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Metal Is Passion, Not Fashion: An Exclusive Interview With ANDERS ODDEN Of CADAVER

By Larry Petro, News Monkey
Monday, November 16, 2020 @ 10:17 AM

"Youíre from Trinidad and Tobago and Iím from Norway, yet we can talk about metal and nobody else in both places will get why we have this big topic to talk about."

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Interview By Anyssa Gomez

October 10th was an exciting day. Not just because it was my favourite personís birthday (that would be my mom), but also, it was the day I chatted with Anders Odden, mastermind behind Norwegian death metal pioneers, CADAVER. Their latest album, Edder & Bile, is set to be released on November 27th, with Nuclear Blast. CADAVER started making music back in the early days of extreme metal, before I was even a thought. I was born in 1990 and I learnt about all the pioneers of metal long after they reigned on stage. Anders of course, lived through them all, and one must wonder which had the most impact. ďWell mainly the band MAYHEM from Norway was the most important one for me,Ē he supplies, ďbecause they were the first Norwegian extreme metal bandÖand the only one for some years. I got to know them when I was 13 or 14, back in 86 or 87. I convinced them to let me watch them rehearse. It was an hour from where I lived, and my dad drove me there. He met them but didnít know anything about them. But after seeing them in rehearsal I was blown away and of course I tried starting my own band. Without them I donít know where Iíd be music wise.Ē

Ah yes, good old MAYHEM! Canít have a discussion with many Norwegian metal heads and not hear about them. Their influence is limitless one can say, and I love them as well. Anders was quite young in those days, a teenager. He shares a bit about what attracted him to MAYHEM: ďIím not totally sure to be honest. I think it was the energy and the edgy way of doing things, very extreme. They had the aim to be the most extreme band in the world at that early stage. So without that I wouldnít really think the way I do. They had it as a lifestyle from the startÖbecause when you choose this music, you choose the lifestyle along with it. It becomes your whole life.Ē Well thatís certainly true for many and itís one thing that has remained constant from then to now, despite how much has changed about the world. For example, neither MAYHEM nor CADAVER could have imagined back then that we would one day be able to share music so easily. Anders elaborates on this, ďAt the time when I started listening to this music and getting to know the scene, we were literally still writing letters and sending cassette tapes of music. So it makes me feel like a total dinosaur when I think of how we used to communicate back then. Yes, we had the telephone, but music was always on cassette tapes or LPs, not even CDs. If somebody had a copy of a demo or some music from an LP you didnít have, you asked them to copy it to a cassette and send it to you. Every time you did this the quality became worse and worse. If you record a tape from a tape from a tape, it severely affects the quality. But now I can send you an MP3, from Norway to the Caribbean, and it will sound the same and have the same quality.Ē

The internet has made a lot possible, including the conversation we had. I donít think I would have been exposed to all the bands I know without it. Neither would I have developed a desire to explore Europe and attend metal festivals. Anders says thatís another drastic difference between today and the early days. ďMusic festivals dedicated to Black metal were just not a thing. You said youíre 30, so you were born in 1990. Well that was the first year of Wacken in Germany and back then there were only 2 stages. Just 10 years later, there are thousands of people going there. Now there are so many other festivals in Europe too. Bands can make good money from playing all these festivals and tours. When we started doing this, nobody thought about money at all. We didnít do extreme metal to make moneyÖthat was absurd! If you wanted to make money from music, you did a cover band or something more commercial.Ē

Despite how long heís been around, Anders has kept the flame of CADAVER alive. Their early releases mirrored other primitive forms of Death metal, like early CARCASS albums. They eventually incorporated some melody but never abandoned that raw, uncompromising wall of sound music style. Now in 2020, the flame still burns. I canít help but wonder if there is a special part of Anders that expresses itself through CADAVER. ďI think itís about finding your own voice in something at an early age, whether its art of music.Ē, he says, ďItís about creating something very personal. You just end up trying to refine that and, the older you get, the clearer you see your true self and true calling. I just came back to realising that I should do new music under the CADAVER moniker because thatís what makes sense for me. We had a special way of making music that was different from everyone at the time, and I just wanted to keep on doing that.Ē I think you will agree that heís succeeded, once you hear the latest album anyway. Death metal has taken on so many forms since inception, sometimes itís best to strip all that away. CADAVER does that. As Anders said, itís a lifestyle. One that he is immersed in, going so far as managing the Black Metal Bus Tour in Oslo. ďI stopped doing that a while ago though.Ē, he says, ďI doubt I would start it back. I did it from 2008 to 2012 and I realised that, at that time, I did it more as a therapy session for myself. So when I didnít need the therapy again, I lost interest in it. Now there is a new documentary out, a good one in Norwegian. It may come out with subtitles next year and its about the Black metal scene.Ē

