воскресенье, 3 июня 2012 г.

Niflungr Interview

That's is second interview published in my zine, so, surely it's satisfied my a lot more than the first. Niflungr is very educated and interesting person to talk with, so, our conversation has turned out very informative and emotional, and not only just about questions related to Azaghal, but Niflungr himself too, his private tastes, views and ideas. So, I have nothing more to say, let's turn to our conversation. Enjoy!

1. Hails Niflungr! For the beginning of this interview, I should say that Azaghal does not need any present to readers, that just a bit devoted into extreme music underground worldwide. So then, let’s start with some private questions. Describe your musical or some other way from first listening of metal recordings till your coming in Azaghal in 2009.

What comes to metal music, I think one of the first bands I heard was Metallica. After this I also found some other bands like Nuclear Assault, Annihilator, Stone, Iron Maiden and so on. I grew up in a small town in northern Finland as we had to music stores to buy albums from. So we had to rely on radio stations who would play such music and of course school mates who would have gotten some albums in their hands. From the very beginning I was looking for the most extreme possible band there would be. Around in 1994, I heard Emperor´s In the nightside eclipse album, and I got into the Norwegian black metal scene. I assume this can be heard in the music I compose. Up to this date I´m very infulenced of the 90´s scene. I formed my first extremish band with my friend around in summer 1997. It was called Teurastus but it didn´t have much to do with black metal in general. You could refer it´s sound to Napalm Death or so. Kingdom of Agony was formed in december 1998 and of course we were crazy about Emperor´s Anthems to the welkin at dusk and Enslaved´s Eld albums. KoA was active from 1998 to 2005 until our guitarist left the band and the rest of us just moved to another towns or even countries. Rehearsing was of course impossible. After a while I moved to Norway where I spent a year in total.  I had couple of projects, including some progressive thrash metal band. This was quite short lived though. I guess around these times, KoA drummer Chernobog moved to southern Finland and joined Azaghal. We had known each other for few years and even planned to do a split with them. This never happened though. After I moved back to Finland around 2006, I formed a band with some locals guys who were crazy about some modern metal, that I wasn´t/I am still not very into. Nothing very creative came out of it but it was something to do, music wise. During this time I started my solo-project called Niflhel. I managed to record some demo drum tracks for it before changing a location again.in 2007. Niflhel was put on hold due lack of resources. I lived abroad once again and Ireland didn´t offer me much chances to rehearse with a people equal to my mindset. In 2008 I got contacted by Narqath from Azaghal and asked if I could do some session vocals for a gig in Czech Republic. Of course I agreed! We had discussion about me joining the band as a bass player even earlier, in case I would move to southern Finland at some point. In spring 2009, Azaghal was recording Teraphim and I did vocals for couple of songs. The rest is history!

2.Your first band was Kingdom Of Agony if I’m right. Is it active now? Do you got some plans for it or Azaghal is paramount task for you now?

My first black metal band was Kingdom of Agony. I played in couple of punk/thrash/cover projects before starting to create this black art. Azaghal is indeed the "main" band for me currently but during this time off from KoA rehearsing, I have continously composed riffs and songs for the band. I knew that one day we will activate and time would be ready for our debut full-lenght album. The style has changed a bit from the demo-times nordic black metal to something more complex and weird. We rehearse with Chernobog perhaps once a month these days, but we have no official schedule what is going to happen and when. We are mostly jamming our older songs and some covers as well, just to keep up the touch. 

3.And next I want to hear something similar about Black Blessing, your other band which released one demo in 2008.

Before I joined Azaghal, we had a discussion with Varjoherra about some project together. We were both on the same wavelenght and decided to create something ultra-raw and primitive. All in the vein of the French Black Legions. This was something else that we both had done in a while. We never had any rehersals for the demo as we lived about 700km apart that time. I delivered the guitar tracks and lyrics to Varjoherra, who recorded the drums and vocal tracks on his own. At some point we planned to create some more stuff but everything is currently on-hold. Perhaps we will release something in the future if I´m getting inspired enough for it. This is something one can´t force or the result will be no-good for anyone.

4.Both those acts were (or now) signed at Wolfsvuur Records, a label which specialized on a releasing of limited tapes and cdrs. So why the decision on similar cooperation was accepted by you? What you can tell about label work, the relation of owners of a label to the business and so on?

