Interview with Ole Marius Larmerud (Manifest)

Photo by Kristian Singh-Nergård

Metal Express Radio: First of all, congratulations on an extremely fine release. This is indeed high quality Groove/Death Metal. Can you tell us a bit about the recording process?

Ole Marius Larmerud: Thanks a lot man! It feels great to have the album out. Hedonism was recorded in Spiren Studio which is a small studio located on the countryside about a one hour drive from Trondheim. It’s a really cool place to hang out and record, because you don’t get disturbed by anyone. You have all the time available to focus on the music and the recording. Before we started recording, we spent two weeks rehearsing and going through the pre-productions for the album to see if anything needed to be changed. Some songs needed a lot of work while others were ok as they were. We did three weeks of recording, before Knut started the mixing process which took about one week. The whole thing was in fact a real smooth operation, and we didn’t have any big problems. It was a lot of fun and a lot of hard work. There is actually a video on YouTube from the recording process for those who are interested.

Photo by Kristian Singh-Nergård

MER: How has the response to the album been?

Larmerud: People I have talked to who have heard the album like it a lot and that’s way cool. We’ve got a lot of good feedback on the production as well. As for the reviews, there have been some really good ones and some more mid-range. But it’s always like that you know…the guys who write the reviews have limited time to listen to each album, so if they don’t like what they hear immediately, the review will most likely be mid-range.

MER: Even though the band has existed for eight years now, your still a relatively fresh band in the Metal scene. For those who don’t know Manifest, can you introduce your band for us?

Larmerud: Manifest consists of myself on guitars, Alessandro Elide on drums, Kenneth Einarsen on bass, and Stian Leknes on vocals. Alessandro and I formed the band in 2000 with a different singer and bass player. In 2002 Stian joined the band and Kenneth joined the ranks in March 2006. We haven’t had a lot of line-up changes and therefore we have the opportunity of moving forward instead of looking for new band members and rehearsing old songs, and that’s a good thing.

MER: Stability is a good thing for a band and it has obviously paid off because Hedonism consists of a bunch of great songs. How do you write the songs, do you jam it out, or is it a one man job?

Larmerud: Usually I write a bunch of riffs at home. Then we meet up for rehearsal and try them out with different drum grooves, vocals and bass lines, and form the riffs into songs. When we have three or four songs, we make pre-productions and start working on something new. Sometimes, if we are in a really good mood or just really drunk we jam out some riffs together as well. For example the first riff in the song “Unrelenting” was made that way. We got drunk and just started jamming. After about 15 minutes of jamming that riff just popped up in my head and we played it over and over and it sounded really cool. I had brought an old cassette recorder with me, and we recorded the riff. When I got home a couple of days later I came up with the rest of the parts for the song.

MER: Let’s go back a couple of years and hear your story. Why is Ole Marius Larmerud the guitarist of Manifest?

Larmerud: I started playing guitar after listening to AC/DC when I was twelve. I saw some videos of the band and Angus Young just blew me away! My parents had some friends that had a son that was seven or eight years older than me. He was a very good guitar player and he gave me some lessons for free and then I was hooked! I tried very hard to form bands in the area that I grew up in, but in my country there aren’t that many people that play Rock or Metal, so it was difficult. I kept rehearsing by myself, playing along to CD’s of Metallica, Megadeth and stuff like that. When I was about twenty years old I moved to Trondheim and after a while I got in contact with Alessandro. The chemistry was great from the beginning and we decided to form a real Metal band together.

MER: There are a lot of gear-heads/guitar freaks out there that are interested in your equipment. What kind of gear do you use?

Larmerud: I play a Gibson Explorer guitar and on live gigs I use a Line 6 Pod Pro that I run through a Marshall 9100 power amp. I also have a Dean ‘79 Z guitar for back-up. The guitars are equipped with Tremonti Treble humbuckers. Usually I play on Marshall Cabinets, but it depends on what the venues can bring to the table. I just bought an AKG wireless system that I’ve already gotten addicted to on live gigs.

MER: Over the last couple of years we’ve seen more and more Norwegian bands focus on the Groove Metal-meets-the-Death Metal genre, your own band, Manifest, being among those to lead the way. The bands are merging out of the underground and are also hitting the international market. Has the time come when people think of Groove/Death Metal when Norway is mentioned instead of A-ha and Black Metal?

Larmerud: I really hope so! The Black Metal hype is really old, and I can’t understand what’s so great about it. There are several bands from Norway that play a lot cooler music than Dimmu Borgir and Satyricon that deserves to be heard. Bands like Lowdown, Stonegard and Pica Fierce (just to name a few) are really good bands with solid material and a die-hard attitude. The problem is that Norway has been the Black Metal capital of the world for so long that it is hard to get the labels interested in something from this country that they can’t promote as “Norwegian Black Metal.” The time is in for a change, and Manifest will sure as hell do our part of the job to make it happen!

MER: What’s next for Manifest?

Larmerud: We have some festivals and club gigs in Norway lined up for the summer and we are working on some more dates as well. Hopefully, we can do a European tour at some point as a support act for a bigger band. That would be awesome. We’ll see what happens, but we are ready to tour. We are also working on some new tracks, so I guess we’ll start pre-production on some new material in August or something like that.

Photo by Kristian Singh-Nergård

The pictures featured in this interview were taken at Blæst in Trondheim, Norway, June 6th 2008 by Kristian Nergård.

Click here for Manifest’s official Website


  • Kristian Singh-Nergård

    Kristian is one of the partners at Metal Express Radio. He is Metal Express Radio's Marketing and Communications Manager, and on occasions also reviewer and photographer. Based out of Oslo, Norway, Kristian is a bass player and owner of the independent record label Pug-Nose Records. He has been a proud member of the Metal Express Radio crew since 2006.

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