The Hard Rocking Reveries of Big City
Big City may have roots within the extreme metal community, but the auditory journey featured within their latest magnum opus Big City Life is gloriously melodic rock and roll in it finest hour! Founded by Daniel Olaisen of Blood Red Throne who also spent time in the membership of the legendary Satyricon, Big City is ready to leave an impact in nothing short of an epic way. In addition to the Big City Life endeavor, Rock Of Angels Records has also included Big City’s debut Wintersleep as a bonus disc!
Highwire Daze Online recently caught up with guitarist Daniel Olaisen to find out more about the hard rocking reveries of Big City, plans for his other long-running project Blood Red Throne, working with the notorious Satyricon, and other raging topics of intrigue. Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Big City, and how long the band has been together.
I’m Daniel, founder and guitarist in Big City. My other band is Blood Red Throne and I also played in Satyricon in the 90’s. However, I LOVE 80’s metal and started this project 8 years ago when I found a decent singer. I already had a drummer and bass player and my buddy Frank was always my first choice to pay the lead guitars. Same line-up has been together since, except for introducing Miguel on bass on the new album. Everything is complete now!
Where is the band based out of and what is your local music scene like there?
3 of us live in Kristiansand and the two others near Oslo. The bass player is from Portugal, but he has lived in Kristiansand the last few years. There are not many straight forward metal bands here, but our friends in Guardians of Time is still around. They recently signed with the same label as Big City too. I guess Communic is the most well-known band besides extreme metallers Blood Red Throne from around. We just did a split gig with them and two of the Communic members come from my first band Scariot. It’s all linked together as usual, haha.
With your roots in extreme metal, what made you decide to pursue a project such as Big City?
I started listening to metal in 1987 and the first band I came across was TNT and Tell No Tales on cassette, which my mother had. I’ve always been a sucker for melodies and straight heavy rock. I guess I tried to create a heavy metal band when I started my first band Scariot, in 1997, but this band became a bit heavier. The next 13-14 years I played more extreme metal, but I was always looking for a great singer to work on my 80’s riffs and maybe start a band. Finally I’m there!
Is there any overall story or concept behind the Big City Life album title?
The lyrics are very personal to Brandt and some of them self-experienced. It’s not a concept album, but since our band name is Big City, we found Big City Life a suitable title for the album.
Select two songs from Big City Life and what inspired the lyrics.
If you take time to blow off the dust, you might find something spiritual. A beautiful life isn’t always what it seems. This inspired Brandt to write Crying in the Night. The song is about a beautiful girl who has to support her mother by any means, and in å cruel world that can do something to the heart and mind. An ugly world can be a beautiful place if you look beneath the surface.
Big City Life is simply about a small town life. Where everybody knows everybody, where nothing ever happens. Suddenly you hear an inner voice screaming for adventure… and the big city life.
Who did the cover art for Big City Life and how much input did you have on it?
I left everything to the label, but I told them I wanted several drafts to choose between. We got many different suggestions from Tim Eckhorst (Scorpions, Ektomorf, etc) and we actually had to vote on it. The floating city is like a world of its own and maybe a bit futuristic.
Wintersleep is also being re-released with Big City Life as a bonus disc. What do you think if this first Big City album in retrospect and what made you decide to release it as a bonus disc?
Wintersleep is a great debut I think. I really like the songs and though the production is absolutely amazing on Big City Life, the first one sounds epic in my ears as well. Since we never officially released this on CD except some promo CD’s, it was obvious for both us and Rock of Angels Records to include this on a cool double digipack!
What are you looking forward to the most about Big City’s first ever show at the Norway Rock Festival?
Norway Rock will definitely be our biggest show so far and we are super excited. We already played once at our release party and personally, I just find it cool to play something different than extreme metal after all these years.
Is there any chance Big City will tour in Europe or here in the States?
We will try to head out in Europe first as soon as possible. The States is a bit expensive, but on our wishing list for sure.
If Big City could open for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
A three year world tour with Van Halen in the 80’s would be quite sick!
What was it like working with legendary Black Metal band Satyricon?
Considering never been playing in any other bands and being a huge fan of Satyricon in the early 90’s, it was almost unreal when I all of a sudden stood there in their rehearsal room playing with Frost and Satyr. My first stage presence ever was at the Dynamo Festival in 1997 and we did several cool shows those 3 years I was in the band. My only regret is that I jumped off 6 months before they toured with one of my all time fave bands Pantera (R.I.P. Abbot’s)!
What is currently happening with Blood Red Throne?
We’ve just recorded our 9th album. We’re taking care of business ourselves and will release the album late 2018.We hope that 2019 will bring us more attention and shows. Been delivering quality for more than 20 years now!
How did Frank Ørland of Scariot become involved with Big City?
Frank played with me for a few years in Scariot. We always stayed in touch after the band broke up and when I found Brandt on vocals, Frank was obvious to bring along in Big City! This guy is too damn good on guitar and it’s ridiculous he never ended up in a bigger band. He is having a good time now though.
What is currently going on with Scariot?
Last year, I wanted a final closure of the band and mark the 20 years anniversary, by inviting as many of the members as possible to play one final show. I gathered 12 out of 15 members and we played songs from all 4 Scariot albums. I also invited some of them to record a new track I had, Origin of the Scars, which was released digitally. Scariot is definitely history now!
What is your favorite beer of choice and why?
My favorite is actually Bulmers, Fireball and Tennessee Honey, but any light beer goes as well. Not too fond of dark beer.
What’s up next for Big City?
We are trying to book as many shows as possible and we will also try to get our first show abroad. After summer, we will write new material and basically just keep going. All members see the potential in this band and we have a real good chemistry.
Daniel Olaisen – Guitars(Scariot, Blood Red Throne, ex-Satyricon)
Frank Ørland – Guitars (ex-Scariot)
Miguel Pereira – Bass (Withem)
Frank Nordeng Røe – Drums (Withem, Maraton)
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