RED HARVEST

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1.Talking about the band history of Red Harvest would totally blow up the frames of these pages, but it would interest me what kept Red Harvest so unique and original over all these years. Is it the will to create something „above everything” or was it more a natural and non-controllable development?

 

– It is more or less like you describe in the end here. What ever happens, it happens. The thing is, that we have never been afraid to let it happen, if you understand.

 

 

2.What are your impressions when you look back in the old days of Red Harvest? Are there things you would better make undone today, or are you proud of everything you have done so far?

 

– I think we managed to do the best out if things at whatever point being. Of course there are things we could have done differently, or in other ways. But looking back really doesn’t do anything good. I always try to drive forward.

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3.In your opinion, which of your albums has been the most definitive of the band to date – and is it the one you would recommend someone buy if they have never heard the band before?

 

– I hold “A Greater Darkness” as my personal favorite. The entire band gave a lot of personal input to that one. But again, it is a bit hard to choose. We would never end up where we are today without “Hybreed”. And without “Cold Dark Matter” and “Sick Transit Gloria Mundi”, we would never been able to make “A Greater Darkness”.

 

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4.So fill me in on what’s been going on with the band.Tell me a story or two that know one else knows he he.

 

 

– Oh, oh … We will record and make new material. But it is really not such a big secret anymore. Sorry.

 

 

5.Red Harvest seems like a complete package, there’s a vision: music, imagery, album covers, lyrical content. Very apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic, industrial wastelands. Was this very thought out to begin with or something that evolved with the band? Something that you’re drawn to and comes out in the music?

 

– Yes, this was totally coming along with bands progress. Also on personal levels. Unfortunately, some of our best songs are based on personal experience and the situation one were in at that time. I used to dig myself very deep into brutal situations while writing music, and I still do.

 

 

6.So guys, let us start this chat with your musical past. How did you get in touch with Metal? How old were you at that time?You started playing Metal 28 years ago, back in 1989, so how did that passion for Heavy Metal has begun to start with?

 

– We all have more different backgrounds when it comes to early influences. I guess that is what makes us strong. I started playing guitar already at age 10. Learned Thin Lizzy, Motoprhead … classic rock. Personally my first “metal” album was Rainbow “On stage”.

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7.What kind of Metal styles did you prefer? I mean were you into the melodic, commercial bands or rather into the more brutal, aggressive ones?What were your influences to become a Metal musician?

 

I preferred bands like in quite a wide range, from Queensryche and Pink Floyd to Slayer and Neurosis. Later I also got more interested in the electronic scene and bands.

 

 

 

8.Red Harvest was formed in 1989, by Thomas Brandt, Jimmy „Ofu Khan” Ivan Bergsten,Cato Bekkevold and Jan F. Nygård. How did you get to know each other? Did you have the same interests, the same musical taste etc.?

 

– I had a common friend of Jimmi and Cato that played bass in a band called Dunkelheit. When I moved to Oslo, he asked me if I wanted to join Dunkelheit. So I did. Lrz played drums there. At that time, Lrz already played a bit samples and synth with Red Harvest. We got along well in Dunkelheit, so when Jan left, I just stepped in and took his place. Was very smooth.

 

 

9.How long did it take the band to come up with their own original material and what were some of the covers you were playing at the time?

 

– This is a bit before my time, but I remember seeing Red Harvest on TV before I joined the band. They played everything from Faith No More to “Fanitullen”.

 

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10.Who was the main songwriter at that stage? Did one of You already was the mainman and already had the vision of how Red Harvest would sound like because those early recordings prove that the band was sounding different from the other Thrash / Death acts around mainly because of the unique guitars and cold atmosphere of post-industrial landscapes?

 

Jimmy was the songwriter in the very beginning. So when I joined the band I basically learned and played what I was told to. I started writing in 2000 on Cold Dark Matter. Felt it was time to step up.

 

 

11.Do you recall the early Red Harvest rehearsals? How often did you rehearse, how was your rehearsal place etc.?Did you take Red Harvest seriously right from the start?

 

– We rehearsed a lot. Had a cool, but very messy place. 3000 empty beer bottles and complete chaos. We spent more or less every afternoon and evening playing and hanging out. And yes, we were serious. Of course. Investing a lot of time in rehearsing and money equipment.

 

 

12.Talking about that unique guitars, it’s obvious the band was largely influenced by Killing Joke, not only for the soloing trade but also for the bunch of different parts the songs contained, correct? Who else would you name as an influence – Godflesh,Type O Negative?

 

Yes, you are very right. But when it comes to guitars also more “non metal” bands like Radiohead have influenced us. Or riffing like Slayer.

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13.Thomas Brandt,Jimmy Bergsten,Cato Bekkevold,Jan F. Nygård this line-up recorded a demo in 1989 „Occultica” featuring „Embrace of Misery”, „Beneath the Mask”and „Spirit of the Serpent”… Could you tell us more about this tape?

