After the release of The Gospel, Order’s second full-length, I had a talk with Manheim, the band’s drummer.
Hello and first of all, thank you very much for your time! Would you please introduce yourself and the band Order without using the usual “Black Metal” label?
Manheim (drums): Well, we are a band of four that have a common passion for musical expressions within the edge zone of music genres. It’s me on percussion, Anders Odden on guitar, Stu Manx on bass and Billy Messiah on vocals. We started the band back in 2013 and have just released our second studio album, The Gopsel.
Where does the band’s name come from?
Manheim: The name originates from a suggestion we got when we discussed what to call ourselves. It refers to bringing order to something, as in that we come from a tradition and bring this into the contemporary.
The Gospel, your second full-length, is just released, how do you feel about this album? What about the feedback?
Manheim: It feels really great to finally have our second album out. Since Lex Amentiae we have been affected by all kinds of circumstances both trivial and serious, that has made it difficult to keep a steady progress. The last and most serious was when Anders got diagnosed with severe cancer. When he was declared free from cancer the summer of 2020 we finally got to concentrate on the next album. It has been a very intense and satisfying process and we are very pleased with the result. While Lex Amentiae was a good album that gave a direction to what we could achieve with Order, I believe The Gospel is an album that represents what we aspired to achieve. It is a very strong and personal album to us and so far the response we have got from the music press and fans are overwhelmingly positive. We make music first and foremost for ourselves. But to get so much enthusiastic response from people around the world is great.
How does the composition process happen? Is there a concept behind it? Are there any changes compared to the previous one?
Manheim: The making of The Gospel was very intense. Since Lex Amentiae we had accumulated a huge amount of material. However it didn’t quite feel right, any of it. We could easily have made a “second Lex” with what we had, but we wanted to take things further. Dig deeper. Achieve more. Finally we decided to delete all and start fresh. This turned out to be a wise decision. We immediately went into an intense creative flow where everything came in a flow. While Lex Amentiae in many ways is a collection of songs that was written as the band progressed, The Gospel is a concept album where the songs were created over a period of six seven weeks. And while Lex Amentiae was a few weeks of studio recording, The Gospel was months, starting in the late January 2021 and ended in the first week of May.
I personally loved the album, which is a compendium of Old School and raw sounds, with even some energetic patterns, where does the inspiration come from to create music?
Manheim: Thank you! That is a very hard question to answer, but I do believe the music we make must live inside us and that when we make music we connect to this spring of feelings that many people will define as a muse. The tricky part is to really get aligned with this part of yourself. When you do, it feels great and easy because everything is just flowing. I believe we managed this with The Gospel.
How do you manage to create such an unhealthy and suffocating atmosphere with a climax on Pneuma II, the last song?
Manheim: It’s about following the feeling you have inside and try to make the sounds that reflect it. We wanted the opening theme to reflect a lived life sort of speech, where the tune no longer was this wary beautiful harmony as it is in the opening track. I had an accordion that I worked aggressively to get some of the foundation of the atmosphere. Then we added the piano theme where I play it hard and forcefully, and finally we added my vocals from the demo version we made of the song My Pain. I think it turned out to express the feelings we wanted well.
There are also some piano on some songs, like Pneuma, how do you decide to add different instrumental parts to your songs?
Manheim: We wanted to connect the songs together on this album. I had a tune that I have carried inside me since as long as I can remember, but never have found a place for until now. That is the tune of Pneuma and Pneuma II. We decided to test it for piano as an intro and then it was only natural to keep using piano throughout the album to keep the atmosphere of it. We rigged a piano and used a room microphone to record the tunes. Anders is doing the outro of Rise while I do the rest. I think it works great and gives a significant structure to the album.
About the artwork, what was the guideline to create it?
Manheim: We wanted to make a simple design and had lots of ideas that revolved around intensity and the extreme. However we understood that this album is an esoteric focused album rather than exoteric, and that we should reflect that with a figure on the cover. We collaborated with a great photographer who wanted to do a shoot with only natural light and set it all up with a fireplace outdoors and me as the model. The picture he took captures the spirit of the album in my opinion. The album is about the pain and suffering that comes with being human, and that it’s a lonely journey to be human.
