Based out of the prosperous and wildly diverse music scene of Bergen in Norway, Ribozyme is sure to excite music fans all across the world. Fans of entities such as Tool and Filter are sure to find a new favorite band when checking out the compelling tunes Ribozyme had to to offer. Their latest CD Presenting The Problem is now available here in the States, courtesy of the folks at Indie Recordings. A definitive rock/metal crossover, this power trio present a musical journey that absolutely exhilarating to behold. And now, presenting Ribozyme, a grand kaleidoscope of sound…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Ribozyme, and how long the band has been together.
The band consists of Kjartan Ericsson (vocals, guitars), Bård Bøge (vocals, bass) and Cato Olaisen (drums). The band was formed by 4 buddies back in ’98, and has gone through some changes in the lineup on the way. The current lineup has existed since ’06.
Where is the band based out of and what is your local music scene like there?
The band is based in Bergen, Norway. The music scene here is pretty great, actually. Even though Bergen is the second biggest city in Norway, it’s a fairly small city in a global scale, and when you think about how many bands that are from here, it’s quite amazing. And a really cool thing about the Bergen scene is that there’s a lot of collaborations between different bands and musicians, crossing over genres from pop, electronica, metal, rock etc. It’s a great place to live for a musician, that’s for sure.
How does Presenting The Problem compare to the other Ribozyme releases?
Presenting the Problem is a more complex album in forms of mixing several expressions and genres to a greater extent than we’ve done before. And the record is also a product of a couple of years with new musical influences since the last one, but those who’ve heard us before will still recognize the band.
Please select two songs from Presenting The Problem and what inspired the lyrical content.
The Bricks Went Flying was about trying to create a place lyrically that has the same vibe as the main riff. That is mainly the writing process through the whole record. Writing something that can match the music, rather than telling a story about moving into an apartment and buying some groceries.
Paid in Graves is a song about standing in your livingroom, staring at the shoreline and awaiting a future that you have feared for so long.
Has Ribozyme ever played here in the States or do you plan to do so in future days?
Ribozyme has never been in the US. Yet. Of course that is something we would very much like to do in the future. And who knows, maybe that chance will come now with this new album. First of all, we will tour Norway this spring, and we’re also working on touring Europe, so we’ll see where things take us beyond that point. A tour in North America would be great!
What is a live Ribozyme show like for those of us who want yet to see you play?
First of all, we’re just three guys in the band, and that’s probably also our greatest strength. The trio format presents many challenges when it comes to live playing, and we’ve certainly grown a huge deal as musicians because of it. Our main goal is that everything we record has to be performed live, and so far we’ve managed that. A Ribozyme show gives you a wall of sounds, all from sensitive dynamics to intense energy.
How did Jørgen Munkeby of Shining become involved with the new album? Shining is definitely a whole different style of music.
The song Leverage which he plays saxophone on came together at the last minute in the studio after jamming on some riffs we had “laying around”. We all love the intensity of Shining’s music and to give the track its final aggressive touch, we all thought about asking Jørgen to play some sax on it. We called him up, sent him the track, and basically told him to go nuts. That was it, and it turned out great.
Who did the interesting cover art for Presenting the Problem and how much input did you have on it?
Gaute Tenold Aase from the Bergen based graphic design company Grandpeople did the design, and we’ve had an open dialog with him all the way. He actually also did the cover for our album Blacklist Mercy from 2006, and we really like his work. We came to him with a basic concept, and he worked it out from there.
How did the cooperation with Indie Recordings come about?
The record deal with Indie Recordings came to be after sending them our mastered recording. We’ve recorded, mixed and mastered the entire record in our own studio, and sent the album out to different record companies. The guys at Indie really liked the album, and offered to sign us. We actually also got another offer from another label, but found out that Indie Recordings was the best solution for us.
Will Indie Recordings be re-releasing any of the early Ribozyme recordings?
Our earlier albums have been released on our own label prior to signing with Indie Recordings, and for now there’s no plan for a re-release of those albums.
If Ribozyme could open for any band either living or from the past, what band would that be and why?
That’s a tough one… I guess opening for Tool would be pretty cool since we all love their music and their approach to the live show, but it’s not something we think about too much about.
Are you involved with any other bands or projects outside of Ribozyme?
Ribozyme is the main band for all three of us, but we’re doing other things here and there. Most recently, Cato did some touring for the band Kraków last year and also plays drums on their upcoming album, Bård has filled in on bass on tour with Audrey Horne on many occasions and produces bands in our studio, and Kjartan has another band called Father of a Thousand Kids.
Any final words of wisdom?
If you’ve never heard of Ribozyme before, take the time to check out the new album, Presenting the Problem, out now on Indie Recordings in Europe and North America. You won’t be disappointed.
(Interview by Kenneth Morton)
Ribozyme Official Home Page