The Dynamic Standstill Soothes
The macabre darkness of December 2000 saw the release of Stille Opprør’s Prosjekt 2 13, an album which yours truly considered a safe contender for the top three albums of the entire year. The startling thing about it all was that this great release was, as the title suggests, brought to us by courtesy of a project band. More precisely, the majority of material inside was attributed to Christer Andre Cederberg of Drawn. While the project collective is already ready to sail through the recordings of their sophomore release, it was thought that now would be a good lapse for consideration about certain things lining the band’s ambiguous presence.
“Yet one acoustic pushover more,” is what those who listen to the sweet sounds of death metal and not quite much more are inclined to think of Stille Opprør. But to my mind Stille Opprør is not similar to those pushovers at all. On the contrary, it is actually interesting how the acoustic ventures of the scene seem to be more significantly different from each other than the abrasive extreme metal twisters. Or is that so much of an unexpected thing after all? Mostly these people in the more tender ensembles, of whom Stille Opprør is one, merely know how to handle their instruments. They know how to filter ideas in their mind, compose, arrange and rethink their accomplishes.
The self-released CD of Stille Opprør, Prosjekt 2 13, packaged smoothly in quite eccentric papers and looking very professional, is about being extraordinarily emotional, and about knowing how to deal with that condition within brilliant, yet to some without doubt unsuitably abstract verses. It is like a passage of poetry when you have monitored prose for the whole evening. It is as if to say, ‘the tacky stench of the room, poesy, has been aired out, and in has come the scent of tulips in a vase, poetry.’ To myself, this is just what the doctor ordered.
Ah, forget all bad analogies. The music made from the flesh of the Norwegian entourage is just ridiculously good, ridiculously, ridiculously good. It defies any corrosive, badly made descriptions, omits each and every ‘extra-curricular’ point of notion, and simply tells you to listen to the auditory results.
But what may possibly make a fervent admirer disconsolate is the fact of the matter that Stille Opprør is not really a band but a project. Yes, one of those horrid things that every self-respecting friend of genuine music dislikes. Things are taking an upwards down turn here, as real bands seldom create something this meaningful. ‘What the hell?!’ would be my question number one to Christer Andre Cederberg, whom you may also remember from the mirror of many things, Drawn. I truly do not have a lot of information about this creation; is it a side-project, a band or what, and who are these myriads of people on the record? I thought Stille Opprør was a project of yours, not half the population of Norway!
Christer tones the reporter down in his eagerness: “Stille Opprør is kind of a ‘one man band’ project, as I am the person making all the music. The people involved play mainly what I tell them to play. We have no rehearsals, so everything is done in the studio. It feels pretty good to have a project like this, as there’s no place for compromises: I can do whatever I want to! But it needs to be said that the result wouldn’t have been like this, had I not received the help from the musicians involved.”
To go on with the one-footed associative depictions (it is catching!), Prosjekt 2 13 is an equivalent to a cold winter day, what with its sharp melodies that are like the rays of sun shining overhead, the ethereal female vocals, the long improvised guitar passages and the overall gracious atmosphere. Did gathering the material for the album require innumerable walks in the forests and along the fjords in the Norwegian landscape? How important is nature to you?
“Nature is very important to me,” Christer relates. “There’s a lot of it in Norway, but I’m now living in the capital city, Oslo, where there’s far too little nature and far too many buildings. I can very easily find peace when I’m walking in the forest. So therefore it doesn’t affect my musical work. At least not on a conscious level, as I write music when I have not found inner peace with myself. See what I mean? The feeling of walking in the forest is hard to ‘pass over’ to Stille Opprør, as what lays beneath what I earn from doing these things is on such different levels. Anyway, if I were to make bombastic, atmospheric black or death metal, I would probably be able to take the inspiration directly from the ‘majestic fjords’.”
Do you believe that it might be dangerous in some circles that Prosjekt 2 13 has not got a real climax in it, that it might be judged uninteresting and blunt for not having any truly distinctive highlight moments?
“Yes, surely,” Christer admits. “If a person likes for example mostly heavy music, it would probably feel like there are no highlights. But there are. Everything is just lowered to another level. What’s down is a lot more than a calm passage in an Opeth song. I think maybe my music is not that suited for most underground people as it’s not extremely hard but more like extremely calm.”
And he is probably right. However, the process of maturation is quite notable on Prosjekt 2 13. The way Christer looks at it himself, does he think that he has learned to see things differently from the period of time prior to making the debut album of Drawn? And I mean a greater view of the world, not just the music business etc. Does he think that he has changed as a person?
“I know I’ve changed as a person,” comes the confident answer. “That’s my main goal: to develop. Not only musically. The making of music helps me to get to know myself better, as through music I express feelings that I can’t find words to. It would have probably had the same effect if I had painted or made use of any other creative activity.
