Interview with guitarist Daniel Olaisen of Big City
Guitarist Daniel Olaisen (Big City, Scariot, Blood Red Throne, ex-Satyricon) and singer Jan Le Brandt (Memoria Avenue, Northquake) gave us some insights of their band BIG CITY and more…
Norwegian BIG CITY is a new heavy rock/metal band, features members of Scariot, Blood Red Throne, Withem, Maraton and Memoria Avenue,with tons of years and experience in the music industry. BIG CITY‘s yet untitled new album + their debut album ‘Wintersleep‘ will be released, as a double CD in spring 2018 via ROAR! Rock Of Angels Records.
What are you working on right now?
Olaisen: Picking out songs for the very first live performance of Big City. It’s been a while since I played them, so it’s like learning the songs over again. I’m also finishing up the final mix of my first solo single. Then I have some UK dates with my main band, Blood Red Throne. On top of that, I’m managing my daughter, which is an up and coming artist in the pop world.
What does your band name mean and where did it come from?
Olaisen: It’s not easy to come up with something cool and fresh these days. I had several suggestions, but I wanted to have something easy and classy. I know there are other Big City’s out there, but no metal band as far as I know. It was just a name that crossed my mind several times when creating songs for this project.
Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics?
Olaisen: I wrote all the songs on Wintersleep, but Frank on lead guitar has a huge impact on the songs when putting on his leads and melodies. On the new album we decided to go further and 4 of the songs was written by him and the others by me.
Brandt: The lyrics have always been about life and the struggle within the human mind, both good and bad. The lyrics are based on some personal experiences, some seen through the eyes of someone else. Some hopes. And some dreams.
Could you briefly describe the music-making process?
Olaisen: Frank and I record our separate songs in my home studio. Then I add drums(programming) to it. Sometimes Frank adds his leads right away and other times he works on it at home. Then I send it to Miguel who records bass in his studio. We’ve never taught him or showed the riffs, so he pretty much figures out stuff himself and send back. Then Brandt get the songs and starts working on the vocals. Usually, everything works perfect for him, but sometimes we have to remove some lead guitars or even add some. Finally, songs are sent to Frank jr and he learns them and jams to them when he practice drums. My ideas and his are often the same, but he adds his own fills of course and maybe changes some beats here and there. Him and I meet in studio and start recording real drums for an album. All guitars and bass have already been recorded during the pre-production, but Brandt often wants to re-record all vocals when he gets new mixes and have a better feel to it. So, no band rehearsals. It’s all via internet, haha!
How has your music evolved since you first began playing music together?
Olaisen: Big City came to life when I needed to get all my riffs and ideas out of the system. I’ve always played harder and more extreme music and I still do, but 80’s poser metal has also appealed to me since the…well 80’s, haha. Anyway, we are all fans of melodic stuff and I guess we’ll just keep poring out great 80’s heavy metal songs!
What has been your biggest challenge as a band?
Olaisen: It’s been 8 years since we started Big City and I still haven’t met the singer, haha. To be honest, it’s been working great having this as an internet project. All involved are skilled musicians and deliver the goods. But, we will finally meet soon and have the first rehearsal ever and say hello.
What’s your ultimate direction for your band – fame and fortune?
Olaisen: We’re too old to wish for rock stars. We simply enjoy making great music together and we don’t stress anything!
Who are your biggest influences?
Olaisen: My fave guitarist is Joe Satriani. But, I play and listen to everything from hard rock to extreme metal. In this genre however, I could list a hundred bands, but two Norwegian bands I totally dig are Dream Police and Pagan’s Mind. They might be a bit different than Big City for sure, but I’m a sucker for the guitar playing and singers in those bands.
Brandt: I grew up force-fed on country music by my parents, but broke free, and took a nosedive into rock music, 80’s style. My first really big influence was Dio, Ozzy and Deep Purple. Later on, I discovered AOR music with the big vocal arrangements and I was hooked. As long as it has strong melody, I’ll take it.
Who do you sound like?
Olaisen: Like no one. I’m not claiming to be super original, but I can’t compare us to any other melodic rock/metal bands. There’s a little of everything and always a catchy hookline!
What advice do you have for people who want to form their own bands?
Olaisen: Don’t! Hehe, there’s a jungle of bands out there and I don’t mean you shouldn’t start a band if you genuinely loves music. It’s just that are soooo many bands around today. What I personally dislike is when it all becomes a theatre. When image matters over music. Just be cool and make good songs and feel it on stage!
How do you feel about the internet in the music business?
Olaisen: I could write a whole book about this, but I’ll leave to this; CARE about good music. Acknowledge it and support it. Spend enough time to enjoy 10 kick ass albums a year instead of barely listen to 100 mediocre ones. Give feedback!
Any last words?
Olaisen: All humans can relate to music in one way or another. Embrace it and feel free to give Big City a chance. It’s all about a good melody and well-structured song. Rock on!
Big City is:
Jan Le Brandt – Vocals (Memoria Avenue, Northquake)
Daniel Olaisen – Guitars(Scariot, Blood Red Throne, ex-Satyricon)
Frank Ørland – Guitars (ex-Scariot)
Miguel Pereira – Bass (Withem)
Frank Nordeng Røe – Drums (Withem, Maraton)