08 Novembre 2017



Interview Baard Kolstad (face to face)

Well, I'm a bit late due to the heavy traffic and rain in Bordeaux tonight. I got to the Rocher de Palmer venue only 2-3 minutes after the appointment time, just to witness I was not the one being late. Ten minutes later, Jay, the tour manager, invites me in. She's a rather cool woman (where other would look down on you) and, as we walk backstage, is pleased to tell me "You’re getting bored” in a non-native English fashion. I'm struck by what she just said, asking right away "why will I get bored? I don't get it.". That made her realize, and amused her, because Baard sounds like "bored" when pronounced in Norwegian, so she corrected “No, you’re getting Baard, the drummer”. Time for introductions over, then we head next to a sofa area where two Alithia band members nicely left to let us do our interview. After the interview was finished, Baard was super kind since he made a video message specially dedicated to my wife, stuck in bed with bronchitis, who had to settle with not coming to tonight's show. Cool guy, isn't he?


Hi Baard, I’m with “Aux Portes du Metal” (he tries to say it in French) a French webzine dealing with metal stuff ranging from Rainbow, Black Sabbath up to Cannibal Corpse and beyond. I have to tell you, I love you guys, I discovered you while you were opening for Devin Townsend Project. Your song “The Price” is what got me into your stuff.

Thank you, it is nice to hear. Actually, “The Price” is the very first song I got to contribute.

How about introducing us to Leprous, for people who don’t know about you yet?

My name is Baard Kolstad. I’m with Leprous, a band that started in 2001. I wasn’t there but there was Einar Solberg and Tor Oddmund Suhrke, they started under the name Leprous because they thought it sounded scary and cool. Musically, it wasn’t sounding good at all, it took years to get there. The first serious album they put out was in 2009. The band had started to become serious and ambitious in 2007-2008. I started in 2013. We all care about making music with emotions and in a mood, that are actually saying something, so that you can feel it when you hear it. That’s what’s important for us.

We can notice a lot of groove in a very intricate setting, complex stuff, musically speaking. It takes a bit of playing along to notice the sheer complexity of it.

Really, we have some technical instrumentalists in the band. We don’t try to make anything technical but sometimes this kind of riff is perfect for this kind of mood and we’ll make it, no matter how hard it can be.

I’ve seen you in several videos but I was wondering, were you in any known project beforehand ?

I’m also known as “this street drummer”. I have a youtube video for which France generates the most number of hits. I also won the Championship for electronic drumming in 2012. I also worked for Borknagar, a Norwegian progressive band, and Gold Seed.

Borknagar? The band with ICS Vortex, former bassist of Dimmu Borgir?

Yes, Vortex discovered me, I started to play with him, not the band, just him.

Ok, so now you’re with Leprous, is this line-up stable?

I started in 2013, the bass player started in 2015 and the other guitarist started in late 2016. So I’m fairly new but not the newest member. We’re really happy with this line-up and it seems to work out really well.

Are you all from Norway?

Yes everybody and on this tour, we have a cellist from Canada.

He plays at the end of "Mirage" or "Malina"?

On "Malina", not on "Mirage", we do it differently, he plays on "Coma", Bonneville, "Stuck", "Leashes", on "From the Flames"…

You’re playing "Leashes" (one of my favorites) tonight?

Yes!!!!!!! It’s a secret. But we don’t play it that often.

This is actually a challenge for people not to sing along the “ho ho ho” with Einar.

Yes, correct.

Can you tell us a bit about Leprous’ and your personal influences?

Everybody comes from a different background. Leprous comes originally from the Opeth, Tool thing…but now Radiohead, Massive Attack, not so much metal. We really like Gojira, we think they are one of the few metal bands that truly has the right attitude like Meshuggah, Behemoth. My personal influences as a drummer… I come from the Mike Portnoy world, Nicko McBrain from iron Maiden and then it started to be Gavin Harrison, and lately a lot of gospel drummers, Terry Bozio, Morten Hagren from Sweden, Anderson Paak.

