Formed under a blackened sky in the outskirts of Álftanes, Iceland, Curse arose from the ashes of one of Iceland’s lost gems, Thule, along with it’s sister, Potentiam.
With it’s third black thrash attack under it’s belt I got in contact with Eldur to get the lowdown on how Icelanders and Englishmen spend their time in Norway.
Is it correct that much of “Void Above, Abyss Below” was improvised in the studio? How much time did you spend on the album in the studio?
All together, maybe 6-7 days. The process lasted 42 days though. So yes, mainly improvised and straight from the gut. There were no second thoughts with anything that happened on this album. We spent very little time on the mix and we did not edit or fix any mistakes. They are there but minor, and I think the overall process kept a bit of a live feeling in the sound.
What is the reason behind Curse? What is it that keeps the flame burning? Fortíð focused on Völuspá in it’s trilogy, what is closer to Curse than anything else? Are the fires of Surt the fuel of your dark compositions?
Curse has a much less distinct lyrical concept than Fortíð, since it is not bound to Northern mythology or paganism. Whether it is fantasy or mysticism or some life experiences, Curse has little or dare I say no boundaries and each lyric is an individual. What fuels me to make this music is something I cannot explain, but it most certainly is some form of obsession.
Is the regulation of dreams anything you are striving for? How is the red the deepest black and how do you channel the devil via the medium of Curse?
Dreams are often a subject in Curse such as in Infernal Visions and yes, Red is the Deepest Black. But the latter one is written by Guðmundur Óli Pálamson from Sólstafir and if you want it dissected, I suggest you speak to him. Guðmundur wrote 4 lyrics on the album. He is also the maker of I’m the Dead Guy, Hour of the Skull and Painting the Devil on the Wall. Biblical references and metaphors have always been something that I play with in my lyrics. Sometimes it even has nothing to do with Christianity or the devil whatsoever. I leave it for the listeners to interpret.
Tell us a bit about the video you made for the title track of this album. How did it come about, where was it recorded and what was the main concept behind the video?
We just wanted to have a video out there. Nothing expensive or fancy, just something to promote the band since the internet has become the main source of promotion. The original concept was for us to be slowly rotting throughout the video, but when it came to the editing, we simply did not have the vital shots to make this happen. So we just made it more about the smoking and drinking. This was all due to some technical problems really, that I have solved now. Releasing a new video has even been brought up between us since we did not fully exploit all the shots. It has some personal humor in it too. We want to give the clear message that we are not trying hopelessly to fit any certain image of what Black Metal should or should not be. We are doing this for ourselves.
What do you think of music videos and in particular black metal music videos? Are there any that stand out as complete masterpieces managing to capture the black aura of the songs or are most of them best kept in the foul bogs?
Yes, I would say that 90% of Black Metal videos look ridiculous. I’m not saying that people won’t think the same about our video, but they are allowed since we really didn’t make the effort to give a fuck. I think of those I remember right now, my favorite is still the Loss and Curse of Reverence with Emperor but even that does not come without some downsides or awkward shots. The thing is not only lack of money for a professional video since Dimmu Borgir have had some awful stuff made with a bunch of cash (being a Black Metal or not Black Metal band, blablabla). I think the main challenge here is to present something visual that can speak as strongly as the imagery of the music itself. I’m not saying this is not doable, but it would need some pretty amazing crew that would usually be occupied with something else than Black Metal, unless there’s a bunch of cash involved. I believe I’m going in circles here.
Curse is now a diabolical duo. Since it’s humble beginnings Curse has been a somber solo project if we disregard the two years it spent as a trio of terror. It’s been a bit of a hassle, hasn’t it, keeping a steady line-up in your musical endeavors. Are you a harsh dictator and refuse to work with people that don’t commit fully or has it more been a case of geography?
Those two you are referring to, Mistur & Faun, were at the time spending their last days with Withered before the band had some lineup changes and developed into Atrum. Mistur left the scene altogether and Faun always had his own musical priorities. He is a writer and a front man just like me, so I guess we both needed our own role. Yes, I have been known to dictate the bands I’ve been in but at least I’ve driven them forwards to something more than some short lived demo days. A bit of that and like you said, the location made things happen the way they did. And yes, it’s been a hassle altogether with all my projects, that members have had some other priorities, whether it has been with other bands or something unrelated to music. I have not had to deal with anything like this since I moved to Norway.
How is red the deepest black and when will the priests of the underworld rise?
The priests of the Underworld are already here and ask Guðmundur about the other. I myself am colourblind.