Emperor broke up in 2001 and released their final album Prometheus – The Discipline of Fire & Demise that same year. The band has since reunited for shows, but any time the prospect of new material comes up, it doesn’t really seem like it’ll ever happen. The band just simply isn’t into the idea.
Now in an interview with Rauta (transcribed by Blabbermouth), frontman and guitarist Ihsahn says trying to make a new album would be a “lose-lose situation” because they’re just not in that headspace anymore. Ihsahn agrees that yes – the album would probably sell well regardless of if it’s actually good or not, but that’s not the point. He also says they’ve turned down tours besides their one-off appearances at festivals and that they’re denying tours and new music “for the right reasons, if you will.”
“I can appreciate people wanting it, but I don’t know… Looking at this from a fan perspective, what bands came back with new material after a very long time and kind of came out with an album like, ‘Fuck yeah! This is amazing!’ It rarely happens, because I think… at least just reflecting to my own musical filters as a fan, it’s just as much the memories and experiences I had that I attach to certain albums, and especially the music you grow up with and you kind of attach yourself to in your teens or whatever. I think a demand for a new Emperor album is kind of a wish to recreate that feeling and emotion, and I couldn’t possibly see a new Emperor album ever fulfilling that need.”
“What would people expect us to do? Should we do an Emperor album that sounded like an old Emperor album and hence try to copy ourselves, which would not be very genuine? Or would they have an Emperor album that sounded like something we would do today, probably with my progressively more… Well, at the end of Emperor, I ended up writing all the music, so I guess it would be a lot of musical material that was similar to my solo stuff in there.
“It’s kind of a lose-lose situation, and I think people appreciate that — I think they know. So, of course, if we [felt] like, ‘Oh, yeah, we’re gonna build this new Emperor thing,’ but I think none of us are in that mindspace at all. Because creatively… That’s why we ended in the first place — because we wanted to leave at a peak where we could still represent this together. And I’d like to think that some of the reason that we can do huge festivals and people still follow us, I think there’s a trust there of the very uncompromising nature of Emperor as a phenomenon, because we never compromised. I mean, there are a lot of things that we could do. I’m sure if we released some kind of album with the Emperor logo on it, it probably would sell a lot. And yes, we’ve been doing some festival shows, but [there have been] tours and things we’ve also turned down. So we’ve only kept this at a level and done the stuff that… we’re doing it for the right reasons, if you will.”