Norwegian progsters Leprous are releasing their first live album, Live At Rockefeller Music Hall. Guitarist Tor Oddmund Suhrke gives us the scoop on the record that was recorded in their hometown of Oslo, tour plans, the status of their next studio album, his favorite Norwegian bands and other topics.
Chad Bowar: Why was this the right time for the first Leprous live album?
Tor Oddmund Suhrke: We wanted to eternalize the current live show we’ve been touring with for some time now, before releasing our next album. The combination of songs is from our last three albums, and fits very well together so we thought this was something we wanted to put on record.
Was it difficult to decide the venue to film the show?
It was a bit back and forth, but in the end we realized doing this in our home city of Oslo would both be practical and cool, since we know the venue well from before. We actually played there four times before, two times in 2002 and two times in 2003 when we participated in the Norwegian rock championship as a youth band and entered the finals on both occasions. This means that we actually returned to the venue after 13 years.
How did you go about constructing the set list for the show?
When we decide set lists we try to combine the songs that makes most sense together, so that the mood of the show has a natural flow. This set list was made with a base of the set list we had used on our latest tours, and then added some new elements, transitions and a song we hadn’t played for a very long time, that also included several guest artists.
Besides the special guests like Ihsahn, what else was different from the “usual” Leprous live show?
In general everything was bigger than usual: the venue, the lights, the screens with visual projections, and we also added new elements to the songs, between songs, and also the arrangements with extra instruments such as two drum kits, extra percussion, violin, and as you mentioned special guests.
Have the live arrangements of your earlier songs stayed pretty similar to their recorded versions?
We have never been very strict on keeping the songs the same way as on the recording, so there’s several changes, both small and big, to the arrangements of the song, especially in the way they flow into each other.
What are your upcoming tour plans?
We’re heading out on a seven week support tour in Europe with Devin Townsend and Between The Buried And Me, and then we’ll probably head out on another headlining tour sometime after we release our next album.
What were some of the highlights for you of your recent North American tour?
The tour was both awesome and exhausting, but all in all we had a very nice trip and met a lot of great people. The shows in New York, Chicago, french Canada, Los Angeles and Mexico were some of the highlights, and also just the road trip all over North America in itself.
Where haven’t you played live that you’d still like to get to?
We still haven’t toured in South America, and since I know we have a lot of fans there it would be very cool to make that happen at some point.
Have you begun writing for the follow-up to The Congregation yet?
Yes, in fact we’re just about to enter the studio to start the recording of our next studio album.
Do you have a timetable for the release of the next studio record?
The last releases has all been released two years apart: 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015, so let’s see if we manage to keep that tradition.
What are your all-time top 5 Norwegian bands?
Difficult question, but from the top of my head I could mention Seigmen, Emperor, Susanne Sundfør, Röyksopp and Øystein Sunde.
What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
I listen to a lot of various genres, and not that much heavy at the moment, but if I were in a heavy mood I think I would put on some Gojira or maybe the newest Dillinger Escape Plan album.
Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
I would mention that I’m very excited about trying out my new Aristides guitars in the studio for the first time on our upcoming recording. Especially the 080s 8-string guitar will be a treat to explore in a studio setting. And of course I hope to see as many as possible on our upcoming tour!
(interview published November 23, 2016)