One of the most innovative guitarists in metal is Terji Skibenaes. While most know him as one of the shredders in the legendary Tyr, his most recent solo album is gaining praise from fans. Taking a more classic metal approach than the usual Tyr-style, Terji shows us his ingenious riffs on his debut instrumental solo album.
While the album is very complex, added melody allows the songs to be catchy. Each song is singular and inventive, making the album as a whole a groundbreaking debut. With enough time to write and record the album, Terji’s prime album is off to a good start. It received great reviews from fans, and now fans want more. Will Terji have enough time to break from Tyr? The fact that he’s already writing for the second album, it seems so!
The Age of Metal: Your debut solo album has been out for a little over a month. What are your views on the reaction and support you’ve been receiving? Anything you expected?
Terji Skibenaes: So far it’s only been positive, but it’s so new still, so we’ll see down the road. I did not expect anything, to be honest, I just wanted to release an instrumental album and hope that people who like instrumental music will like it.
TAOM: One of the things I noticed Tyr fans have been saying is you stayed away from the Tyr style and even the overall folk playing style. Is there any reason why you expanded?
TS: Well, folk metal is not something I ever listen to or ever have listened to. I listen more to classic heavy/rock/pop and instrumental guitar-based albums, such as Steve Vai, Marty Friedman, Yngwie [Malmsteen] and so on….so I think it’s only natural that I go more in that direction that I like to listen to myself.
TAOM: When listening to the songs I noticed the riffs and solos are technical, but also very catchy. Who were some of your influences on writing your material this way?
TS: For melodies it’s definitely Marty Friedman, he’s got the best ear for melodies and feel to a guitar that I know of. Riff wise I have no idea, it’s just something that pops out of my head when noodling on the guitar, bored on the sofa.
TAOM: Did you have any non-musical influences?
TS: Yes, my son who was born 11 months ago. He was a huge inspiration for me writing the album! The song Beloved is written to him.
TAOM: Did anyone else contribute to your album?
TS: Mikkjal Hvannastein a Faroese guitar player, he plays a solo on the song Secrets Of War. Otherwise, I played, arranged and mixed everything on the album. Mastering was done in Sweden at Fascination Street Studios.
TAOM: Is there any particular reason why you wanted to make your album an instrumental one?
TS: I have always wanted to release an instrumental album since I was a teenager and since Tyr basically had a year off, I finally had time to make it.
TAOM: For this material, did you overall want fans to see a different side of Terji?
TS: Yeah, to see the non-folk/Viking side of my music. I’m always being connected to that since I am with Tyr, so this is a good chance to show people that I am definitely not only about folk/Viking metal.
TAOM: Do you think it’s good for musicians to expand?
TS: Yes definitely! Staying only in one style your whole life will make you bored to death with music. At least for me. And only listening to metal will never make a musician expand, I think.
TAOM: I was reading some of the comments from your fans and they said they want more solo work from you in the future. Do you see yourself releasing more solo albums?
TS: I am already writing songs slowly for the next album. But when that will come out is too early to say at this point.
TAOM: Aside from your solo work, you’re planning on staying busy with Tyr. You’ll be playing the Faroe Islands in June and touring Europe in the fall. Are you looking forward to all of your playing?
TS: Of course, It’s always fun to tour and play for the fans. I’m so used to tour all the time, that it’s weird being home for too long.
TAOM: You also played Israel recently. This isn’t the first time you’ve been there, so why did you go back? What’s the crowd like over there?
TS: Israel is great to play in, the fans are crazy there! The first time we were there we really didn’t know what to expect, but it turned out great! So since the demand was high to get us back, we, of course, wouldn’t refuse.
TAOM: Can you give us an update on the new Tyr album?
TS: It’s still in the writing process, going slowly. We hope to have it released this year.
TAOM: Do you have a message for the fans?”
TS: I hope to get the chance to play my material live for you guys one day.
Feel free to spread the word about my album if you like it or you can buy it at http://www.terjiguitar.com/shop/.