Lars Hansen is better known as being the man behind the amazing darkwave electronic band Oneiroid Psychosis, but there is so much more to Lars than meets the eye. He truly is a talented man doing not only music but a few other things too. So what else bar music does he do? Grave Concerns Ezine got chance to catch up with Lars and find out where his talents lay.
Phill – Hi Lars, thank you for giving Grave Concerns Ezine this interview. Can you tell our readers a little but about yourself?
Lars – One of my earliest desires was motorcycles. Motocross bikes in particular. I wanted to race them as soon as I could. This passion came before girls, before music, before everything! Whenever I would see a motorcycle I would get so excited. That feeling still applies.
Like others in life, I’ve always felt misplaced in the world. There are very few people I feel comfortable around and prefer to be alone most of the time. To deal with this feeling of isolation I have turned to art and music. It’s been a therapy as well as an attempt to make a comforting world I can escape into.
Phill – A little bird tells me that Oneiroid Psychosis has a new release looming, so what can your fans expect from your new release?
Lars – I am taking my time on this one. Not that I didn’t on the others, but if I have the slightest doubt about something I will stop and come back to it later. There are fewer songs with drawn out intros than there have been in the past. I wanted to keep the OP sound of course, but also do more experimentation with structure. I’m always hoping to refine and develop the sound. Not change it too much, but avoid doing the same thing over and over. This album has been very difficult for me to write. It has a lot of emotion and expression in subject manner that I don’t necessarily want to deal with, but am forcing myself to anyway.
Phill – Four years ago you had a life changing experience; can you tell our readers what happened to you?
Lars – I was helping my father cut up dead trees that had fallen in the woods in my parents’ back yard on an unusually windy day. I got the chainsaw started and made one cut into the dead tree on the ground, when there was a huge gust of wind. I heard a cracking and squeaking sound so I stood up wondering what it was. At that very moment, a standing dead tree fell directly on my head. It cracked open my skull and I was knocked unconscious, so I don’t remember much. One thing I do remember is my mother holding me as I felt the blood dripping from my head. It was such a comfort to me. The last thing I remember was the medical team putting the brace on my neck, and the feeling that I was now safe. I woke up a few days later in the hospital a changed man. I’ve heard about things I did in the hospital like being very combative, belligerent, and mean, which is very unlike me, but I don’t remember any of it. Over all, it was a horrible experience.
Phill – What effect did this have on your life both physically and mentally?
Lars – Since the tree cracked open my skull and there was bleeding inside, the blood was putting pressure on my brain which would have eventually killed me. I was told another ten minutes and I would have been dead from the hematoma. I’m grateful I didn’t die and I know it could have been much worse, but I was left with a lot of pain and depression that I’ve never experienced before. Up until that point, I had led a very comfortable life. Now, the pain never seems to go away fully and it makes life very miserable sometimes. It’s been very difficult to get things done, which is depressing for me because I’ve always been driven by creativity. And at the same time it’s an obvious lesson in how the life you know can be taken from you at any moment without warning. So I’m trying to get those things done that I have always wanted to do. Make the best effort at life before it all goes away.
Phill – Anhedonia features tracks that lyrically reflect your accident, how does it feel to you to be telling your story in music? Is this a release you have been needing?
Lars – It is very important for me to use it as subject matter in the music. As I mentioned, creating music has been, and will always be, therapeutic. I didn’t want to whine too much about it and have it appear I was feeling sorry for myself. But the experiences were so intense and life changing that it’s unavoidable to write about it.
Phill – What effect did the accident have upon your friends and family?
Lars – We have always been close but I think it has brought our family closer. Realizing how quickly life can disappear has made us appreciate each other more. As far as friends go, I’ve become even more reclusive, so I feel I’ve lost touch with some friends. But with others it has also brought us closer, and we tend to cherish our time together much more. I’m grateful to have such a good support system from friends and family.
Phil – What one thing overall have you taken from your experiences when you had the accident?
Lars – I guess, as I mentioned, life is so unpredictable and can be taken from you. It has left me thinking and nearly obsessing about death. Wondering what our true purpose in life is, and if there is any real significance to the things we do on earth. If life can be taken from you so quickly and easily, what is the purpose of you even being here? I even think about how the cycle of the universe will destroy the earth along with the human race anyway, so why even try? There are no answers but I will never stop questioning. Sometimes these thoughts get in the way of me living my life and I get annoyed by it.
Phill – Oneiroid Psychosis is very dark musically, what inspired you to create the dark and deep sounds of Oneiroid?
Lars – Some of it came from visiting haunted houses as a young man and wanting to create the feeling of being in a completely different atmosphere and having that eerie dream feeling. I’m strangely comforted by it. Also, I remember this one scene in a movie I saw when I was about eight years old, were these evil villains used drugs, seduction, and music to brainwash people. The main guy was seduced by this girl and he signed his life away on a contract. Having seen the movie now, it’s horrible and embarrassing, but as a child this evil concept hit me really hard. And the music was so dark and repetitive, it completely overwhelmed me. I’ve been trying to recreate that feeling of being seduced by music ever since I started writing.
