Norwegian metal band I, the Betrayer will soon release their debut EP 7. If you haven’t experienced their blend of old and new metal, I suggest you check out the stream at the bottom of this interview, as it’s well worth a listen.
Kyle Sevenoaks, the band’s bassist, filled me in on a bit more about the band and how they work…
Introduce us to I, the Betrayer
I the Betrayer is a heavy metal band forged by five guys in the heart of Oslo. We do what we love and love what we do, which is playing heavy metal! We have one general philosophy and that’s if it works, it works. We’re proud to present our EP for all the world to listen to and hope you have as much fun listening to it as we had making it!
What are your influences?
Personally my influences are bands like Black Sabbath, Machine Head, Gojira and a touch of Metallica.
Name five things you’ve listened to recently that you’d recommend
Mastodon: Emperor of Sand
Blood Red Throne: Union of Flesh and Machine
Vader: The Empire
Tell us about 7
7 is the culmination of three years of work, songwriting and performing together as a band. It’s a musical representation of all five of us put into one cohesive unit. The lyrical themes revolve around seven sins, not the seven deadly sins, but seven sins of humanity and society in general.
How were the songs written?
For this EP, I generally wrote the core of the songs, guitar riffs, drum parts and the arrangement of each part within the songs. Then I present them to the band and they add and take away things as they see fit. Both Alex and G, the guitarists do their own solos and build upon the riffs I wrote. Terje the drummer takes the general feel of the beats and make them entirely his own, adding fills and flourishes wherever he deems necessary and Chris is solely in charge of the vocal melody and lyrics. For the next release, we’re each writing different parts and songs and putting them all together.
What’s your favourite song on the album and why?
This is a hard question, but I’d have to say it’s a toss up between Humanity and Boaster. Humanity because of its twisting nature, its lyrical themes and the fact I used my fretless bass on the recording and Boaster because every time I play it I cannot help but headbang like a madman while doing so.
How do you think your music will progress in the future?
We’re writing songs for our second release at the moment. The music will be more refined and pieced together, with some other influences creeping as well. It seems to be taking a more progressive edge and we’re always going to carry on just having fun and doing what we feel works best.
How did you choose the cover artwork?
We wanted something that was simple, with our logo being the main focus since it’s our first release, but we didn’t want it to just be a white logo on a black background or anything. We found this photograph and felt it was the perfect representation of what we want to put across with the songs and to help accent the logo without it being boring. I put it together myself in Photoshop, the 7 has a fade purely because we liked the way it looked.
How important is album artwork to you?
I tend to think it is extremely important, as it’s the first thing you see when buying or listening to an album, it’s usually the first impression you’ll get from a release. If it’s just a logo on a blank background, I’d get the impression the band don’t care or didn’t put any effort into it. I like when the album artwork links to the songs themselves in the album itself, either representing the main theme of the release or a certain song.
With music becoming increasingly digital in nature, what’s your take on the digital/physical debate?
Digital streaming and downloading is very important, the more convenient it is for the listener to get ahold of an artist’s music, the better for that artist. Of course the methods of getting the music in the hands of the listener have to be fair to the artist, and I think that’s an area that the digital distribution channels have failed. Sure, it’s great to see your music go live online and be able to buy it through your phone on the bus, but if the artist doesn’t see even half of what the distributor makes on the stream or download, how is the artist meant to continue making the music?
I love physical media as well, there’s nothing like holding an album on your hands, be it CD or vinyl, and leafing through the booklet, studying the artwork and so on. I tend to buy albums I want online, and the ones I really like on CD as well, or vinyl if I really love it.
What has your experience been like with the music industry so far?
I’ve been making and performing for a lot of years, so my experience is that it’s tough and unfair generally. But on the other hand it’s extremely rewarding when you break through and make something people really like. The same as when you play a song on stage and everyone is singing along, there is no feeling like it at all. The industry has been shaken up a great deal in recent years, and it’s great that so many new bands and artists are able to record and release music from their own homes at a good enough quality to be marketable. The other side of that is sometimes there’s an oversaturation of some styles of music and it begins to sound very similar to each other, but the best stuff rises to the top anyway.
How do you think you fit into the worldwide metal scene?
As a band I feel we fit in somewhere between classic metal, with all its melodies and themes, and modern metal. We never set out to pursue a particular genre, just that we enjoy metal and that’s the general umbrella of what we’re going to continue to make.