Interview with former ‘Antestor’ Guitarist ‘Erling Jorgensen’ (aka Pilgrim)


pilgrim 2014Recently our Brazilian friend Marllon Matos conducted an Interview with Erling Jorgensen better known as Pilgrim, co-founder & former guitarist of the Norwegian metal band Crush Evil, which was the beginning of Antestor. Erling talks about his years in the band, the name-change, his favorite Antestor songs and much more

How was your life before entering Antestor ?

I grew up in a christian family. All my grandparents were christian, and my mother’s parents were even missionairies in China for 16 years, and my mother was born there. In my mid teens I  joined a youth quire for teenagers at the local church at Jessheim. There I met Lars Stokstad (Vemod) who also sung. I was interested in computers, programming and gaming. I did well in school, but was a shy boy.

How did you become interested in music?

In school, grade 7 to 9, we sometimes had music in the hallway in the long mid pause. I liked a lot of it, for instance Slade which was a bit heavy. Later on, a cousin of mine, Alexander, introduced me to Twisted Sister’s first album.The first time I heard it, it didn’t give me much. But I ended up buying the cassette, and enjoyed it. My cousin also introduced me to bands like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. I had become a metal fan. Later on, I listened weekly to a local radio show from Oslo, which presented the newest metal and rock on the market. And there were a lot of great songs and bands. I don’t remember which year, but I made a compilation cassette to Lars with my favourite heavy metal music, and he liked it.

pilgrim 3What were your favorite bands from your adolescence?

In the local church, I also got friends like Kjetil Molnes (Martyr) and Svein Sander’s (Armoth) oldest brother Frank. They also liked heavy metal. I believe it was in 1987 we first started a band. It was called Powertrust. We had female vocals, and rehearsed weekly in the local church at Jessheim. Lars played keyboard, and Frank the drums. A friend called Robert was bass player. There were a lot of bands that we liked, like Petra, Whitecross and of course Stryper. We also liked bands like Bloodgood and Barren Cross. And secular bands like Yngwie Malmsteen and Metallica. The music scene changed fast, and soon  death- and thrashmetal evolved. We liked bands like Mortification, Vengeance Rising, Testament, Metallica, and later bands like Death and Kreator.

Tell us about the “Crush Evil” era, which was the beginning of “Antestor”.

One of us got the idea to start to play and record music like this. To send it to the local radio station and show people that christians also can play this kind of music. And in 1989, Crush Evil was born. I continued on guitar, Lars had started playing the guitar as well. On drums we had Tom Paulsen, and on bass guitar were Øyvind Hope, and Kjetil on vocals. Lars started to make songs, and when we had three songs, we entered Norsk Lydskole (Norwegian sound school) in Oslo to record them.

Do you remember something about the record sessions of the first demo tape “The Defeat of Satan” (1991) ?

It was quite a professional studio, and the sound quality was good. Better than on our next demo, “Despair”, I think. But we were not yet very skilled musicans, and some of it is a bit off beat. Lars had changed his pickup to EMG, wich gave a great sound similar to Metallica. I had no alterations to my Fender strat, and my sound was poor compared to Lars’. I also had an old Marshall jtm 45 which was not so good for metal. Lars had a quite new Marshall. We had a young man as the executive producer. I think he was a student at the school. We recorded the instruments seperately. The radio station was positive to the demo, and called it interesting. They played one song.

Do you remember why and when the band changed the name ?

Well, we felt that Crush Evil was a too strong statement, and hard to swallow for non-christians. Antestor is a more neutral name, and is latin for “witness”. One of Lars’s two sisters came up with the name. I think we changed the name in 1992, around when Svein and Vegard Undal(Gard) joined the band..

We heard the news that happened in those early days, threats to the band members. It was something real?

Yes, the demo had been on the market for a while, and Kjetil received a letter with threaths about us having to quit playing. lt was not death threaths, but it said that this kind of music only could be played by crazy people who cut themselves on stage. It was covered by the local newspaper. This was around the time with burning of some churches in Norway, and the killing of a guitarist from Mayhem. Kjetil threw the letter away, and was the only one who read it.

What did the members of the church think about Antestor? Did they understood the evangelistic proposal of the band? What church did you attend and what are you currently attending?

They were mostly positive. We were allowed to rehearse at a small church centre in Kløfta, 10 km. south of Jessheim. We tried to rehearse every week. Later we rehearsed in the basement where Vegard lived at Jessheim. We attended the traditional church in Norway. It is called evangelic-lutheran, based on Martin Luther’s reformation.(1483-1546). Later on, we attended at Oslo Vineyard, which was a free church. Antestor rehearsed also there for a while, but was told to stop because of complains from a couple of other members. I don’t go to church very often these days, but I prefer the traditional Norwegian church. It’s more solemn, and I enjoy the psalms.

I like so much the ‘Despair” demo-tape. If Antestor progressed in this style, the band could be one of the greatest bands in the world. What are your thoughts about this work ?

