Haust – Exclusive Song Premiere and Interview (Part 1)
Norway’s Haust first appeared on this site as a pack of snotty blackened hardcore brats back in 2011. Times change, and the band has grown up, shedding members as well as much of their previous sound. On their fourth full length, Bodies, the band has blended krautrock and psychedelia into their music, making it slower, stranger and altogether more sinister. I spoke with founding vocalist Vebjørn Guttormsgaard Møllberg and new bassist Henrik Øiestad Myrvold about their new record. We also have an exclusive song stream of “Out Like a Light” to accompany your reading experience. In the first installment of this interview, we discussed how the band came to this new direction, the importance of modern art to their music, and the influence of David Bowie and Iggy Pop on their sound. Oh, and the importance of depraved sex, and how the black metal scene may or may not be full of perverts. You can only grow up so much, right?
Just for my reference, what time is it in Norway?
Henrik Øiestad Myrvold: 7pm.
Vebjørn Guttormsgaard Møllberg: I’m in Copenhagen, Denmark. Same time here.
Møllberg: I live here.
That's interesting. I've only ever seen Haust listed as a Norwegian band.
Møllberg: It’s 8 hours from Oslo. I go there whenever we play. I am Norwegian, but go to the art academy here.
That's great. What do you study at the academy?
Møllberg: I mostly work with video. But in my department there is a focus on public space and architecture.
Do you see your work with Haust as related to that creative endeavor, or are they separate?
Møllberg: Hard to say. It is mostly separate, but I often work with similar themes in my lyrics as I do when I work with art. And we have recently played at art places and with a contemporary dance group, and that is very related.
Haust performing "Peephole Maze" with the dance troupe Haus and Henning Wisth of Okkultokrati
Which themes are these? Because I've been listening since 2011 and I feel like the themes of Haust have sort of shifted.
Møllberg: I have work a lot with the body and choreography in my video works as an artist. So the title of the new album refers to that. Some of my videos are also very sexual, almost pornographic and in some of the lyrics on the album you can find themes that goes into that category, like “Give Me Shame” and the song “Peephole Maze.”
You know it's funny. one of the older posts on this website, and one that I always took issue with, posited that metal (especially black metal) is essentially asexual, or not interested in sex. That always struck me as very short sighted. I've been thinking about that post a lot lately. I feel like a lot of metal and hardcore is more interested in sex than is immediately obvious.
Møllberg: I think there are a lot of perverts in the black metal scene. But I think that the lyrics of NO and Bodies try to be the opposite of the typical macho way of sexual lyrics you can find in rock music. That they are more on the submissive, self hating side, than the dominant, bow down before me and worship me side, if that makes sense. I mean to stand on stage performing being watched by lots of people is a very sexual thing I would say.
Photo by Marius Eriksen
Well, I do hear that aspect of NO and Bodies. I also feel like Haust in general has more "rock and roll" to the sound than typical hardcore or metal does, or at leas that that was true on songs like "Ugly Fucking Oslo" for example.
Møllberg: And the reason why the bands lyrics or song titles have changed since 2011 is probably also because we are older, and think about different things. You get finished with the snotty intoxicated trash worship after a while.
Myrvold: The change of sound has to do with the change in members. Me and Øystein (drums) joined a short while before the songwriting for NO started; none of us have backgrounds in metal.
Møllberg: Yeah, our influences are definitely not just hardcore and metal. When we made Bodies we listened to a lot of krautrock and strange synth stuff like Cluster and Klaus Schulze, and we all love Iggy and the Stooges for example. We have also tried to go for the old rock ‘n’ roll sound and not the metal sound on the two last records.
Haust performing "Days," "Body Melt" and "Light" with the dance troupe Haus
NO and Bodies strike me as more challenging listens, as well. But I definitely hear The Stooges.
Møllberg: We were sick of the big drum sound on a lot of new hard music and found out that the records we love the most have a much more thin and transparent sound; records like Raw Power or My War for example.
Very true, and Raw Power brings us back around to sex, since it was produced by David Bowie and one cannot bring him up without mentioning sex.
Møllberg: No. [laughs] and we also love David Bowie of course.
Myrvold: I’ve been listening to Bowie all day actually.
Oh yeah? Which record?
Myrvold: Hunky Dory and The Man who Sold the World.
Møllberg: My favorite is the b-side of Low but that is of course a very atypical Bowie (half) record.
Myrvold: I also gave Heroes a spin while I was at it actually.
What is it about that thin sound that appeals to you?
Møllberg: I think it sounds more honest and feels like it fits to our songs. More gutsy.
Myrvold: To me it sounds rawer, in the actual sense of raw, which appeals to me. I think it’s a more honest way to present hard music.
Møllberg: Yeah, our influences have always been raw sounding stuff. I only like the raw black metal sound for example. Hate technical and groovy metal.
Myrvold: Totally agree.
Haust will play the following US tour dates:
March 15. The Acheron, Brooklyn NYC
March 19. Cedar Street Courtyard, Austin TX
March 20. Icenhauer's, Austin TX
This review has been edited to reflect that Henrik Øiestad Myrvold is a bassist.