OCTOBER 10th 2014

Welcome to Metaltitans, Guardians of Metal entertainment worldwide. We are here with HELLISH OUTCAST from Bergen, Norway. Thank you for taking the time to do this interview with us.

1. Who came up with the name Hellish Outcast, and was there some inspiration behind it?

The name was brought to us by our drummer Mads back in 2006. We had been working under several different names up until then, but struggling with finding a name that would fit with the genuine identity of the group within. The concept around Hellish Outcast was pretty cool at the time as we were occupied with the religious themes, or anti-themes. The theory of being cast out from heaven if you misbehave on Earth after you die, is such a definite finger pointer from God. It also sums up a lot of what most religion preach; behave and you'll be rewarded – misbehave and you'll be punished...

2.  You formed the band back in 2001, what made you decide to form a band ?

We wanted to play music, we love music and specially metal. We started out as kind of a Metallica cover band. I had been fooling around with my guitar since a very early age, and got involved in different music projects in school. This led to meeting Mads Lilletvedt through a friend while we were 16, and we ended up jamming and the first installment of what was to become Hellish Outcast was set.

3.  Why thrash / death metal, is this a genre you have always wanted to explore ?

It just felt natural for us playing this genre. We like the speed, but also the heavy mid-tempo riffing.

In death metal you can do both. And in the newer DM bands today, they add melody and atmospheric themes to their music, and that have influenced us as well. Some years back there where hardly any room for melody.

But to be honest, I don’t longer care about genres, its music. And we don’t mind crossing every genre on the earth if we feel it’s the right thing to do!

4.  What was it that made you stand out as “most extreme live band” in Bergen’s underground scene?

I don’t know if we are the most extreme live band. I think someone wrote it in a live review after they had seen us for the first time. Our music however is definitely one of the most aggressive kind in Bergen.

5.  Tell us how each of the members came to be in Hellish Outcast :

Mads Lilletvedt and I started jamming with a couple of other guys back in 2001. We started out with two guitar players, but eventually cut the other guy off...too much drama...and our first singer was left behind after a year or so as he didn't fit to well with the direction we were taking. He could sing the ballads really well, but we weren't the ballad kind of band so he had to go...Max Morbid came in pretty early after we had a couple of jams. Mads introduced Max to join us for some Metallica tunes, and it didn’t hurt that he knew how to play “Pulling Teeth” on bass! The years went by and we did our first live show as Hellish Outcast in 2007 as a three piece with me doing guitars and vocals. It ended with that and we soon hooked up with former singer Sjalg Otto (Leadsledge, x-Blood Command) who did the vocals on our 2008 EP. He stayed with us for a couple of years and actually wrote and recorded a lot of the vocals for Your God Will Bleed, but after a quick talk with him we decided it was best to part ways. I'm not sure why he wanted to leave, but he had other priorities in life at the time.

6.  In 2010 Thebon joined as vocalist, tell us how you came to find him for this job ?

Mads Lilletvedt had toured as a tech for Keep Of Kalessin for a while. So he knew Thebon very well. So it was no problem to think of anybody else than him for the job. He sent him an e-mail, and the reply was YES YES YES!! He quickly re-recorded vocals for Your God Will Bleed, and did some extra touches on it, and we could instantly hear that this was the right choice for us. The album was given a new dimension and elevated the bands potential to new heights. This was something that immediately inspired us to start writing material for the next release already in 2011.

7.  You have your 2nd album “Stay of Execution” soon to be released in October 20th on Listenable Records, what made you choose that name for the title ?

The title was something Mads Lilletvedt had been working on, and he had some really cool lyrical concepts on how to bind the album under that title. It stuck with us from the early writing sessions even in music, and it set the mood of where we wanted to go with this.

Max Morbid soon followed with some cool riffs and lyrics as well, and Thebon presented some of his material. Mads and I then took everything we had and tried and failed until the basic shapes and structures of the music was placed. The process alone is very much like a stay of execution, as you're jumping into something that initially might kill the band...but it turned out very well. Luckily.

8. You more or less wanted to also expand , tell us how you did this on the album ?

We wanted to expand our musical limits, adding melody and atmosphere. But it is impossible to tell how the riff is made or how a song is made. It usually starts with jamming, and then we make a demo out of it. It was a lot of demoing on this album, and I think that is the main reason why the album turned out the way it did. It’s very helpful to hear your own song on a stereo instead of playing them. You can really focus on what a song needs and so on.

It was also important to us to have Thebon join in on the writing, and he came up with some really cool riffs, some which even ended up on the album! He also arranged most of the harmony parts and helped out a lot in the structuring of the music.

We also get introduced to new bands every now and then with a different approach to metal. And that is very inspiring.

9.  What can fans expect to hear different from your last “Your God Will Bleed” in 2012?

Better production. Russ Russell, our producer on this album, did one hell of a good job!

There are more melodic structures and an eery darkness to the album. There’s more breathing space for vocals to be used more as the fantastic instrument it is (if used properly). Better solo’s, better drumming, better bass-parts. It’s in general a lot more smarter album in terms of song-structure. We also have some really doomy parts made by drone specialist Bjørn Ognøy from Mads' other project Solstorm. It was something we incorporated to the song “Machines”, giving it a low-fi noisy mid part. Completely unexpected and a very cool dramaturgical turn to the song.

