Kristoffer “Garm” Rygg

BS: Hi, you’re listening to The Eleventh Hour. I’m Bryn Schurman and I’m here with Kristoffer [Rygg] from Ulver, also known as Garm.

KR: Eleventh Hour, huh? It’s [pronounced] Oooohl-ver.

BS: Is that how you say it? Ah, sorry.

KR: (Laughs)

BS: So with the new album, Shadows of the Sun, would you like to talk about how came to be?

KR: Sure, but you’ll have to be more specific. It’s hard for me to… you know.

BS: Well, like the diverse instrumentation on it. It’s not as electronic as the last one [Blood Inside]. How did that all come together?

KR: That’s kind of prone to chance, you know? Sometimes we can work with a synthesizer and the thing we work with ends up accordingly, and this time I think, there really wasn’t too much technology in this. We had rigged and miked drum kits and pianos and stuff like that. The whole sound is a little more organic, but it’s always very prone to chance .

BS: Was there much actually done with synthesizers or VSTs? There are some string libraries that sound pretty convincing.

KR: No, all the strings are actually real this time. We hired some people, like a string quartet from the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra and just recorded it. We wrote down the notes and they played it. We tried to get the whole live room thing, you know, a living music feel this time. So it’s a little different from how we used to work this time. Or not how we used to work, but how we used to focus on sound, I think is different. The ideal of sound is different this time.

BS: I understand you’ll be deejaying the CD release party tonight. What kind of mood will you be going for with the music you’ll be playing?

KR: Nah, it’s only Beach Boys, man. Beach Boys, Beatles, and uh… (laughs). No, I don’t know. I would try and make some dynamic choices, so this could be some safe stuff, some rock. You know, some of the old classics and maybe play some of the quirky stuff later, when people are properly drunk. I can put on the rest of them. Frank Zappa, all that kind of stuff

BS: How did you get involved with the latest Tuner album?

KR: Oh, you know that! Well, that’s good research. I just e-mailed back and forth with Marcus Reuter. I was actually doing a whole song [White Cake Sky], but apparently I didn’t do a good enough job so I only ended up with a single scream or something.

BS: I saw you in the liner notes and then listened to the track again. It’s somewhere.

KR: Yeah, I’m hidden on that album, you know? Ah, but it’s good, I enjoy being hidden

BS: If I may go back to your earlier work, there always seems to be a huge stylistic shift from album to album, but for me I think the biggest leap is The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. How did you go from the raw black metal of Nattens Madrigal to that?

KR: I think around 1997, I started to work in a mastering studio, so I learned to work with the after-treatments of sound, so I acquired a lot of knowledge about how to do things differently. Then I met Tore [Ylwizaker] like a year later, I think, and he was into the AKAI S1000 sampler and stuff like that. It’s just a result of acquiring new knowledge, I guess, on how to make music. So as soon as we found out how to pull off different tricks, the music changed, you know?

BS: Going back to Nattens Madrigal, which forest did you record it in?

KR: (Laughs) in something called [best guess on the spelling] Bumdi forest.

BS: I thought it was sort of an urban myth, but it was actually forest-recorded?

KR: No, no, I’m just kidding with you. It was recorded in an eight track studio in Asker. I think the guys from Mysticum put us up with a studio. So it is urban myth for sure.

BS: I see you’ve been doing a lot of covers on the last couple of albums: Kiss, Dead Can Dance, and now Black Sabbath on the latest album.

KR: Yeah, and the next record is going to be all covers. You know, we can’t seem to write songs anymore, so we have to… (laughs)

BS: So you’ll be doing the Rod Stewart songbook?

KR: Yeah, I know, but it’s getting really hard for us to complete songs, to complete structures and to give things a tangible form, so it’s very convenient for us to take something that already exists and then just make it our own. I think the next record is going to be a cover album, actually.

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