As we approach BalconyTVs 10th anniversary, I thought it would be interesting to interview some of the first artists that performed on the show and find out what has happened to them in the time since.
Green Carnation were a Norwegian metal band that performed on August 26th, 2006. I hunted down lead singer Kjetil Nordhus for a chat.
Stephen - You were one of the first artists to perform on BalconyTV. What, if anything do you remember about the performance?
Kjetil - I do remember it indeed. We were doing a few concerts in Ireland, and although I don’t know exactly how it happened, we were invited to perform on BalconyTV during our stay in Dublin. We had just released Acoustic Verses, and it was quite practical to do acoustic stuff on the balcony. The thing I remember the most was that the actual balcony was over a very busy street and I think it must have been rush hour, because it was very noisy down below.
Stephen - What was the song you performed about?
Kjetil - If I remember correctly we did one or two parts of 9-29-045 and it’s about phases between life and death. Perfectly suited for a balcony 10 meters above a busy street…
Stephen - How long had you been playing before that point?
Kjetil - I think this might have been in 2006, and although the band first started up in 1989 the first album wasn’t released before 2000. And with the drastic change of line-up from our first to our second album, Light of Day, Day of Darkness, the 2006 line-up had been together for four years.
Stephen - What were your ambitions then, compared to what they are now?
Kjetil - I don’t know if we had any specific ambitions then. It must have been something like “record albums, release them, and tour”. We disbanded in 2006, and after a one-off reunion show in 2014, we got back together this year, in 2016 to celebrate the 15th anniversary of our album Light of Day, Day of Darkness. The ambitions this year is to do a few shows in Europe and USA, and we’ll have to see after that.
Stephen - How are the band doing now?
Kjetil - It’s great being back together, to be honest. We have all been busy in other musical projects along the way, but Light of Day, Day of Darkness means something special to both the band and to our fans, so it is very motivating do do our 2016-project.
Stephen - The internet has completely transformed music in the last 10 years. When we started out, YouTube was just starting and MySpace was the thing. How have you found dealing with the digital revolution?
Kjetil - A little bit of both, to be honest. I could probably have discussed this for pages upon pages, but the music business is still trying to figure out how to deal with the democratization of the internet, and the change of income streams both for labels and eventually also for the artists. For bands like us, we have lost our main source of potential income, and that means a few things are harder. On the other hand it makes it easier, also for us, to reach out and communicate with fans and potential fans, which is a good thing.
Stephen - What do you make of the Norweigian music scene?
Kjetil - It’s in a very interesting place right now. Many good things have happened the last few years, and I think you might see it also outside of Norway now. Obviously, there has never been any problem with the Norwegian metal scene to get attention abroad, but within the last few years other parts of the music scene have developed in a very nice way, both within indie, pop and jazz. And – maybe the biggest difference from, say 10 years ago – in an increasing degree we have the people in Norway to lift music out of our country and to the rest of the world.
Stephen - If you could give the you of 10 years ago advice, 10 years on, what would it be?
Kjetil - “If you continue doing music, you’ll be in a very privileged place in 10 years. The music will take you to places you’d never dream of visiting, and you will meet amazing people along the way”. I was hoping for that to be true, but didn’t know if it was to be. It was.
Stephen - What has been the best thing to happen to you in music and life in the last 10 years?
Kjetil - Again – the feeling of privilege, that I am able to work creatively with amazing people and travel the world with the music. That’s the best thing, both in music and in life.
Stephen - What is the one song of yours your most proud of that people should check out?
Kjetil - Doing what we are doing this year, it has to be Light of Day, Day of Darkness. It is one song. One album. 60 minutes. So put off some time.
Stephen - Who has been your favorite Norwegian artist of the last 10 years, and your favorite international or mainstream artist?
Kjetil - Very, very hard question. But if I have to say someone it would have to be Susanne Sundfør. Check her out, no matter what kind of music you’re into. She’s universal.
Kjetil - And my favorite international artist has been Tom Waits for many, many years. I even went to Dublin to see him in 2008, one of the wisest choices in my adult life.
Stephen - Final question. What would your words of wisdom be for anyone starting out? Be as brutal as you like.
Kjetil - Think thoroughly through your level of ambition, and make sure that all the band members share the ambitions. If you’re not willing to work extremely hard, and maybe also say no to many privileges your friends might have (apartment, money, car, girlfriend/boyfriend etc.) you have to lower your ambitions so it matches your willingness to sacrifice. After all – it is better to adjust your ambition levels and succeed rather than having to high ambition levels and be disappointed.
Stephen - Thanks Kjetil!