“We actually got together in the end of 2011 to take the decision to end the band, but instead we came up with the idea to make one more song as sort of a gratitude to the fans who had supported us.”
Norway's Pride And Fall were certainly one of the more interesting bands that emerged at the turn of the Millennium to be tagged with the term “Futurepop”. With three well-received albums to their credit and their gloomy but dance-friendly musical formula established, the band inexplicably faded from view. Then late in 2012 the trio showed signs of life once more and in 2013 released arguably their strongest offering to date in the form of 'Of Lust And Desire'.
Intravenous Magazine caught up with the band to discuss what led to the band's hiatus, their subsequent reactivation, and making their live return at one of the UK's premier events, Infest Festival.
Intravenous Magazine: You've recently released your new album 'Of Lust And Desire', what has the reaction to it been like so far?
Per: It has really been a long time since we released anything, so first of all we are happy with the amount of attention there has been. The reactions we have received so far have been good, and we are very pleased with the fact that many seem to recognize 'Of Lust and Desire' as a natural continuation from where we left after our last album 'In my time of dying'. A few people have also noticed that the new album sounds a little different than the first three albums. As we had to update both the software and some of the hardware in our studio, we lost some of our old favourite components and plugins, and we had to make some compromises because of that, and I guess that is what some people have noticed. What’s most important for us is that people seems to agree with us that we have the ability to make good music.
IVM: How do you feel the album measures up against your previous releases?
Svein: When we started making 'Of Lust And Desire' we really wanted to continue the process from our previous albums, and in our opinion all our albums represent a natural continuation from where the band started out from the beginning. Even though it’s been a while since our last album it really didn’t take long to get back in the right mood when we started recording again. We feel that we have keep on developing as musicians and as a band, and we think our latest album also reflect that. I dare to say that we really are quite happy about the way the album has turned out, but we are also aware of the fact that we have taken some of the concepts in our music a little longer than before. Some of our new songs, for instance 'Epilogue', Sculptor Of Lust And Desire' and 'A River Runs Through It' are maybe a little off what would be expected, and in overall the result is an album that might be a little demanding to the listener, but hopefully in a good way. As a band we have a certain weakness for those huge, melodic string arrangements that could really set you into that nice and mellow mood, and we have kept on developing those ideas and writing songs that we think have a potential to grow when you start to learn them to know.
IVM: Previously there has always been a deeply philosophical slant to the Pride And Fall sound. What would you say are the themes and inspirations on 'Of Lust And Desire'?
Sigve: We have called the album 'Of Lust and Desire', and this title relates to the ever on-going internal conflict we face every day when we make decisions, often choosing between what could be seen as “right and wrong”, which often reflect the decision between doing what is expected and what you really want to do. On the other hand, I always try to write as ambiguous as I can, because I don't really want there to sort of one “truth” in our songs. What I really do like the best, is the thought of people reading different stories and creating their own different scenes out of my writing. I think that there has been some development in my writing during the last years, and I seem to have the impression that I tend to be a little more direct on the two latest albums than I used to be. Still, I always try to leave room and space for some interpretations in my lyrics.
IVM: It's been six years between albums. How has that changed the dynamic of the band?
Svein: There was a long period where Pride and Fall as far as we were concerned, almost ceased to exist. We kept out hanging out during that period, but it was really not an issue to start production of a new album or discussion about playing live at all during this period. Then things started getting back on track, and when we finally got back in the studio, most of the dynamics of the band returned immediately. Issues related to the internal dynamics within a band are in my opinion always very interesting, and there exist a lot of bands biographies demonstrating this. When we make our music we have normally have a good creative process, with the certain amount of friction and conflicts needed to really improve the ideas and structures of our songs. The magic of our music happens in the zone where we disagree and keep on improving each other’s ideas, and fortunately the dynamic of this process have remained the same even after the long break we had.
IVM: What was the catalyst for bringing back the band?
Per: At a certain time in 2009 the band just lost all of its momentum, and everything just stopped. I actually think that all of our equipment were stacked away for quite some time due to moving, construction works in the homes of all of us, and maybe a lot of other reasons. Then things started to return to normal, but at that time everything had been left hanging for so long that it actually felt like the band had stopped existing. We actually got together in the end of 2011 to take the decision to end the band, but instead we came up with the idea to make one more song as sort of a gratitude to the fans who had supported us. The composing and production of new material on the other hand went very well, and it didn’t take long to realize that Pride and Fall as a band was not dead after all. The main catalyst though, was that we really had a good time when we starting producing new music, and I think we all agree that making music is something that we have to do.
