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:: INTERVIEW TO TRAIL OF TEARS

PRESENT YOURSELVES OUR READERS...

Hello, there! Well - I am Kjetil, clean singer of Norwegian bombastic metal act Trail of Tears. The band has been going for about 10 years now, and we are releasing our fourth album these days, called "Free Fall into Fear", and album we hope will contribute to the band taking yet another step in the right direction.

WHO ARE TRAIL OF TEARS AS BAND MEMBERS?
I am doing mainly the melodic singing, while Ronny Thorsen is the extreme vocalist. We are backed by the strong presence of Jonathan Perez (also Sirenia) on drums, Kjell Hagen on bass, Runar Hansen and Terje Heiseldal on gutiars and in the studio Kjell's twin brother Frank Hagen is taking care of the keys.

WHEN DID YOU HAVE FOUNDED THE BAND?
The very beginning was in 1994, under the band-name Natt (Norwegian for night). After a while there was a change of musical direction for the band, and the name was changed to Trail of Tears. The band recorded a demo in 1997 which ended up in the hands of many labels, and several offers came, with the band eventually signing for DSFA Records in Holland, releasing the first and second album there. We're now at Napalm Records, having done hundreds of live shows both in Europe and in South America, also visiting Italy for the first time last year, on the tour with Therion and Tristania.

WOULD YOU LIKE TO TALK ABOUT THE VERY FIRST BEGINNING OF BAND... See last question
WHAT'S ABOUT YOUR PREVIOUS RECORDING-EFFORTS?

As I said, this is our fourth full-lenght album, following Disclosure in Red (1998), Profoundemonium (2000) and A New Dimension of Might (2002). The band has previously been placed in a gothic metal environment, mostly because of the mixture between female operatic singing and grunts. That has changed now.

WHAT'S ABOUT YOUR FOLLOWING?
We have a very loved and loyal following, that has been with us for several years now. Since our first couple of albums came from a label in Holland, the Benelux-countries have traditionally been our strongest countries, but after touring the entire of Europe several times, I think it's fair to say we have a good following all over Europe, and in South America.

THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTS IN YOUR HISTORY?
I guess the signing of the first record deal remains one of the biggest moment for every band. But I think for Trail of Tears some of the live-experiences are the biggest thing for us, especially the one at Dynamo Open Air when the festival was in its prime. The Mexico-tour was also a great experience for the band.

A QUICK INTRODUCING AT 'FREE FALL INTO FEAR'?
OK - very hard and heavy, melodic and bombastic. Well written songs, and a really headbanging-friendly album altogether.

SATISFIED TO HAVE SIGNED WITH NAPALM RECORDS?
It was probably the right thing for the band when we did sign, a step in the right direction. They are doing a good job in promoting the album and the band, and I think the band has grew since joining them.

WHAT'S ABOUT THE PRODUCTION OF ALBUM?
I think the production sounds albsolutely great. It was certainly the kind of sound we were looking for when entering the studio, and even though we went through a lot of trouble in the process, we ended up with the album we have always wanted to record. So we are delighed. The production suits the songs and the band very well, and contributes to the groovy songs that are on the album.

ANY PARTICULAR CONCEPT CONCERNING THE ALBUM?
No. It's not a concept album, if that's what you're asking about. But of course, the lyrical aspects of the different songs deal with many of the same themes, fear being one of them. That's probably the closest thing you could come to a concept.

WHAT'S THE MOOD OF IT?
I think it's very brutal and bitter, and the mood is of course influenced by the themes in the lyrics, with fear and mental fall.

I FEEL A STRONG POWER/GOTHIC BACKGROUND?

Well - I can't say you're wrong. We were known as a gothic band previously, and even though this album sounds a bit different than earlier ones, we are still the same bands with some of the same influences as earlier. I think Trail of Tears will always sound as a band with a diverse background, and maybe power and goth are to aspects to that.

THE MOST SALIENT ASPECTS OF YOUR NEW ALBUM?
The most silent? Even though we have lots of hard parts on the album, we have found room for some "breathing-space" in it also. That has always been the ting about this band, quite diverse moods and intensity in the music, and we have certainly kept that for this album also. I think some of the more silent parts on the album are absolutely beautiful, and I know the rest of the band agrees. That will probably always have a place in our sound.

WHAT'S ABOUT THE FEEDBACK?
It has been fantastic, better than ever. We are very proud of our new album, but had actually never expected the feedback to be so amazing. But that's a good thing for us of course - that people like what we are doing when we like it ourselves. So there are happy times in the Trail of Tears camp these days.

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR SOUND?
I think quality music is the most important - at least for me personally - to communicate. There is so much crap around these days, that I think people need some good stuff as well..hehe. No - but seriously - I think many people will enjoy the new Trail of Tears album for being very honest and hard. We do not have any political or philosophical themes we want to share with the world, it's all about music and the pleasure around that...

TOURING PLANS?
We are working on that right now, and there will hopefully be a lot of touring this year. We did a long and great tour with Therion and Tristania earlier this winter to remind people that we still exist, and for us it would be ideal to do lots of summer festivals in Europe, before following up with a big tour. We also have high hopes to return to South America within the year and play for all the metal heads over there.

YOUR LIFE'S PHILOSOPHY?
It's really as simple as this: Enjoy it while you can...

THE FUTURE OF THE BAND?
Right now we are concentrating on the release of the new album, and the immediate future after that. Then we'll just have to see. Ideally "Free Fall into Fear" will help Trail of Tears to further establish our name around the world, and it would be natural for us to just build further on that.

ANY LAST REMARKS?
Thanx a lot for the support, and I just want to say to the Italians who went to see us at Transilvania in Milan that I hope we'll see you again soon - you didn't see the best of the band that night, and we are desperate to return to Italy with Trail of Tears to show you what we're all about (hopefully for more than 12 minutes without all those technical problems...). Cheers! Kjetil Nordhus

For more infos:
http://www.napalmrecords.com
http://www.redheaven.com

EMANUELE GENTILE

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