Back in 1993 a Norwegian band shook the Black Metal scene in Norway. While all the bands and Metalheads were following the Scandinavian Black Metal scene with promising bands such as Darkthrone, Mayhem, Immortal, Emperor, Dissection and so on, a little combo decided to play Doom Metal music. It was FUNERAL. Even though they weren't in the B.M scene, many B.M fanzines praised their amazing demo "Tristesse" that is a unique moment of sorrowful depression. Since 14 years of existence the band crossed many dramatic events but finally recorded their fourth release "From these Wounds" in 2006. Once again FUNERAL stands against the conventional scene, and brought fresh ideas within Doom Metal field. Most of the answers were from Frode Forsmo (bass, vocals) expected special mention answered by Andres Eek (drum). Interview done 15/05/07 Hell-o, how are you doing today ? How many beers will you drink for this interview and what albums will you play ?
Howdy. Frode from FUNERAL here. Doing moderately ok today. I am having a few beers now, yes, so please have patience if I start to rant. Right now I am listening to Dream Theatre, "Train of thought".

I'd like to know how and why did you choose FUNERAL as a band name ? Did you attend to a death ceremony when you were younger that branded your mind ? And how would you like to see your own funeral day ?
As a relatively new member of FUNERAL I cannot answer directly to that. However, the members of FUNERAL are chosen partly because of their gloomy personalities. I guess the founders decided that FUNERAL was the name that best described the music and art they wanted to express. We have also experienced unusual many deaths of band-members and friends close to the band. From a mystical point of view one might speculate that the choice of name was prophetic inspired. On the other hand, the distinct personality type that I believe is drawn to perform this kind of music probably has a statistically higher risk of illness and death. As for my own funeral, I don't think I would care, at least not about the funeral. Probably having a better time in a better Hell. Perhaps I would have written a controversial letter to be read aloud in church, or something.

First all of congratulation for your great new release "From These Wounds", but what is your point of view on that release ? Did you reach to get what you had in mind with that full-length before going to the studio ?
Merci. There is actually a considerable time-gap between the recording and the release of "From These Wounds". At the time of recording we were very excited about the production and all. Preferences has changed since then. On the next one we will go for a more organic and less polished production. Still, for me "From These Wounds" is the best sounding release I have had the opportunity of performing on, so far.

"From These Wounds" is one hell of great Doom Metal album, it really conveys all the key elements from this Metal genre : excellent vocals, detuned guitar and wonderful riffs. How was the writing process ? Was the creation of the fourth album more difficult than the previous one, I mean you might sometime lack of idea for lyrics and/or musical
parts ?

It was a very rewarding and uplifting experience to put "From These Wounds" into reality. Guitarist Kjetil Ottersen composed the basic instrumental melody-lines, as well as a couple of the lyrics. This was then sent to me for composition and recording of the vocal-lines, as well as the writing of the majority of the lyrics. Both I an Kjetil worked under the liberal direction of founding member and band-boss Anders Eek. I cannot speak for the previous album, since "From These Wounds" is my official debut with FUNERAL. Still, "In fields of Pestilent Grief" is probably the album that opened my eyes to Funeral-Doom. That album also marks a turn of direction for FUNERAL, towards a more accessible sound, which in the end made it attractive for me to become a member. "From These Wounds" marks a turn in lyrical style, from the traditional baroque style to more contemporary lyrics that are simple in form, but deep in content. I like to say that there is more shit in this world for Doom-bands to cover, than Norway has oil-reserves, so I don't think we will go empty of ideas or dark emotions just yet.

Would you explain the titles of the new album : what wounds are you talking about ? The cover of that release, the barbed wires clearly symbolise the deep wound and the inner self suffering one can go through when he feels miserable…
The title is taken from the poems of former bassist Einar Fredriksen, who died in 2003. The title and the album is in tribute and memory of him, and sadly now also of guitarist Christian Loos, who died last autumn. The title of the album clearly symbolises the psychological wounds that are carried by the personality types I mentioned earlier. The barbed wire symbolises that the western world is not as happy or free as we may think. There is a different form of starvation that plagues the western world, in the shape of loneliness and the absence of human warmth. Nor are you as free in "the free world" as you like to think. Are the traditional undemocratic countries becoming more like us, or we like them ?

