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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

"You’re from Trinidad and Tobago and I’m 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 person’s 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. “Well mainly the band MAYHEM from Norway was the most important one for me,” he supplies, “because they were the first Norwegian extreme metal band…and 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 didn’t 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 don’t know where I’d be music wise.”

Ah yes, good old MAYHEM! Can’t 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: “I’m 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 wouldn’t really think the way I do. They had it as a lifestyle from the start…because when you choose this music, you choose the lifestyle along with it. It becomes your whole life.” Well that’s certainly true for many and it’s 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, “At 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 didn’t 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.”

The internet has made a lot possible, including the conversation we had. I don’t 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 that’s another drastic difference between today and the early days. “Music festivals dedicated to Black metal were just not a thing. You said you’re 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 didn’t do extreme metal to make money…that was absurd! If you wanted to make money from music, you did a cover band or something more commercial.”

Despite how long he’s 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 can’t help but wonder if there is a special part of Anders that expresses itself through CADAVER. “I think it’s about finding your own voice in something at an early age, whether its art of music.”, he says, “It’s 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 that’s 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.” I think you will agree that he’s succeeded, once you hear the latest album anyway. Death metal has taken on so many forms since inception, sometimes it’s best to strip all that away. CADAVER does that. As Anders said, it’s a lifestyle. One that he is immersed in, going so far as managing the Black Metal Bus Tour in Oslo. “I stopped doing that a while ago though.”, he says, “I 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 didn’t 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.”

Not that bus tours are a thing in 2020 anyway. I’d have thoroughly enjoyed something like that. If only I had a time machine. But alas, we are here in this chaotic year. It’s been a good year for Anders as he’s overcome quite the hurdle: cancer. All while ensuring CADAVER’s D.G.A.F EP was released earlier this year without a hitch. He elaborates on his thoughts about it all: “Because I got my diagnosis exactly one year ago, I already had my personal crisis going on…right 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. That’s 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 it’s 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 you’re 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 I’m recovering, I also want everything back to normal. Too bad that’s not how it works.” We both chuckle at that. Anders then goes on, “I 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 it’s over, and that’s 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. I’m 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. It’s something that will come for us all. But when you’ve lived a full life, had many experiences and lived all your dreams many times over like I have, dying doesn’t seem like such a bad thing. When you’re young and you have your life in front of you, the prospect of dying is terrible.”

Well he’s certainly right about that last part. I won’t say that I’ve lived ALL my dreams as yet…I 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. I’d 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 don’t 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. “I think it is about the passion that people put into this music from the get-go. It’s 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. You’re from Trinidad and Tobago and I’m 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 won’t 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. That’s very special.” Special indeed. I’ve 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. It’s always great to have a friend in someplace you’ve never been to. “I hope one day I can visit the Caribbean”, Anders says, clearly happy to know I’m here, “it’s one of the few places I have never been. I’ve passed through on the 70,000 tonnes of metal cruise…but that’s not really a visit.” I’d certainly love having CADAVER play here. Who knows what’s possible?

That hopeful message about the future is more important than ever. It’s 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, “CADAVER just booked a show in Oslo, just before Christmas. We’re allowed to have gigs for 200 people in a sitting audience. Basically, that’s the only gig we will do in Oslo. I don’t know if there will be live streaming of that, I have to look into it. It’s still in the making. We will definitely be making more albums though, we already have enough demos.”

That’s 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, “I 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!” Cheers to that! Be sure to check out Edder & Bile when it comes out on November 27th.

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