Last summer, Østen announced that he had decided to take some time off from Tristania to devote his time and attention to the new family members expected in August. A year on, it has become obvious that the time, dedication and efforts of fatherhood makes it hard to continue as a full-time member. Due to this, Østen recently informed the band that he sees no other option than to make his decision a permanent one. Tristania has asked Kjetil Nordhus (Head Disco, ex-Green Carnation, ex-Trail of Tears), who was engaged as Østen’s temporary stand-in, to replace Østen on a permanent basis, and Kjetil has accepted the offer.
Østen has written the following statement for the fans:
“I think it was about a year ago I announced that I was taking a break from Tristania to be with my girlfriend and the twins she was carrying. As some of you might recall, I promised that this break was just temporarily and that I would be back within a year or so.
I am sorry to say that I have to break my promise. I never intended to, but the time I have spent with my family has made it obvious that it is impossible for me to combine playing an active part in Tristania with playing an active part in my children’s life. Based on these conclusions I have decided to leave the band. It has been the best ten years of my life, a wonderful experience.
It is hard to write this without getting sentimental. I will miss you all.
I do not feel that I am fleeing a sinking ship – the current line-up in Tristania is the strongest ever in my opinion – the new album is a killer and with Kjetil and Gyri aboard – the band seems to have the motivation for serious touring to get the music out to stages all over the world.
I want to wish Tristania the best of luck in the future.
Thank you all for your patience and your dedication and for the good times.
The band regrets parting with a long-time band member and a dear friend, but emphasizes that they understand and respect Østen’s decision to prioritize his role as a father. They also feel confident that Kjetil, who has worked with the band for well over a year now, is the best replacement they could possibly ask for.
On the occasion of the changes in line-up, www.tristania.com has done an in-depth interview with old and new band members. Anders talks about Østen’s departure:
“It was with a great deal of sadness I received the news from Østen when he informed us that he’d realized it was impossible for him to return to the band. Østen has been one of my closest friends for the last 15 years and I love him as a brother. I was the one who asked him to work with us in the first place – first as a guest and later as a full member. The years we’ve shared together in the band have been amazing. At the same time I admire him for being true to himself and I completely understand that it would be impossible for him to combine his role as a father for his one-year-old twins with an active role in Tristania, especially considering the extensive touring and other activities we are planning with Rubicon.
Even though it’s a sad thing for us to know that Østen will stay home when we’re doing tours in the future, it is great news that Kjetil has accepted to become a full-time member. Kjetil was the first person that came to my mind when Østen first told me about his babies, and I’m really glad he accepted our offer. In my eyes he is the perfect replacement for Østen. I’ve known Kjetil for almost ten years, and he truly is a great guy. As a singer he is impressively professional.
Kjetil was also the first person coming to Ole’s mind:
“Kjetil has been one of my best buddies since I toured with Green Carnation in 2005. After facing the fact that Østen had obligations with his family and had to move on, we had to try and replace him and keep moving the bandwagon forward. Kjetil was the first name that came to my mind as a replacement, and when I told Anders, he had already thought about him, too.
About his new role in Tristania, Kjetil has issued the following statement:
“I was asked to join Tristania permanently early this year after a period of filling in for Østen. You might say it was easier to accept the proposal since I wasn’t entirely new to the band anymore, but it still was a big decision to make. After my time with Green Carnation and Trail of Tears I had been ready for a different approach to music; I wanted to work more in the studio with projects and not to be in a touring band.
For me there were a few decisive factors for accepting the offer from Tristania. I’d got to know the individuals in the band even better during the last year, I had become a small part of Tristania’s proud history, and most importantly I had learned that this is still an extremely ambitious band, working on an extremely ambitious new album. Those factors added together made the decision easier for me, and I accepted shortly before entering the studio in February 2010.”
With a new partner in crime and on stage, Mariangela regards Kjetil’s vocals as a perfect match to her own voice:
“Kjetil is a very talented and experienced singer, and our vocals sound very good together. I must say his humour and attitude also fit the band perfectly. He’s a nice person to have around, and we always have lot of fun. Kjetil is a very social guy, ready to open up and share of himself, which is a quality I really like. We also get along well on stage – it will be a killer!”
Kjetil assures that he doesn’t take lightly on his new responsibility:
“Since the first time I heard Østen’s voice I have had great respect for him as a singer, and after I got to know him as a person my respect has only grown. He has been an important member and contribution to Tristania’s development ever since joining the band, and now it’s my job to contribute to Tristania’s development in my own way.”
Anders, certain that the band has made the best possible choice, concludes:
“After doing shows with us since last summer and laying down a remarkable piece of work with the recordings of Rubicon, I’m absolutely confident that Kjetil is the perfect guy to fill Østen’s shoes. Tristania’s future is looking bright, and Kjetil is definitely an important part of it!”