"From These Wounds" was recorded in your own studio "Vektor Facilities". How does it come ? Does it mean Tabu refused to pay a larger studio budget ? Furthermore, isn't it too difficult to judge the quality of the recording when you're both the musician and behind the computer during the recording process ?
Kjetil is also a skilled and professional sound-engineer. It was he that mixed and mastered the album in his own studio. Yes, it is difficult to be both musician and sound-engineer, and I think it burned Kjetil out. However, I do not think the album suffers too much under the problems you mention. It is the most professional sounding FUNERAL album to date. Regarding Tabu, the album was already finished when we signed with them. Tabu is a relatively small, but very serious record company. I believe they sign their bands based on what they honestly like, rather than what they think will sell. Many good bands under their mark.

Your "Tristesse" '93 demo tape and later MCD was pretty famous in the early 90's underground scene. I remember it was sought, and I read that you're looking for re-releasing it. What is your regard on that material that is 14 years old ?
I believe the re-release is a tribute to the loyal fan-base that has supported FUNERAL through all these years. However, the "new" FUNERAL is almost a different band and we are looking forward. The next album may contain a tad more of the old style, to express our loyalty to the old fans as well as the genre itself, but we will not desert the new fans either. I guess most idealists gets a little less extreme with age and maturity.

Being French I'd like to know why you chose a French word to name your album "Tritesse" (sorrowful) ? Is there any connection with the famous wave of French writers from the 19th century ? And have ever you tried to write a song with French lyrics ?
Again, I can not give you a direct answer, so I will have to speculate a bit. Norway is a relatively small country in population, and has therefore had little influence on the cultures and the arts through the centuries, from a global perspective. France, as well as the other big European countries has had many great writers, artists and philosophers. For a Norwegian band the exotic (as well as the beauty) of a foreign language adds weight to the dark romantic atmosphere we wish to create. It is common for Norwegian artists to sing in English, and that may partly be due to the fact that English is the primary foreign language taught in school. Personally I would love to sing in French if I had known a little of the language. The question is whether the French would love it, though.

You had a deal with Wild Rage for your "Tristess" CD, everyone knows the troubles about Wild Rage, but how were the relations and support with FUNERAL from this label ?
Eek: It was as rip-off as every band on this "label" would experience, I am afraid..

It's amazing the number of labels you've been linked with (Wild rage, Artis Serenades, Nocturnal Music, Tabu). How do you explain all these changes and what did you learn all along these years when it comes to relation with labels ? Do you think you finally found a supportive label with Tabu ?
Yes, Tabu is definitively the right label for FUNERAL. If FUNERAL ever gets out of the limbo of obscurity, it will be with Tabu. They have given us a treatment that is rare these days, also among the bigger labels, or perhaps especially among the bigger labels. I would recommend unsigned bands to check them out. I believe their focus is on Norwegian or Scandinavian bands, though.
Eek: Back in the 90`s when Black Metal was the big thing, noone seem to pay attention to Doom-Metal, thus no label was interested in signing us. Then we were contacted by Nocturnal and I am sorry to say we jumped on it. They paid what they were supposed to but didn't do shit concerning promotion, distro etc. That'ss why "In Fields Of Pestilent Grief" remains an obscure album to this date.

When it comes to lyrics concept I think that sometime Doom and Suicidal Black Metal are very close and deals with the same topics, do you agree with me and are there any suicidal B.M combos you like ?
I totally agree with you. The personality type I mentioned earlier is the same for both genres, even though they differ in musical and lyrical form. The deeper content is very similar. The BM bands often have a very direct satanic message. Most Doom-bands are not officially satanic, but I think that many still carries a subtle luciferian romanticism. The main difference is probably that we avoid the logical inconsistency of "worshipping evil". We rather loath all the false rightness in this world. Regarding, BM, I mostly don't listen to it anymore, even though I have played in a few bands. Getting to old, I guess.

Thergothon and FUNERAL's early demo had a bit the same vibe, the same feeling in each release don't you think so ? Could you remember your feeling the first time you listen to this band ? I was also wondering if this band was an influence on yours as according to me "Stream For Heaven" is one of the most heavy and slow album I've experienced in my live…

Eek: I never heard of Thergothon for years after forming FUNERAL. So it didn't influence us at all. I heard their album, but it didn't really move me. We were very inspired by old Paradise Lost, Cathedral, Black Sabbath, and Candlemass.