IVM: Did the period of time between albums lead you to second guess whether the time was right for a new album, or if your fanbase was still going to be there?
Sigve: The period of time since our third album and the period of time since our last gig (which was 2009) was of course major concerns during all of this process. In addition, at the time we started up again, we were quite out of date in relation to what was going on in the whole electro-scene. Nor did we have any clue whether to expect any fans to be out there waiting for us. We were therefore very happy to see that there has been both a lot of attention to the new album, and also that we have reconnected to old friends that we haven’t talked to in years.
IVM: Initially Pride And Fall were tagged by the media as “Futurepop”. How do you feel about that and what are your thoughts on the futurepop genre today?
Per: I guess that it is important to put a tag on a band, and Pride and Fall has certainly always had some of the futurepop-spirit at least. Still, we have a lot of different influences than futurepop, and our influences ranges from synth to metal of various sorts. Our goal has always been to make dark and mellow music, but at the same time we enjoy the beats and the feel that the Futurepop genre are so well known for. It doesn’t really matter so much for us what Pride and Fall are tagged with, but as far as the Futurepop-scene concerns it seems like there is a lot of the “old” bands in the scene that are releasing new material in 2013. Our impression is that most of the scene has been a little quiet for some time, and hopefully this will have a positive effect on the interest for this kind of electro music. At the same time, we also recognize that there will always be a need for new bands and development within a music scene, and as we played Infest we got the chance to catch at least two promising new acts that definitely will add something new to this scene.
IVM: How did the writing process work on the new album. Were the songs a gradual accumulation or did you write them at once?
Per: We started out with the idea of making one song, and then a lot of good ideas came up. The first song we started with was actually never finished, because it didn’t have the qualities we aimed for. When we started up again, we also went back and found some old ideas in the 'In my time of dying' catalogue that passed our quality control, and an example of a song that were pre-written already in 2008 but were finished for the new album is 'The Void'. When we make an album, we work continuously with all the songs and keep adding new ideas and new songs until we are happy with the result. During the production of 'Of Lust and Desire' we also tried out something we have never done before, we brought the whole studio out to a cabin far out in the woods and spent the weekend focusing intensely on writing, mixing and of course drinking some good ale, something that turned out to be a very good combination.
IVM: You returned to the UK at Infest Festival last month, how was that for you as a band?
Svein: This was the first gig since 2009, and we really looked forward to do this show at the same time it felt a little scary. I don’t think we quite knew what response we could expect, but we planned a set that included new and old and upbeat and slow tracks. We also spent a lot of time preparing visual imaging for some of the songs, and we added a digital backdrop and changed the whole setup for the playback and the guitar sound, and it was therefore very exciting to see how that came out. We also added some instrumental details, including me playing the violin bow on the guitar. We did actually spent a lot of time in the rehearsal room before this gig, and that is of course a good thing for a band. The venue in Bradford was great, including the sound and lightening. The crowd in Infest were great, and as the first gig in many years, I think it worked out quite well.
IVM: How were the new songs in the set list received by the audience?
Sigve: Playing new songs that are not yet released could very easily turn out a bit boring I dare say. There might be some people in an audience who appreciate new songs, but I think that most people come to a concert to hear the songs they know. We included two of the calm songs in the set, 'Sculptor Of Lust And Desire' as an intro and 'Epilogue' as a slow mid part. We brought these songs in because we wanted to break up the set a little from the continuous beats that characterize many of our songs, and we hope that people appreciate that. In addition we played one of the more upbeat songs, namely 'Hollow', and from what I have heard people really enjoyed that. A remix of this song from SITD has in fact just been released, and we encourage everyone to check this out!
IVM: You've previously released a music video for 'The Violence In Me' from 2007's 'In My Time Of Dying'. Can we expect another video in support of 'Of Lust And Desire'?
Per: Funny you ask about that, because we just started a discussion concerning this yesterday. We would like to make a video, and we have some ideas about which song and how to do it. The only challenge is to find the right people for the job, but we are working with that right now. The video for 'The Violence In Me' was made on a really tight time schedule and even tighter budget, but we were quite pleased with both the result and the many cool details in it. We hope to bring more news about this as soon as possible.
IVM: Finally, what are your plans for the rest of 2013 going into 2014?
Svein: We are currently working with some remixes of our own material, and we hope to put out some club-versions as soon as possible. In addition we continue the production of new material for what would hopefully be another album. We are also working put together some more live shows or a tour to present the new album for people, but things have been really busy so these things are not settled unfortunately. Then finally, we would really like to play some festivals the next summer. Updates will be posted on the Pride and Fall page on facebook, check it out!