Interview: Darkthrone

A driving force in the black metal scene? Nope. That’s something too dupe to claim about the duet from Norway. Darkthrone are mature enough to be put through any kind of terminology and Fenriz keeps proving the whole audience he’s a much more motherfucking fan rather than just a musician. Delightful once more…

I was recently home with a friend of mine and I had the “Plaguewielder” album playing on. My friend doesn’t listen to Darkthrone, though he said: “Fucking rock n’ roll! Who are we listening to?” Should I believe that Darkthrone always hid such “old” elements in their music?

That’s the least rock n’ roll album we ever did! Maybe it’s rock n’ roll compared to Dimmu Borgir, but I think most of the structures on it has very little to do with the late 50s style. HAHAHAHA!!! No, we don’t “HIDE” anything in our music, really, we just write and make what we feel like, it’s 100% NATURAL and un-artificial. And most of my influences are subconcious, too. What happens happens.

Once upon a time, adding your vocal lines to any of Darkthrone’s songs was the secret desire of many fans. Nowadays, not only you sing but you also take over some bass duties. Many surprises, don’t you think?

I CERTANLY didn’t know about THAT desire. Anyway, I was the first vocalist in Darkthrone, from 1988 demo ’till 1st demo in 1989. At that time I made most of the music, but the others soon joined in, in late 88 and in 1989 and 1990 we were all writing almost all the stuff together, helping out with parts, etc. But after the recording of “A Blaze in the Nothern Sky” in the summer of 1991, I decided that everyone should just write on their own and all of it should be accepted and recorded. And so it has been from that point. But me and Ted were multi-instrumentalists, when we covered “VISUAL AGGRESSION” by Celtic Frost live in 1989, Ted was playing drums and I sang and played guitar. This is very much needed for 2-piece bands like us (aren’t many around, I know) as we understand what we want a bit better. Or maybe not. It’s not rocket science we’re doing here. We just wanna rock. So when I decided that my vocals weren’t right for Darkthrone (listen to Thulcandra, I sing more like nyhc – I love nyhc but not on Darkthrone at that time) I wanted Ted to step in and I could continue doing vocals on my Isengard demo that I recorded and made and played myself in summer of 1989. So I always did lotsa vocals too, just not in Darkthrone. well, I did some again for the “Goatlord” album. And then not until….the “Sardonic Wrath” album? Anyway, I have SLOWLY brought some of my vocals (I have MANY MANY different voices) back, and now it’s finally the Darkthrone version of KISS, I sing my songs and Ted sings his. I have to play bass and guitar always to make the songs, so I might as well do bass on my own tracks.

If you’d keep on with Isengard, would you play the stuff you’re writing now for Darkthrone or is there a separative line between these two bands? Is there any, even least, chance to hear anything new from Isengard?

Very separate, I feel. I mean, Isengard was a project 1989-1995, I never thought about it since then, except everyone is always asking for more so it never escapes me. I might do more, but then in a slow style of “OVER DE SYNGENDE ØDE MOER” perhaps, not overly folky or death metally at least. Or I made no plans about this, never lay plans, but I have EXTREME amounts of work to take care of concerning Darkthrone, my blog, all the writing I do…there is no time now. I must also have a day job to be able to listen to all the music people send me. It’s a SICK life sometimes.

With which albums would you parallel “Circle the Wagons” in order to persuade an old heavy metal fan (who thinks you still play black metal) to listen to this?

Persuasions like that always fail, the mind must be open and the will must be there. However I understand where you want to go with this. Well, first we have OLD SOUND. This has nothing to do with all the thousands of bands making a “comeback” with old boring riffs BUT WITH NEW SOUND”. Fuck those bands but I thank them perhaps for at least TRYING. But it’s not good enough. NWOBHM with modern sound is just hopeless. I would tell them to listen to the new ENFORCER album “Diamonds”. And I can’t label our music either, because the styles of Ted and me differ a lot. But I think all of my riffs are from 1979-1985 mostly, and the sound production is like a lost Swedish band from 1984 maybe.

I’ve got this feeling that Darkthrone’s last releases mainly aim at some kind of musical guidance. Darkthrone, though, manage to autonomically stand as fresh breath in the musical scene. How do you achieve this anyway? Is there any turn in interests by the audience towards the old heavy shit?

Thank you for a beautiful question!!! And yes, the interest towards the old stuff has been ENORMOUS in the underground since the start of the 00s, much more since 2005-2007, and the last two years the interest for the old real metal is MASSIVE. We, of course, shifted a whole fanbase, that was rather ballsy of us, but we didn’t have any choice – as we have to make what is in our hearts anyway.

Have you listened to “Belus”? What do you think of this?

70% atleast of the interviews I did for “CIRCLE THE WAGONS” (I did maybe 70 so far) asked about this. It’s a great album, and I kind of expected him to return to the “Filosofem” feel also. He also has a nod to old Destruction in one of the songs. For those of you who can hear that.

Is there any possibility that Varg writes some lyrical stuff again for any of your albums?

1993/94: I wanted him to write as he was suddenly imprisoned and he could talk through the masses with lyrics through Darkthrone in 1994. This is not the situation now, he can write again with Burzum and everything now!

Are you still working out your muscles?

Yeah, but the beer belly STAYS. HAHAHA!!!

Even if I shouldn’t ask, due to their recent reunion, don’t you think that Obliteration somehow pick up what Autopsy abandoned back in ’95 (belauding Abscess, of course)?

Well, I am not very familiar with the Autopsy stuff after “MENTAL FUNERAL”. What I do know is that both AUTOPSY were praised by the audiences in the states now when they played live, and they also hailed EACH OTHER. I listened to Obliteration’s new tracks today, even!

Following to the previous question, what do you think of Autopsy’s return?

I only heard the single, so one can just solidify the fact that they are back with a bang, eh?

Do you prefer Matthew Herbert, Doctor Rockit, Radio Boy or Wishmountain the most?

I never had many Wishmountain tracks, there were some on his “LET’S ALL MAKE MISTAKES” mix cd which was AWESOME. I prefer plain Herbert, since 1996 ’till about 2002.

End of investigation and one last question. Another friend of mine is curious to know what movies you dig. Really, are you associated with the cinema at all?

I go alone, and yesterday I saw “PERSONA” by Ingmar Bergman. This does not mean I have a special interest, I have a life time free card so I go as recreation with a very open mind. The best movie I saw last year was “ME AND YOU AND EVERYONE WE KNOW” and the best movie I saw this year was “WENDY AND LUCY”. Keep in mind I see these movies alone mostly in cinemas that are almost empty. There’s movies for different occasions, but what I like is humour and then just GOOD movies – could be entertainment even like the typical 80s flicks, or as you saw above – I like movies about LIFE ITSELF, THE HUMAN CONDITION etc.

Add whatever you like. Thank you very much for this. Wish the best for you.

Check the “band of the week” blog on darkthronemyspaceofficial and listen to DEAD MOON and THE ASSOCIATES!

Interview by Miltos XIC

1 comment:

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