“Also, I’m not that pissed off now as I were before when making the Drawn songs. The new Drawn songs, by the way, are completely different from the prior releases. It’s not as calm as Stille Opprør but it’s sure as hell a lot different.”
The last time we spoke you told me that you had almost stopped thinking, turned into a zombie, and that you did indeed love the feeling. I suppose that was bound to change at some point because Prosjekt 2 13 is clearly a work that could have not been created without the presence of fruitful thinking. Right?
“We all go through different periods in life. The last time we talked to each other I was tired of being too serious. The more you learn, the more you understand of what you don’t know. That can be fucking exhausting when relating it to the mind. Your cosmos is never ending, like the universe. I think that if a person one day understood everything in life, he would kill himself.
“Anyway, I’m in a thinking period now, and it feels good. These things have to come natural. You will see it even more on the next Stille Opprør album.”
How is life treating you otherwise?
“At the moment I have two jobs,” he says, “and I’m also doing some recording on three different albums including my own, and am in a pretty intense rehearsing period with two other bands, as we’re going to have some gigs soon. It’s been like this for quite a few months now actually.”
To get back to the most recent release, would you say that Prosjekt 2 13 is a product of distance? It does not really come very close to the listener if you think about it. I will admit that it is personal and intimate but not really the kind of character that you would go around to console, pat on the back and say ‘everything will be fine again’, is it? What is your opinion?
“I didn’t feel that ‘everything would be fine again’ when making the album, I must admit. I was really sad. I didn’t quite see how to deal with the problems, as I was kind of ‘walking in the dark’ if you know what I mean. So the album is maybe in a way a product of distance as there are no solutions. But at the same time, it’s the most personal stuff I’ve ever recorded. So to me, it’s very ‘close’. I wish I knew how it would be to listen to the album if I hadn’t had anything to do with it. Now, when finishing one album, all I think of is the next one. I merely listen to the result.”
As listening to the album, I cannot really avoid asking this: have you had troubles with women recently?
“You’ve got me there. I have no interest in discussing these topics with anyone, but I can say this: The lyrics were way too personal on Prosjekt 2 13. It’s best if people listening to the album relate the lyrics to themselves. What I feel is of no interest.”
One thought that crossed my mind was that you are dissecting the Drawn patterns into various separate parts with these consequent projects. Will it soon be so that there is no Drawn at all, only a million side-projects by Christer Andre Cederberg, haha? On the other hand, has the demise of one In the Woods… left you with more ‘blank’ time in your hands?
“At the moment Stille Opprør is as much of a main band as Drawn. I have four band projects besides these two, but Stille Opprør and Drawn are the most important ones, and probably will be for quite some time. Because of the dissolution of In the Woods… I now have more time to experiment with different bands. But In the Woods… didn’t take that much of my time, as we didn’t practise that much. It was more about what we felt ‘there and then’ when we were recording stuff. A lot of improvising. The song arrangements took some time though.”
To change the topic, what do you think of these acoustic groups among the metal scene - groups like Ulver who did the acoustic thing among the first I guess, and Naervaer, Tenhi, and so on? Have they been an influence on Stille Opprør?
“I am not that into the metal scene at the moment, so I haven’t heard much about these bands. I think the Naervaer albums are really great. Terje and Janki are very good friends of mine, so I reckon I’ve got some inspiration from them. I don’t think directly through music anyway, but perhaps more on an unconscious level.”
As for examples of more presumptuous use of acoustic instruments, such as Blackmore’s Night, and artsy cross-cultural folk groups in general, Christer says he is unqualified to give a verdict because he has not heard much of their music.
As I have understood it, Christer is searching for a record deal with Stille Opprør. Much as I like the idea, would that not be a tad hasty? Does he agree at all?
“I’m still searching for a deal. It’s not a one-album venture as I’m in the middle of the new Stille Opprør recordings at the moment. It’s quite different, with more dynamics, grooves, more drums and other instruments in regards to the previous one. It’s still acoustic though…
“Stille Opprør is still not a band, but I like it that way.”
What do you suppose you will be doing after this interview? Will it be television and sandwiches or alcohol and girls or literature and the stark nightsky? Are you more of a homebody or an outgoing person?
“After this interview I will meet up with my sister so that we can prepare for the recording of some of her songs. She’s a great singer and will probably have a deal in not too long I reckon.
“I think I’m something in between what you described. Except that I watch very little television. It’s a form of ‘escape from reality’ that’s not very creative for your mind. I’m never bored as I always have a lot of things I have, and want, to do.”
When I ask if he would have anything to say to conclude our discussion, he says, with reference to boredom and being bored, that in his opinion it is very important to be able to sit down alone, without television or music, and simply ‘feel good’ with just the presence of one’s own body and mind. Wise words, I think, and very truthful, if often completely disregarded. But this also tells something about the quality of this band. They are not necessarily pushing back the frontiers of any scene, but they hold a quality unmatched inside.