BraveWords Interview: INSIDIOUS DISEASE – Death Is The Antidote

By Carl Begai

“We started in 2004, so we’re not the most productive band on the planet. At least to other people it looks like we don’t do shit (laughs).”

Which is how Dimmu Borgir guitarist Silenoz – born Sven Atle Kopperud – sums up life in his side project, Insidious Disease. To date, the band has only two albums under their collective belt: their Shadowcast debut from 2010, and the just-released After Death. The in-your-face line-up featuring Silenoz, vocalist Marc Grewe (ex-Morgoth), guitarist Cyrus (Susperia), bassist Shane Embury (Napalm Death) and drummer Tony Laureano (ex-Nile) has finally put an end to their extended silence in a big way, and if not for the all-too-familiar pandemic’s chokehold on daily life the band would be delivering their goods to the fans first hand on the touring trail. This will happen eventually, Silenoz assures us; it’s just a matter of time until that becomes a reality. The same thing that plagued the making of the new album: time.

“Some of the ideas are from as far back as 2011 or 2012,” Silenoz says of After Death. “For instance, on the ‘Divine Fire’ demo I used the heartbeat of my unborn son at the time as the intro, and we kept that. And, Marc’s unborn son’s heartbeat is at the end of the song. That goes back to 2012 and it’s probably the oldest song on the new album. There was a good stretch of time between the material that we had, which was about 16 songs, but we trimmed it down to these 10.”

Given that Insidious Disease was locked away for a decade, fans may be left with impression that Silenoz, Grewe and Co. were content with getting back to work if and when they had nothing better to do. Not so, says Silenoz.

“The thing is, the debut album just kind of got buried because we were eager to start touring and promoting it, and things just hit an anti-climax because I got busy with Dimmu. There was never a reason as to why we shouldn’t tour, but it just didn’t take off. I think we could have worked harder on that end, but we always wanted to have Insidious Disease and not my solo project. We want to do everything to promote this new album.”

Silenoz acknowledges that, as with anything you leave lying around too long, things can get stale, including music, and this was something Insidious Disease was lucky enough to avoid even though it took years to solidify the song ideas.

“That’s a trick when you’re working on and off with songs that you don’t really have a deadline for recording,” he says. “It’s difficult and challenging in the sense that when you’ve done the song and you listen back to it two months later, you might want to change some things. If you start going down that rabbit hole you’ll never get finished. We put it on the shelf once it was written, we recorded everything ourselves here in Norway, and we had Russ Russell mix and master it in England. It’s been ready for a couple years but there were delays, then negotiating with the label, so it really feels good to finally have it out.”

There was, of course, the option of releasing After Death independently in the interest of saving time on label negotiations, rather than the possibility of holding up the release for another year.

“That was an alternative,” Silenoz admits. “The issue with that would be we’re busy with other stuff, so if we’re going to turn Insidious Disease into a daily thing – promotion and all that stuff – it’s going to take too much time in the sense that we would have to really be working at it day-to-day. I think we’re all a bit too old for that (laughs), so we decided to go with the other option, which was try to score a record deal. Obviously, Nuclear Blast got the first option because I’m there with Dimmu anyway. It was that simple, and they were totally into it. The whole pandemic caused some delay, because I think After Death was slated for an April / May release. But it didn’t make that much of a difference because we’ve been waiting for years to release this stuff.”

After Death was written by Silenoz and Grewe, but it has been made clear to everyone in volved that all Insidious Disease band members were and are welcome to contribute ideas in the future. Silenoz is adamant about the fact this is not his solo project

“For this album it was me doing most of the music, and me and Marc worked out the lyrical stuff together. But, the whole band is there when it comes to arranging the songs. Everybody has their own piece for the puzzle and that’s how I want it. I want people to understand this is a band, and hopefully for the next album the other band members will have more inclusion in the creative process.”

A creative process that is stripped down and back to basics, which is a far cry from present day Dimmu Borgir’s multi-layered symphonic black metal productions, emphasis on “productions.” Insidious Disease seems like it would be a vacation in comparison.

“I agree with you because with Dimmu, it’s not hard work but it’s more challenging,” Silenoz reveals. “There are more cooks at the table (laughs) and we have a certain way of working the songs out. There’s more of an analytical approach to Dimmu, I think, and with Insidious Disease it’s more about finding a groove, a feeling, an idea for a song and just going for it. If the song doesn’t pretty much write itself within two months then we’ll just scrap it and forget about it. With Dimmu we can work on songs for months at a time, but sometimes it comes together really quick. It all depends on the atmosphere and the situation. I think with Insidious it’s as you said: more stripped down and back to basics. We’re not here to re-invent the wheel or anything like that.”

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