In a new interview with Ultimate-Guitar, EMPEROR frontman Ihsahn discussed the current state of music, sharing his opinion on such popular acts as Billie Eilish and IMAGINE DRAGONS.

When asked how does he look the genre of rock and metal today, Ihsahn responded: “I think I’ve become… I’m 44 now so I’ve come to that age where I genuinely love great music. Not a big fan of bad music. [Laughs] And, as you’ve just mentioned, I’m not a big fan of IMAGINE DRAGONS. That does not resonate with me. I’m sure it’s well-produced and all that.

“But Billie Eilish I’ve been listening to a lot.”

The production that Finneas [O’Connell, Billie‘s brother, producer, and co-writer] does, the minimalism of it, the way it’s put together – it’s really brave. It’s something to…

“If you look at pop artists like that… I think even in the extreme metal scene, there are so many bands concerned with what’s the right thing to do,” he continued. “In a music genre that was really based on people not giving an absolute f*ck about what people thought about their music – it was rather: go for what not to do. [laughs]

“So my general philosophy about this, I have this idea that the inspiration comes from the underground where there’s no money or recognition to be had. People do it for the sake of their own enjoyment.

“And then, some of that becomes so unique that it actually has some commercial success, against all odds. And, at the very top, where you have people like Kanye West or even THE BEATLES or PINK FLOYD – when they had so much money and resources – when they could do whatever the hell they wanted, they went on to make art records. Far-out experimental stuff for the sake of it, not trying to fit in.

“So on the outer edges of that, when there’s no money and recognition to the point where you don’t care… Basically these are the two edges of music where people really don’t care about anything other than music. That’s where you get the ingenious new things,” Ihsahn added.

“And everybody in the middle who tries to polish their stuff to put it into this or that category and do the smart thing, and maybe do compromises with their music to make it fit someone else’s needs – then it becomes this very bland and uninteresting thing in the middle that really doesn’t contribute as anything new. That is a very harsh way of saying it. But I think you see my point.”