I had the chance to meet up with Einar Solberg, best known as the lead singer and keyboarder of Leprous at the Stuttgart, Germany stop of their currently touring with The Devin Townsend Project and Between The Buried And Me. After the band’s 2015 record The Congregation, they are seemingly coming up with new material really soon; Solberg talked about this, progressive music in general, as well as about how it is to be on tour.
It Djents: How are you doing and how has the tour been so far?
Einar Solberg: Feeling terrible, haha, no! Great, absolutely great actually. It’s been like great music everyday, there have been some challenges with our transport but now it’s sorted out and we made it to each show. But musically and socially everything has been spot on.
ID: Last year you just released a live DVD, from the Rockefeller Music Hall in Oslo. Tell me, how different was the shooting compared to a normal live show?
ES: Yeah, I mean it’s a lot more that you need to think about what you do. When you are in the studio you have more chances of doing it right. But with a live release, you want to be like really live. So we didn’t want to do overdubs in the studio afterwards. We just got one shot of doing it right, so we obviously rehearsed and prepared a lot for it. There was some extra nerves on that day, but it was all good!
ID: Do you have a personal favourite song to play live?
ES: I am so fucking tired of all of them, haha. I don’t know, none of them anymore. I love everything that is new – the newer the better. Now we are more or less done with the new album, so I am hoping that we can play some new tunes soon, that we are holding back at the moment. But there are some songs that are nice to play live. I think “Slave“ is a nice live song, “Rewind“ probably as well.
IT: So is the new record done? How does it sound compared to what we know from Leprous?
ES: More or less, yeah. It’s quite different. I mean obviously it’s still Leprous, but the biggest difference might be in the sound. It’s more rock than metal, its more like grit in a way, it’s less nice, and it has more character to the sound. But at the same time it probably sounds bigger than The Congregation. It’s gonna be more atmospheric and larger – like a soundscape. We have way too many songs for the album and haven’t choosen which one to put there, but we are very optimistic. I never felt that good about a new album, than with this one. I think it’s going to be very cool, and there is a new side of Leprous as well, but it’s still Leprous.
‘There is a new side of Leprous as well, but it’s still Leprous.’
ID: In your presstext it is written that you feel more like a live band. How does it feel for you to be in the studio then?
ES: Yes, I love the contrast. I am a kind of person that needs variation and contrasts in my life. Working in studio is something that I really appreciate as well. Because you build something new. It’s not about showing what you’ve done, it’s about creating it. And one of the biggest joys in music is when you receive the first mixes for new songs!
ID: So what do you like most, respectively worst when being on tour?
ES: I mean, the worst thing is that I am getting ill very often due to the cold air in the bus. And to try to do your best while not feeling that good might be the worst thing. There is always some lack of comfort compared to your own bed, but I don’t mind it so much, as long as there are decent shows. I mostly really like it, but I wouldn’t do it for the whole year. The best thing is obviously the shows. You get to meet other bands, on this tour we got meet to great musicians and very nice people. That’s also something that I really appreciate.
ID: What do you think progressive music will sound in 10 years?
ES: Probably the same, haha! For me the prog genre is a bit like hurried before. The most innovative stuff is to be found in many other genre as well, it’s like this with so many new things… when it’s new the people say ‘wow these guys are pioneers’ and they will stay pioneers, even if there is not like really new stuff going on. Of course there are some exceptions in the prog genre, but I think too many bands are too obsessed with that genre thing.
We never really think about it. It’s more about what I like our what we think is cool and then I think it’s up to you guys – the music journalists – to make a label. It’s really for me, progressive music, how the term original was. Maybe to progress, but to progress you actually need not to be in a genre. ‘Cause the genre was already made, and it was made by the bands. The genre is not supposed to make the band.
ID: And what do you think Leprous might sound in, let’s say, only five years?
ES: I have no idea, as we never really know where we are heading. We are always evolving and it’s really impossible to say. Who knows were they will be in five years, I have absolutely no idea. At the moment I see we are developing into a more and more organic band, and creating a more organic sound, that sounds massive and really good. Unique, that’s what we are aiming for, but its hard ’cause everyone has tried out everything already. It’s too hard like creating a proper unique sound. It’s hard to force, and at least it’s important for us to be worshipping that. To make a guitar sound good, you put 10 layers on it to sound huge, but it looses its character, and it sounds like anyone who has done the same. But if you have one or two guitars, and you have a really strong character I think its more powerful in my opinion.
ID: Where do you get your inspiration from?
ES: Just here and there, and when I write music i am not always inspired, that is something that I realized. I don’t write better music when I am inspired, because to be a good composer is more about to have a good ear and to recognize what’s a good idea. You never know when inspiration comes, because it’s random. You have different options , and you sit down and suddenly you end up with something great without even trying. Another time you can search but never find it. So inspiration is overrated. Recognition not. I mean inspiration with sound is very important, with composition I mean it’s all from the subconsciousness. It’s not that I think ‘now I’m doing this Queen part here’ or ‘now I am going to do this Tool part here’. We don’t think like that. Sometimes afterwards we can think like ‘oh this kind of sounds like them, or this is similar to them..’ I think inspiration is best when it comes from subconsciousness.
‘I don’t write better music when I am inspired.’
ID: Do you think it also has to do with Norway, as a lot of depressive sounding bands are actually from Scandinavia?
ES: Naahh, I don’t think Norwegians are depressed in general. There is also music that is doing really well from Norway, like Kygo. A huge pop artist, that’s very far from depressing. I think it’s really more a metal thing actually, and we have lots of metal bands in Norway, I think. Personally, I really prefer to play music that is a bit melancholy, but it doesn’t make me a melancholic person. I just like it more, it appeals more to me, and I can only speak for myself, but I don’t think the common is more depressed, haha.
ID: Do you have any tour essentials?
ES: *points at a bottle Coke Zero in front of his table* Coca Cola Zero, ’cause I’m a former sugar addict. And to keep that under control I need to drink Coca Cola Zero. That’s a tour essential for me, the only biggest for me, of course also food, vegetarian and vegan food…. but rituals, not really… I try to warm up before the show. It’s better for my voice, but nothing else..”
ID: So is there anything you would like to add?
ES: It’s the hardest part, I never know what to say there. I don’t know honestly, when you would have asked Devin (Townsend), he might have held a big speech, but I am not that kind of talker, so I dont’ know, I only answer the questions and that’s it, haha!