Interview with Guardians Of Time guitarist Paul Olsen by EC 12/24/03

Well, I just recently had the pleasure of hearing the new Guardians Of Time album "Machines Of Mental Design". This is one ripping metal force, and an excellent follow-up to "Edge Of Tomorrow". I'm really impressed with the band's improvements and overall hard work put into this record. Tell me Paul, what changed on this album as opposed to the debut?

Well, musically speaking we have matured. We are better musicians and songwriters than we were 2 years ago. "Edge of Tomorrow" was full throttle all the way, at the time it was the right thing to do for us. Now we have more groove, the tempo is more varied, we have a ballad on the record, and there is a lot more going on in the songs. Lyricaly this is a concept album. Needless to say, it takes a hell of a lot more work to put it all together. And finally, the production is much better on this album.

With "Machines Of Mental Design", the songwriting and lyrics seem to be very concept oriented, with the tracks sub-divided into mini-chapters. From what I can gather the story is set in the future with machines designing a "new world" so to speak. Was this album inspired by films like The Matrix, Blade Runner and Logan's Run?

Yes, we are all big fans of sci-fi films. I must point out that the idea for our concept was concieved long before Matrix was made. But films like Blade Runner and The 5th Elemet certainly inspired us to make the cd-cover. But also comic books and videogames is a source for inspiration.
"I wanted to talk about the fears we face in every day life and our will to obliterate them and abolish them from our lives."

The production on this effort is top-notch, with a very polished metallic sound. Who worked on this album and where was it recorded? Are you happy with the sound of this record?

The album was recorded, produced and mixed by Endre Kirkesola in his studio, Dub-studio. The studio is located in our hometown Kristiansand, Norway. He allso did the first album, but as you can hear, he has evolved as an engineer since last time. I think he did an excellent job, and we are very pleased with the result.

Paul, let me ask you about your record deal situation. Originally the band started out on Crazy Life Music, then split from them. What happened to cause that relationship to end?

Crazy Life Music wanted to change a few things in our contract. This was things that we could not accept. We gave CLM the choice either to stick to the contract or let us go, they decided to let us go. It all happend quietly without any fuss. We still have contact with CLM, but we are very happy with our current situation.

At one time it looked like Guardians Of Time were going to end up on Limb Music. What went wrong there?

LIMB gave us a contract that wasn't satisfying in any way. Not just financially, but also artistically. We want total artistic control, or we see no point in continuing as a band. If we can't decide how many songs to put on the album and what kind of cover artist to use than it just won't work. For some reason LIMB would not give us that kind of liberty.

Thankfully a label was found for the new release. Facefront Records is the band's new label. Are you happy with what they have done for this record and will we see more of your albums released by them?

Facefront is a small but very good label. We have becomed good friend with Frode (the manager at Facefront), and he is totally honest. Something which is, unfortunately, rare in this business. If we will release more records on this label is hard to say, time will show.

The artist that worked on the album cover for you is none other than Russian artist Leo Hao. Were you familiar with his work with Iced Earth and Blind Guardian? How did he get involved with the new album cover?

It was kind of funny how it happened. We wanted an artist that could do a highly realistic and detailed sci-fi painting. And out of the blue we recieved an e-mail from this guy we never had heard of. The timing was perfect, and when we saw his work, and found out that he had done covers for Iced Earth and Blind Guardian, we quicly decided to use him.

Bernt Fjellstad - vocals
Paul Olsen - guitars
Rune Schellingerhout - guitars
Vidar Uleberg - drums
Dag-Ove Johnsen - bass
Band Website

Are there any tour opportunities for support of the album?

There are planes for a tour in Norway, but it is to early to say anything more. A tour in Europe is one of our primary goals for 2004. But first we need to find a label to distribute the record in Europe.

Let me go back in time for a moment, no pun intended..ha! The band originally started in 1997 under the name A.T.A.W, what did that title stand for? Who came up with the Guardians Of Time idea?

It stands for "Another Time Another World". It was a bad name for a band, it was to long and it just didn't sound right. It was Dag-Ove and I who came up with Guardians of Time. The idea with 5 guardians who each have the responsibility for a different time (Past-,present-, future, parralell- and dreamtime) evolved while we were working on the Edge of Tomorrow cover.

At one point you left Norway and traveled to Hollywood, California. What did you study there?

I spent one year at Musicians Institute studying music. I have never practiced my guitar as much as I did then. It was a great year, and I got to study with some of the most amazing guitar players/teachers in the world. I learned a lot!

How is the metal scene now in Norway? Are there plenty of good metal bands there?

It is good to see that the Norwegian metal scene is moving in the right direction. For to long it has been dominated by extreme metal-bands, but things are changing and there is a lot more diversity in the metal scene today.

How bad did the Norwegian Black Metal era hurt the metal scene in your country? With that much chaos and spotlight, I can only imagine that the metal scene there has changed dramatically.

The Black Metal era did put Norway on the map, and Norwegian black metal bands still benefit from the respect the early bands got. I won't say that it hurt the metalscene, but like I said, the metal scene has been dominated by extrememetal-bands. I don't mind that kind of music, but we need diversity. We find it hard to be among the few power metal bands in Norway, some people don't want anything to do with bands that play less extreme forms of metal. But fortunately that has cahnged the last couple of years.

Your website bio states that you would like to become involved in other metal projects besides Guardians Of Time. What kind of projects do you have planned or would like to become involved in?

Vidar and I will soon start rehersing with a new a speedmetal band called Marionica. A friend of us is writing all the material, so we are more like hired guns in this project. Other than that I really don't have time for any other musical projects.

Well we wish you and your fellow bandmates the best of luck for 2004. Hopefully Guardians Of Time will become a household name for the metal community. After two quality metal albums they certainly deserve some recognition. Good luck and please stay in touch!

Thank you! And a Metal Christmas to all the headbangers out there!!!

Paul OlsenEric Compton12/31/2003

Machines Of Mental Design
Eric Compton12/31/2003

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