An Interview with Jorgen Munkeby of Shining: “Tours supporting an album is an old school term”

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Not to be confused with the Swedish band, Norway’s Shining have slowly been building a reputation in the metal world. Notable for the fusion of metal, jazz and a whole heap of other influences, the Norwegian Avant-Garde act have been touring Europe alongside Periphery and Devin Townsend. We at Rocksins spoke to frontman and musical mastermind Jorgen Munkeby about the band’s unique musical style, the tour with Devin Townsend and the modern touring cycle for bands in the 21st Century.

You’re heading into the last dates of the tour, how has it been for you guys?

Jorgen: It is the very last day

Oh it’s the last date tonight?

Jorgen: Yeah, it’s kind of sad. The whole tour has been great, everything has been perfect and it’s the best tour we have been on ever and the other guys from the other bands have said that too so it’s been really good! A lot of people everywhere, great match audience wise with all the bands. The crew on the tour have been really good, they have been really efficient. All of the guys in the other bands have become great friends with us.

Has there been any standout shows that you have particularly enjoyed?

Jorgen: This show looks like it is going to stand out, it has sold more than 2000 tickets. I think it’s one of the biggest venues on the tour. So with it being the last show, that will be special. Apart from that, yesterday in Glasgow was great. The first show of the tour in Paris was great, every show has been great. We did a show in our home-town as well, it’s hard to pick out one date yknow? It’s easy to say the first show and the last show stand out haha

This tour has been with Devin Townsend and Periphery so it makes quite an interesting lineup. Was it good playing with those bands?

Jorgen: Yeah it was very good. Before the tour I felt that it was a good package, but what I feel doesn’t necessarily mean that everybody else feels the same. But it looks like the audiences views this package as an interesting package because there a lot of people everywhere, they show up early and they listen to all of the bands and they like all of the bands.

With Devin Townsend in particular, he has done a lot of experimental stuff over the years and the same goes for Shining. Do you think by opening for him across this tour it has allowed your musical style to be more accessible for potential fans?

Jorgen: Our music has definitely reached a lot of new people on this tour. I think this is because of Devin’s fans, because of Periphery’s fans and because of our fans bringing friends. But Devin’s fans are a very wide range of people.

The band has had a whole heap of different members since you first started. Did this ever affect your musical progress?

Jorgen: The musical progress and the changes have been made because we and I always want to do what we feel is right. But the fact that members have been replaced from time to time has made those changes easier because if the band is heading towards a certain direction and we get a new musician, then obviously we are looking for that musician in a time where our music is different compared to three years ago. So the musician we get at that particular point in time will match our musical style better than the one we had five years ago. It’s hard for five people to develop in that exact same direction; some people want to play harder music and some people want to play softer music. It’s not fun changing members, it is a lot of work for everybody but it has enabled us to make these pretty big changes without them sounding unnatural or forced.

With all of your different styles, there aren’t that many bands that sound similar to you. Do you think that makes Shining stand out in the metal scene?

Jorgen: Yeah, I think we stand out because there aren’t that many people that sound like us. I think it’s good in some ways and it’s bad in some ways. It’s good because you get some attention but it’s bad because a lot of people think it’s easier to listen to stuff that they are used to.

This tour is very much in support of 2013’s One One One. Are you near the end of that touring cycle for that record?

Jorgen: We already have made a new album. It’s finished, except we need to finalise two mixes next week and then it will be out in a couple of months. So yes, this tour looks like it is the last for supporting that album but tours supporting an album is an old school term. It stems from back in the day when you actually toured to sell albums. Now you don’t tour to sell albums, a lot of people tour without bringing music on tour, except on stage. Yes, One One One is our most recent album but we still play whatever we want. I think that’s fun with Devin too, his latest album is Ziltoid 2 but he only plays some stuff from it.

Will your new record carry on the same musical style from your last record and the one that came before (Blackjazz) by carrying on the more extreme style or will it completely change your style again?

Jorgen: No, it’s not going to completely change our style, it’s going to have some of the extreme and experimental elements from Blackjazz but it is also going to have some songs that are very focused on melody. So it is going to be a very varied album, with Blackjazz in 2010 we started that term in the musical world and then we had the Live Blackjazz album which incorporated a lot of older songs into that style and then we had One One One. I think in that world we have Blackjazz and extreme stuff on one side and then we have One One One as a more focused side. On the new album we cover everything and I think it elaborates on the whole blackjazz world.

As you mentioned before, you have the new album that just needs to be mixed and mastered, the tour is nearly finished. So what is next for you guys?

Jorgen: Really just getting that album out as soon as we can and then we will tour more. We are starting to book European dates for a tour in the Fall and we are looking at possibly doing a US/Canada run as well. We just like to continue on and it probably won’t take long before I start writing new songs here and there, before the newest album I always took a break from touring when it came to writing an album, so it usually takes a long time. For the new album I wrote like in between tours here and there yknow? So I kind of like that, I expect I will be writing a song here and there. Who knows? Maybe there will be a new album, I’ll be making those transitions so it feels like a whole album but I also like making songs that are songs by themselves. So I have no idea how I’ll release future music.

Well best of luck for the future and good luck with your performance tonight.

Jorgen: Thank you!

You can follow Shining on Facebook at the following link – https://www.facebook.com/shiningnorway.

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