Phill – What has been your musical journey up until Oneiroid Psychosis?
Lars – When Leif and I were young, our older brothers had guitars sitting around the house. It was natural for us to pick them up and learn to play. Our older brother and sister helped influence the type of music we listened to as well. When I was around fourteen, our brother Shawn bought a four track recorder and my life changed. I had a new outlet for being creative and started composing songs for the first time.
Phill – People know you for Oneiroid but most people will be that you make armour and swords too. How did you get started doing this?
Lars – My sister and her husband started the company and knew I was creative and worked well with building things. I’ve only grown to love it more every day. Creating swords and armour also gives me another creative outlet which is important. I have learned new skill sets that I never imagined I would possess, and can apply them to so many aspects of my life. It is truly the perfect fit for me.
Phill – What in particular do you specialize in?
Lars – I do most design and development for Film Swords (a division of Albion that recreates swords and armour from film and fantasy art). I do CAM, CAD, design, as well as hands on wax carving, wood work, leather work, welding, and cutlery. Howard (my brother-in-law) and I work closely with the design of the Film Swords stuff. But I also do all of the CAM programming for Albion. CAM stands for computer aided machine and CAD stands for computer aided design.
Phill – Your fantasy creations are just amazing, one piece in particular caught my eye. So can you tell our readers about the Frazetta Helmet?
Lars – Frank Frazetta is the godfather of fantasy art. Filmswords received the licence to recreate any weapons from Frank Frazetta’s paintings. We recreated the Death Dealer Axe which was very well received. I took on recreating the Death Dealer Helm. Once I finished the prototype of the helm, we sent it off to Frank for his approval. He was elated! The only thing he wanted changed was the color of the horns. I spoke with Frank Jr. who said his father is very picky and this is the first time he was so happy with someone’s recreation of his work. His family said he would wear it around the house and just loved it. I had wanted it back because it was only the prototype and wasn’t “finished” in my opinion, but he refused to give it back he loved it so much. I’m quite honoured by that.
Phill – Can you explain the process needed to create a piece of armour?
Lars – Every piece is different. But it mainly starts out from a template that you cut out from a sheet of metal. I mostly use 18 and 16 gauge cold rolled steel. You can manipulate and bend the steel in various ways -- over mandrels or stakes, even over your knee. Different hammers serve different uses for forming. I do most forming cold but if there is a need for a more extreme shape I will heat the metal so it doesn’t stress as much and crack. You develop more forming skill as you hammer, as well as more skill with the hammer itself. It’s important because you can easily stress and wear out your muscles quickly if you don’t know what you are doing. It’s difficult to explain everything here because there are so many ways of making things work. It’s quite a lengthy process sometimes. You often start out with a piece that looks horrible and you think “this is never going to look right” but after some work and patience it suddenly starts coming together and gives you that extra boost to get it done and make it look right.
Phill – In your mind what is the easiest to produce, historic replicas or fantasy ones?
Lars – For me the fantasy is more my style. There is so much more freedom in the design and methods to create it. Even though appearance is subjective, one has to admit that some fantasy “artists” go over the top with some of their creations and put a bad name on fantasy art. Historical recreation is a different ballgame. It gets rather complicated and everyone seems to have their versions of what is “correct.” Some historical enthusiasts won’t buy an historical piece if it wasn’t recreated “historically.”
Phill – You are talented and with what happened to you in your life with the accident you are a fighter too, but what would you consider your greatest achievement in life?
Lars – I think it may be that Leif and I have had the opportunity to express our feelings and emotions through music, which is known all over the world and has changed some people’s lives. We have received many emails and letters from fans who have been through horrible things in their lifetime, and our music has helped them through it. That for me is a true honor and great achievement. It gives my life real meaning.
Phill – When can we expect to see Anhedonia out?
Lars – I am planning on releasing it around October of this year. But it has been a struggle with being spread out a bit thin with projects and still dealing with the aftermath of the accident.
Phill – Will you be touring to promote Anhedonia?
Lars – I would love to tour for this release. I’m working on a few things that I hope pan out. Hoping for the best!
Phill – Oneiroid is your brainchild, but who else accompanies you for live performances?
Lars – I often have my brother Shawn with me and Leif performs with us from time to time. We just finished recording a performance for a live video that we will release soon. We had a drummer for that video, who is a friend we have known for a long time and was in a band with Shawn. It’s really cool to have looked up to these guys as a kid and now I’m performing with them.
Phill – Now someone has cast a film about your life, it’s a fantasy epic though, so which fantasy warrior would be best suited to play the role of you?
Lars – The Marquis de Sade. Although he is more a warrior of the pen.
Phill – You are indeed an inspirational man, thank you so much for giving Grave Concerns this interview. Is there anything you would like to add?
Lars – I would like to thank you and Grave Concerns for the interview, and the fans for their patience with the release of the new album. It has been a long and difficult journey. I know it’s been a long time but I would rather take my time and make it right than hurry through just to get something out. It will be worth the wait!
You can see Oneroid Psychosis on YouTube here
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