interesting music for yourself.. I guess perhaps the mix of old-school riffs, progressive arrangments, and the dynamic sound makes Sjodogg sound a bit fresh and innovative…
You speak in your biography of a separation between you from the main part of our contemporaries… What do you mean by that ?
I don`t mean to sound elitist or presumptuous or anything, but the sound of Sjodogg is quite unique (my subjetive view of course). No, I don`t listen to a lot of contemporary bands, on the other hand, I`m not totally cut-off from what`s happening in the world of metal either.
Your influences seem to be really « old school » : Coroner, Bathory, Sabbat, Death… What did you like in these bands and, according to you, which connexions exist between your music and these bands ?
Yes, we are stuck in the 80`s and early 90`s! Meaning that we very seldom check out new cd`s, we basically revel in music from the great past. There are a few bands and albums that have made a significant impact on Sjodogg the way I see it; My Dying Bride`s “Symphonaire Infernum et spera Empyrium” EP, Sabbat`s “Dreamweaver”, Coroner`s “Punishment for Decadence”, Cathedral “Forest of Equilibrium” – we don`t sound like any of these, but I guess the atmosphere is a common denominator. Also, Enthral has a grim song which inspired me musically, entitled ”Awaiting the Rise of the ForstGod”, from 96` I think.
According to you, what a « dark » music has to bring to the listeners ?
If you like your metal grim and dark, filthy, dissonant, melancholic and dynamic, then Sjodogg will appeal to you!
What is your definition of the black metal ?
I don`t really know how to answer that question. I`m not crazy about categorizing music in the first place, people have different views as to what is this and that. To some people it might be important being part of a special category, it is not important to us.
Vulnus’ voice is particularly unhealthy. What do you express in your lyrics ? I find that your voice looks like a little that of Mortuus from Marduk. Do you agree ?
Well, thanks for the compliment! We did a lot of experimenting in the studio, trying to be open-minded, yet focusing on atmosphere and darkness. Some parts were improvised, others were rehearsed. In my opinion, the vocals are quite characteristic. As far as the comparison to Mortuus` goes, it's cool that you mention him in a Sjodogg-context, other than that we are not inspired by his vocal technique or anything. Lyrically, we`re suckers for love stories – gangrenous love and the sensual afterplay of sadistic emotions…
It seemed to me, in seeing your Myspace page, that you appreciate Arkhon Infaustus… What pleases you in this band ?
Yes, Arkhon Infaustus is a cool band. Great, dark atmosphere, one of the very few bands who actually manage to create evil sounding guitar-harmonies…M33 Constellation and Le Particule de Dieu are awesome tracks.
Is there a chance to see you live one of these days in Europe ?
Playing gigs has not been a priority for us so far. However we are planning to do some shows locally next year, March or April. We`ll see what happens!
What do you want to add to the French fans who will discover your band in this interview ? What can give them the desire to listen to Sjodogg in the future ?
Thanks for taking an interest in Sjodogg! The album is available most places on the internet, if you are curious check us out at www.myspace.com/sjodogg