Speaking from his home in Norway, White Void vocalist and brainchild, Lars Nedland discusses the concept of the band as well as his intentions going forward not only with this latest project but his other commitments in Borknagar and Solefald.
OD – According to your press release, the bands’ sound is; “Forged in the space between the occult rock of the seventies, the no-excuses-hard rock of the eighties and the British new-wave movement”. This is a very specific blueprint indeed.
I understand you wrote the structure of music prior to assembling the rest of the band. I know that the bands sound really came to be when the jamming sessions took place. Were you taken aback when you finally realised that you had successfully morphed ’70s rock and 80’s electronic?
LARS – It really was a great feeling when it all came together. I remember sitting in my home studio and I wrote and recorded crude demos before I assembled the band. The fun thing is that I write everything on the guitar and let me tell you, I’m a terrible guitarist [laughing].
I really feel that when I was playing this stuff on the guitar, there was nothing to hide. I can’t add in any flamboyancy because it’s not my instrument. So, be definition, the riff HAS to be good! So, I had all of these basic riffs and when Eivind [Marum, guitars] came into the band, we started working with the demos and I would say: “So, here’s the riff, can you translate that into a good guitar riff?” and he would just twist the riffs in ways that I couldn’t, but keeping the true essence of what they were meant to sound like.
Even though I wrote the songs, it was very much a group effort and I couldn’t do it with basic studio musicians.
OD – Of course, there is a background from multiple genres from Black Metal to Electronic, Chiptune, Electronic, Post Punk and Blues. On paper it just doesn’t seem like all of this should work, but it really does. At what point did you know that you had a very delicate balance of sound?
LARS – All of those genres are connected. The rock is the basis of everything that we do. But I mean, let’s take the two biggest influences when it comes to White Void and they are ’70s Rock and New Wave. They are the two pillars of what our sound stands on.
New Wave grew out of the Punk movement and the Punk movement came from the Rock movement. It’s all connected. So, we sat down and we collectively decided that we wanted our sound to accessible. It doesn’t matter about the genre, we just wanted the songs to be good with a lot of quality.
Regardless of the genre make-up on the album, it’s a very accessible album.
OD – I believe that the album’s concept [or the bands’ concept] is based on Albert Camus [Philosopher] who was famously known for his work stating that individuals should embrace the absurd condition of human existence and ultimately hypothesised that life really had no meaning. That’s a pretty “out-there” concept when it comes to writing lyrics, can you tell me the background in this approach?
LARS – Everything is connected here. The concept of the band, the name of the band and the album is linked to philosophy and it really revolves around the triangular relationship between existentialism, nihilism and absurdism.
The reason why I think this is really interesting is that these three philosophies have is they start with the same problem that is the problem of the absurd. It sounds complicated but it’s actually not.
It’s the distance of what we need as humans in relevance to the concept of the Universe, which is absurd, and that’s where the name comes from. We are thrown into existence and we don’t really know what we’re supposed to do. I like to think of it as the white void of existence. It’s a void that we have to fill or bridge in order to find some kind of relevance to our existence.
OD – The contrast of this album really caught my attention and once I heard ‘This Apocalypse is for You’, I was hooked! Have you been surprised about the reaction for both singles including ‘Do. Not. Sleep’ to date?
LARS – We’ve had a lot of positive feedback, which is great but also very weird. I’ve been releasing music now for about 25-years and my advice is that you can’t get involved with what people think about your music. Some people will love it, some people will hate it and that’s just the way it is. So, for me, I like to look at it in the sense that I own the music and once I put it out there, it becomes part of public opinion.
Sure, it’s nice to see that people like and appreciate it. Also, it’s interesting to see the comparison that people make with reference to other bands. [Laughing] Coming from someone who has involvement in the Black Metal scene, some people get very irritated that I’m involved with a project like White Void. Some people get very pissed-off and that was why I used the colour pink in the bands’ imagery [laughing].
I wanted to do that to try and create a bit of distance between White Void and what I do with my other musical endeavours. People tend to lump things together because certain people are behind certain projects. I choose to have a bit of fun with it.
OD – Of course, your involvement with Borknagar and Solefald is still very much keeping you busy, with regards to the time to work on White Void, was that because of the lockdown or was this always on the cards?
LARS – I don’t think so. At the moment, everything is up in the air when it comes to touring etc. Things happened very fast with White Void so we only just signed to a booking agency and it’s the same agent as we use for Borknagar to avoid any clashes.
I can’t see anything happening this year with regards to touring but the plan is to tour Europe for next year and also if I can get both White Void and Borknagar on the same bill that would be fantastic.
OD – With so much going on with other projects, I understand you’re planning to continue working on White Void and have actually written the next album?
LARS – Yes, that’s true. I’m actually on the third White Void album. I have made a lot of developments and this time has been good for me in that respect. I really enjoy writing albums. I approach writing with vinyl in mind. Like, what will be on side one, what will be the first track on side two etc…
The songs really developed in a different way because of that. The new songs are also connected to the music that’s on ‘Anti‘ but it’s not gonna be the same album. We’re not AC/DC if you know what I mean. [Laughing]
OD – Do you think that this album could have been released 20 years ago as so many people were very much staunch elitists when it came to heavy music as there was little genre-experimentation and cross-pollination when compared to today?
LARS – Yes, I think we could have released it 20-years ago but it would have sounded very different and that’s because of the way it was produced. It would have been with a totally different sound. These days, I try to make music as organically and make the production as timeless as possible. I really want the music to breathe and you can hear that when you listen to the album.
A lot of the drum tracks on the album are one-take sessions that we used straight away. Over the last 15-years a lot of albums kind of sound the same. There’s no room for the music to move and breath, so we’re trying to keep that old-school sound and just give the songs the space they need.
OD – If and when White Void begins to tour, who would you most like to accompany you for support?
LARS – Hmmm… I would have to say Tribulation. We’re much softer than them but it would really work. There’s a love crossover aspect between what they do and we do. Oh.. also New Model Army, that would be incredible. I have really enjoyed that band for a very long time and to tour with them would be fantastic.
OD – Can you leave us with a new artist that have inspired you over the last year?
LARS – Yeah, there are a few. Dark Buddha Rising who are on Svart Records. They are a Finnish group and are fantastic. I also love Oranssi Pazuzu, they are so inspiring and very interesting to me. Also, a band that I really like is ‘White Ward‘. They are a mixture of post-Black Metal with Saxophone and it’s like a dark/nightclub vibe with a huge sonic landscape with them. Really interesting.
There is some really fantastic music coming out of Europe for example Violet Cold is a great band, totally worth checking out. He’s a one-man project that’s releasing so much music, something like 4-albums a year.
‘ANTI‘ is out now via Nuclear Blast. Order your copy here.
Check out the new single/video for ‘There is no Freedom But the End‘ below: