01 – First of all, as usual, I’d like to thank you very much for taking your time to answer our interview. I have to say that I’m a big Blood Tsunami and Mongo Ninja fan, so this is an opportunity I’ve been waiting for quite some time. Please, introduce yourself to our readers/listeners.
Hey! Thanks for getting in touch! My name is Peter Michael Kolstad Vegem, also known as Pete, and I play guitar and sing in Blood Tsunami. I also used to play guitar in Mongo Ninja.
02 – Let’s start with Blood Tsunami. About a month ago the band has released “For Faen!” an album which, from what I’ve read, has received many positive acclaim from both critics and fans. How do you personally feel about this album and what, in your opinion, would be “For Faen!” highlight?
We’re very content with the album, it turned out the way we wanted it. We have received positive feedback from all over the world, so we must have done something right. My fave tracks on the album is probably ‘Metal Fang’, ‘The Butcher of Rostov’, ‘In The Dungeon of The Rats’ and ‘Krokodil’.
03 – Blood Tsunami’s lyrics can be considered quite aggressive, but I personally find them quite interesting as, in my humble opinion, they truly represent and fit what’s behind the concept, I mean, songs like Metal Fang, The Rape of Nanking, B.T.K. (I was just watching a show about him yesterday), just to name a few. You don’t write a lyric about Nikolai Dzhumagaliev, for example, using beautiful and cordial words. How important are the lyrics for you and how do you create them? I mean, do you have to be on a correct mood, in a certain place, or do you simply write them from out of the blue?
The lyrics on this album are quite different than what Blood Tsunami lyrics once used to be like. On the first album I wrote a bunch of fictional rubbish. Ordinary, childish metal lyrics… On the second album’ Grand Feast For Vultures’ I explored more personal issues and wrote about my inner demons, depressions and problems with alcohol abuse. During the years with Mongo Ninja I began writing stories about true crime, real events and real people. I was fed up with fictional stuff and felt that I had delivered enough of myself, so it was refreshing to write about other real persons. Where Mongo Ninja used to focus on unlucky and unfortunate guys like Ota Benga, Konerak Sintasomophone and James Vance, Blood Tsunami lyrics deals with evil serial killers and horrendous ancient torture methods and war crimes. Just as the riffs the lyrics just comes… I get ideas and inspiration for lyrics from all sorts of things everyday. Some of them I write down, some of then I memorize and some of them I simply forget. I’ve got a very carefree attitude towards my song writing. Of course I spend a lot of time getting satisfied with my songs and lyrics, but I know that they will always develop and be as I want then to be if I have enough patience and time. I never sit down and try to force myself into to write a specific type of song. I let the songs come to me.
04 – Mongo Ninja is one of the bands that gives those thrills, you know, that whenever I listen to the music, I really feel like jumping and headbanging, it drives me insane. It’s a bit dangerous for me to drive while listening to “Horrified and Horny” or “Cold Night For a Hothead”. I’ve read that you decided to put Mongo Ninja to rest. Why did you guys decide on this and do you see, in the future perhaps, the possibility of releasing a new Mongo Ninja album?
Thanks man! Well, Mongo Ninja started up as some “drunk holiday fun” back in 2009. We, Blood Tsunami, were fed up and tired of working our asses off without getting anything back. Mongo Ninja was originally ment to only last for a few months, but suddenly three years had passed. We just wanted to create music and have fun. And so we did. We released three albums in 12 months and toured relentlessly in Norway for almost three years. It was indeed fun, but after a while we missed Blood Tsunami and decided to start it up again. Mongo Ninja was laid to rest as the lead singer, Kristopher Schau (aka Mac Cargo), also wanted to do other stuff. Right now none of us wants to bring Mongo Ninja back to life. There is no need, but never say never… Maybe some sunny day the urge will be back.
05 – How do you measure the importance of what the fans and critics say about your releases? As we all know that many bands make music simply to please their fans while others make music that they like (fortunately). I’d like to know if you’d take ever and advice or criticism to heart and in some sort of way to adapt the songs in the suggested manner?
