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8 Questions With PROJECT:Beyond

project:beyond

PROJECT:Beyond is a new alternative rock band who made this professional recording debut in 2022 with the single “Dreaming”. That track introduced a talented young quintet from Norway with a mature and musically sophisticated sound.

“Thoughts & Regrets” is the brand new two-song EP from PROJECT:Beyond, released worldwide via all major streaming services on April 7, 2023. “Regret” is the current single from the EP. Acoustic guitar and ambient synths introduce the track as vocalist and songwriter Johann Lothe steps to the mic for a melodic and philosophical treatise on choices and consequences. 

Check out “Regret” below. You can also hear the song on the Deep Indie Dive playlist, or listen on your favorite streaming service. We had the chance to chat with the band. See their answers to our 8 questions below. And follow the links at the end of this artist to connect with PROJECT:Beyond. Get on their socials and get in the loop on all of the music to come from this exciting new group.

8 Questions with PROJECT:Beyond

Where are you from?

We’re a band from Bergen, the second largest city in Norway, located on the west coast.

How long have you been making music?

Johann: It all started as a two-man project after Stefan and I met at a school for music and sound production. We had a school assignment about recording live drums, and after jamming out a song within a few minutes, we really felt like taking this thing further. It quickly turned into a project, and we wrote 3-4 songs in 2021, in hopes of releasing an EP in 2022. 

In 2022, we signed up for the Eggstock-festival in Bergen, which is a 3-days festival for up-and-coming local bands in the area. We obviously needed a full band, and after some headhunting, we hired Ulrik (the bassist) and Karl-Petter (the guitarist) for the gig. We tried out two different drummers, one of them joining us for the festival, but only Ulrik and Karl-Petter joined the band permanently. We weren’t entirely prepared, but the festival resulted in some exposure and some needed stage experience.

In August 2022, we hired a new drummer, released our first single Dreaming in September, and played our first headline gig in December, to great reception. In between these larger events, Stefan and I kept writing new material. 

In 2023, we started planning our second release, which became the double-single Thoughts & Regrets containing the songs I’m Not the Thoughts in My Head and Regret, released in early April. This release was the end of what we’d like to call the first phase, and the three songs now released were part of the first songs Stefan and I wrote back in 2021. 

In the meantime, our drummer left the band to study abroad, with Håkon joining us shortly after.

Now, we’re ready for phase two – bigger and better songs, more concerts, a new studio and some much needed experience.

Who are the musicians involved in your project?

We are, at this moment in time, five people in the band, ages ranging from 22 to 27:

Johann Lothe, 23 – vocalist, guitarist, producer, songwriter, mixing-engineer

Stefan Åsheim, 24 – main guitarist, songwriter

Ulrik Greve, 22 – bassist

Karl-Petter Vedeler, 24 – solo/rhythm guitarist

Håkon Huus, 27 – drummer (joined a few weeks ago)

Who are your biggest musical influences?

The band’s composers and songwriters are for the most part Stefan and Johann, with hopes of the others joining in on the songwriting process in the future. Håkon is fairly new to the band, but has years of experience behind the drum set. He lovesgenres like jazz and progressive metal.

Ulrik has actually only been playing the bass for 2-3 years, and his obsession with rock/metal was non-existent before that time. He has a great ear for music, and whilst playing the bass, he also has a hand in everything regarding connections and planning within the band. He surely likes Metallica.

Karl-Petter was also a late bloomer and has only been playing the guitar for a few years, after discovering Slash from Guns N’ Roses. He’s a great solo guitarist, and he adds a certain technique the band would be missing without him. After joining the band, his guitar playing has gone from pure shredding to writing his own material, focusing on things like chords and stuff. Polyphia has been his band recently. 

Stefan’s guitar journey started with Angus Young and AC/DC, and the biggest influences on his music has been Oasis and John Mayer. He loves big chords, has an obsession with funk and blues, and has recently been taking huge inspiration from Billy Strings and the bluegrass scene, along with Johann. If Stefan’s music is anything, it’s guitar music. Almost every PROJECT: Beyond song starts with his ideas.

Johann does it all. Whilst being the vocalist for the band, he’s also the one turning Stefan’s ideas into full songs. He records and arranges Stefans ideas, and adds his own ideas, production and sound to it. He’s also responsible for writing the drums, the bass and the

lyrics. He loves experimenting with genres, arrangements and stuff like loops and samples. He’s also the one doing the mixing, the distribution, promos and socials. He’s the guy manifesting his ideas, emotions and experiences into the band’s music and image.

Johann: I was involved with music from an early age, with both my parents having non-professional musical backgrounds. Though, it was my older brother, Christoffer Kjørsvik, the lead guitarist and songwriter for the melodic black metal band Sworn who really influenced and inspired me to pick up the guitar and write my own material.

I used to run around with an MP3-player in kindergarten listening to Slayer and Metallica. I’ve always been fairly interested in the theatrical and I used to make plays and do comedy sketches as a kid. I also like to draw, take pictures, make movies, edits and so on.

Early on, in elementary school, My favorite band at the time was the Finnish Eurovision winners of 2006, Lordi. There was just something about the energy and intensity of metal mixed with the melodic and clean elements of pop that I just loved. The masks were badass

too!