Your Doom Metal is mainly established on melancholy and sadness, so does it mean that members are particularly depressed ? Do you think that we live in a rather sad world with strange rules ? By the way, do you think that northern territories led people to loneliness, as cold temperatures and distances between human might changed their attitudes ?
In fact, in the northern parts of Norway, which are colder and darker, people are actually more extroverted and warmer towards each other than in the southern parts. No, I don't think it is the weather or the climate that makes us appear gloomy. I rather think it is inherited from the pietistic tradition that told people not to stick their noses out, but instead be ashamed of who they are. A normative tyranny where people freely holds each other down. Nor do I think that any of FUNERALS current members are more biologically predisposed to depression than the average guy. But I believe that we all think more deeply of things, and that will simply make you more depressed in today society. More and more people are feeling sad in the western world, in all its material wealth. The problem is that we attack the symptoms, rather than the sickness itself.

May I ask you the content of your lyrics ? Do you think that FUNERAL's lyrics are a kind of image of the soul of members from this band ?
I have already said a little about the lyrics. They are simple in form, but the content is intended to be deeper. There has also been a lyrical shift since the previous album. There is no absolute concept like satanism or atheism. We try to focus on what is unfair in a society that applauds itself for being fair. There is a lot of shit in our own society that should be obvious to most people, but apparently it is not. The western world needs to clear out its own shit before it can start saving the third world. We are not better than them, only better off. Some of the lyrics are about the dehumanisation of other individuals of our own species. Other lyrics are more introspective, covering the pains of both life and death. In my case they reflect parts of both my life and my soul.

Let's keep on this topic : I sometimes feel like some people need to express their emotions through words or through an instrument while others need sport, do you feel the same ? Do you believe that such a band like FUNERAL could be like chemical given to patient to recover his illness ?
Empirical science would prefer sports over music when it comes to the healing factor. FUNERAL will not heal your depression, but hopefully it will make it a little easier for you, to see that you are not alone, until you get a new girlfriend or something. Same with schizophrenia. We can't heal them, but we can fight for the rights and the autonomy of those who suffer from it, until they hopefully recover without the forced use of harmful chemicals.

Even though that Doom Metal is largely influenced by Black Sabbath, FUNERAL is rather far away from the British band concept. I'd say that you reach the higher evolution in Doom Metal music, using the feeling of B.S but arranging your songs in such a way that your tunes sound FUNERAL, period ! Do you agree with me and how important is/was Black Sabbath for you ? Any favourite albums or tunes from them ?
Black Sabbath are the godfathers of many of todays sub-genres of Metal. But, as you say, Doom-Metal is probably the genre most inspired by them. A few personal BS favourites would be "Spiral Architect", "Symptom Of The Universe", and "Children Of The Sea". And, I am really looking forward to the new Ozzy album.

As you're fan of Doom Metal, I guess you might be aware of labels such as "I Hate Records", "Golden Lake", "Psychedoomelic Records", and so on…Did you send any promo to these labels to get a deal and are there releases from their back catalogue you're fan ?
Eek: I heard of these labels, but have never been in contact with them. I cant remember which bands who was signed with them neither.

Some members of FUNERAL are also part of Paradigma that is also one of the very first Doom Metal and a very great band back then. How did you feel the need to play in another Doom Metal band ?
Eek: It was FUNERAL bassist Einar who joined Paradigma in the late 90`s. He took care of the bass and melodic vocals on their still not released album recorded in 99 I believe.. Einar moved to Oslo and became friends with the Paradigma guys I think, and FUNERAL was never a band that rehearsed very often. anyway. I actually had 3-4 bands running at the same time back then..

Bassist Einer died in January 2003, his death seemed to have affected the band seriously both emotionally and musically. Did you feel that band was cursed back then ? How did he pass away ?
Eek: It was so tragic. He was a soul-mate and friend for years, so it really affected the band seriously. FUNERAL was on ice for almost two years after this incident. I am sorry to say he chose to end his own life after becoming addicted to heroin. He also suffered from manic-depression, and he didn't get the aid that he needed.

