Richard Holmes caught up with the affable Swede after his recent dual performance in Newcastle to talk new albums, new bassists and old folk music.
rushonrock: You’ve toured Europe with (Italian black metallers) Forgotten Tomb for the last few weeks, how have you found that experience?
Crister Olsson: There have been some incredible shows! In London it was a full house, the whole fucking place was screaming and we played the Doom Shall Rise festival in Germany last month too – it was fantastic, a dream. Zaragoza had a great crowd too. Then we’ve had the weekday nights in the smaller clubs, but the audiences have still been great. As for tour stories, we’ll keep them to ourselves!
rushonrock: Forgotten Tomb are very different to both of your bands – has that worked well on tour?
CO: It’s been good – everyone has gained from it. Fans of Isole and Ereb Altor have been checking out Forgotten Tomb and vice versa.
rushonrock: You’ve been playing the same shows as a member of both Isole and Ereb Altor, is that a big challenge?
CO: It has been really exhausting! I’d prefer not to do the double gigs to be honest, as both bands suffer a little bit in the live shows.
rushonrock: What has new bassist/vocalist Jimmy Mattsson brought to the bands?
CO: We have a good relationship with him on stage. We haven’t really worked with him in the studio, as Henrik (Lindenmo, former bassist and co-founder) played on the last (Isole) album, but Henrik hasn’t played with us on stage for three years. We played with different bassists but found Jimmy and it worked out, so we brought him into the band as a permanent member.
rushonrock: As a long-serving doom metal musician, how do you view the current scene?
CO: Of course, doom metal has grown a lot, you see doom bands on every festival and there are a lot of doom metal shows everywhere, so it seems more popular – but it’s still very underground. I haven’t heard many of the new doom bands though, I just listen to the old stuff. I’m actually listening to a lot of Opeth and Mastodon at the moment.
rushonrock: Can you tell us some more about the forthcoming Ereb Altor album, Fire and Ice?
CO: It will unite the last two albums, there’s a little bit of both of them in it. It has more of an epic feel than (last year’s) Gastrike, which focused on Swedish ghost stories. The new album will focus more on Norse mythology.
rushonrock: Bathory are obviously a major influence on Ereb Altor – but what are your other influences?
CO: Native folk music – I used to play in a folk band early in the 90s and I really enjoyed the minor keys in Swedish folk music.
rushonrock: What are your ambitions for both Isole and Ereb Altor?
CO: Our priority right now is to release the new Ereb Altor album and get on the bill at bigger festivals. I want to play open air festivals – of course you have to play on a small stage for a short time, but it’s the next step.