What got you into music, personally?

It all started out as I was nine years old. I was so fascinated with drums, I then wanted to play drums. My father introduced me to ZZ Top, Dire Straits, Pink Floyd, and man, that drum intro on Money for Nothing… I could only dream about that. Then I discovered AC/DC and thought that was really cool even though I never totally got into that. Iron Maiden and Metallica… man I’m sold! And then Dream Theater. But above all, at the local school, I was into the drums, the instrument itself.

So, "Malina" is the fifth album, can you tell us where the title comes from?

Yes, it’s the fifth “official” studio album. It’s really cool because we actually got raspberries from a fan today. Malina obviously means raspberries… in south slavic language... Einar (the singer) was in Georgia visiting his brother and there was a very very old woman, there are a lot of poor people in Georgia, she was selling raspberries. She kind of seemed very lost and she was just shouting “Malina, malina” and somehow that made a very strong impression on Einar. Also, we felt it sounded nice (he yawns).

Do you guys how the new songs get welcome?

Yes, definitely, the album seems very popular. A song like From the Flames aaaalways works live. Very strong chorus in my opinion. First time ever we played something from this album as this past summer in Barcelona. From the Flames was definitely the highlight of the whole concert. And then in Moscow, we played other songs, it was the first show of this tour (he yawns again). Of course it is ‘efreshing for us to play something new because we played The Congregation and Coal soooo much. It is real dynamic and more “creating something in the moment”.

Did you notice, aside from this song, another song that hits it right away?

Yes, always "Bonneville" and "Stuck". I really like songs like "Coma" but it is hard to pull off live. "Weight of Disaster" works really nice.

Do you play "Mirage"? I love the outro with the bass/drums duel! It’s super groovy!

Yes, well you’re gonna have fun tonight!

Those songs are complex, do you write songs while you’re on tour?

No, I’ve been thinking about it but there is so much to do, always something to prepare for a coming show, stuff to organize, getting ready and also just relax. Some people do that but we don’t do that.

Can you share your routine as a drummer for the warm up?

Well, not more than just getting the hands warm and ready, there is no such thing as a routine. At the beginning of the tour, I was playing with a metronome to get the pulse right. Now for "Bonneville" and "Stuck", this tempo is right in my head. But at the beginning I needed to do that.

Nothing for the feet?

No, but I really should. On "Rewind", sometimes I’ve been a bit challenged… but the first songs really work for me as a warm up. I play the drums every day and I do a little bit of teaching on tour so I get more. I only promoted it on my own wall.

You’re friends with Vortex, you’re from Norway and a metalhead, you could have ended up burning churches….

Ihsahn is also a very good friend. Vortex would come at home, at parties, with the long hair, drinking and having fun. Ihsahn is Einar’s brother-in-law, a long time musician friend. We know Gaal from Gorgoroth.

What’s next after this current headlining tour?

We tour until the end of November and then we’re going out again in January. We go to Australia! We might have some other news soon in other touring markets.

Did you notice that promoting the band was difficult? You can be very extreme, very intense and at other times very mellow, peaceful.

Of course it’s boring for some people, especially when they need a chorus. When we have those ambiance sections in some songs, it’s boring for normal people. But metal music is not for the normal guy in the street. I believe that Leprous’ music will appeal to way more audiences than lots of Norwegian black metal bands. As you say, this time is way too boring, or out of their reach, for the normal guy on the street. But we don’t want to do more commercial, mainstream stuff to appeal to normal people.

Baard, what would you like to add?

Leprous are very grateful for all the fans we have in France. We have seven out of thirty-three shows that are in France! The attendance is so good, and we enjoy it here, we like it very much. We played a sold-out show in Paris. Good attendance yesterday in Nantes as well. Leprous is a band that wants to grow.