 

– I am sorry, this is way before my time. Sorry. I haven’t even heard it.

 

 

14.In 1990 you recorded another tape, the five song demo „Psychotica” including „Face the Fact”, „Acid”, „Sane in Solitude”,”Faithful unto Death” and „D-F-Song”. Did you develop compared to your previous recordings?

– Again, I am sorry, this is way before my time.

 

 

15.The demo spread the name of the band worldwide, it found its way onto the underground trading market, did you think at that time that the demo would be successful? Did more fans become interested in the band?Did you get letters from fans worldwide who wanted to buy the demo? Do you still remember how many copies were sold from the demo?

 

– I just see these cassettes on second hand shops from time to time. At that time trading and writing letters was super important and “big”. It got some attention, nit sure how much and how much it sold.

 

 

16.At that time (1990) labels started to get interested in the band, which labels did show an interest in the band? Did they offer you a serious deal?Because finaly Red Harvest landed into Black Mark Production roster.

 

– I know that the deal was agreed while playing the demo over the phone, ha ha ha.

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17.In May 1991 you went to Warehouse Studio to record the debut album „Nomindsland”… How far I know is a funny story behind yours debut full-lenght.Some copies contained wrong pages in the booklet, which belonged to a totally different album?What about the recording sessions? Any memories of it?

 

– I am not sure of all the things you write here. In general I can just say that this album has very crappy sound in my opinion, the left bass drum is left more or less out of the mix. But is has a couple of really cool songs. They would deserve a re-recording.

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18.Musically, Red Harvest has been quite unpredictable. Their first album presented an avant-garde thrash metal sound (the band were first sown in a thrash tribute band playing Slayer covers) while the following albums „There’s Beauty in the Purity of Sadness” from 1994 and „HyBreed” from 1996 presented a more tribal influence. Can you describe in few words this two albums.

 

– “Beauty” introduced the industrial elements to the Red Harvest music. On Hybreed Lrz and I were full members of the band and we took a step away from metal the way most people know it into a very alternative and experimental direction. I think this became the fundament of what later became Red Harvest the way we know it today.

 

 

19.With the induction of samples/synthesizers member LRZ on „Cold Dark Matter” from 2000, the band became more electronic-oriented with black/death metal influences, dubbed to many as extreme industrial metal.You’ve been tightening and honing everything; the sound is razor sharp he production is certainly sharper, but the whole song writing and the structure has gotten more precise. The album just leaps out at you and grabs you by the throat and there’s nothing you can do but sit back and take it.

 

– Yes, after Hybreed we got a new drummer and then some of us were busy with family matters. So we recorded an EP hardly no one knows about to get Erik into the band and then we signed a contract with Nocturnal Art that was the label of Samoth from Emperor. It gave new energy and life to us as a band. I started writing music and lyrics, basically all contributed more. We got recognized in the “bigger” metal magazines like Metal Hammer, Terrorizer and Kerrang. Got good reviews. And things started to move a lot more than before.

 

 

20.Also lirics always are of very personal nature, dark and also very extravagant. Who is the main lyricwriter in Red Harvest and which influences do you generally use to write? Do the lyrics have even similar importance as the whole music has?

 

After 2000 lyrics have been written by me or Jimmi or together. Lyrics are important, but I think it is very hard to write good lyrics. It takes time. And like I mentioned before, I tend to up myself almost over the edge to be able to write and make music, It is like a sacrifice. Pushing the limits and doping a lot of crazy shit.

 

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21.Can you tell me a bit about the sales then? Which of your albums sold most and has been the most successful one, ultimately? What about the sales of yours next releases after „Cold Dark Matter” ,I mean „Sick Transit Gloria Mundi”,”Internal Punishment Programs” and „A Greater Darkness”.Are you satisfied with it or do such things not interest you that much?

 

– We never sold a lot. But Cold Dark Matter and Sick Transit gloria Mundi were also released in the US by relapse. And after what I heard they did quite well. It is difficult to judge the turnout of the sales, if we should sold more or less and so on. At this point CD sales dropped like crazy. So looking back, I think what we really should have done if we wanted to become “huge” was to tour more.

 

 

22.You shared the stage with countless bands from all over the world. Do you remember a concert or even a tour that really kept traces in your mind? Which concert has been the greatest / worst one you ever played?

 

– Playing with Type O Negative in 1997 was amazing. The worst concert I ever played was the same year (I think) in Bochum, Germany. The guy in the bar, his girlfriend and two stray dogs were the only audience. Terrible. In newer times I look back on our “return” concert in Bergen last year with great pleasure. It was magic.

