Jorn Viggo Lofstad & Stian Kristoffersen

Pagan's Mind

The latest Pagan's Mind album simply stunned me. It's not often that I get to listen to Power prog of such high quality. It was more than obvious that an interview had to be arranged. The wheels were in motion and the session with Jorn Viggo Lofstad (Guitars) was running smoothly... until the moment where Stian Kristoffersen (Drums) decided to start intervening an tried to convince me of his knowledge on Greek language. And some people wonder where the term crazy Norwegians derives from...
By Michael Dalakos
July 10, 2005
Jorn Viggo Lofstad & Stian Kristoffersen (Pagan's Mind) interview
Jorn, hi. How are you? It's been a long time since we last heard from you guys!

Jorn: Hello! Yeah, it's been a while. How are things in Greece?

Too hot for me!

Jorn: I envy you because here it is cold and rainy!

Really? Would you care for a trade? Oh you all say the same thing but when the trade comes you all back out! [Laughs]

Jorn: [Laughs] I'm speaking from a speaker right now, soon our drummer Stian will join us!

Great, then I will have two people to try and figure out what they're saying [Laughs]. So, third amazing album in a row! How do you guys do it?

Jorn: I don't know! I think it has something to do with the fact that all of us are very hungry when we write music. We don't really try to hurry things up. We have a lot of inspiration all the time. There is a great team spirit in the band, we are all good friends. To be honest it comes really easy when we start writing music.

Can you please summarize the activities of the band after the release of the previous albums and before hitting the studio for the new one?

Jorn: The previous album was finished three years ago and it was released in November 2002 if I recall correctly. Right after that we wrote some of the songs for the new album. I think the songs Taken and Resurrection were written back then. In the meantime some of us had other projects. Stian ad I joined Jorn Lande and his band for his latest album. Jorn and I wrote the songs for his album. We took a little break with Pagan's Mind.

You know we always have material for two albums in our heads (!!!), so we don't feel pressed when we start composing.

Can you give us some info about the recording sessions of the new album?

Jorn: We recorded the entire album in a studio called Media Makers, the vocals were recorded in Nils' home studio because he likes privacy when he does his thing. He likes it to be quiet when he works. Anyway the drums were recorded in October and everything was finished in December. For the mixing we went to Finland, Gothenburg and used Fredrik Nordstrom again. I was the producer this time.

All your albums are concept ones. Can you give us some info about the concept in the new album?

Jorn: OK but the lyrics are written by Nils so I can only say some basic stuff. All three albums are kind of the same concept. The last album is actually the first part of the trilogy [Laughs]. Yeah, it wounds like Star Wars. In this last album most of the lyrics are about the missing link in human evolution and the meaning of life. We also like to think about the possibility of the existence of other species in the Universe. Nils has a lot of inspiration by watching movies and reading books.

For example the song Taken is inspired by the Steven Spielberg's TV series. Oh, Stian has joined us!

Hello Stian.

Stian: Hello malaka, ya sou pusti! (free translation anyone? Hello asshole, hello faggot!!!)

Oh, you know half the Greek vocabulary? How come everyone only knows these words?

Stian: Yeah, I do know only the bad words! You know I play drums in the Greek band Firewind and Gus G. (Guitars) was kind enough to teach me all these things. I've been in Greece many times and everyone is using them. [at that point Stian started singing a Greek folk song, mercy, OH MY GOD!!!]

OK, in the name of Heavy Metal religion I command you to stop!!! [Lots of Laughter] I have more interviews, I need my brain. Do you think that the new album has some striking differences from your previous ones?

Jorn: Hmmm. I think that all our albums are so multileveled that you can't really say that there are huge differences between them. I think however that the new album is more Metal oriented? You know it is less technical and more in your face. I think if one album was really different than the rest this has to be the first one, you know. Most of the songs in there were written quite sometime before its release for an older band Nils had. Our previous bass player and I joined the band only one month prior to the recordings.

So if you hear it you will understand that the song structures are really different. Since then we started working as a real team. I think the new album is our stronger release. Enigmatic Calling took more than ten months to be completed.

Do you think that the average audience can understand your music or does it take a really trained ear?

Jorn: I think that Pagan's Mind's music is qualified for both. Of course our songs are not as simple as Hammerfall that play really good Heavy Metal, but we are not the kind of band that tries to add one hundred riffs in one song. We have lots of details in our songs and some of them take time to grow in your mind. I believe that if you listen to an album and you understand it 100% from the very first listening then it's not going to last.

As time passes by the popularity of extreme Metal gets bigger. Do you think there is still space for band's that play like you?

Jorn: I definitely do. There is always room for bands playing good music. We come from Norway where the last ten years spawned countless extreme Metal bands. Mayhem, Dimmu Borgir, Emperor, many great bands. We had very few closer to mainstream bands like T.N.T. and Conception. But there is always room for bands like us. If you write good songs they will last and people will respect you.

Can you give us an inside look on how Pagan's Mind compose music?

Jorn: We don't really have a pattern. We focus on melodies and then try to build the songs around them. All of us have ideas. We are a Democratic band. I fear that if one day a member quits Pagan's Mind then nothing will ever be the same. Everyone has his personal touch in the band's sound.

If I'm not mistaken you have already shot a video...

Jorn: Yes, we shot a video a week after we finished the mixing. It's for the song Enigmatic Vision and it is going to be a bonus clip on the CD. So don't forget to check it out. There was a plan to add this to a limited edition release but then we thought that everyone should have it.

Touring plans!

Jorn: We will play many shows here in Norway. A lot of gigs will follow outside our country, we will have a little break in July for vacations. We have booked in Sweden and we will try to book a tour with a bigger band. I hope we can visit your country within 2005 or 2006.

A set of less serious questions. If aliens abduct the band what song will you play for them?

Jorn: [Laughs] I will play Taken or New World Order, but if they want to choose one of their own it's fine with us.

While on stage you realize that the crowd has almost fallen asleep. How do you react?

Jorn: This has never happened!

Stian: I will play a very hard and fast drum solo.

Jorn: Maybe we will get down and beat everybody.

While renting an adult film you discover that your music has been used as a soundtrack. How would you react?

Jorn: I don't know, I will have a good laugh.

Stian: I will demand an audition for their next film.

Your wildest dream about Pagan's Mind?

Jorn: I would love to see the band taking a world tour as headliners. That would be a good start, I guess!

Thank you guys. I really hope to see you soon, here in Athens. Also thanks for calling me 'malaka', I needed that! [Laughs]

Jorn: Thank you Michael. We hope to visit Greece soon.

Stian Ya sou malaka! I love Greece. Greece is number one! You are great people! See you soon for souvlaki!!!

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