As we all know, Covid-19 crisis fucked a lot of things up since last year, how did you face the situation as a band? Did the crisis have an impact on the album itself?
Manheim: It didn’t affect us much, to be honest. Of course we were isolated but that only gave us the opportunity to spend more time on the album as a result of it. In that sense it might have contributed in a more positive way, I think.
Even if there are still a lot of doubts about the worldwide situation, maybe you already have plans for the band’s future?
Manheim: Hopefully we will be able to tour more this time. We have just finished our Norway tour, and we will play at the Inferno Festival in April and have a three city Poland tour booked. Other than that we are looking into a Balkan tour and a South America tour. It’s too early to say, but I hope we will be able to meet more of our fans in 2022 than we have been able to before.
At the moment I’m writing this question, you just began your norway tour, and already played some shows. How does it feel to be back on stage? How do you usually feel before getting on stage?
Manheim: I love to be on stage. It feels great no matter how many people there are in the audience. I love to play and create and being on stage is an important part of it all. I always feel a bit tense before a performance but as soon as we get going I just lose myself to the music. It’s great.
What was your first Metal album? Bought by yourself or offered by someone.
Manheim: That must have been a cassette tape with AC/DC’s Highway to Hell. Or maybe it was Sabbath Bloody Sabbath.
Do you remember the first time you tried to play an instrument? When and how was it?
Manheim: I don’t remember the first time, but I do know I had instruments as toys from my toddler years. The first I remember must be playing flute and electrical organ at my grandparents. It was always very satisfying. I guess music is part of my personality somehow.
When did you realise you wanted to become a professional musician?
Manheim: That would be when Necro (Necrobutcher, Mayhem’s founding member, ed.) and I started our first band ?
What do you love about your music that you cannot find in other band’s music?
Manheim: That is a very hard question to answer. I love music and appreciate talents in all kinds of genres. But if I understand your question it is related to whether there is something unique with what I make myself. And there is. I like to create the music I have inside me, and that is very difficult to find anywhere else than within yourself.
Do you have hobbies aside from music? Do you also have a job, or does your music income allow you to live?
Manheim: I do have a day job. It is difficult to earn a living on the type of music I am involved with. I do not consider music to be a hobby, though. It is much more serious and important than that.
Maybe you already heard about the french Metal scene? Which French bands do you know?
Manheim: I must admit that I do not know the French metal scene that well, even though we are on a French label. I know of Gojira of course, and Svart Crown. Other than that I am not sure I am familiar with the French Metal. To my defence I am not that interested in the geographical origin of musicians and bands. I tend to go into the music and are terrible at music quiz games because I know so little details outside of the music product itself ?
What if I ask you to compare Order’s music with a dish? Which one and why?
Manheim: Man, I really wouldn’t know. Maybe a fusion dish mixing the old traditional European food traditions with some aggressive spicy modern flavours?
You already had a guest spot on the previous record, but are there some musicians or bands you would like to collaborate with on a song, or more?
Manheim: There’s no guests performing on Lex Amentiae, but we do a cover of a Celtic Frost song, if that is what you refer to (yes it is, sorry for my mistake! ed.). Whether Order will collaborate with anyone in the future I don’t know, but as musicians we collaborate on other projects of course. I am in talks on doing some collaborations now, but we will have to wait and see. Anyways, I am always open to new ideas and love to work with creative people. I expect to be doing much collaboration in the future.
Last question: which bands would you love to tour with? I let you create a tour with Order and three other bands!
Manheim: Hehe a devilish question because by choosing three I have to let out a bunch of great bands. But I would love to tour with Tom G Warrior, that would both be an honour and great fun I think. I also would love to tour with Reincarnation and other Ultra-Metal bands in South America, and to choose a third it would be great to tour with Napalm Death. I have always loved them.
That was the last question for me! Thanks a lot for your time, last words are yours!
Manheim: That would be a great thank you to all fans that give us attention and listen to our music. I don’t take that for granted, and truly appreciate it.