Ida Haukland (Triosphere)
Norwegian metal band TRIOSPHERE has been making waves in the last few years with their brand of melodic heavy metal, rife with progressive influences. We caught up with the band’s beautiful and charismatic frontwoman Ida Haukland to talk to her about Triosphere’s latest release “The Heart of the Matter” and more. Read on..
HB: Hello Ida, thank you for taking the time to do this interview with us. I’d like to start by congratulating you on the release of Triosphere’s third full length album, “The Heart of the Matter.” Tell us a little more about the album and what fans of the band can expect from it.
IH: Thank you very much, the pleasure is mine! In short, THOTM shows a much more mature and confident Triosphere. The last 4 years have been rich in experiences; we’ve done 3 European tours, several big festivals and cool concerts, and all of this certainly contributes to developing both the band and ourselves as individuals.
The sound on the album can perhaps be placed in between our two previous albums. It has the speed and energy of “Onwards” and the epic atmosphere and emphasis on melodies of “The Road Less Travelled”. Combine this with well-advanced songwriting, improved individual musical skills and a mix that gives the songs a more modern and tight sound than before, and you’ll get THOTM. We feel that we’ve just written much better songs, they’re faster and more heavy, but also more melodic and catchy. We’re proud of all our albums, but we always aim to improve and we certainly feel we’ve managed that with this 3rd album.
HB: In my opinion, “The Road Less Travelled” really put Triosphere on the map. It received almost no negative reviews from all over the world, which is not only a positive fact for the band, but also puts a lot of pressure on you to continue in the same vein and make an album that is as close to perfect. Did you at any point during the writing, recording and production of “The Heart of the Matter” feel pressured to write a better album than before?
IH: Hehe… You know, the question “how will you ever manage to make a better record than this” was directed towards us not many weeks after the release of TRLT, so we were very early made aware of that the public thought we should feel a pressure, hehe. It took a while, but yeah; when we really begun working heavily on writing THOTM, I at least begun to feel a pressure and worried about if I would be able to make even better vocal lines and lyrics than on TRLT. Like I said, you always want to improve and make progress in your music. But worrying about it does not help at all, in fact it just blocks you, and luckily that feeling did not last for long and was replaced with determination and inspiration.
So I just focused on the material that Marius presented, listened deeply to it, allowed it to “simmer” in the back of my head, and then crafted the melodies that came to me in a way that I felt suited the music and the lyrics in the best possible way. When we were satisfied with all the different elements and parts of the music and begun recording it, we felt we had made a great record and hoped that the public would feel the same.
HB: Do you think the band and music has changed and developed from “Onwards,” all the way to “The Heart of the Matter?” How has the journey been?
IH: Absolutely! Like I’ve already mentioned, I see us as a much more matured and improved band today. We are better songwriters, better individual musicians and much more confident in “our stride”, so to speak. The journey have involved much live experience where you really learn a lot about these things – you as a band and yourself as a person and musician, and working in the studio also certainly leaves you a couple of experiences richer. We released our first album in 2006/2007, and we’re now in 2014 so we’ve simply just grown up more, haha!
HB: For someone who has never heard Triosphere before, what song would you recommend for them to get into the band?
IH: Oh… That actually depends on what kind of rock/metal you like, as I believe our songs often presents quite different sounds. For the “fist-bumping” type of metal head, I would recommend “The Sentinel” and “Relentless” as the first songs to listen to. For those who have a soft spot for strong passion and border-crossing songwriting I would recommend “Breathless”, for fans of the more epic sound, I would say “The Heart’s Dominion” and “The Sphere”, and for fans of prog I would say “Departure” and “Storyteller”. For those who listen to “everything” and value well-crafted songs, they can pick any song on the album as we have put a tremendous amount of work into making each and every song the best they can be.
HB: Back to your roots – How did you get into heavy metal, why did you start playing bass and how did you come down to be a part of Triosphere?
IH: Hmmm… Well, I started learning how to play guitar when I was 15 because I had all these songs and melodies in my head that I wanted to make something of. A brief year later I started my first band playing a kind of alternative rock (all original songs), and shortly after I was asked by another band who rehearsed in the same place as us if I would be interested in joining them on the bass. These were more experienced and older guys who played a kind of very dark prog metal so I obviously agreed to give it a try as I thought it could be a great experience. And that was both the beginning of a life-long “love affair” with the bass guitar, and playing with drummer Ørjan who until recently was the drummer of Triosphere.
I don’t really remember how I got into metal, but I remember very well the first time I got really “hooked”: I had borrowed the new album of Emperor “Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk”, and I remember so well sitting home in my room, listening over and over to this album, and how the atmosphere of it, the brilliant combination of an extreme expression with awesome melodies and the intricate arrangements just really got to me. It still does whenever I listen to it. So even though I’d listened to metal before that moment, I consider that as perhaps one of the defining ones.And Marius and myself founded Triosphere after getting to know each other through a thrash project of a mutual friend of ours, and quickly understood that we just had to start a band of our own together. The best musical decision I’ve ever made, haha!