I like it a lot. Both the style and the music we created. One of the reasons we played this style, was that we were influenced by the swedish doom metal band Candlemass, one of my favourite bands. But Antestor became more and more extreme, because the rest of the musical scene did so, and the fact that Lars wanted us to be the most extreme christian metal band.

pilgrim 4This year marks the 20th anniversary of “Martyrium” . What is your remembrance about the recording and promotion of this album ?

It was december 1994. We spent three days in studio recording at Norwegian sound school, the same place as the first demo. The executive producer was not a student at the school. The mixing table had 24 analog tracks. We recorded drums, heavy guitars and base guitar all together live. We had rehearsed a lot in advance, because this was to become a CD. We rehearsed mostly at the farm where Lars grew up, and now owns. I had installed EMG pickup on my guitar as well, and had a quite new Marshall. We both bought new tubes for the Marshall’s. We had tuned down our guitars to D, inspired by Swedish death metal band Edge of Sanity, which we were quite fond of. For the first time, we tuned our guitars between each song. We worked almost day and night to get finished in time. The next weekend (three days), we mixed it, and recorded everything to a DAT cassette. Svein was not happy with the sound of the snare drum. Therefore, we mixed it again early next year. But then, the guitar sound was a bit too distorted. The producer did not seem to be able to – or want to help us with that problem. Anyway, we wanted to release the last mix.  A guy in Oslo, Torodd Fuglesteg, wanted to release the album through his record label Arctic Serenades. But after receiving many threaths from norwegian metal people, he decided not to. So it was not released until 2000 through Endtime productions. Sold at, to give them some advertising.

Is it true that Dimmu Borgir was rehearsing in the same studio that where “Martyrium” was recorded ?

I haven’t heard of that, and don’t think so. This is a school for sound technicians. But I once met members of Dimmu Borgir at a rehearsal room provided by the community at Jessheim (Smia), where we also used to rehearse for a while. They were not happy to see me. Old mans child also reherased here, and the founder of that band, Thomas Rune Andersen Orre (Galder), sometimes attended our rehearsals.

What is your favorite show with the band ?

That must have been when we played at a christian youth congress for hundreds of people. There was an open session for about an hour for people to sing, read or talk. This was in the early Crush Evil days, and I don’t think many people enjoyed or understood it. But it was a big event for us.

What are your favorite songs from Antestor ?

From “Despair”, I am quite happy with the song I wrote, ‘Lost Generaton’, and the funeral psalm. From “Martyrium”, my favourite songs are ‘Inmost Fear’ and ‘Under the Sun’. And from “The Return of the Black Death”, I like ‘Svartedaudens Gjenkomst’ and ‘Battlefield’ the most. I also like a lot the songs ‘Rites of death’, ‘Via Dolorosa’, ‘Unchained’.and ‘In Solitude’.

Did you participate in some rehearsal concerning the songs that would appear on “The Return Of The Black Death” ?

No, I did not. Summer 1995, Stig  Rolfsen (Erkebisp) replaced me in the band, and he played on that album.

pilgrim antestor 2Why did you leave the band and the music career?

It was a decision from Lars, Kjetil and Svein to have me replaced with Stig. He was an upcoming guitarist who rehearsed a lot more than me. And he was also mentally stronger. I have struggled with anxiety and depression all my adult life. For example, I got sick with anxiety and could not attend the concert at Bootleg, where Antestor played a few songs from “Martyrium” with cameras recording (It’s on Youtube). After that, I played in a band with a cousin of mine for about a year (coversongs), but it came to an end. As years have passed, I have lost interest and pleasure in playing the guitar.

What you do in your life lately? Still in contact with former members of the band ?

I am disabled from working, but try to take a couple of walking trips almost every day. I listen to music and watch TV. I have a brother and a sister. My parents are divorced. I visit them all now and then. I am interested in photography. I am facebook friends with all the members of Antestor which I played with, except for the first drummer (Tom) and Vegard. I talk and text with Lars mostly, and secondly Kjetil. I have three friends in Oslo.

What do you think about the actual Antestor ?

I like it quite well. “Omen” is very technical, and demands attention from the listener. Great guitar playing. I think this is how Lars always wanted to play. But I like more the “Despair” and “Martyrium” era, because it  was more varying, especially vocally.

Thanx for the interview. God bless you. Do you have some final words ?

I want to say like Pantera: You can’t be something you’re not. Be yourself. Thank you.

Video below ‘Lost Generation’

Video below ‘Under the Sun’ (live)

Related Articles:
Interview with ‘Kjetil [Martyr] Molnes’[Sept. 2011]
‘Antestor’ To Play ‘Brainstorm Festival’ 2012, And 3 Other New Names [Sept. 2012]
Interview With ‘Antestor’ [Ronny Hansen] [Sept. 2012]
‘Antestor’ Live At ‘Blast Of Eternity’ Video Available [Nov. 2012]
Antestor – Omen [Album review]
‘Antestor’ Brazilian Tour Footage Posted [Jan. 2013]
Quality Fan-Filmed Footage ‘Antestor’ Live In Brazil [Jan. 2013]

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