Jorn - Jorn Lande

Jorn - Jorn Lande

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Jorn has been releasing music with a steady pace and, most importantly, at a high quality level. Ok, the covers album was nothing groundbreaking but I think “Life On Death Road” will get more listening time, especially during summer time due to its Hard Rock groove. Yeah, the band JORN has a brand new lineup, so the music in the album sounds fresh and perfectly catchy for this time of year. On the album’s release date [June 02nd, 2017], METAL KAOZ did a Skype session with Jorn and learned the following things about the making of the record and the band’s future plans. Read on!

Jorn - Jorn Lande

Hi Jorn, how are you?
Hey man, I am fine, thank you! All good?

Everything is good here in Chicago, what about Norway?
I am actually in Sweden right now, but it is still close to home.

Does it feel like summer there?
Well, it gets pretty chilly in the evening but you can say it is summer. It is nothing like Florida or California in the summer. Still, it is nice to sit out and have a drink.

…and listen to good music like the new JORN album, right?
(laughs) Oh yeah, you’re right. Thanks man! It is a good record and it took a lot of time to make it. We had been working on this on and off for the last three years because we had been busy with other things.

How long would you say you actually worked on the album?
Like I said, I was working on and off between everything else. Basically, it all started around the period I worked on the “Dracula: Swing Of Death” album. We had some drum machine demos with some music and I started working on lyrics every now and then in between doing other stuff. The same thing with last year’s “Heavy Rock Radio” that was released last year which even though it was a covers album, it was still a lot of work to do and rearrange the songs. I did some touring with that project for almost half a year, so the work on “Life On Death Road” happened between breaks and I think the same goes for the rest of the guys. Still, we put a lot of work in the making of this album because it was really important for every one of us. We put this lineup together for a reason which was because we knew we had something special. These guys have the same background with me so it is like putting the right people together to get that right synergy and I think we have achieved this in this album. We put extra effort on the songs to make sure that everything would sound right and recreate the feeling that we had when we first started in music back in the day.

Was everyone involved in the songwriting of “Life On Death Road”?
We wrote together but most of the stuff was done by me, Alessandro [Del Vecchio] and Alex [Beyrodt]. But there were another couple of guys involved who are not playing with us, like Simone Mularoni who worked on a couple of songs and some other people. You know, Alessandro has worked with so many different people, he is a really productive musician and producer as well, so he has always something that has not been used like demos, cool riffs from the past.

And it’s been really a long time since there was a keyboard player in the JORN lineup.
Yeah, you are right.

Is this the reason why we hear more keyboards in the album or is it also because Alessandro did the production too (laughs)?
Well, Alessandro was involved in the songwriting, so he was important in that sense. Some of the demos that were sent to me had no vocals or melodies but they had the basic structure for guitars, finished arrangement and I would feed of those and start working on my vocals. This was a bit different from what I am used to; usually I would come up with some melodies and lyrics and then the band would have to work around that to create the music. You could say that working like this was an easier way out for me because everyone had to adapt to what I had come up with which also means that they are getting challenged more than I do. Because I can use any idea I have and then I am off in a way (laughs). Of course, I am involved in the end, but this time around, it was more challenging for me because I received music that was already made or bits and pieces that were already done. In the end, we all worked together because some parts were extended, others had to change a bit to fit my vocals (like changing the key), so yeah, it was more work for me than usual, but I also wanted my vocals to be stronger and get close to the same vibe I had when I had the idea in the beginning, like I was used to. I was probably a pain in the ass sometimes and I was thinking that the guys would hate because I would scrap some of their ideas saying that “I don’t feel anything from this idea or this demo” so then they had to come up with something different.

I wouldn’t say I was difficult but maybe picky on which ideas to continue working on, so in that sense I think a bit hard to work with. In the end, I don’t think this was a big problem because everyone was looking at the big picture. That's why we all are very happy with the result. No one took lightly on anything for this record. There is great drumming by Francesco Jovino; I mean, he is one of those unique drummers who are hard to find these days. He comes from that era of great groovy drumming, you know, from drummer like Cozy Powell, Brain Downey or like drummers who play today like Vinnie Appice. I am talking about those old-school drummers who have their own personality.

I see what you’re saying because there is a distinct groove in every song of this album and a Hard Rock profile.
Yes, and I am really happy for having such a great band. I mean, Alex is a great guitarist and has been around for a very long time. He reminds me of some of those old guitar heroes that we grew up with but he still has his own genuine flavor in his playing and originality somehow - he has some John Sykes, Randy Rhoads elements, you know, some old-school classic Rock guitar elements that he brought to this record but it still feels kind of new and modern because I think he plays a bit more aggressive, heavier and he is not as melodic or smooth like someone older. After all, times have changed and this goes for me as a singer; I mean, in general I sing harder or in a way more powerful and use more energy than some of the singers I used to listen to. Singers like Paul Rodgers from FREE or BAD COMPANY used to sing with a very soft dynamic and they would build it from a lower point. What we are doing today is pushing those limits and I guess this is also because everything is so compressed nowadays with all this technology so you kind of have to push yourself further. In some ways, you lose some of that dynamic but you gain some power and get a certain bite from your performance.

