Øystein Brun hears color: “When I listen to music, I see colors,” the brains behind Borknagar explains. “I have green riffs, brown riffs, orange riffs, and together they make certain colors and shapes. It’s mental mapping, in a way.”
It’s refreshing to hear a guy who demands absolute honestly in the arts actually practicing what he preaches. Since 1995, Brun‘s exacting standards has propelled Borknagar to the forefront of the more forward-thinking extreme metal units out there. Heavy on Nordic, progressive, and avant-garde elements but firmly rooted the black metal that made Norway a focal point, Borknagar‘s personnel has featured such luminaries as Asgeir Mickelson (Spiral Architect), Ivar Bjørnson (Enslaved), Andreas Hedlund (Vintersorg), and the inimitable Kristoffer “Garm” Rygg of Ulver notoriety. Borknagar, however, has always been Brun‘s baby, as is evidenced by the songwriting credits on their eleven albums; his name appears alongside nearly every song the band has composed.
The affable Brun is by no means ready to take a break, however, and his incredulity seems to have served both his inquisitive and creative streaks. “At this point in life, I’m just done with bullshit,” he blurts out. “I’m done with religion, superstition, etc. If I want to learn something about the environment, I talk to a scientist, not some jerk with an opinion.”
Brun chatted with Sonic Perspectives scribe and fellow humanist Gonzalo Pozo for nearly an hour, where the two discuss Borky‘s upcoming album, the possibility of a long-overdue US tour, and how he managed to get the three frontmen the group has had to all perform together on the 2016 album Winter Thrice. Brun also sheds his tough exterior to discuss the passing of his father during the making of that album. “I’m a big guy,” he confided. “I built my own house. I built my own studio. But I couldn’t help my father when he needed me. My way of giving back to him, was to make a song, because that’s something I can do. The lyrics to “Wild Father’s Heart” are in honor of him, his open-mindedness, and his free spirit.”
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