Well, of course we think through and contemplate upon what we consider to be constructive criticism, at least if it comes from people we know are on the same musical and esthetical level as ourselves. The day you start creating music only to please the fans and customers, your music will instantly sound shallow and fake. True artists make art for themselves and some are good enough and LUCKY enough to get the deserved attention and praise from the masses. Most of the worlds musicians are never heard or appreciated, but still they create music because they need to do so. None of us in Blood Tsunami earn a living on playing with this band, but we have no other option. We gotta carry on and create music and play live. What makes us whole and happy as human beings is to create the music we like.
06 – I once read an interview with Faust in which he talks about the financial difficulties when it comes into playing in a metal band. I believe that there are still some fans that aren’t well informed concerning this matter. Could you tell us what motivates you to keep on going, besides all of the other difficulties we all face in life?
Yes, as I stated above. We have no other option, but to keep a band alive is a battle. Until your band reaches a level where the income is big enough to keep the wheels rolling for all members, it will always be a battle. We wish we only could focus on writing and playing music, but all of us gotta maintain boring day jobs in order to keep food on the table. In the past we also had to do everything ourselves regarding booking and promotion, but luckily now we have gotten a booking agency and a manager to take care of the dirtiest dirty work. We have all neglected ordinary educations and steady well paid jobs because all of us have been devoted to music and bands as long as we can remember. It’s a fire that burns within us and this force can’t be ignored. If we should ever try to ignore it we will all go completely mad after a short while. We gotta keep on playing music until we die.
07 – This is a question from one of our members, Si Smith, which I find interesting and I would like to know your opinion as well. There are many metalheads out there who want to create metal. What would you say is needed for someone to have the character to see this kind of thing through to the end? Have you any advice for such a person?
It’s easy! Just start playing! But remember to be true to yourself. Make music you like. Explore yourself as a musician. Find your trademarks and find your sound. Everybody’s got their own sound. Unfortunately too many are trying to sound like someone else. It’s important to sound like YOURself! Start out with recording a few songs. You can play everything yourself or you can form a band. I suggest that if you want to form a band, you should find persons you consider to be your friends and that you know you will be able to work with, cooperate with and stay friends with under terrible conditions for many years to come. A cheap demo is probably the right place to start and anyone can do that. Nowadays you can easily record at home or in your rehearsal space and you can spread your music worldwide by Youtube, Facebook or whatever. Build a following! There’s no need to rush after the expensive studios or big labels. After a while you will get the attention you deserve from the rest of the world. If you want your band to have a long life and be well known in the metal communities of the world, well then you must work hard and really devote yourself to the band. It is actually more important to keep your integrity and credibility instead of instantly being hailed by the whole world. Slowly, step by step, build up your reputation and audience. You must be willing to sacrifice a lot of time and money in order to be able to tour and and compose music. If something inside you tells you that you absolutely MUST do this, well, then you have the same fire inside that I mentioned earlier.
08 – How satisfied is the band with Indie Recordings’ work so far? Do you feel that the label is achieving good results into promoting Blood Tsunami’s music so far?
So far everybody’s happy, but as the situation has developed, not many bands sell a lot of CD’s in 2013. The kids download the music and the die-hards only want the vinyl. Sadly Indie Recordings haven’t printed the vinyl yet. Seems like we will have to do it ourselves. Anyway, as metalbands get minimum airplay, the only way for a band to earn really good money is to tour, play live and sell merchandise.
09 – Norway has always been well known for its old-school Black Metal bands, but lately we’ve witnessed a growing phenomena of very good underground Norwegian metal bands that play Extreme Metal (be it Black or whatever) mixing with Punk, Hardcore, Pure Rock, bands like Okkultokrati or Kvelertak, for example, as well as Thrash Metal ones, like Deathhammer or Blood Tsunami ;). Do you feel that the Norwegian metal musicians are looking for a new identity other than playing the very much copied Norwegian Black Metal (and obviously playing what they like too)? And how is the support for these bands in Norway, be about the press or the fans?
Yes, there’s a “new wave” of Norwegian metal. The kids are mainly into 80’s thrash and bands like Deathhammer, Condor and Nekromantheon are truly brilliant. The Black Metal scene still exist, but some how, it seems like the new bands are looking for something else. Of course Aura Noir has been around, playing dirty black thrash since the middle of the 90’s and, Audiopain and Infernö too, but suddenly, the kids nowadays, those who were born in the middle of the 80’s, simply want to thrash out like Kreator, Sodom and Slayer did back in the days. Before those kids were even born. It’s weird, fascinating and damn cool. The response and support from both press and fans is overwhelming. Nekromantheon even won the Norwegian grammy for metal in 2012. Oh, yes, The times they are a changing…
10 – Still on Norway, I’m a huge cinema lover and I always have to ask about the movies from the country of the band member I’m interviewing. I’ve watched some really interesting Norwegian movies/ animations, such as “Flåklypa Grand Prix”, “Trolljegeren”, “Blodsbånd”, “De dødes tjern” “Ti kniver i hjertet”… How do you feel about Norwegian movies and do you have any that you’d recommend for us?
