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Winter Enclosure CD Cover
Image © Candlight Records 2005

Octavia Sperati
Image © Candlight Records 2005

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Interview 2005

(04 September 2005) Submit yourself to the dark empire of Octavia, Norwegian all-female band whose domain is the world of heavy, gloom metal. Since their beginning in 2000 Octavia has established themselves as a new shining star on the already crowded Norwegian metal sky. Their empire is founded on doom metal with heavy riffs and a massive, atmospheric expression--and, of course, the ambition to conquer the world. Their music is not easily categorized and has been ciritically associated with the likes of Candlemass, Nightwish, The Gathering and The Third and the Mortal, even though Octavia's approach is slightly more of a rock style than any of those.

Octavia Sperati took shape in Bergen, Norway, as a result of several coincidences during 1999 and 2000. The main trigger, however, was new friendships and, as with other popular metal bands, considerable amounts of alcohol. In the dead of spring, as the spirits ran high and the wits burned low, a common desire to get up and play heavy music revealed itself among three girls who were affectionate to metal but so far compelled to enjoy the music from outside of the stage lights. When the hangover was gone the desire was still there, and Octavia was a fact. The initial lineup consisted of Silje Wergeland (vocals, synth), Trine Johansen (bass), Bodil Myklebust (guitars) and Gyri Losnegaard (guitars). Read more about the band in our exclusive interview.

Now looking for a drummer, which is not particularly easy if you're looking for a female specimen of the kind, the girls had incredible luck when Trine bumped into Horgh (ex-Immortal, Hypocrisy, ex-Grimfist) at favourite pub Garage. Shortly after his girlfriend Silje Røyseth joined Octavia. Rehearsing at the music organisation AKKS Bergen, some of the girls took the AKKS’s instrument courses, and consequently they were thrown into their first gig after only a couple of months of playing together.

The top gear mentality proved to set a standard for the band’s progression through the following years. In 2001, Silje started working for AKKS and made acquaintance with Tone Midtgaard, who soon released Silje’s busy front woman/lead singer hands and took over the tangents. After a while drummer Silje had to leave the band. Once more lucky in their quest for a drummer, the girls persuaded Östblokk drummer Hege Larsen to join forces with Octavia. After supporting Enslaved at the release of their Monumension album (Bergen, 2001), Octavia did several gigs in Norway, including the major festivals like Hole in the Sky - Bergen metal fest 2002, 1001 Watt (Skien, 2002), Ride This Train (Bergen, 2003) and the Lost Weekend festival (Askøy, 2003).

Octavia also appeared as one of 50 promising Norwegian bands performing at the 2004 by:Larm conference, which is Norway’s largest happening within music trading and network building. In 2002 Octavia released a self-financed, low budget 5-track demo "Guilty." With financial support from their local government they entered studio once more in October 2003.

Besides this, the song "Lifelines of Depths" from this recording was included as one of the tracks on Music Export Norway's first-ever metal compilation CD together with tunes from bands such as Audiopain, Einherjer, Enslaved, Red Harvest and Zyklon among others. In March 2004 Octavia recorded a "Lifelines of Depths" music video, which was currently spinning on the Norwegian broadcasting TV channel NRK2 for about 4 months.

In late 2004 Octavia signed a record deal with Candlelight Records home to some of Norway's best Metal bands. With more financial support from the local Government, a national fond (Fond for lyd og bilde) and Candlelight Records Octavia again entered Earshot studio with the producers Herbrand Larsen and Arve Isdal (members of Enslaved, Audrey Horne) in December 2004. The band also did the grand piano and some guitar at Grieghallen (Hall of Grieg) studio with Pytten. The eleven track project is entitled Winter Enclosure (Candlelight Records (USA) CDLO159CD, 2005.

The title Winter Enclosure reflects the most dominant season during the creative period of making the album. All songs were recorded in the winter, and the title captures some of the moods expressed by the music and lyrics. It is not necessarily dark or pessimistic - it also suggests some constructive optimism. The aspects of winter can produce a lot of creative energy, as people tend to stay indoors at the dark time of year, taking shelter from the dark and the cold.

The state of withdrawal and isolation will often be an inspirational source and trigger much alike nocturnal creativity. No doubt, this inspiration is reflected in the Octavian sound and expression. The music is grand and atmospheric, naturally creating associations to the equally grand and magnificent imagery of Norwegian nature and winter landscapes.

The songs on Winter Enclosure were developed during the last three years. The musical expression is founded on doom metal with heavy riffs and a massive, atmospheric feel. The music has been compared to Black Sabbath, Candlemass, The Gathering, The Third and the Mortal and My Dying Bryde. The closest comparison is indeed to the more melodic side of The Gathering.

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