Interview with Lunaris guitarist - Azarak
Interview By Chris
Lunaris was formed through the collective vision of some of Norways most
inspiring acts: Spiral Architect, Borknagor, and Satyricon to name a few. Let it be known,
though, that Lunaris is by no means a side project. Their debut, The Infinite
features ten tracks that defy easy classification, but such is the beauty of true Metal.
Sure, there are hints of Black, Progressive, and Death Metal, but the end result is a
truly distinct sound with shades of the aforementioned and more. Read on as I pick the
brain of guitarist, Azarak
So you guys formed in the fall of 98
Yes. It was M (guitars) and Balfori (vocals) who started the band in 98. I hooked
up with them in 99. They didnt actually have a name, but they were doing a
demo in the studio where I was working so I got to know them, I liked what they were
doing, and hooked up with them.
Was it mutual friendships that brought the whole project together?
Yeah, it was. Like, Maztema (bass and vocals) is the vocalist from Spiral Architect and
I am the guitarist from Spiral Architect so we knew each other from that band. We were all
actual friends, yeah. It is M who was composing the music. He is composing songs all the
time so he wanted to get a band together to perform this on a demo and to make a record of
it. Theres been different members coming and going into the band. The members that
are in the band now have the same philosophy concerning the music.
When did you know that you were on to something that was going not to be a side
project, but a serious band?
Well I knew that in the early stages because M was a really good songwriter and his
ideas were very good. I knew that we were on to something early. Thats why I started
spending time on this. I mean, I dont have a background in Black Metal. I have a
background in Progressive Metal, and this was really the first time I started playing
Black Metal myself. So to me it was like a new experience. Ive been the guitarist
for Spiral Architect for ten years so thats what I had been doing.
Was your exposure to Black Metal minimal before that?
Playing it was minimal, but over the last two or three years Ive been playing
mostly Black Metal. Ive also been doing live guitar for Satyricon.
What do you think was the impetus for your recent attraction to Black Metal?
I like the imagery of Black Metal, and I think in Lunaris theres a very
Progressive element present. Theres a lot of Black Metal music that is very
Progressive and technical to play, and I enjoy playing it. In Norway you have all the
really good Black Metal bands and a lot of really good musicians. Im still working
with Spiral Architect. Im not putting that away.
Are you still working with Satyricon?
Yeah. We just finished a tour.
Is there a theme to The Infinite?
No, there isnt a theme. I cant say that much about the lyrics because most
of they lyrics were written by M. My role in the band is more like finishing up the songs,
working on arrangements, working on guitar lines, and producing. Im not that
involved with actually composing ideas for the song or the lyrics.
Are the leads divided evenly between you and M, or is there one person who mostly
handles the leads?
They are divided. The songs that have lead guitar, it is divided.
What kind of gear are you using?
Im using PRS guitars and a Rocktron power amp. Ive always been using tube
pre-amps, but with Black Metal, its best to use solid state stuff. Im using
the Boss GT-5, and I have a 4x12 Carvin cabinet.
Do you guys have any touring plans?
Nothing concrete. There may be some small tour in the UK in January or February. I
dont think theres going to be much touring after this first record. We
actually have new songs for the next record so were focusing on writing the new
album. Well do more touring after that album. The Infinite was recorded
in March-April 2001 so it was a while since it was recorded.
When can we expect the next album?
Its really up to the record company, but we hope to go into the studio this
spring. It would probably be released after the summer. We are very eager to do an album
quickly because we have a lot of songs lying around. We want to do a better recording. I
mean, we had such a limited budget on The Infinite so we want to spend more
time in the studio.
Is there a certain studio that you have in mind?
Not yet. We know all the studios around Oslo, though, but we still havent
Where did you record the last album?
Well we used two studios around Oslo.
How long was the recording process?
I think we did it in a month and a half. We didnt do it continuously. We used a
month and a half on the evenings and weekends.
What can we look forward to in terms of the sound of the newer material?
More aggressive. Maybe more symphonic. More Progressive. I think more of everything,
basically. Were not going to use the same drummer as last time. I dont know if
you heard, but it was Asgeir Mickelson from Spiral Architect and Borknagor who played
drums. Our new drummer (Janos from Italian band V.E.G.A.) is more of a traditional Black
Metal drummer so you can actually hear a difference in the drumming style. Our bass player
has started using a fretless bass, which is pretty unusual in Black Metal so that will
make a difference in the sound. I think it will be more Progressive, and maybe more Death
Metal. We have some slow odd sounding parts as well.
Isnt it interesting how in the last few years the lines have been blurred in
terms of the genres of Metal? A few years back, Black Metal was Black Metal, and Death
Metal was Death Metal, etc, etc.
I think it has something to do with people growing up listening to all these different
styles of music and they mix them up. I think composing this music is very natural for M.
He listens to Progressive, Death, and Black Metal so its very natural.
On a side note, what kind of role did you play on the new Satyricon?
Im not part of the creative part, and Im not playing guitar on the record.
Satyr is doing all of the guitar himself so Im just part of the live playing. The
new album is done and has gotten great reviews so far.
How was it going out with Pantera on tour?
The live experience with Satyricon is great. We supported Pantera for five weeks in
Europe. That was a great experience playing in front of several thousand people a night. I
think were going to do a lot more touring in the states in the next year.
Theres lots of exciting things in the future for you
Im very busy. I have a lot of projects to do, but I like staying busy!