Although many will say that all those compressed productions kind of sound flat with everything sounding the same…

If things are too compressed, then you are right. But we are trying not to over-compress our sound and find a balance. Sometimes you have to turn it a bit louder but not much as you would in some modern styles of Metal (laughs).

What about the lyrics of the album; I have to admit that the album’s title track got my attention, so what is this song about?
The opening track is what about the album is all about; it is a reflection of life from a man who is half way there or in the middle of the way to the station, hopefully (laughs)... It talks about the world, what has happened and what’s going on, thoughts about the future, addresses capitalism and how we have to comprise more than ever and how difficult is to be an idealist and follow your heart 100%. Sure, you could not do this back in the day but at least life was more balanced when I was a kid. When we started back in the '70s, it was totally different and you had some time to breathe and take a break for a moment to reflect and analyze everything you did. But nowadays, we have lost some of that and this is why we end up with some B-quality results and people seem to be happy with it. And that’s the scariest part...

As long as they get fast what they want, they seem to be happy…
Yes, this fast-food mentality is also scary. There is also this political situation from the new American president and also the immigration issue in Europe, you know, from the Middle East and how we deal with such things. There are all those right-wing people taking important positions and win elections. I mean, who would have thought that Trump would have won the elections? It’s surreal but at the same time, it might be also a necessity because it is not always one thing is right and the other is wrong - nothing is really black and white. I think what we are seeing these days, is that people are concerned more how to be politically correct and I believe that the everyday man and woman are just tired of not seeing any change. Nothing changes and that’s why all those right-wing people gain power because they are promising change. And this is why people do not see how critical those decisions will be because they just want to see a change. After all, the conservatives are too afraid to make a change and they are always sweeping things under the rag and not get right to the point of thing, so nothing happens. At some degree, I understand those people because, for example, in Europe people had nothing to do with over-population. In Norway, we have five million people, maybe more nowadays, and this is a very spoiled country because there is abundance of food and wealth. But you have to share your health with the rest of the world, but at the same time you have people who feel scared of losing the position they have.

Well, that’s a long discussion, Jorn, and a lot can be said for either sides…
Indeed it is, so let me go back to the new album and say that it is a very honest and pure one. We did not try to make a record to hit any trend or to be modern or try to be business clever with it. We just wanted to make a proper good, Rock album.

And it works, I think.
Thanks man!

What about your touring plans? Any chance to see JORN live in the States any time soon?

I hope so. So far we don’t have any specific plans but we have talked about touring and everybody is up for it. There are some discussions about doing something possibly in October / November but I think this schedule will be moved to February / March of next year.

Are you talking about a US tour?
No, I am talking about touring in general. We have no idea about playing live in the US. We may do a Europe, South America and maybe do some US shows, but honestly, I am not sure. There will be shows for sure in the future and we are all excited about doing so. The initial plan was to do some summer festivals thinking that the record would have been released a bit earlier but it was postponed until June. So, we decided to let the record work for us during summer and then look at the possibilities doing a tour during the winter or early next year.

Do you have anything else in the works in the meantime?

I have just being working with this online gaming company in LA called Riot Games and this “League Of Legends”. There is a virtual band in the game called PENTAKILL and I have been recording some songs for them. We are doing an album which will probably is going to be digitally released and I am not sure if it will be physically released. This will be out later this year. This is exciting to be part of and being able to work with young and talented people. This is great for me because I don’t have to be stuck only with my generation... (laughs) This was a challenge for me because it was something new and different from my style. I mean, you could put some Black Metal or screaming vocals on that type of music but it would not be as different and would lack of originality, something I believe will have with this project - I think it is a combo. It is similar to what I experienced when I was working with the previous band, MASTERPLAN, where I worked with some experienced guys coming from the German Power Metal scene and then working with a guy from Norway singing Classic Heavy Rock. Back in the '90s, I also worked with a Black Metal band, MUNDANUS IMPERIUM, and we released the album “The Spectral Spheres Coronation” via Nuclear Blast and it was well received. Actually, that record was nominated for an award back then.

I will check that out, Jorn - this sounds interesting.

Yes, you should and hear how fresh it sounds and I think this was one of the first bands that tried that combo without growling vocals and adding some melodic and powerful vocals to that style. I think this was new at that time and this is similar to the project I am currently working on with PENTAKILL.

Then I will check both of them to see what you have been up to, Jorn.
I think you would like those, if you like the more aggressive music.

Thank you very much, Jorn for taking the time to talk to METAL KAOZ. Hopefully, we’ll see you live in Chicago soon.

No problem, man. I hope we will come to the US - it will be great I think. Thank you Dimitris! Cheers brother!