Back in the 95's there was a Black Metal band from France that had the same name than yours. The French combo was on the front line of newspaper because of their satanic actions and link with the right wings. I guess that it might had pissed you off as some Metalheads were confusing both band ? Did you ever asked them to change their name ?
I am not familiar with the French Funeral. I remember you had some very good Death Metal bands, though. NSBM is definitively not my cup of tea. I suspect that it was the right-wing connections that brought them the media attention rather than the satanic image ? On the other hand, I think there should be a great deal of freedom for artists expressing themselves, or society will ultimately become what it tries to distance itself from. I believe in education, rather than prohibition.

Doom Metal has always been connected with melancholia, and according to me a part of autumnal season, while the most melancholic times are the snowing days in winter. As you live in Norway, I'd like to know your relation with that natural element… Do you suffer from snow, how do you feel when it's snowing ?
Norwegian autumns can become very dark, until the first snow falls. The snow lights things up and, even though it physically gets colder, it gets psychologically warmer. And the children loves the snow, of course. To be honest I have a long time dreamt of moving to a more southern country, though. There are quite a few scientific findings that points to a strong correlation between sunlight and psychological well-being. The sun is never as strong up here as in your country, not even in the summer ( yeah come here and suffer from 40° in summer you'll quickly change your mind, haha-ed) But, as I said, many Norwegians find a little snow in the winter to be better than no snow.

I heard the cover of Abyssic Hate's "Suicide Emotion" is a picture of a FUNERAL member is that right and who is he ? I'm not certain about my information, but if I'm right do you remember how Shane asked a FUNERAL member to feature on his album cover ?
Eek: Yes, it's a picture of Einar, FUNERAL bassist. He also was heavily into self-injury, as you may see on the picture. It's very sad I think. I think Einar was a pen pal with those guys. I am not quite sure..

On your web site there's link to "Fallen" demo tape that is once again a Doom combo that is really excellent. I listen to the tunes and I've to admit they are way different to FUNERAL. So, could you explain what's this band exactly, why did you create it ? Furthermore I saw that since the "A Tragedy's Bitter End" from 2004 nothing has been recorded, is the band dead and buried ? I guess the death of Christian Loss is the reason on the inactivity of the combo ?
Eek: The Fallen demo was released on "A Tragedy`s..". I needed an outlet for my love of extreme Doom back when FUNERAL became a bit faster and "mainstream", so I continued on composing really slow stuff, and I still do to this day. We have recorded a lot of material since then. A 4 -track demo(60 minutes) featuring Cecilie (from the band Skumring) in duet with Kjetil Ottersen. After this we have recorded 90 minutes of instrumental music that we are working on right now, composing vocal harmonies, and finding a suitable label that has the guts to release double album of really extreme metal.
The loss of my good friend Christain actually made me think of ending all my musical projects. But to pay him tribute, I decided to try to move on. He was a huge fan of both Fallen and Funeral.

Do you sometime feel that Scandinavian people are way different to other European people ? I mean you seem much more concerned with nature, respect of mankind and equality in society than any others, for instant the "Swedish way of life" is always mentioned as an example for the other countries…
That is just an illusion created by our governments. Scandinavians can be just as much assholes as everybody else, although sometimes on a higher intellectual level.

Would you name your 5 favourite Norwegian releases so far excepting Paradigma ? What Norwegian band impressed you or was an influence on your music ?
Eek: The 3rd And The Mortal "Tears Laid In Earth". Equinox: "Auf Wiedersehen". Beyond Dawn "Pity Love", Emperor "In The Nightside Eclipse" and Darkthrone "A Blaze In The Northern Sky" would be my 5 favourite Norwegian albums. All these bands and more inspired me greatly..

I'm out of questions now, I don't know if I forget anything,…probably, so feel free to full my gap…
Well, as you predicted in your first question I am starting to get wasted on beer, so I'll put it short. We would like to wish you and your country the best of luck with the upcoming presidential election (well I can't imagine the shitty situation we're crossing-ed). Hopefully we will get to visit your historically and culturally important nation soon. Cheers!
Eek: Thanx a lot for your support and rather intelligent questions. (you're welcome ! -ed)