We even put some female vocals on the album in the shape of Silje Wergeland from The Gathering. Something we didn't know we wanted to do almost up until it was already done. Like a ray of light we came up with the idea, she came in to the studio, and left having enriched the album with some fantastically sexy vocals! A must hear!

**click the CD Cover to be linked to our review**

10.  I see you have 11 songs on this album ?  Do you personally have a favourite one ?  And why that choice ?

My favourite song is eighter “I Can No Longer See The Sun” or “Torment”. They are the ones that really stands out on this record I think, and that is in terms of what the band has ever done musically.

Both are really heavy! And great solo’s he he

11.  Who writes the lyrics for Hellish Outcast songs ?

Everybody, but Mads Lilletvedt and Thebon is now the main lyricists. But Max and I also write stuff.

I’m taking care of the riffs for the most time.

12.  Do your songs have a theme, something that you like to concentrate on while writing your songs ?

Like stated earlier we gave this album a strong theme with the working title “Stay of Execution”. We were given some examples to what might fit under the topic, but also asked to interpret freely. All presented lyrics that really stood out, and all had greater meanings but the starting point really connected the different topics in a cool way. We then gathered them all and re-worked them to fit more as a concept. It is cool thing to do, as you sort of connects with the other members in a different way other than using the language of the riff which we normally do, he he...riff-tongue is good for expressing a lot, but when being forced to discuss serious topics like death, disease and hurt, which we all have experienced one way or the other, it brings you a little closer.

13.  Because each of your members come from ex-bands, do you think they each bring something different to the table, helping to create HELLISH OUTCAST ?

Max, Mads and I have been together since 2001, so the other bands has been joined long after that. We automatically know what Hellish Outcast should sound like when we’re working on an album. Thebon has brought his way of doing vocals, which means more harmonies, melodies and he has a very impressive vocal range which we can abuse! He also writes riff, the more people that writes riff the better.

14. Was it a long process from creating the songs until the final step of recording and mixing ?

When we first got started on that process it didn’t take much time to have a decent numbers of demos. The arrangements took most of our time. It was a lot of experimenting back and forth. For instance “Gods Of Fear” was written in three hours I think. But the bigger songs, the more epic ones took some time. It took us a year to write them all. But that’s how it is when you don’t have the opportunity to do it every day.

15. What was it that made you pick the legendary Grieghallen Studios in Bergen to work with on this album ?

We were looking for a studio in Bergen where the drums should be recorded. And Mads suddenly said “what about Grieghallen Studios”? I had worked there before on another project and was really impressed by it. So I said bring it on! We called Pytten up and made the deal. We recorded only drums and acoustic guitars there. The rest was recorded in Hellish Studios, guitars, bass and vocals.

16.  I personally really like the album cover, how did you come up with it ?  And is there some particular reason this image was picked ?

We wanted something artsy for this album. Step away from what we had done visually in the past. We worked with different artists on this, but initially got blown away by the work and concept of Matt Vickerstaff. He really picked up on some of the lyrics and gave the cover art a cool looking vibe, and some of the photos and art work presented in the booklet is really gonna please your eyes if you like the cover! It's all about decomposing...he he

17.  Who was the artist for it ?  Did you give him an idea, or did the artist create it and you approve the image ?

It was all Matts' work, he presented some ideas early on that were really simple, but with some minor input from us he created something unique and brilliant. We are really pleased with it.

18. After your album is released in October, do you plan on touring in support ?

Absolutely! We have some early on discussions with different promoters right now. There are also some single shows being planned and we're hoping to be able to do Europe before next summer. Follow us on facebook and keep in touch, we'll let you know as soon as there is something final.

19.  Are the plans in the works to see this happen ?


20.  Do you remember the first time you stepped onto the stage, what was it like ?

Actually I don’t remember the first time I stepped onto a stage, but I remember when Hellish Outcast entered a stage for the first time. We did only Metallica songs, and we looked like a bunch of amateurs, haha!

21.  When do you find you are the most creative when working on things for the band ?

When we’re jamming and everything in the room feels great! When everybody is into it, and the vibe is awesome. Also when I’m home with my home studio, and working on a demo that we recorded in our studio. When I can sit alone and work with arrangements and be really focused, that’s when I’m most creative.

22. What is the most important thing you have learned about being in a band ?


23.  What is something you would change, if you could ?

Nothing. There's no regrets! Well, more time to tour! And we're working on it :)

24.  What is something that you would never change ?

Writing really fucking aggressive music...we will never end up being a jazz band...

25.  What advice would you give to bands just starting out ?

Practise a lot, jam whenever you can. Get drunk together, hang out and learn to know each other.

The better you know a person, the easier you can write music with the guys.

26.  Is there anything you would like to add to this interview that I may have missed asking you, and you want people to know ?

Our new album “Stay Of Execution” is out on October 20th via Listenable records.

I want so say thanks to the fans we have and thanks to the new supporters in the future!

Also a huge thanks to Rita and Char here at the Metal Titans webzine for the great support.

Also to Laurent Merle at Listenable records for believing in us.