SLUG: The recording quality is quite solid on the new album—the guitar sound is clear and menacingly thick, with the bass tone feeling very deliberate and appropriate. Jon Bakker, the current bassist, has a hefty list of bands to his credentials. How did you get connected with him to become a part of what Fester is?
Tiger: We are very satisfied with the guitar sound as well. Thanks! I have known (of) Jon for over 20 years, from the early ’90s when Fester often played with another local band called Balvaz. He used to play bass with them at the time. When the idea of another album was coming to be fulfilled, it was natural to contact him. He was happy to contribute, and his style fits Fester very well. I also asked Jontho (Ragnarok) to play the drums. He agreed, but as mentioned, we changed our minds and used a less traditional drummer for this record instead.
SLUG: Your other band Sincera just got underway with its debut album last year, are you going to be actively working on both bands or for 2012 leaning your focus more with Fester?
Tiger: The Sincera album was meant as a taste on other musical directions that we have been involved in, and we will do some more stuff later, but for the moment it's all FESTER. We have material for two new records at least the frames and guidelines, but it's FESTER no doubt—It won’t fit the Sincera concept at all.
SLUG: The atmosphere on the new record A Celebration of Death is more dirge-like—the band has always had the dirge and doom elements with death and black metal being the forefront “style.” I know what the atmosphere and feeling the new record gives me when I listen to it, but could you tell the kind folks reading this what “vibe” you were going for with the new album?
Tiger: I mentioned earlier complexity in simplicity, and also the old feel and rawness. I agree that atmosphere is a very important key word on this album. We hope that the record can give people the feeling of embracing death and the dark rather than fear it. One can truly find beauty in the dark.
SLUG: “Rites of Ceres” and “I’ll Hunt You Down” are seriously some of the best death metal I’ve heard so far this year—“I’ll Hunt You Down” is outright scary. Ceres is a figure in Roman mythology… why did you choose to start the album with that theme?
Tiger: Thanks! I was very pleased to hear that. I'm going to let you in on a not very known secret: Our late bass player used to call himself Ceres after the split up, and it's partly a dedication to him and the praising both growth, wealth and taking care of the ones you love, and only them. Here's a line from the song: "may our crops grow great, so we can feed our children and fight our wars." It's also one of my personal favorites on the platter, and I like the vibe in it—obscure, yet plain.
SLUG: The theme seems to continue on the record. Is the album conceptual or does it just share similar themes?
Tiger: It's not conceptual, but one can say that death is a theme that evolves most of the overall feel, and the lyrics. Thomas said, sometime during the recordings: "Bjørn, have you noticed that someone always dies in your lyrics?!"
SLUG: Are the re-releases of your first two albums still available for people to purchase? Also is the vinyl version of the newest album which I saw Floga Records released basically in a batch of 350 and 150 copies still available?
Tiger: The re-releases are still available on digi CDs (Abyss) and I believe that you might get your hands on the vinyl editions as well that German Ironebonehead Production released last year. Gatefold versions, different covers and strictly limited to 500 copies. The Floga versions of "A Celebration of Death" looks freakin amazing bro.. A laminated front on both gatefolded versions and a heavy coated 280g inner sleeve!