ARCTURUS on RockOverdose: “Our plan now is to get a new album out, and start working on another right away!”


Ever since their inception, the Norwegian metalers ARCTURUS have demonstrated a steadfast dedication to exploring sound and establishing the unpredictability within it. These are the two characteristics that make the band a unique and beloved element in the progressive and extreme metal circles. 

Few days before their live shows in Greece, founding member/keyboardist and main composer Steinar Sverd Johnsen, answers our questions and prepares us for their unique performances.


Don't miss the chance to experience live their explosive live performances and their great individual musical and performing abilities!






RockOverdose: First of all it’s a great joy to talk with you. Where do we find you at the moment and what have you been up to lately regarding Arcturus?


Steinar Sverd Johnsen (ARCTURUS): Hello and thank you . Right now I’m at home, in my garage, my garage is a music studio where almost all new tracks has been made since 2012. These days were finalizing tracks for a new Arcturus album, soon ready for studio recording. I guess studio recording can start when returning from the Greece giggs!




RockOverdose: We would like some details on the release of the mega-box set “Stars And Oblivion”. How much did it take you to gather all this material, remaster it and why was it something that took place 2 years ago and not before?


Steinar Sverd Johnsen (ARCTURUS): We have been discussing it for a while, however it took some time to reach an agreement with all previous record companies and members to make everybody happy. It was decided to let Knut Magne Valle (Guitar and studio man) do the remasters to kinda do the job in-house and have better control on the result . Interviews and scanning of old pictures and documents was a step by step process, as it developed into a bigger box. It took time to find all this old stuff and to place it right on the time scale.


RockOverdose: About the extra material of the box with the “X-Tapes” and “Sverd Solo Compositions”, was it material that was intended for Arcturus releases that never saw the light, or was it product that never took a final form for an album?


Steinar Sverd Johnsen (ARCTURUS): It was more like test recordings and Jams that was not made to be released in the first place. The Sverd Solo is a real improvisation where sounds on the keyboard was tested in a fantasy way, all recorded in one go in 1996. This was a test of sound and way to play for the later upcoming La Masquerade.




RockOverdose: It’s been 8 years since “Arcturian” and everybody’s question is if and when a new album will be released. Given the fact that the previous album was in 2005, it makes 18 years with only one album. Does it take time to decide if the material is worthy to be released, or is it something that does not stress you at all?


Steinar Sverd Johnsen (ARCTURUS): 18 years , wow it must be like the slowest band on Earth, well it dosent stress me at all, life is full of things to do as I’m not only doing music.  For me it feels like this is natural tempo, maybe a bit slow, however the latest years I´ been more active again producing heaps of music. In 2018 I made a full album for Mortem (Ravnsvart album) , back to the brutal core, the idea was first made for Arcturus as I want to play harder music again, but the feedback from the boys in the band to do so was not the best. Therefor I had to do this idea with Mortem. Since 2018 I have made most of a new Arcturus album and also by now I have ready a new Mortem album

Much of the time after year 2001 was blown away Flying Hangglider for hundreds of hours, living in my car in the Norwegian mountains and disappearing up in the sky, the latest years I have stopped flying and only played music again.



RockOverdose: Arcturus always did something different to each release, never sounding the same as before. Is it something you had in mind before each release, or did It just happen naturally? Do you believe evolution must be something bands should go after with each release they have?


Steinar Sverd Johnsen (ARCTURUS): Arcturus by now is more than a half lifeline told in music, it stretches over 30 years and as you can hear both the expression and music style developed from being a teenager to grown up. There is not any planned evolution between the albums, more like a natural development




RockOverdose: It would be interesting to know what lead you to the magical world of music. Which were the ones that made you want to play the (Keyboard) bass and which new players have caught your attention and you believe they take the instrument to a new level?


Steinar Sverd Johnsen (ARCTURUS): Music has always been part of my life all the way from imitating Kiss playing on cardboard boxes and singing in to the hairdryer , the real start in 1987 when I met Marius Vold and we decided to start Mortem , and in 1990 when I got my first keyboard and discovered classic organ works.

It was already in 1988 we met Øystein Aarseth and got into the old underground network with writing letters and sending flyers, I have the old list of received letters here, I can example see that first letter from Greece was 15july89 from Jim Mutilator , it contained an interview and the person answer it was Snorre Ruch (Thorns) as he was on a visit then.



RockOverdose: It seems lately your path always leads you to Greece for a gig. We would like to know your thoughts on the Arcturus gigs you had so far which have remained historic, but also the one with Ved Buens Ende which people waited for years.


Steinar Sverd Johnsen (ARCTURUS): I still remember the first time 05 September 2004 in Thessaloniki , with 600 people in, that was crazy, it was the 4th gig on the first Arcturus EU minitour , with Øyvind Hegeland on vocals, people was singing so loud that we had to focus on stage to be tight on our instruments on the opening track that was Kinetic.



RockOverdose: Arcturus had always been a band to look up to as an influence for the later generations. Do you think there are bands today that could help the generations to come to find a motive in creating their new bands in the future?


Steinar Sverd Johnsen (ARCTURUS): The essence of the 90´s is still going strong, and the old school sound is what many bands looking for, there will always be new bands that finds new solutions, and way to do things, by now it seems like there is still the 90´s that is the strongest force . Its also in the 90´s Arcturus developed it sound and concept , that all later material builds on.



RockOverdose: After 33 years as a band, with all ups and downs, would you say the positive moments were more than the negative ones on your career? Is there still a dream to seek after? Something you would like to achieve before it all ends someday?


Steinar Sverd Johnsen (ARCTURUS): I’m super happy with what I have achieved so far, the downs is not bigger than it can be shuffled under the carpet and forgot, other things/errors is notified as experience so its not repeated. Still there is heaps if new ideas in my head that I have to write music about, and I can mention that the plan for Arcturus now is to get a new album out, and start working on another right away.




RockOverdose: We would like to thank you for your time. Could we have an insight for the plans of Arcturus or Ved Buens Ende for the future? What should the fans wait from your upcoming gig compared to the previous one? Take care and stay safe.


Steinar Sverd Johnsen (ARCTURUS): Thanks to all Greek fans and promotors that make this trip possible, on these shows we will play tracks from all Arcturus albums, I wish we could play everything but that would take a while, so well do a cross section of all albums.




Angelos Katsouras