Gothminister interview with Bjørn Brem
Oslo, Norway plays home to one of 2013’s breakout bands; Gothminister though they are certainly not new. In fact, frontman and vocalist Bjørn Alexander Brem planted the seeds of Gothminister back in the late 90s. The group might fit into the Gothic industrial metal fold, but there’s more to it than that. The quartet’s first album was released in 2003, and a decade later they have unleashed their fifth, “Utopia“. It is this most recent effort which will bring some long over due notice to the band outside of Europe. This month, Metalholic caught up with Brem to discuss the new album, and learn more about the man behind the madness that is Gothminister.
Brem is joined in Gothminister by Chris Dead aka Christian Svendsen (drums), Icarus aka Glenn Nilsen (guitars), and Turbo Natas aka Ketil Eggum (guitars). The look and feel of the band encompasses the cinematic likes of Rammstein, Alice Cooper, Marilyn Manson, and Rob Zombie.
Bjørn began his journey back in 1987 playing in various thrash metal bands and even took a turn with grunge. His band just prior to Gothminister was called Disco Judas, which took Brem more into the industrial vein that would ultimately bleed into what he does now.
While most musicians these days are saddled with a day job as well as their nighttime gig, Brem has an intriguing one: He is an attorney by trade. It was the idea of straddling his dual roles that opened the door for “Utopia“, the album, as well as the full length film which accompanies it. As he tells the story, it was the press who kept asking him about how he manages both personalities which led to the concept:
“A lot of journalists have asked me for many years , how can you combine those two in real life, and I think it’s quite okay to combine them because you get some diversity in your life. You’re not only sitting behind a desk, you’re doing legal stuff, or negotiating, or me going to court is always fun I think, but it’s great to have music combined. I wanted to make a movie based on what happens if everything goes to hell if it doesn’t work out. This is basically what happens to the character who is obviously me, but in sort of a fantasy world. I slowly just go totally insane because of all the pressure from work and stuff. You know people, when you hear ‘utopia’ think of the perfect society or paradise. But actually the original meaning of the Greek word is obviously, ‘nothing’. I kind of play around with that and I also play around with ‘nothing’ like the world is totally dead. And I also play around with the thought that ‘why should my utopia be a perfect world like everyone else’s?’ What is my perfect world? And it’s obviously filled with horror, and undead, and witches, and werewolves and all that stuff.”
“Utopia” is a 13-track dark industrial beast, and it goes hand in hand with the matching movie. Brem talked about creating the film:
“It started with the idea to make a music video for each song on the album. Then I thought maybe we should make a film instead that includes some live concert in there because a lot of people have asked for some live material from Gothminister. Then we wanted to do something a little bit more original, so we had an intro movie, and the story in the movie kind of connects with the live version, and then we have the outro. What happens in the movie is it starts out with me as a lawyer coming out of the courthouse and I get some kind of stroke on the street so I fall in the street. It’s a busy city, lots of traffic, and when I wake up the city’s completely dead…”
You can listen to the full interview below as Brem talks more in-depth about the movie and the album, then pick up your own copy of “Utopia” and spread the darkness.