 

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23.Being a member in Red Harvest means to invest a lot of time in the band. Please tell me more about your everyday life and how much time to you spend in musical and non musical activities?

As I have gotten older, I have learnt to become more efficient. I am also involved in two other bands (Gothminister and K.P Riot Brigade), so depending of what is going on I either do “this” or “that” whenever necessary. Right now I have been recording and tracking guitars for a new Gothminister album (very far away musically and image wise from Red Harvest). I am finished with Gothminister for now until the new material is released, so right now I have full focus on Red Harvest. Red Harvest is so much more personal for me. So I basically try to record/write something two/three day a week for Red Harvest at the moment. The rest of the time I spend working or working out or watch movies. I love watching movies.

 

 

24.It seems that you are still working together with Season of Mist, one of the biggest labels in todays Metal world. How does this cooperation work? Isn’t it sometimes quite difficult, as they keep charge of so many different styled Metal and even non-Metal acts?

 

– Sorry, you are wrong here. We are not with Season Of Mist in any way. But we are on good terms, when that’s said.

 

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25.Do you still rehearse like most bands do (meeting in the rehearsal-room and play until the sweat drips from the ceiling…) or do you have slightly different ways to rehearse and to create new songstructures. Please tell me more about this…

 

– No, we are not able to do that. Like mentioned before, things are a bit more efficient and focused to when and what is going on. Also, one very important factor is that we now live quite far apart and not within 5 minutes walk like we did before. I don’t even live in Norway any more. So we exchange files and ideas via internet. And then we get together for rehearsing when we are we have things to do.

 

 

26.Well,let’s go back to Red Harvest anniversary.My congratulation,now „Hybreed” celebrate its 20th anniversary !!!This double CD version released by French Cold DarkMatter Records is remastered by Cyrille Gachet (Year of No Light, The Great Old Ones, Bagarre Générale) at Dick Doom Studio.The second CD is a special edition with live bonus recorded during the BlastFest 2016 at Bergen.Can you say something more about this co-operation and how all this started?What can you tell us about this double album and how out by Cold DarkMatter Records ?

 

– Well, thank you so much. We have known the guy behind the label quite long. He has been friend of the band many years. And painfully enough we even one time had to cancel a gig in France that he was he was going to. I still feel bad about that, we we had no possibility to make it back too France from the UK in time. But back to the “Newbreed”. I think is has gotten a very great make over when it comes to mastering and also artwork. I am honored that there are people out there that appreciate this album so much. I love the passion and drive from the guy. So so far it has been just nice and giving for all involved in this.

 

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27.What about your present live-activities?BlastFest 2016 at Bergen it was the ressurection gig of Red Harvest.Is there a band that you would really like to tour with if you have got the chance to do so?

 

– That is a hard question. It has always been like this: What would be a good touring partner for Red Harvest? I honestly have no clue myself… open for suggestions. 15 years ago I would probably say Ministry or Neurosis or something… But I really don’t know.

 

 

28.A Red Harvest live set would be incomplete without classic songs from from different periods of activity.Can you imagine how many times you already played songs like these? Playing such songs again and again surely becomes boring after some time, but the audience would be disappointed if it couldn’t enjoy the atmosphere of such classics. Do you still have the same feeling as you had in past times when you play songs, for example, from the „HyBreed” era?

 

– The thing is that what happened after the year 2000 was the most commercial successful time for Red Harvest. So we “must” play stuff from that time. Personally it also feels a bit more real for me, cause I am personally more involved in that material. But we are thinking about playing some older stuff room Hybreed on out next concert. It is just a question about time and how long we will be playing. I just have to say from personal experience that I get so disappointed if I go to see a concert and the band just play “strange and unknown stuff”, so we try to not do that and give people what they want to hear. I mean, as a band it is of course more fun to try new things and do something different. But at the same time, it is nice to please the people coming to see and hear you. I mean, imagine going to see Slayer, and then they skip Raining blood… Or Metallica or something skipping “One”. The band probably puke a little bit inside when playing it and they are dying to play the new stuff, at the same time it is a “must”. Samd with us. We have so many songs we want to play, but at the same time we must be selective.

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29.What comes next on your schedule now?

 

– I will rehearse for Red Harvest rehearsal in two weeks. I am flying up there and hopefully we have time to play some new songs too while I am there.

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30.Ok, if you managed to answer all of the questions up to this point, I’m sure we have enough interesting information for all the die hard out there, so all I can say is thanks for taking the time and all the best to you! The last words are yours!

 

– Yes, this was a lot. Sorry I could not answer about the oldest things and happenings. But Red Harvest is alive and we will try as hard as we can to release some new and exiting material during 2017.

 

MORE INFO :

http://www.redharvest.com

https://www.facebook.com/Red-Harvest-Official-150019894329/

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http://colddarkmatterrecords.com

damienluce.immemorial@gmail.com

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