Anders Odden is a guitarist/bassist who is very prominent in the International Metal/ Industrial/Alternative-Rock scene. Throughout his prolific career, he has played and toured with successful bands such as: Magenta, Apoptygma Berzerk, Cadaver, Celtic Frost and Satricon. Magenta has just released a brand new album entitled "Songs For The Dead." It's a tribute to Ministry guitarist Mike Scaccia, who passed away shortly after the Magenta family was invited to stay at Ministry leader's Al Jourgensen's 13th Planet Studios compound. The CD features Anders and his wife Vilde Lockert Odden. The first single release "Ghost" was written by their daughter Regine. I recently corresponded with Anders.
R.V.B. - Congratulations on your new album "Songs for the Dead." It is a very well - written hypnotic work of art. Can you describing the writing process for this album?
Anders - Thank you so much for your support! The writing process for me is always locking myself up with tunnel vision. I always write new material in January. I just stay in my studio like a bear in a cave and fight the shit out of whatever I am creating. January 2013 was the main writing period, but it was kicked off by events in December 2012 when the world was about to end according to the Maya calendar.
R.V.B. - In 2012 you were invited to Al Jourgensen's Planet Studio compound. What was that studio like at that time?
Anders - The studio compound was fantastic. It was everything you would imagine a guy like Al would own. There were different theme rooms, cowskulls painted black, huge metallic dinosaurs, strange deco of all sorts and a great recording room and mixing room.
R.V.B. - Was it a place to exchange musical ideas?
Anders - Very much so. We share a common ground in the music from the 80s. I grew up on the new wave and punk music before I got into metal – so its my heritage too.
R.V.B. - How did Mike Scaccia's untimely death effect everyone?
Anders - In the middle of the night I wake up hearing loud music from the studio. I look at my phone and a friend in Norway has sent a message “Mike is dead?” I rushed up and found Al and Sammy (his tech). It was surreal. We all had seen him shortly before and he had just done all his last work on the coming Ministry record. It all brought us tight together as a family trying to get by through Christmas with a dear family member dead.
Anders - Well. Apart from getting help form Al and Sammy kicking off the whole writing and getting the album done I have to give credit to James Dunkley. He mixed most of the record in his Hamburg studio for me as a favor. He is the FOH for Satyricon, Annhilator, Anthrax, Paradise Lost etc. and a good friend. We click well together. The photographer Espen Ixtlan who took the coverart photos is also worth mentioning as well as Justin Barlett who did the graphic design. We owe a lot to all of the people above to get this album done the way it came out.
R.V.B. - Your daughter wrote the song Ghost. It seems to be radio friendly and a little more pop orientated than the others. What was the inspiration for this song?
Anders - She wrote the song 1 year before when we celebrated new years even at the castle in Sweden where Hank Von Hell (ex-turbonegro) lived back in 2011/2012. She was taking in the scenery and got the inspiration from the mood in the huge house. She is a very clever girl. You will hear more of her in the future.
R.V.B. - As I listened to the album, I noticed a mixture of hard driving guitars, nice keyboard work, haunting spoken word, flawless vocals, and catchy hooks... Let's take the song Die Young which I circled as a favorite, What's the story behind this song?
Anders - This is the song I wrote that relates directly to the death of Mike Scaccia. It came to me in the middle of the night and the acoustic guitars in the beginning of the song is from the original demo I recorded straight into my laptop.
The middle section is inspired by the last Ministry albums dub-feel and I wanted to make a tribute by doing this. I also added a few Ozzy Osbourne like lines in it as well. The “god bless” stuff is my tribute to Ozzy. He may believe in god, but I don´t. We all like to throw around things we say to mean well, but they do not mean the same thing to everyone. Its funny how death is so mysterious and yet the only thing we really got in common as humans.
Anders - I had a vision to do a replica of the “American gothic” painting with me and Vilde as the farmers with opposite Day of the dead makeup on. We went to my grandparents old farmhouse and had a photo session there. It did not turn out as I wanted to so we were looking for a different location. We went down to this stream where my great grandfather had a blacksmith shop and took what now became the cover. We all liked it and the photographer said “it kind of has the feel of the first Black Sabbath cover”. We just went with it. This album feels like it should have been our first album and we wanted to see if anyone out there got it. You did. Kudos to you.
Anders - We met in Oslo at a Christmas party in 1993. We just hit off that night and have been together ever since. Its true love! She is a punk/rock girl, but over the years she has grown more into metal. Right now Slipknot is her favorite band. Back in 1993 it was the Pixies (haha). And I like the Pixies way more than Slipknot…
R.V.B. - What sparked you into playing music? Did you have formal music lessons?
Anders - My father was always into music so I grew up listening to a lot of classical music and folk music. I got a guitar at the age of 7 and never looked back really. I am selftaught, but I have learned from a lot of great players. I took piano for 2 years ages ago so I know how to read score somehow. Music is more about the right feeling than anything else. It's what drives me.
R.V.B. - Can you describe some of your early influences and some of the songs that you tackled early on?
Anders - I grew up listening to Mozart and Bach. When I learned to play guitar I listened to a lot of folksingers from Norway. They were the most important influence on my playing. The songs I did early on I do not remember. I just remember that I really early wanted to write my own songs. Its what drove me forward. Never copy others, do you own thing.
R.V.B. - How did you transition to becoming a professional musician?
Anders - Being a professional musician is a constant struggle against people that tell you it's not gonna happen. You have to be happy with way less money than your fellow schoolmates have by the age of 40. It’s a lifestyle and you have to really want to do it to stay in the game. It’s a lot of hard work and practice all the time too. That part ever ends. If you wanna do this you cannot do it on the side. It's all in or nothing.
R.V.B. - What are some live performances that were really outstanding in your career?
Anders - I must say the gig I did with Satyricon in the National Opera house along with the full Opera chorus stands out. It was the greatest music performance of my life. If I had to quit music now that would be the ultimate thing to remember with a huge smile.
R.V.B. - Is switching from guitar to bass natural for you?
Anders - Yes. I was always into making riffs and rhythmic things with the guitar. The lead guitar part is more like wanking to me. The rhythmic things of guitar and bass is what you remember a song by. The melody is secondary. Its all in the rhythm.
R.V.B. - How do you manage your time with practicing and juggling multiple projects?
Anders - it's very hard to get to spend enough time on it all. Right now this Magenta release takes a lot of PR work. At the same time I am in the studio 3-4 times a week working on new Satyricon and Order music. There is performances in the pipeline with all my projects and it’s a never ending story, so far.
R.V.B. - What CD's are in your CD player right now?
Anders - “Big in Europe!” It's a great album by Klaus Schulze and Lisa Gerrard. I like this kind of electronic music much better than Kraftwerk... etc. If I had a wish list of artists to work with Lisa Gerrard is on my top 3. Her voice is the most haunting and enchanting in the whole world.
Anders - We are waiting a little bit to see if people know that we have a new album out before we wanna plan any gigs. I never understood why all bands not need to tour to promote their music. There is a lot of music that I love to listen to and I have never seen the artist live. It never bothered me. With Magenta we have a great live band, but I am too old to try to break through in a van on the road. That’s for the kids in young bands to do. I am happy just making this music that we do every now and then and get an album out to our fans. I think that if we just continue to do this – one day in the future we will be considered vintage enough to get invitations to play here and there anyway. If there is no-one inviting you – you do not play gigs. It's as simple as that. We may turn the band into an art exhibition or something – but to do this I need to not have so much else going on at the same time.
Interview conducted by Robert von Bernewitz
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