Devil - Stian Fossum

Devil - Stian Fossum

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Almost out of nowhere DEVIL appeared and claimed the front spot in not only the underground scene, but also gained a lot of good criticism from many major Metal magazines. That’s quite a big issue for a relatively new band as DEVIL. But ok, they have been working really hard throughout their short history and even if there’s no certainty hard work pays off in the music business, DEVIL has shown that it actually can happen. Here is the nice talk METAL KAOZ had with Stian Fossum, guitarist of DEVIL.

DEVIL is a rather new band in the scene, however the name appears a little here and there on both big and small occasions lately. Please tell us a little bit about the band history and how DEVIL was born.
Well, so far the story isn’t very long or exciting, but the band is a result of a group of friends who moved back home to the countryside after many years living in Oslo, and we wanted to start a hobby band for jamming some tunes every now and then over a few beers. Four of us were initially already occupied with other bands and have some musical background, and we forced Joakim to come to a rehearsal and try to sing. It turned out very well, so we started making some songs, recorded a demo and was quite instantly paid notice to by the underground, and was offered both gigs and record deals almost immediately, so now our first full length is ready. Hooray for us!

What was the main influence of DEVIL (musically)?
One of the biggest, if not THE biggest influence and incentive to start DEVIL, was the revival of PENTAGRAM, especially the fantastic gig at ‘Hole In The Sky’ in Bergen. Also bands such as BLACK SABBATH and WITCHFINDER GENERAL lays to ground for the musical inspiration, as well as some even older and more bluesy stuff such as MOUNTAIN and CREEDENCE. It’s really a merge of everything from the early pre- and proto Metal stuff up till NWOBHM.

DEVIL is also a really hard working band, it was just a few months ago the debut EP “Magister Mundi Xum” was released. Now the “Time To Repent” full length album. Are you really that fast in writing songs or has all this great music happened over some period of time?
We even threw in a 7” in between there, so we are quite effective, yes. Most of the music so far, and even much material for our next full length have been written in the last year and a half. And since we’ve really found our style, I think we have been able to continue writing good songs at this pace also for some time to come. I wouldn’t mind releasing an album every year for let’s say the next four or five years. Or at least be very productive. We have some insane ambitions for particularly one release that will take some time, but we can do regular albums at the same time we’re working on that one. It will be very exciting, and as said a totally insane idea for a small band such as DEVIL.

Do you think there are any differences in the sound or style between “Magister Mundi Xum” and “Time To Repent”?
Not too much, but the sound on “Time To Repent” is not as under produced as “Magister”, even though we still feel we captures the DEVIL sound on both releases. As for the songs, we think it’s pretty much the same style, but we must admit we feel the album is more of a whole, and all in all better. That’s both because of exploring song writing opportunities more, and the fact that we are now a better band than we were only a year ago.

DEVIL has a slight old-school sound, a little of that BLACK SABBATH mystique. How is it possible (from your point of view), that 70s still nowadays influences the music?
I think it’s the most natural thing in the world. We like to explore our roots, and being in our 30’s, and soon 40 for some of us, it’s natural to go all the way back to the 70’s and early 80’s. It would be much more difficult for us to make an authentic product if we should try to draw inspiration from the last 20 years. I don’t know much about modern music, unfortunately. I still find hidden gems from the old days I find more inspiring and interesting.

Did you expect that “Magister Mundi Xum” would gain such positive feedback from the fans and the media?
No, that was a total surprise for us. We were expecting some approval from the Doom and retro underground, but from there to almost becoming a household name in big magazines, that was a pleasant surprise. After all, we know the music is good, but we didn’t know so many different segments of the media and audience would like it.

How is the response for “Time To Repent” this far?
The interest is overwhelming! And the response varies from ok to brilliant, and that’s something you’ll have to expect from such a genre decided band and music. I just hope people can look to the songs and see the quality even when this revival movement is over. If so, DEVIL will stand victorious and find it’s own piece in the history books.

Who is making the dark/occult artwork of your albums? And how did you decide on that style of the cover artwork?
The album and 7” artwork is done by Rafal Kruszyk who is an amazing artist. Hopefully we’ll continue to use his services later too. We wanted artwork that reflects on our lyrics as well as the mood of the music, and in a rather simple form. We think he has captured that very well.

You were at the ‘Hole In The Sky’ fest; what kind of experiences did DEVIL gain from that?
As always ‘Hole In The Sky’ was a pleasure. Probably one of the most including and professional festivals in the world, it’s too bad they’re calling it quits now. It was huge to share stage with SAINT VITUS, the legends, and IN SOLITUDE, the future legends, to name a few. And the feedback has been great. After a quite slow start on that part, I’m now proud to say that we’ve become a good live band.

Are there any plans for touring? Maybe there is an extended European tour in the makes?
Nothing in the planning as for now. We’ve been from day one clear on that we will not be touring much, due to other obligations at home. If we ever grow out of the underground and be able to make a living of it, things will of course change. But for now it’s perfect to do good festivals, because we love to go to festivals anyhow. At the end of the day we’re regular metalheads you know, who love to watch Metal bands and have a party. But all offers are considered, so if anyone’s interested in trying to make something, they should get in touch with our booking agent Mythology Live.

What would be your dream concert to play with DEVIL? At what venue? With what bands? And why?
Supporting BLACK SABBATH would be the top choice. That goes almost without saying. BLACK SABBATH / PENTAGRAM / DEVIL in England, for instance. But on a more realistic view, there are some great festivals out there we’d love to play. ‘Headbangers Open Air’, ‘Maryland Deathfest’, ‘Keep It True’, ‘Roadburn’, ‘Wacken’, to name a few.

Do you think that internet help bands like DEVIL today?
Totally. At this point, it’s not so much about who you know anymore. Any band of quality now has the possibility to be heard. Also the audience now tells the labels who to sign, based on interest, instead of the labels telling us who to listen to, based on limited supply.

How do you feel about the Music / Metal scene in general?
I love the Metal scene, and I’m glad it’s so big and diverse. And the fact that the internet forces the industry to do things on the fans premises, only adds to the joy of being a part of it.

What is the status of the Doom Metal scene in Norway nowadays? Are there any other bands from Norway similar to DEVIL’s sound?
There is a small, but colorful, Doom scene in Norway. The closest you’ll get to DEVIL would probably be BRUTUS, which also has a strong connection with the 70’s Heavy Rock scene. But we got some good underground bands when it comes to more modern Doom, for those who like that, with RESONAUT amongst others.

What is the next step for DEVIL now?
We’ll do a few more festivals this year, ‘Southern Discomfort’, ‘Til Dovre Faller’ and ‘Hammer Of Doom 6’. At the same time we’ve started rehearsing for the second full length, and are still writing for that one. Even though much has happened in short time, we still enjoy taking it easy. After all, we’re already 40 years too late, we’ll never gonna catch up anyway (laughs)!