DIMMU BORGIR's SHAGRATH On CHROME DIVISION Side Project: 'It Was Never The Idea Of Becoming Big Or Making Money'
March 17, 2019
HeavyMetal.dk conducted an interview with vocalist Eddie Guz and guitarist Shagrath (real name: Stian Tomt Thoresen; also of DIMMU BORGIR) of Norwegian rockers CHROME DIVISION prior to their February 17 concert at Beta in Copenhagen, Denmark. You can watch the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On what led to the 2004 formation of CHROME DIVISION:
Shagrath: "This idea started in my head in '99, actually. After DIMMU BORGIR was finishing rehearsals, me and another guy used to jam some riffs and stuff which we taped in the rehearsal room. Ever since that time, it's kind of been in the back of my mind that I wanted to do something more rock and roll-ish type of stuff, which I'm very much into since I was very young. Growing up with bands like KISS and stuff like that. There is a lot of good rock bands out there, but for me personally, there were too many bands tuned in standard E with too much 'boogie' for my taste. I had this idea of creating something a bit more, not extreme, but more dark and dirty than many of the other rock bands that were around. The closest thing I could find at that time was BLACK LABEL SOCIETY type of things. I remember we did a long U.S. tour, the Ozzfest tour with DIMMU BORGIR. After it was done, we were going to have our break anyway, then I approached first the previous bass player, Björn Luna, so we kind of started building ideas together and jamming and stuff like that. We started with this song called 'Chrome Division'. After also listening to the debut of THE CARBURETORS, 'Pain Is Temporary, Love Is Forever'. It's a really great album. I was so hooked on that album for a long time while driving my car: 'We need a singer with that type of approach, with a kind of bulldog attitude.' I would say we clicked pretty fast. We gave him [Eddie] that song, then he developed his stuff into it. It all bloomed from there."
Eddie: "Very quickly. I think we had, after two weeks, we had three songs. I was, like, 'Whoa. This is going fast.' We had a musical connection right away, how we wanted it to sound. Yeah, it was really cool, the whole beginning of the project. It was really fascinating how fast we developed it."
Shagrath: "It was also an idea to get away from daily routines, meet up once a week and have fun, have a good time. From there, it kind of developed into a lot of jam sessions, which we recorded and put the songs together. This is rock and roll. It's a much more primitive way — that spontaneous way of creating, not analyzing the songs too much. If we like it, then we go for it. Therefore, it's been song after song after song. [Laughs] This band is built on friendship and having a good time. It was never the idea of becoming big or making money or anything like that. It's all about having a good time with good friends, which we still do."
On the band's latest and final studio album, "One Last Ride":
Shagrath: "This was actually material that we had laying around for a couple of years because, as I said, we used to meet up every Tuesday to rehearse. Then, it ended up with almost two and a half hours of music in total. But the lineup we had when Shady Blue [a.k.a. Athera, ex-SUSPERIA] was singing and all that stuff, we're all so busy and it was getting harder and harder to meet up for that one weekday. We have other priorities in life. It was kind of laying around for quite some time. Yeah, I think we were just focusing on different stuff and there was a while where we were not too eager to do anything at all. My focus has been also working with DIMMU BORGIR, making the album ['Eonian'] and touring and stuff. Then I called Damage [Kjell Karlsen], the other solo guitar player and we decided — we have two and a half hours of music. It shouldn't be wasted. It's a lot of good material. From there, we kind of started to glue the songs together. Some of the songs were intended — Shady Blue was supposed to sing and they faded out in a way. We had an idea — I remember in the rehearsal room —have Shady Blue and Eddie Guz do a song together, do one verse each. We had the song and Eddie came down to rehearsal. After two hours, we had the lyrics ready already. [Laughs] That kind of put the spark on for the rest of us to work. He gets stuff done. [Laughs] That's really cool. We took it from there."
Eddie: "I got a phone call and we had a couple of beers and he told me, 'I'm thinking about making the last album.' I said, 'It would be so cool if I could sing one song on the last record.' After a few weeks, I got another phone call: 'How would you like to do the whole album?' I said 'Sure, I would love to do the last album of CHROME DIVISION.' We had already worked on some songs. There was the one I was going to do together with Shady. They sent me more of the material he and Damage were working on. I'm a spontaneous guy. If I hear a song, I get an idea and I run with it. Yeah, I think it went pretty fast from there until we were ready to go and start the recording process."
On why "The Last Ride" is CHROME DIVISION's final album:
Shagrath: "I think it kind of came to mind actually a couple of years ago when I figured out that it was really hard to just find three hours in a week to meet up. After a while, you start to figure out, 'Is there any point in putting more time into this?' It's just that we have other priorities, other bands and families, kids and stuff to do. It has taken away a little bit of the focus, I guess. It felt good. It's almost like a circle. Five albums. It was supposed to be one song in the first place and it ended up being five albums in total."
Eddie: "When I started writing the lyrics for this album, I wanted to represent, I don't know if I managed to do that, but that was my idea, to represent the whole history of CHROME DIVISION. Also, celebrating everything we've done together. I wanted it to have not a sad angle to it, but a memorial angle to it. We had a really good time. 'Yeah, here it is!'"
Shagrath: "That's kind of the concept of 'The Last Ride'."
Eddie: "A celebration in many words."
Shagrath: "The first gig we did on this tour was meeting with all the ex-members of CHROME DIVISION. They all entered the stage for a few songs. That was a special moment for all of us."
"One Last Ride" was released last November via Nuclear Blast.
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