EMQ’s With Minneriket
Hi everyone! Welcome to another EMQs interview, this time with Norwegian Romantic Black Metal project, Minneriket. Huge thanks to founding, and sole member, Stein Akslen, for taking part.
What is your name, what do you play and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
My name Is Stein Akslen, I am the founding – and sole – member of the Norwegian romantic black metal band Minneriket. I am a composer, lyricist, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist, and I have usually played all instruments myself, but try to limit myself to just guitars and vocals these days, and have session musicians do the rest.
I started Minneriket as a studio project about 10 years ago to have a different creative outlet for my music separated from the other bands I am a part of, and wanted something more personal and with a different sound.
How did you come up with your band name?
The name “Minneriket” was actually the title of a book I self-published many years ago, consisting of my own translations of the Old Norse poem Voluspå, other writings and photography. There was also a piece I wrote in nine parts called Minneriket I-IX, and parts of this forged the foundation of the early lyrics for the band.
What Country / Region are you from and what is the Metal / Rock scene like there?
I am from Norway, and as most metal fans know we have a long history of domestic black metal. I am not a part of any scene here, and most of my friends are not people who listen to metal music, but I do believe there still is a creative milieu of artists in Norway.
I’ve never felt the need to belong to any flock, so I don’t frequent the regular metal places, and I think the Norwegian music has grown stale and un-interesting over the years. People adhere to a certain aesthetic, they record the same sounding riffs over and over again, and they have just started challenging conventions. Their opposition or individualism has become faded copies of the music of old. Honestly, it’s embarrassing. Hopefully the heathen blood in our veins will bring forth some more good music also in the future.
What is your latest release?
Minneriket released “Gjennom meg går ingen til hvile” about a year ago now, an avant garde and experimental gothic black metal album, and I am working on new music as we speak. In the meantime I have also released a previously unreleased single with the band Månesyke, and we’re getting back into the studio with Blodsgard. Things are happening!
Who have been your greatest influences?
If it has to be a person, I would have to say myself. I have no one else to blame for my failures, and no one else to praise for my achievements. I have a need to create, and the capacity to make it happen, and every day I interact with the world I am exposed to influences which in some way, either positive or negative, inspires me.
What first got you into music?
I never really had a choice, music has always spoken to me. It’s not like I decided to pick up an instrument and “get into music”, it was a natural part of my everyday life. I grew up listening to music for as long as I can remember, and creating music was the most natural thing in the world for me.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
I don’t have anyone on the radar at the moment. But once I find the right person, and they are a good match both personally and musically, I’d love to invite them in to join Minneriket for a guest appearance. Most likely someone well outside of the metal genre, but with honesty and conviction in their art.
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
Minneriket is a one-man studio project and does not play live.
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
Haha, good questions! Not many gifts really, mostly death threats. Both from so-called fans for changing the sound of my music and going against the grain, or from others who have more or less unwillingly been exposed to the music. There was this one guy who tried to announce me as the prophet of his new religion – he kept sending me a lot of weird stuff which I won’t go into here. That ended up in a police investigation and I had to block the weirdo. I guess that’s part of the package when you stick your head out… Once you light a candle in the dark people seek the flame.
I have to say though, I enjoy when people share their creative works with me. I have some custom jewellery which have been gifted to me, custom spikes and even books people have published. That I really appreciate, and I always try to give back.
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
Be yourself. Always.
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
I’m more in favour of letting the dead rest. They had their chance, and their legacy will be remembered.
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
Creating music of course! I am content that I have the necessary skills to create the music I want to, and I am lucky to have an audience to respond to it. Music gives me a way to grow, to reflect, to create and to interact with the world and with people in ways I otherwise just wouldn’t be able to. It’s a dark blessing.
But no gift without a curse, and the business is rotten to the core. There are business models with the sole intention of ripping off artists, there are forces trying to grind you down and cancel you as soon as you speak out with a voice different from the flock, there are narrow-minded people trying to use my art for their own winnings… Every light casts a shade, and music is no different.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
The industry has become a lot more democratic after home-studios became affordable and digital distribution became easier. Now people have a chance. But the music industry per se, the labels, promoters, managers… The mercantile industrialists all prey on the inexperienced, they gatekeep your contracts and they impose their visions. Anyone who limits a musician to further their own agenda or to profit on the creations of others deserve the gallows.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
It varies from day to day really, but today I have to say “Monotheist” by Celtic Frost, “Murder Ballads” by Nick Cave or “Prometheus” by Emperor. Those are some extremely solid releases.
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
For audio quality lossless digital files are best for digital recordings, but you can’t go wrong with the grainy analogue sound of a vinyl either. I’m a collector of all formats, and they all have their charm. I guess cassettes are mostly a gimmick at the moment, and CDs aren’t of much use any more… I favour vinyl for collecting, but of course – most of my time listening to music is through streaming. I am pragmatic and enjoy my music on the go.
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
Minneriket is a one-man studio project and does not play live.
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
I am a musician, and wouldn’t even consider life without it, but I am not only a musician. I have my education, a full-time job, I have several hobbies and interests and a social life. Since I am not a live-musician there is no problem combining music with other parts of life, even though spare time sometimes is short in the most intensive creative periods.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
I would probably rather kill myself than invite anyone to a dinner party. I don’t enjoy crowds, I don’t enjoy small-talk, and I don’t enjoy being locked away with people without a clear exit strategy. I will be your dinner guest if I absolutely have to, but I will not host you. I do not enjoy even having more than one or two people in my home at the same time.
What’s next for the band?
I have just about finished writing and recording most of the demo material for a new album, and the real recording process is about to start a little later this year. Hopefully the drum tracking will be complete by the end of easter, and then the real work starts.
Minneriket also launched the new official website at www.minneriket.com where there’s also music, playlists and merch available.
What Social Media / Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
The official website for news is www.minneriket.com. Minneriket is also present on most social media platforms under the name Minneriket (fb.com/minneriket, IG @ Minneriket, Twitter @ Minneriket etc) for more up-close and personal updates on the process of new music and world dominion.
Time for a very British question now. As an alternative to the humble sandwich, is the correct name for a round piece of bread common in the UK either a Bap, a Barm (or Barm Cake), a Batch, a Bun, a Cob, a Muffin, a Roll or a Tea Cake?
I don’t have a fucking clue what you’re talking about man, but I do enjoy a good muffin. Preferably the pink cupcakes with sprinkles. So let’s go with that!
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Thanks for taking an interest in Minneriket and this special kind of Norwegian black metal. Be sure to follow on socials for updates and share the music if you enjoy it!
Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.