As some of you may have expected, the band has one more line-up change to announce. Having suffered a knee injury for several years now, Kenneth has been forced to stay home from most of the touring since back in 2005. This year he came to the conclusion that it doesn’t make sense to be a member of the band and not being able to tour, and decided to step back in order to let his live replacement, Mr. Tarald Lie, take over the drums on a permanent basis.
The band would like to thank Kenneth for the great moments that have been shared together and wishes him all the best for the future. Anders comments:
“We were hoping that the Kenneth’s surgeries would make him fit for fight again, but unfortunately his injury hasn’t healed the way we all were hoping for. Considering this, it was an inevitable consequence that Kenneth would have to throw in the towel.
For us in the band Kenneth’s decision felt less dramatic than Østen’s – as Tarald has done most of our concerts for the last five years. Nevertheless, I really will miss having Kenneth on board. He is a fantastic guy, and he will always be important in the history of Tristania. As with Østen, I’ve shared some amazing moments together with Kenneth which always will have a place in my heart. Kenneth used to be the comedian of the band, and he never takes anything too serious. “
He continues to describe his first encounter with Tarald, showing that Tarald’s history with Tristania actually goes quite a long way back:
I first met Tarald in 1998 when we were touring together with Solefald. Tarald was at that time their live-drummer, and I remember that his brilliant drumming blew me away every night. Seven years later I wrote an advertisement in a Norwegian forum for musicians on the web, searching for a stand-in drummer for Kenneth as his condition made touring difficult. To my great surprise Tarald was one of the drummers who contacted us. I already knew he was a excellent drummer and a great guy, so we immediately invited him to Stavanger for rehearsals. As we are living in different parts of Norway, I hardly had seen Tarald since the tour in 98, but I soon realized that the social chemistry between Tarald and the rest of us was as good as it was on the tour bus seven years earlier.
Luckily, Tarald hasn’t only taken over the drum sticks from Kenneth: As his predecessor, Tarald is also the natural comedian of the band, who constantly provides absurd comments and jokes to the rest of the band’s great amusement. Tarald is a great guy, who I honestly think it’s impossible to dislike.
Gyri also emphasizes Tarald’s great sense of humour:
“Tarald is the band’s entertainer, or more precisely Tristania’s Nicko McBrain. Without him we would probably have been bored to death. He is the king of hilarious comments, filling every little halt in the conversation with facts and observations about life. Not to mention he’s a brilliant, rock solid and steady drummer.”
Ole concurs, and is more or less amazed by the level of commitment that Tarald has showed through the years:
“I’m happy to have Tarald as a permanent member of Tristania. He has played every show with Tristania since I joined, and he’s become a great friend of mine. He is a great drummer, and his humour and great attitude is invaluable. When we rehearse, travel, are in the studio or anywhere else, his extremely hard working attitude and persistence almost scares me sometimes. It seems he simply doesn’t get tired!”
Tarald himself comments his new engagement in the band in this way:
“I felt very honoured and privileged to be asked to join Tristania as a full-time member. Kenneth has done an amazing job in this band, and I will do my utmost to fill his shoes in the most respectful way. Being a live-drummer since 2005, I have gotten to know the band’s music and the members very well. I had the pleasure of following Tristania on their first tour ever, and have had a splendid time in their company since day one.”
Mariangela also welcomes Tarald, explaining why the band has become so fond of him:
“I’ve known Tarald since I joined Tristania, and he’s already a good friend of mine. Because of Kenneth’s knee injury, Tarald is actually the only Tristania drummer I’ve played with, and it feels natural that he is now a permanent member. He’s a very good drummer, and he owns the respect of the entire band for being so humble, friendly and honest. He’s the sweetest guy ever, and everybody is really happy to have him with us.”
Both Kjetil and Tarald have contributed substantially to the album. On Rubicon, Kjetil has been responsible for most of the male lead vocals, as well as the backing tracks:
“I entered the studio in February, having four or five full days to do my vocal tracking. Because of the amount of work that already had been done during the pre-production sessions, I had a fair idea of how the different parts were going to sound. But there were still room for some adjustments when it came to detail work, moods and stuff like that. I enjoyed the vocal sessions a lot, feeling very much part of something great.”
Tarald is also very happy with the result, and emphasizes the quality of both the songs and the new set of voices:
“Attending many of the vocal sessions in Oslo, I was impressed by the impact of the fresh blood pumping in the band’s veins, along with great tracks laid down by “oldies” Einar, Anders and Østen. It’s evident that the voices of Mariangela, Kjetil and Ole complement each other and constitute a distinct, upgraded and quite unique sound.”