Throughout elementary school, Iron Maiden entered the stage, along with bands like Slipknot, Linkin Park, Megadeth, Dio, Queen and many others. I turned to other genres as well and fell in love with the likes of Michael Jackson, Eminem, Skrillex and whatever was popular at the time. I had learned some chords and a few riffs up until that point, but I didn’t play the guitar all that much until later. I played the shit out of Guitar Hero III, though! 

I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember, and I’ve never had a problem with hitting notes and such, but I developed a distaste for my own voice when I was younger, realizing I didn’t sound as good as I first had thought, and rap was the game at age 10. It surely contributed positively to my pronunciation of english words, vocal technique and stage presence.

When I was 12, my mother and I moved to Kristiansund, further up north. My love for rock and metal grew again, and I finally started playing the guitar regularly. At age 15, my favorite band had become Avenged Sevenfold, and with a newly bought audio interface, my close-to-nothing bedroom love songs became fully fledged Sevenfold-like metal productions. At the same time, I started noticing a problem with my guitar playing. 

I was born with a mild case of something called ‘arthrogryposis multiplex congenita’, which involves a variety of non-progressive conditions that are characterized by multiple joint contractures (stiffness) and involves muscle weakness found throughout the body at birth. Simply put, my fingers are kind of fucked up, and at times I can only use 2-3 fingers while playing the guitar.

Most of my time went into writing songs and I almost stopped practicing the guitar entirely. I only played when I was recording. I did try something semi-surgical for the hand issue, with no results – but honestly, I think this was the turning point for me and what I wanted to do. I didn’t have a need to be a shredder any more, I just wanted to create music.

In 2017, I went to something called musikklinjen (which directly translates to: the music line), which is basically high school, but with lots of music classes. There, I learned some music theory and I started playing the drums. At musikklinjen, we did things like concerts and tours, had choir practices and band rehearsals. I became more open to other genres like prog and rockabilly. I finally began singing again, and I started an EDM-project and later rap-project which increased my knowledge and experience when it came to music production and writing lyrics. I also discovered Bring Me The Horizon at that time, which really inspired me to “modernize” my metal music.

In 2019, I moved back to Bergen to study music production, where I met Stefan. 

My biggest musical influences at the moment have to be Avenged Sevenfold, Slipknot, Periphery, Sworn and Steven Wilson – but I’m also inspired by bands like Dream Theater, Bring Me The Horizon, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Pink Floyd, Polyphia, Muse, Loathe, Lordi, Normandie, and artists like Eminem, Logic, Michael Jackson, Billy Strings, Post Malone and such. Most of all, my biggest musical influence, imo, is my band mates.

What is your greatest non-musical influence?

The greatest non-musical influence within the band has got to be Johann’s semi-spirituality. Johann had been struggling with drug abuse and mental illness since shortly before lockdown in 2020, and it directed him towards a new way of life, after experiencing a “spiritual awakening” of sorts.

His dedication and fascination for the concepts of life, psychology, creation and consciousness has surely had a massive impact on the bands musical direction. The concepts of Zen Buddhism and Tao, the psychological teachings of Carl Jung, the philosophies of Buddha and Jesus, Alan Watts and Mooji – are all present within the music. 

“Through our eyes, the universe is perceiving itself. Through our ears, the universe is listening to its harmonies. We are the witnesses through which the universe becomes conscious of its glory, of its magnificence.” – Alan Watts

What inspired you to create this project?

Johann: I’m under the impression that music (and life) is at its purest when it comes from the heart, or from consciousness itself. The essence of life, which (imo) is creation, is intuitive. The sun, the trees and flowers, the rivers, the animals, everything in life is perfectly crafted with precision and intent, “effortlessly”. Like art. Life is creation, creation is love, love is initiative. Music is an indescribable love for the mystery we call human existence. It’s music for music’s sake.

We want to tear ourselves away from the predetermined ideas we often have about music. Life is at its best when it’s challenging and unpredictable. Music is no different. I like to think that we are the source of creation, and we’re not about to hinder 13.8 billion

years of evolution! But through us, individuals with unique thoughts and opinions, identities, emotions, experiences and influences, music becomes a personal expression of existence and of our lives.

What are your plans for the future (musically)?

We don’t want to create something within a certain genre. We don’t want to be like anyone else, or to please anyone but ourselves. We create what our hearts tell us to create. In a sense, we are merely the mediator between the divine and the mortal, physical world.

The songs we create are usually made through a jam session. We find a song in there somewhere, record the parts, and I begin arranging and producing. Within a couple of days, there’s usually a full song. We don’t decide beforehand what we want to do, it all happens in

the moment. And it’s these moments that matter, that is the essence of our craft. It’s all about the process and not the end product, and when being all about the process, the end product becomes pure. An authentic experience filled with emotion and intent. Just like life itself.

Our plan is to continue creating the music that we love, and hopefully be more than just a band. We are no musical geniuses, and we have plenty left to learn. A lifetime that is. At the moment, we do everything ourselves, and we’re currently in the process of renovating a studio for recording songs and having band rehearsals.

Is there anything else you would like to say?

We want the essence of life to resonate with every single human being on the planet, and we wanna do that through our music.