Not that bus tours are a thing in 2020 anyway. Iíd have thoroughly enjoyed something like that. If only I had a time machine. But alas, we are here in this chaotic year. Itís been a good year for Anders as heís overcome quite the hurdle: cancer. All while ensuring CADAVERís D.G.A.F EP was released earlier this year without a hitch. He elaborates on his thoughts about it all: ďBecause I got my diagnosis exactly one year ago, I already had my personal crisis going onÖright before covid came and took everyone else by surprise. A year ago when I got the diagnosis, I went into chemo therapy for a few months and then I had surgery in January. Then I had to do a second round of chemo at the end of February/beginning of March. Thatís when covid really got bad. When you do chemo, you of course want everyone to stay away from you because your immune system is already weak. So for me itís kind of been a blessing that the world is suffering because I was suffering at the same time. When you have this kind of disease and the world is normal, I think you feel like youíre missing out on life as everything is on hold. But this year everyone is on hold at the same time. But of course, now that Iím recovering, I also want everything back to normal. Too bad thatís not how it works.Ē We both chuckle at that. Anders then goes on, ďI think this will all lead to changes that we never expected. Some changes may not be reversed. For the world to be like it used to be, we must all know and trust that itís over, and thatís going to be tough. It will take much more time than we think since its so unpredictable. Unfortunately, human beings are not very good with things that take a long time.

The younger people have it worse. Iím 48 but my daughter is 19 going on 20. For the kids, this all feels like forever already. One more year and they have no youth left. It takes away their chance at experiencing life, which is sad. When I got this diagnosis, I faced death and realised that it is nothing to be feared. Itís something that will come for us all. But when youíve lived a full life, had many experiences and lived all your dreams many times over like I have, dying doesnít seem like such a bad thing. When youíre young and you have your life in front of you, the prospect of dying is terrible.Ē

Well heís certainly right about that last part. I wonít say that Iíve lived ALL my dreams as yetÖI still have a few, some of which are on hold due to this virus. But the thought of death no longer scares me at all. Iíd say 2018 was the year I lived my first dream: taking a trip to Finland for metal festivals. You see, being from the Caribbean means I donít have any of those here, so an expensive trip halfway around the world for metal was something I always wanted. Anders weighs in on why he thinks fans have such devotion to extreme metal. ďI think it is about the passion that people put into this music from the get-go. Itís not about money or fame, its about passion. If there is true passion, then it shines through to the people who listen to it and it attracts the right people. It defies boundaries and it brings us all together in a special way. Youíre from Trinidad and Tobago and Iím from Norway, yet we can talk about metal and nobody else in both places will get why we have this big topic to talk about. If you put your mom and my dad to talk, they wonít have anything in common to discuss at all like we do. But we share that passion for metal. Because of this, no place in the world is too exotic to have metal fans. One can go to Japan or Siberia or the Middle East and find metal fans. No matter where you are, you can find a metal friend. Thatís very special.Ē Special indeed. Iíve met many amazing friends in various countries because of our shared passion. Without those connections (of course the internet made it all possible), I may not have even travelled to an unknown country at all. Itís always great to have a friend in someplace youíve never been to. ďI hope one day I can visit the CaribbeanĒ, Anders says, clearly happy to know Iím here, ďitís one of the few places I have never been. Iíve passed through on the 70,000 tonnes of metal cruiseÖbut thatís not really a visit.Ē Iíd certainly love having CADAVER play here. Who knows whatís possible?

That hopeful message about the future is more important than ever. Itís been a tough year after all, but music has kept us all going. CADAVER joins the many bands that have released new music this year. Anders is looking forward to playing live again as well, ďCADAVER just booked a show in Oslo, just before Christmas. Weíre allowed to have gigs for 200 people in a sitting audience. Basically, thatís the only gig we will do in Oslo. I donít know if there will be live streaming of that, I have to look into it. Itís still in the making. We will definitely be making more albums though, we already have enough demos.Ē

Thatís a positive thought to end on. I enjoyed my chat with Anders, his insights and perspectives were interesting, to say the least. Connecting with like-minded people is one of my favourite things to do. All good things come to an end though, Anders has a closing message for readers, ďI would like to say that I hope many of you will check out the new album. We will try our best to come play live once possible. I would like to spend the rest of my able days on this planet spreading music and finding new fans and friends everywhere!Ē Cheers to that! Be sure to check out Edder & Bile when it comes out on November 27th.

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