ARKENTYPE: Confronting Feelings


Norwegian progressive metallers Arkentype released their debut full-length album Disorientated in 2015 for which they received great reviews from all around the world. That success is paying back to them as the band is currently part of the touring expedition on the running Haken tour. About this all we talked with drummer Simen Sandnes.

Define the mission of Arkentype.

The first question we always like to answer pretty “un-Norwegian”: The mission of Arkentype is complete world domination. In Norway we are though from the very start of life that “you shall not think that you are better than anyone else”. It’s kind of an unwritten law that affects the entire Scandinavian society. We feel that if someone can do it, we can do it.

Tell me about the creative process that informed your new album Disorientated and the themes it captures.

Disorientated was mostly written by our guitarist Simen Handeland. He had a lot of demos ready (that actually still exists on his soundcloud).

Our former vocalist introduced my name brother and I to each other through Facebook. As we live in different cities the start up were kind of “slow”. But Simen and I quickly found out that we were on the same wavelength, both musically and mentally. We were sending demos back and forth. Then I did a little demo recording on one of his songs (Who Are We?) and he immediately got stoked and drove down to me in Kristiansand.

We had never met, and got best friends in a minute. After knowing him for under less than a day he just raised the bar and did some crazy things to me, (that I shall not mention) and from that moment we knew that we were going to do great things together. I couldn’t believe that I finally found someone just as stoked as me. That weekend we got the entire demo for “Welcome To My World”. Arkentype was supposed to be a “studio” / ”for fun” type of band. But after having that song done we realized that we had to go for it. We just had to. So, we did!

We got my classmate Kjetil on bass and started to write more songs. 
First of all we wanted to do an EP. But then we were just like “f**ck it” lets do an album. We took almost all of Simen H’s demos and worked them out together in my parent’s basement. Not playing together, just working out ideas on the computer. We figured that we would like Mr. Daniel Bergstrand to mix the albums. As I have worked with him before it was not hard to get him on the board. Best dude in the world. Daniel gave us a deadline on having all the files ready for mixing 15. April 2015. This was around 5th of March 2015; we had one song done (WTMW), and two sketches done (Who are We & Disorientated). For some insane reason we went for it. So we had to write an entire album, record it, edit and send the files in just 40days. All of us have work and school as well). We just forced the creativity out of us. Luckily Simen H and I work really well together, so we were actually never stuck. One idea just escalated to another, and we were in a really good flow. We were just making music, having a good a time and enjoying our self. Lyric wise, Kevin and Kjetil took all of that. They are both messed in their head, and came up with some insane stories that Simen H and me loved.

Long story short:

The main character has been convicted for the murder of his sister Erica, but as he suffers from amnesia he cannot remember. As the songs go he recalls the story of what really happened.

Arkentype - Disorientated

What is the message you are trying to give with Disorientated?

What we had in mind when we created Disorientated was that it was important for us to get out all of our feelings in the music. The story of Erica, for me, reflects on how hard it can be to describe, and confront your own feelings and actions.

How did you document the music while it was being formulated?

As I wrote earlier, we did all of the demos directly on our computer, so it was always super easy to change thing and check if it worked from a listeners point. When I went the studio to record drums, we had actually never played/jammed together. We didn´t have the time. Instead focused on making it as efficient as possible.

Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?

We have not actually planned anything that has happened on the album. Every thing has just been a result on what we liked and felt was right. I could say that I wanted growling on a part, and then Kjetil would say that he wanted clean singing. We are very open for trying everybody’s ideas and then we just go for what the majority of the band feels fits the song(s) best.

Describe the approach to recording the album.

We definitely wanted to do all of it by our self. Both because it is cheaper and that we get a much more personal connection to the whole process. We had the resources and “time” to do it. When all the demos were done we decided that we wanted to record all sting instruments instead of programming them. I attend at the Music Conservatory of Music at the University in Agder. So all my class mates are just the best musicians and people I know of. Getting them on the theme were no problem, every body was super stoked on helping us and to be a part of the album.

Drum wise we did it pretty basic. Booked studio time, had a friend to help engineer and record.

The demos were all done so close to the recording that I learned and recorded all of the songs in 3 days. Day 1 was to learn four songs. Day 2, I recorded those four songs, then when I was done recording I went back to learn the three other songs. And day 3. I recorded the three last songs. It might not sound to brutal, but I was playing for like 14-16 hours all those days. Arkentype songs are not that easy. And we also did some changes in the arrangement of the songs, as they felt different when Simen and I (finally) played’ them together and not just listening to the demos.

How long Disorientated was in the making?

Yeah, as I said earlier. We used 40 days on writing, scoring, recording and editing the album. Then it took about two weeks before we had the final master.
We released the first song “Ashes and Dirt” with a self made music video in the middle of may 2015 and got some really good feedback. Then Crime Records got on board, and we released the album 13. Nov 2015! So we had the album done for a long time before it was released. In the end, it was for the better.
We are now working on a new album, were we will do everything our self, except mastering.

Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?

Oh, that’s a good question. We all come from totally different backgrounds musically. I really love the contrasts between heavy, melodic and technical music. Simen H is more of a riff ´y, but very orchestral type. Kjetil, I don´t understand. He is just crazy and loves weird dissonating, circus stuff. And Kevin, yeah, he loves Justin Bieber.

But I would say that Tesseract, Periphery, Devin Townsend, Gojira, Animals as Leaders, and those types of bands have been a major influence to us.

What is your view on technology in music?

I love it. I play with another Electronic-pop duo called Oakland Rain, where I have programmed the entire live set in Ableton Live. Their synths are hooked up with USB, and all of their synths sounds change automatically. I also use the Roland Spd-sx pad to get all of the electronic sounds. Everybody has in-ear with click so we can start songs with out count in, and I don´t have to keep the time with the hi-hat when I´m not playing, witch for me, makes the live experience better. With Arkentype we have figured that we eventually want to expand our live set and play more of the stuffs our self. Like electronic drum intros and clean guitar leads. But right now it just demands so much extra equipment to carry around that we don´t think it’s worth it. For instance on this tour with Haken, we have like 20-30min sound check every night (including rigging). So we have to keep it as simple as possible. That’s why we have to do a lot of stuff on backing tracks. I have the live set programmed in Ableton Live, I press play at the start of the show, and everything goes automatically from there. “The optimal” for us would be to add two guys on synths, one more guitarist, and string quartet. We would also like to do more of the choir stuff our self. But we have only been a band for about a year, and have played more live shows than we have had rehearsals, so far. Music and technology goes hand in hand. It has come to stay!

Arkentype live

Do you see your music as serving a purpose beyond music?

Oh. I don´t know man. I do hope so. We have had some people that have send us drawings they have made while listening to our album Disorientated. And people that tell us that we inspire them to do the same as us, produce, record and mix the stuff them self.
For me, Arkentype is a place were I can get all of my stupid ideas, like the “Time Collapse” breakdown, out. I love that type of stuff and have always wanted a band were I could play things like that. I think that our live performance definitely serve a purpose more than just the music!

You are about to embark on a European tour as a support to Haken. What are your expectations?

We are six days in on the tour now. It has been absolutely fantastic so far. The guys are great; crew is awesome, looks like everybody is having a good time. We are really great full to Haken having us on the tour. Our expectations for the rest of the tour are that we will reach out to new people every night, and do a better performance every day.

What are your plans for the future?

New album, more tour – World Domination. Thanks for having me on, really appreciate you taking interest in our band. All the best, and all the love!

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