“Flåklypa Grand Prix” is truly legendary! It’s some of the best ever! I also really liked “Trolljegeren”, but to be honest, I don’t watch much movies anymore. I like movies, but I haven’t got the time to just sit still and watch something. I got my mind elsewhere… Anyway, I really enjoyed a movie called “Sons of Norway”. That’s about growing up in the 70’s and 80’s and about a kid with a rather eccentric father. The kid discovers punk rock and even the REAL Johnny Rotten has a small scenen in that movie. Haha. I laughed my ass off watching this hippie father who drove around on his old scooter completely naked. I am also one of those who enjoyed the “Kon Tiki” movie. The same guys that made Kon Tike also made a film about the Norwegian War Hero “Max Manus”. That one is also great. Hmm… Beside that I gotta mention “Dag”. That’s a dark TV sitcom, but available on DVD. The story is partly written by Kristopher Scahu who sang in Mongo Ninja. It’s about a guy named Dag who works as a Marriage Counselor. Dag don’t believe in the concept of “marriage” and he suggest that all his clients should get a divorce as soon as possible. The story evolves around his daily life and his little circle of weird acquaintances. I have a small role in the serie. I play the brother of the woman who is about to marry Dag’s best friend. Of course this friend is an asshole and I want to kill him. There’s a few scenes where I run after him and try to crush his skull. It was rather funny.
11 – And now just some quick questions about yourself, simply for the fun: favorite beers, place to spend your vacations and porn movie? Which unusual album do you own and actually like, an album that your fans wouldn’t expect from you? Next question is from a TV show I very much enjoy: “Let’s say you’re abducted by aliens. They haul you aboard the mother ship, take you back to their planet as a curiosity. Now, would you rather be in their zoo or their circus?” And why? 😉
Haha! Good one! Hmm. As for favorite beer I must say that I like beer! Period! Ok, to be honest I mostly drink lagers. I really like the Norwegian beers Ringnes and Frydenlund, also Danish stuff like Carlsberg and Tuborg, but now and then I really enjoy a good ale too. I am really curious about the new beer by Iron Maiden. The Trooper! Rumor has it that it’s a really good tasting ale. Gonna be fun to try that one for the first time. Vacations? Where ever, I am happy as long as the sun shines, I don’t have to work and can spend my time with family and friends. Porn movies? Haven’t got any faves, old school porn movies and the weird thing of getting really hooked on the female “actors” is a thing of the past. After the revolution of the internet, porn flicks is all around, and now with the smartphones and all.. I mean, hey, you have all the porn in the world right there in your pocket. It’s not as exciting as it used to be. Anyway, I do enjoy to watch a good looking woman getting fucked every now and then, but I am not a big “porn-consumer”. As for unusual album I am actually very much into melancholic and rather depressive music. Some of my fave albums are “Five Leaves Left” by Nick Drake, “Songs of Love And Hate” by Leonard Cohen and “Just For a Day” by Slowdive. Circus or Zoo? Without a doubt the zoo. In the zoo you are a prisoner, but at least you can just chill and simply bore yourself to death. I’d prefer that compared to being forced into doing tricks and have to travel long distances under terrible conditions. Circus animals are being treated like shit and they learn their tricks by punishment. It’s not natural for an elephant to do tricks and they are beaten into submission. I think that’s horrible. No, I would without a doubt have been locked up in a zoo compared to the circus.
12 – This is the last question of the interview and, once again, I would like to thank you. It is my wish that you, as well as our readers/ listeners have enjoyed it as much as I have. So… good luck with all your future plans, music, professionally and family wise. Do you have any last words for our readers/ listeners?
Thanks man! Like, I said, thanks for getting in touch! Really appreciate it. Hope we will be able to play somewhere near you in the future. Would’ve been killer. Take care, have fun and thrash hard! Cheers!