Hayls interviewed Cornelius from Norwegian avant-garde metal act Solefald before their gig with Vreid and In Vain in London. Corenlius came off as a friendly and intelligent person who was eager to have a conversation.
Check out the gig review here.
Hayls: Once again, thank you so much for taking time to talk to me.
Cornelius: No problem.
Hayls: This is your first tour since the late 90s, is it a strange experience being back on the road after so long?
Cornelius: Yeah, it’s quite strange to see how similar it was to what is was back then and how much my habits have changed since back then since I was 21. So we’re only getting started today and it feels good to be back and to be back on track. We hope to make the first of several tours, but we’ll see.
Hayls: What made you decide to finally get up and do it?
Cornelius: Good question, a positive question. In Vain offered to be our backing band, which saved me the trouble of finding 5 musicians to rehearse with in Oslo. I’ve been living abroad for 14 years and so as he already had a band that would tour Britain, and as Lars’ [Nedland, Vocals/keyboards] brother was in the band and he sings, it’s perfect.
Hayls: You recently played the Southern Discomfort and Inferno Festival with In Vain, how was that experience for you?
Cornelius: I really enjoyed it because we played on big stages for big audiences and it was really flexible, with In Vain more or less in Oslo, it’s where Lars lives and we write our music, record our music. It felt a bit strange but when we took to the stage we gave it everything.
Hayls: You’re playing Brutal Assault this summer, what do you think it will do for you in terms of your career.
Cornelius: (Pause) I hope it will be a pretty boost for Solefald’s career, honesty I have no… I don’t have a clue what one concert will do to improve or destroy our career, because we’ve been a studio band for 15 years so I don’t think any concert will change much. How big are the audiences at Brutal Assault?
Hayls: I’ve not been to Brutal Assault but the owner of MetalRecusants goes there, I think they are about 30,000 fans [edit.: last year’s record attendance was at around 20,000]. So it could open you up to a lot of people who have never heard you before.
Cornelius: I had no idea it was that big. We’re looking forward to playing Brutual Assault. It’ll be a great event and I’ve travelled extensively in the Czech Republic before and I enjoyed myself, and I have some furniture from the Czech Republic and it’s only four hours away on train.
Hayls: Do you think the fact that you don’t tour much has affected your success at all?
Cornelius: Yes, I think it has, due to insufficiency and issues with communication, people have not been always satisfied, we’ve not over saturated with news from Solefald so we’re still quiet mysterious.
Hayls: Do you prefer it like that or do you wish you had more success at least in terms of the metal world?
Cornelius: I think all this is such an evolution actually now we’ve been studying. The band was founded after Easter exactly 18 years ago so we’ve been going along for 18 years at a slow but steady pace. I see no reason why we now should try and do something different, I am confident about the future.
Hayls: Speaking of things that help or hinder you, do you think that being just a two-piece does that or do you think it allows you to have a type of musical connection with each other which in turn makes your music better?
Cornelius: Yes, absolutely. Lars is my best friend and he’s been so for 18 years so that is one thing you can find in our music. Two persons who didn’t like each other and know much about each other would never be able to make this music; so the music is an expression of something deeper.
Hayls: Yes, I can imagine that with a larger band it would be so much harder to have connection. Do you find it hard to get that connection when you have live and session musicians joining you for a short period of time?
Cornelius: They are two different processes, one is about composition and the other is about interpretation. Interpretation is always a social process, whereas competition maybe done in tandem. When we do something unique arises but we don’t speak. Having people interpret our music is interesting as things may get rearranged but you still recognise the songs.
Hayls: In the years you guys have been a band, digital download and social media has revolutionised the way you share and download music, do you think that has affected your career at all?
Cornelius: Yes, both positively and negatively. I used to hate downloading, I hated The Pirate Bay and never understood the whole pirate subculture it never worked for me, but now I am back to my home with my LP player or Vinyl, listening to old records or I use Spotify and, of course, lots of new stuff. Social Media have turned out to be important to use, I can’t say I like it much really and also I don’t like downloading much. It sounds old fashioned but I do like the physical format that means when I am recording songs and compress the albums they are so far the edited version, if it’s something circulating through the internet someone might have changed the mastering, someone might have added something, vocals – what do I know? It’s a privacy you can’t control and that’s the way I see it. You also have a generation of people that don’t pay for music.
Hayls: I know that you’re a writer and have that career outside of the band, and I’m a writer too, I’m currently studying writing at university. Do you find like I do that you get caught up in your work and that everything else takes a backseat while you’re writing?
Cornelius: That’s what’s supposed to be. It doesn’t always happen but when it happens it feels good. That’s how I get inspiration, when you write and forget everything else.
Hayls: Thank you for your time and best of luck tonight
Cornelius: Thank you.