Interview with The Commander in Chief

Norwegian singer/songwriter and 7 string guitar player, The Commander in Chief played the Sophie Lancaster stage at Bloodstock this year in front of a large crowd.  She kindly spent some time to answer some questions for Planetmosh.

Planetmosh: OK for anyone who isn’t familiar with The Commander in Chief, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m a 7 string guitarist/singer/songwriter. I consider myself a songwriter, more than anything else. I used to do visual arts for years but I had so many ideas for songs that I started to play guitar in 2005.  I’m born in Norway but I have lived in many countries.

Planetmosh: How would you describe your music?

It’s technical yet catchy. Heavy yet melodic. It sounds like me, which is the most important thing.

Planetmosh: You play the 7 string guitar.  What made you decide to play this rather than the standard 6 string?

Experimentation and the fact that I wanted something that could counter balance my 4 octave vocal range and add more depth sound wise. Tried it when I was in L.A. I have been playing Ibanez 7 string guitars since then.

Planetmosh: Your EP, Evolution is out now as a digital only release.  Can you tell us a bit about the EP and the songs on it?

It’s an organic recording, without any auto-tune or digital enhancement on any Pro Tools magic. What you hear is what was performed in studio. It’s my debut EP, recorded with Pantera & Hellyeah producer Sterling Winfield.
There are 4 songs on it. Evolution: about science gone wrong, inspired by abuse in psychiatry and the Frankenstein book.
Famous: inspired by silly reality-shows and  stupid statements from Kim Kardashian & The Situation.
Thou:is a “tribute” to the one true God in society:  money.
Let it go: personal song, dedicated to anyone who has ever been bullied and/or suffered from depression.

Planetmosh: As an unsigned artist was it difficult to get producer Sterling Winfield (Pantera, Hatebreed, Hellyeah) involved?

Not really, he really likes the music, and when someone is excited that helps a lot. It was more tricky to find a time when we could both do

Planetmosh: You’re running a Pledgemusic campaign to raise money for your tour.  It also offers fans a chance to get a physical copy of the EP amongst other exclusive items.  Pledge campaigns are starting to get more popular for recording albums, but touring is much less common.  What made you decide to raise money for the tour in this way?

Because I think the timing is right for a big tour. Usually new bands tour before they release a debut album that goes on to be big. I think it is the smartest thing to do at this point.

Planetmosh: How do you write your songs – is it a case of starting with the lyrics for instance, or a guitar riff?

It always start with the guitar riff  and main idea for theme. I know what the song will be about and the songwriting reflects that. In Evolution I visualized a crazy scientist right away when I wrote the riff and the song has a very evil and spooky/horror movie vibe in the bridge. But in a song like Famous, which is still heavy, but more catchy, I knew it was going to be about reality shows and that influenced the songwriting, so it is more “commercial” in a way.  I always write the vocal line melody simultaneously with the guitar line.  Lyrics and solos come last.

Planetmosh: What are your inspirations for writing the lyrics?

Modern society. I never really write personal lyrics. Let it Go is an exception.

Planetmosh: You played the Sophie Lancaster stage at this years Bloodstock festival where you were the first band of the day.  Were you surprised how many people came to see you?

Definitely. Very surprised. Shocked I would say! It was really cool!

Planetmosh: How did you enjoy your set?

It was cool to work the crowd, cool to see the response.  Cool to see people waiting for me to come out to sign stuff and throw guitar picks.  I’m always happy when I’m done with a show and I was extremely happy after being done playing Bloodstock!
Planetmosh: Did you get to watch any bands or was your day purely spent performing, doing press interviews and travelling?

I enjoyed Saturday watching a whole bunch of bands. It was cool to be in the Serpents Lair, but the Sophie tent was on fire!!! Lots of people and hilarious DJ’ing, it was very cool.

Planetmosh: What bands do you think have most influenced your music?

hmmm…..I listen to everything…it’s hard to say.

Planetmosh: When you buy music, which do you prefer and why – CD, Vinyl or legal mp3 downloads ?

I buy CDs, I’m really “old-school” when it comes to these things….I don’t download illegally, I have never done that. As a songwriter I would never disrespect other songwriters by stealing the result of their work.
Planetmosh: What was the last album you bought?

Faith No More – Angel Dust.


Planetmosh: Thank you for your time

About Ant May

I spend half my life at gigs or festivals and the other half writing the reviews and editing photos, and somehow find time for a full time job too. Who needs sleep - I've got coffee.
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