HB: Triosphere hails from Trondheim, Norway; the same city as renowned black metal band Thorns, black/thrash metal band Keep of Kalessin and loads of other famous metal bands. Tell us about growing up, playing music and trying to build a name in a city (and a country, in fact) that has historically produced several big names in heavy metal.
IH: Well, I did not grow up in Trondheim, I grew up in a small town in northern Norway called Harstad, and so have Wizziac – the bassist of Keep Of Kalessin, by the way. We sometimes joke about that those Trondheim metal musicians needed some northern Norwegian blood to really get a band going, haha!
But seriously,- the metal scene and environment in Harstad was extremely diverse, tolerant and including, and that has been really important in developing both my musical skills and believing that the sky is the limit. A lot of amateur bands got a really good reputation in the region, but the city did not produce any national or international famous metal bands. I eventually felt that I had to re-locate to pursue my musical ambitions, and Trondheim was a natural choice as it is a city that a great majority of northern Norwegians move to in pursuit of education, work or just general ambitions and impulses of life. When I got there in late 2003, I found that Trondheim was not as including and open as Harstad. But I eventually “found” Marius (composer/guitarist in Triosphere) and things sped fast ahead from there.
Trying to build a name as a melodic heavy metal band in a country that still only thinks the professional metal scene consist of extreme metal bands is really difficult. In fact, we rarely perform in Norway, mainly abroad, and I’m sure there are more people who know about Triosphere in any other country in western Europe and even North America than in Norway. But I think we are on our way, that the melodic metal scene is developing in Norway and slowly catching commercial interest, so I think it has a positive outlook.
HB: In other news, I read that you’re a fan of Crimson Glory and Todd La Torre. What did you think of the new Queensryche album? What are you listening to nowadays? Which of the albums that came out in 2014 have been blowing your mind?
IH: Ok… This is embarrassing.. More or less the whole of 2014 have been an intense focus on finishing our own album so I have not really listened much to other band’s new releases. BUT it’s something I’m starting to catch up with now that our album is finally out and I can lower my shoulders (just a tad).
For the last couple of weeks I have re-discovered a couple of “treasures” from the early 2000’s; Ayreon’s “Into the Electric Castle” and Lost Horizon’s “Awakening the World”. Ayreon have always really inspired me, and “the electric castle” is just an amazing masterpiece of musical expressions and emotions, and the Lost Horizon – album is just some of the coolest power/heavy metal from Sweden that I’ve ever heard! If you like Iron Maiden and Manowar there’s a good chance you’ll dig that album, haha!
HB: 10 years, 3 albums, tours with W.A.S.P, Kamelot, Arch Enemy and other famous acts and shows at Wacken Open Air, ProgPower Oslo and other big festivals.. What’s next on the agenda for Triosphere?
IH: First of all, we’re throwing a release party the 17th of January in our hometown Trondheim for THOTM where we’ll play the whole album from beginning to end for the first and only time. Just a couple of days after we’ll cross the Atlantic Ocean to go on the world’s largest heavy metal cruise; the 70000 Tons Of Metal that leaves from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and sails to Jamaica! That’s going to be one hell of an experience! We’re doing two shows, and we’ll be one of 60 bands performing for 3000 metal heads in the Caribbean seas!!
Further on in 2015 we have a couple more Norwegian festivals booked, and certainly plan to both tour and do international festivals, so keep an eye out!
HB: And where do you see Triosphere 10 years from now; in 2024?
IH: I could of course dream that it would be financially possible to tour much more, and tour all continents. Either way, I hope we continue releasing critically acclaimed albums and consequently are headlining our own tours both in Europe and North/South America. I hope we’re a natural choice for promoters of all the big and cool festivals, and that we can come and play wherever there is a demand for us!
But perhaps most of all I hope there has not been any changes to our line up, and that the difficult and rough conditions in the music business has not taken the fun out of making music!
HB: Any plans to play in India? Have you got any interest from the sector?
IH: I’m sorry to say that we don’t have any plans as of right now, but we have friends who have played there (Torch, for example) who have said that it’s truly an amazing country and experience! We would OF COURSE love to come if possible, but like everything else it’s a matter of demand and finances. If there is a promoter in India who would like to bring us over, please do get in touch to see what is possible!
HB: Thank you once again for your time! Hope to see you soon on tour in Europe, in India or some other part of the world. Cheers and best of luck!
IH: Thank you so very much for making this interview with us and promoting Triosphere! We certainly hope you’ll get the chance in 2015 to see us both on tour and in India!
Ida’s photo by Unn Marit Forrestad