Pick Your Rock and Metal

Friday, March 29, 2013

Rocking out for redemption with Audrey Horne

SMALL towns - much the staple of American fiction; so much so that the introverted, eccentric nature of small towns was immortalised in the surrealistic drama Twin Peaks. And it is from a small town in Norway that a band named after a Twin Peaks character are preparing to descend on the UK and Ireland - including a stop in Belfast.

Audrey Horne come from Bergen - a name etched into the metal roll of honour whose hard pedigree isn't too shabby either!

As the Audrey Horne prepare for the April 29th date in Belfast's Limelight2 -together with Ancient Wisdom and SAHG - we caught up with Ice Dale and wanted to know first off was the hard work they'd put into the band since 2002 finally paying off with this tour and new album Youngblood being critically acclaimed.

"Yes - absolutely!" he said. "We have gotten fantastic press and reviews on our latest album and our new label, Napalm Records are doing a great job, so things look very good at the moment.

"The band has never been stronger and more dedicated so we look forward to this tour and playing some festivals too/

"We promise to kick ass and deliver energetic and mind-blowing shows at every concert, so hopefully this album will take us a big step up and get more people aware of the band!"

As mentioned previously Bergen has long been known as a haven for black metal acts, yet Audrey Horne plies raucous hard rock, while at the same time members are no strangers to the darker metal arts.

"Bergen is pretty small, so pretty much everyone who plays in a band knows each other and go to the same bars etc," explained Dale. "There is not much competition between bands and genres. We get more inspired from each other and if a band has success, it's good for the others too.

"Since I play in Enslaved and have worked with a lot of extreme metal bands we have a very close relationship with the metal scene in Bergen. Musically we don't work much together even though Abbath [Editor's note: guitarist/vocalist etc with Immortal] often calls me and says he has some ideas for song names and riffs we could use in Audrey Horne!"

All of which speaks to the closeness of the band to the Norwegian music scene in general with current and past members playing in SAHG, Enslaved (as mentioned above) and Gorgoroth. Has this meant a cross-fertilisation of influences.

"I would say none," said Dale emphatically. "We all do our own thing and even though we have a lot of the same inspirational sources we approach the music very differently.

"On the new albums at least Audrey Horne, SAHG and Enslaved have recorded in the same studio with the same producers and engineers, so some of the basic sounds may be similar but I don't think you could tell if you didn't know cause they all sound very different in the end.

One thing Audrey Horne put a lot of effort into are their music videos - with Redemption Blues being a good example. For new and existing acts we wanted to know is there a need for bands to put as much effort into videos as well as albums.

"That's a difficult and interesting question," mused Dale. "Music videos used to be a very good and important way of promoting bands. TV stations all over the world showed music videos and it was a great way to discover new bands.

"Now all of that is gone and the only place to look at music videos is on Youtube. I still think it is important for bands to have a music video but the problem is that all record labels don't want to put as much money into them.

"The videos don't have a direct promotional value like they used to so only the big acts have a million dollar budgets and the rest of bands have to be more creative to make the videos look good; and these days you can also make a decent video with pretty cheap equipment so it's more about having a good idea!"

And Redemption Blues is a video for a top song that ticks all the boxes.

Dale continued: "Redemption Blues -  even though it was a low budget and we made it pretty fast - works as a feelgood video and captures some of the energy and atmosphere in the song."

And energy and atmosphere are key points for Audrey Horne's Youngblood, which to our cynical ears is a real step up from the more mediocre, formulaic hard rock - an important factor one would think for any band.

"Actually we didn't think too much when we made this album," said Dale. "We just jammed and had a lot of fun. There are a lot of influences from all the bands we listened to when we grew up and we just mixed it with our own sound and our own way of approaching it

"Maybe that's one of the reasons it stands out from a lot of the albums in the hard rock genre. We made this album for ourselves and didn't care what people would think about it.

"That should be the main thing for every band. You can't make music you think people will like or think will sell well - then you'll have a short career. We had rehearsed the songs and the band sounded so good in the end we decided to record the whole album live."

Two weeks of recording and mastering that emphasises the dynamic rather than a push to be too loud is a combination that makes Audrey Horne's Young Blood stand out and rock harder than many.

Finally - The Twin Peaks connection...

"We just wanted a 'different';  name for the band and not the typical hard rock/metal name," said Dale. Which was to have unintended consequences on the release of the band's first album. The band know of one unsuspecting lady who thought she was buying an album reflecting the Twin Peaks style of music ...

"She put the album on and turned it up really loud and was totally shocked when the opening track 'Dead' blasted out of her speakers! We heard that ended up sitting in the corner of her room, scared and shaking! Mission accomplished!"

And should you choose to check out Audery Horne on April 29th we can assure you that you'll be rockin' to such an extent that for all concerned - on and off stage - it will be mission accomplished.

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