Tarald goes on to report from his own studio experience:
“Recording the drum tracks at Fredrik Wallumrød’s studio in Sandvika, was an incredibly fun and interesting experience. He is a very knowledgeable composer/drummer/technician, and his insight was valuable and highly appreciated. It’s cool to exchange ideas and try them out with other drummers, and I really liked having him around as a sparring partner and inspirator. Anders and Ole were also there eating pizza and whipping my back, making it all turn out the way it did. Six hectic, memorable and very enjoyable days in Tanken Studio!
Apart from their musical contributions, Kjetil and Tarald are also welcomed for their personal qualities and social contribution to the band. Ole talks about Kjetil’s return to an active live band, describing him as a talented musician and very resourceful person:
“Kjetil had already heard some of the early demos of Rubicon, and was very supportive and impressed. Given his rather long break from the metal live-scene, I think he also was eager to get back on the stage. Having Kjetil in the band and in the team is very giving. He has one of the most recognizable voices I know, he has tons of experience, a huge network and is an unstoppable think-tank of ideas and suggestions.”
Gyri elaborates on Kjetil’s social and professional skills:
“Kjetil, in addition to being the possessor of an impressive voice and an equally impressive vocal range, is the band’s entrepreneur. With his extended knowledge of the music business and a thousand ideas of how to navigate around it, he always comes up with suggestions on how we can do things better. He of course has a number of super smart business ideas for himself that he may carry out one day, but those are super-confidential – and right now he’s strictly talking Tristania business.”
Ole reveals that also Tarald has other talents than just being a great drummer:
“Tarald also proved to be a very talented lyricist. I always knew he was a well educated man, with great ear for languages, but that he suddenly came up with several amazing lyrics for Rubicon was a pleasant surprise! I really can’t wait to see what else he has in store for us, because this is a man with wits and skills!”
Anders finally explains why Tarald is the right man for the job:
“After playing live with us for five years it feels right to have Tarald permanently in the band. He has done a wonderful job with the drum recordings on Rubicon, and I’m confident he will do so on many more Tristania albums in the future.”
So here it is – summer 2010, and Tristania is once more renewed, once more complete. The band is evidently proud of its past and feels privileged to have so many talented musicians and good people as part of their history. But now is the time to look forward. The new album Rubicon is a piece of history shared by all the present members, and the band is eager to present it to old and new fans. Kjetil shares his views and expectations for Rubicon:
“During my years in Green Carnation and Trail of Tears, I did a number of albums, and I have also been contributing on a diversity of albums with other bands. But I can honestly say that I’ve never experienced a composing and recording process as thorough as the Rubicon sessions. And I’m really proud of the result. Following Tristania from the outside through the years, I have always been fascinated by their ability to renew themselves. Rubicon fits very well into that tradition. There has been a few changes in the band the last few years, and of course it will sound different than earlier. But there are still elements of the old Tristania in the songs. So I think that a lot of the band’s very loyal fans will like Rubicon a lot.”
The band is now rehearsing intensively for the forthcoming Norwegian dates and the first leg of the Rubicon tour in Europe that will be kicked off in London on October 8th. The release of Rubicon is finally coming closer, and the guys are eager to get the album out and head for the tour. Anders is hopeful:
“I really hope we will get to do more concerts with Rubicon than we have done with any album before. The guys and girls are motivated and hungry for some serious touring, and I find the rehearsals very uplifting. Tristania anno 2010 is going to sound better than ever.”
Tarald is also really happy with the chemistry of the new line-up:
“Playing live with the various constellations of the band has taught me to appreciate and cherish the current atmosphere of common focus, commitment and team spirit. We are a group of individuals that are complementary to each other in a number of ways, trying to lift each other to a new level.
This also goes for composing the new material and making the whole recording process happen: Everybody in the band has – in different ways – participated in pushing the making of Rubicon forward, an album that in completion turned out to be exactly what we set out to accomplish.
The tours, festivals, gigs and rehearsals with the new line-up of the band have made us a very tight-knit unit, now facing our audience with a solidified definition of what Tristania 2010 is all about: Respecting tradition, while exploring new horizons, expanding the ‘Goth playground’.
We can’t wait to present the new songs live, while also paying homage to the past by playing older ‘evergoths’”.
Ole sums it up perfectly:
“In all the new and exiting things going on with Tristania right now, it’s not without sadness I have to acknowledge that the days of playing with Østen is over. Nevertheless am I certain that Tarald and Kjetil are the right persons and musicians to carry the Tristania torch, and to ensure that Tristania still continues to grow and evolve. We are all very proud of the name, and while we seek to expand the boundaries of our music, we always remember where we come from.”
All being said, and the rest yet to be done, it is only natural that Tarald should wrap this up with the infamous last words:
“Playing for Tristania fans makes all the blood, sweat and beers worthwhile.”