Interview with Snorre Ruch
How and why did you decide to assemble Thorns?
Thorns was my idea. On the most, Thorns had 4 members: Bård (Faust) Eithun, Harald Eilertsen, Marius Vold and myself. Today I do most work alone, but I will use other musicians for different tasks when recording the next CD.
When I created Thorns, I wanted to make the most wicked music possible and, naturally, Black Metal was the most appropriate genre! Also, I always wanted to explore the style as a form of art and to test its limits. To me, all music is a reference to movement in room and time. Sound and noise are abstract forms that move in three dimensions through time, so you could say that I always wanted to “paint” with sound. It sounds a little stupid, but that is mainly my ambition! I also have had some references in other musical styles. I’ve listened to Black Metal, classical music, synth-music and other forms of music. I try to find inspiration in other elements than music to get the most interesting results, because no progression will come from copying other music.
Originally, Euronymous’ Deathlike Silence Productions were to release Thorns’ debut. Apart from what happened afterwards, why did it took this long to release it?
Yes, Euronymous wanted to release Thorns, but I did not feel that there was enough material for an album. We never released anything in a proper way. The Grymyrk rehearsal was distributed through the underground and also a recording of Ærie Descent and Funeral Marches to the Grave. We heard that people loved the music, but wanted to wait for a totally great album to be ready!
You have often been inspired by dreams and altered states of consciousness. Are you spiritually-driven?
I was very interested in astral-stuff some years ago but today I’m less religious; I have a totally deterministic view on existence today, and that leaves little or no place for the supernatural, but, yes, I still find religion and the supernatural interesting, but I’m no believer. Mostly, my influences today are found in the disciplines of art and science.
Why did Bård leave Thorns at such an early stage and how did you join Mayhem? Is there still contact between you both?
Because of little Thorns activity, in late 1992, I decided to join Mayhem and I did put Thorns on ice at the time.
Bård was already playing with Emperor then, but he never quit Thorns. He does not play in the band today, because now Thorns is more a project of mine, and he is still behind bars, but we still have contact, yes.
How did you feel about joining the line-up for the Nordic Metal compilation, given the fact that you were the co-author of his murder?
You should definitely ask Bård this question… I never knew that this was a tribute to Euronymous…
Recently, Thorns has also appeared in Darkthrone’s with a rather industrial-sounding and cold cover of The Pagan Winter. Does this approach reflect Thorns’ current sonority?
When I did the Darkthrone cover, I chose one of the songs I like most (The Pagan Winter). I realised that it is impossible to overcome Darkthrone in their artful way of playing Black Metal with spite and hate. Also, when I think of The Pagan Winter, I see a world of utter chaos and a kind of futuristic, inhuman cold world where a malign artificial intelligence rules, so I used this as an inspiration when I did my version of their song. I know the result differs a lot from the rest of the tribute, but I don’t think it is a representation for the future of my music though! Future Thorns will be more Black than Metal…
The split with Emperor was a quite interesting concept, since it gave both bands the chance to broaden each others’ usual associations (musical and conceptual). How did it happen and how did Moonfog come to the picture?
A few years ago I discussed with Samoth that it would be an idea to record the Thorns material together with Emperor, just to get my old stuff recorded. Then Moonfog became interested in Thorns and the Emperor idea evolved into making a concept split-CD that became the Thorns VS. Emperor CD. We wanted to experiment with our own – and the other band’s – material to make a different sort of CD. We also wanted to create a sort of tension between the bands, hence the “versus” name. I think the result is good…
About Moonfog, I guess that it was some years ago that Head Not Found wanted to release a CD with the old Thorns material so that those in the underground that had crappy copies of our material would get a chance to hear the songs with a little better sound quality (not good, but better). Then Head Not Found used some years on not completing this and that was when Satyr, of Satyricon and Moonfog, contacted me and asked if I agreed that Moonfog could release the old material. Since Head Not Found showed no progress in the release, I agreed. Then Satyr, in some strange way, talked to me into making music again. He is the devil and I sold my poor soul to him… Thorns were a non-existent band before Satyr reminded me, so I don’t find it strange that no other label has shown any interest. I am very happy with my treatment from Moonfog, so Thorns will definitely be seen on Moonfog in the future!
What are your future plans concerning Thorns? Are you planning to play live in the future, or even recording a promotional video, in connection with your next record?
My plan is to record a CD this summer and release it in the fall. Actually, I am working hard to achieve this and there will be very powerful tunes, I promise, as well as some more twisted ones… And last, but not least, it will be thorny! I’ll probably get a drummer to play in most of the new songs to get more power, since drum-machines tend to get too static and non-dynamic (and dynamics are very important)! Also, I believe that the next CD will be full of contrasts. I find most Metal very dull and flat because the bands tend to go for full speed and full power all the time. As I mentioned before, I’m very concerned about movement, form and contrast. Also, the texture of sound is interesting, as I’m influenced by anything from a piece of painted art to an idea or concept of thought… The lyrics will hopefully be atypical too. I have to say that I find most Black Metal lyrics dull; they are not really mean, because they mostly deal with non-existent topics and are often very romantic; you can’t shock with Satan these days and demons are no longer scary. Sometimes it works and sometimes it gets just silly! Too much Walt Disney in Black Metal today (my humble opinion)! I have plans for a couple of instrumentals on the CD. There will be, if not a concept, some kind of red thread through the CD. At least, I feel there will be; a sort of like a lot of movement in space if I can achieve what I hope, but I will not reveal too much. Apart from the fact that I’m successful in achieving my goal here, the result will tease your sensory units in a most pleasing way! I’ll say no more…
Regarding shows and tours, Thorns will be a studio band the way things are today, as I do not find concerts of any interest. If I should do any live performance, it would have to be something different from what I do in studio. Maybe some time in the future I’ll do a performance with sound and maybe even with Thorns, but I do not think I would repeat recorded material. It would be greater to create new sound and music live, I think!
I have strong video plans, actually. I want to make a short video for an instrumental that describes an abstract idea. I study animation at a college and I’ll combine abstract animation with abstract Black Metal. It will be violent to the mind… Maybe I could transfer a visual idea I have on my music into a little film. There will be no corpse paint, flame spitting or anything like that (that’s a promise)! I have to admit I’m a little excited concerning a video, because I’ve experimented a little with some abstract animation techniques and the results were very violent!
Hope you enjoyed this interview. Feel free to address anything else.
I hope I have answered your questions in an appropriate way and, yes, I enjoyed it (thank you)!
My plans with music are to experiment and progress and, hopefully, add something new to the scene.