[Music/Interview] Destruktionsanstalt – Ex Bello Volaptus (plus interview with Per Najbjerg Odderskov)

Destruktionsanstalt is one of several monikers used by Danish composer Per Najbjerg Odderskov. Per is no stranger to this blog, as we had the pleasure of reviewing his previous release, Swedenborg, a master work of bleak ambient music. His latest release, Ex Bello Volaptus, builds on that foundation, at once creating something akin to SPK and the early Sheffield sound which produced the grimy sound of early Cabaret Voltaire and Hula.

We had the pleasure of having a chat about his music:

AMOTM: I just started listening to the new release. What inspired you, because it sounds even more powerful that the last one we reviewed?

Per Najbjerg Odderskov: It was more or less a unconsciously choice .. It felt natural to build on something which this project was build upon. A see the one as a bigger, brutal brother to Vivens Monumentis. (Craneal Fracture 2015)

Inspirations… came out of boredom. I was living in a town where I didn’t know a soul, and nothing was happening. I think this album was a reaction to that.

AMOTM: Boredom seems to be the spark of so many great musicians.

PNO: Yup… I think Trent Reznor said the same thing, same as those musicians from Sheffield who pioneered British electronic music. When you’re bored, you’re isolated in your mind. It’s easier to have more focus on things without being disturbed, although I am doing music which some find disturbing.

AMOTM: It’s almost as if you have time to meditate on a crumbling world. Would that be a fair idea to hold? Considering how messy the world is, it seems like now is a ripe time for musicians like yourself to give full expression to a vision of a rather gruesome political, religious, and cultural situation.

PNO: I think that… I don’t know. So much is happening as we speak that it’s hard to mentally digest. We’re being mentally bombarded with terrorism, politics, religion, hate crimes, almost to the point where nothing matters. Nothing can shock anymore –
we’re getting more and more numb to these tragedies. Tuning into that sound of numbness, would probably describe the theme of Ex Bello Volaptus I think..

AMOTM: I’d say so. The album is definitely shares much in common with its predecessors like Throbbing Gristle, that mighty Sheffield scene which produced Cabaret Voltaire, and of course, SPK. In general, were there any projects outside of the early Industrial Records movement which inspired your work?

PNO: Well, I guess NON have had a huge impact. Also the rhythmic brutalism of Esplendor Geometrico. Nocturnal Emmissions is also another project I have a huge love for. Konstruktivists as well. But still, witnessing Throbbing Gristle live on original VHS-tapes back in 1998… Jeez… My life changed when I saw those 4 tapes in one night!
I had most of their albums on CD, but live .. That was powerful!

AMOTM: Heh, I can imagine. I stumbled into this music in my teenage years during the 1980s, and I’d have to say I’ve never been quite the same since! Are there any other influences which motivate the work of Destruktionsanstalt or any of your other projects? Film or literature, for example?

PNO: Literature from Lovecraft, Poe, Robert E. Howard, Brian Lumley, Ramsey Campbell. Love that kind of pulp horror, from Gothic to splatter-punk. If we´re talking about art as in paintings then I’ll have to mention Giger and Richard Corben. And regarding movies… The classics of horror cinema: Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Henry, Nosferatu (K.Kinski), Alien, and also arthouse flicks like The Begotten and Possession, and of course watching old and classic Dr. Who episodes (black and white) with William Hartnell or Patrick Troughton. The classic vintage synth soundtrack on them are amazing, by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

AMOTM: You’ve done a splendid job synthesizing these influences into something focused and cohesive. Are there any plans for touring, or performing in festivals or art installations any time this year?

PNO: Hmmm… I’m doing an art installation in July in Aarhus. This town even got a prize as being the Cultural Capitol of Europe of 2017. So I guess I’m going into the art world. I’m presenting a HNW video on a screen with cars crashing in Russia. I´m surprised that I got approved!

AMOTM: Now is as good a time as any to send Destruktionsanstalt into the art world. It may well be a breath of fresh air, considering most installations these days are rather lifeless. Should be expect any new projects this year under Destruktionsanstalt or any other aliases?

PNO: God Cancer I’m keeping my focus on. Having some ideas for this project. Big-city vintage-synth-soundtrack is a way to describe it; lots of improvisation and weird glitch sounds.

AMOTM: We look forward to hearing this, and wish you continued success with this remarkable new release by Destruktionsanstalt.

Thanks, and blessed be.

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