I was in contact to Wolfsvuur first about Kingdom of Agony releases. They wanted to re-release our self-published stuff that didn´t gain much distribution in the early days. Later I introduced them Black Blessing and naturally they were very interested to release and distribute the demo. I thought that the correct format for such beast would be the old-school cassette. And of course, in very limited copies, so that only the ones who really would want to get them, would get them. I have no complaints about Wolfsvuur. They have acted professionally and kept all that was agreed. They are doing good job for keeping the underground flame alive, just like it was in the tape-trading times in the golden 90´s.

5.Then, returning to the times, when you were invited in Azaghal for session parting and making some vocals and bass lines for Teraphim album. What your memories about work for that album and about creative process in general? Whether you in this creation introduced something from yourself personally or during that moment your main task were to reproduce another's material and ideas in demanded quality?

I´m not sure how aware people are about it, but I was involved with the composing proccess as well. I sent some riffs to Narqath and he created Samaelin Kuiskaus, based on them. Also my lyrics can be found from at least 4 of the songs on the album. The composing of the album happened the same way as usual; the other band members send Narqath their ideas and he makes them sound like Azaghal. Sometimes dictatorship can be good, haha! About the recording process itself; I lived far up in north while the recordings took place and I had to record my vocal lines in my personal home studio. I never played bass on this album but I was playing bass for gigs in 2009. I actually did vocals for every song of the album and so did Varjoherra. The outcome was that my vocals can be heard on XI Omega and Pimeyden Kutsu, and also some background vocals on others.

6. Apparently, you consulted with the task quite adequately if you're at present enlisted in band line-up on a constant basis. What event appeared deciding, that you were invited to a band, at your look?

The time when I was first invited to do some session live vocals, it was known that their current line-up that time couldn´t last for ages. I was already in the band as a bassist/background vocalist and when Varjoherra decided to leave the band, it was just natural to step into his shoes. I had been the vocalist for every band in my personal musical career that I participated, so this was very natural thing to do. Also that Narqath wasn´t too interested to hire anyone out of the circle to replace Varjoherra, made things easier for me. 

7.After your coming in band, two releases were recorded and published. Music has changed a lot in my opinion, surely not in bad side, but changed. It became more lyrical and melodic, more solos and acoustic parts appeared. So, whether you introduced any new personal ideas and views  in band or such change in musical mood became a consequence of natural change or development of musical thinking and the direction of all gang entirely or her leader (I mean Narqath, surely)? Maybe some returning to the roots, how it was on “Of Beats And Vultures” album?

I personally think that I didn´t have that much infulence on the general sound of the band. At least what comes to Teraphim or Nemesis. I consider it as a natural developement, that is highly in control of the mastermind Narqath himself. So if you hear some general changes in the music, you must praise or blame him, haha. I can´t predict what the future brings for Azaghal, musical wise. What I know that we don´t stray too much from our roots, despite that fact that we always add something new to the music, so we wouldn´t repeat ourselves and so we could continue enjoying the thing we do. You have to wait and see!

8.You got a split release with Decayed band and Russian act Pogost released on a Russian label Cold Breath Of Silence. So what was the origin of such cooperation and  do you satisfied with work with that label and bands?

We got an offer from Pogost about a split, as they already had a label to release it. We were never in contact to Cold Breath of Silence directly, but we got our share of the deal. All this was handled by Pogost guys. Nothing to complain about that. We played in Moscow last year together with Pogost as well. Great guys for sure!

9.What do you know in general about Russian Black Metal and other extreme scene? Maybe were some contacts till this split with some bands, zines or so on?

Well my knowledge about Russian scene is quite limited, to be honest. I learnt a big deal about it while our trip to Moscow last time. We played together with Thunderstorm, Pogost and Bloodrain. One of the best bands I know from Russia is/was Pagan Reign. My Norwegian friend introduced them to me quite many years ago. 

10.You also got a gig in Moscow in 2011. Organizer of the gig got not a very good reputation here in Moscow, and as I know because of bad promotion and advertising not so many people were at gig that time. So what were your private impressions and feelings from this gig? What do you think about Russian fans and about organization of whole gig?

Yes, unfortunately there weren´t too many people there to witness us our first gig in Russia ever. What comes to the gig itself, the conditions were quite difficult as the guy behind the mixing board didn´t speak very good english, so our communication wasn´t that fruitful, so to speak. Also our set was cut off after 20 minutes as the time limit exceeded, so it was quite a disappointment. Despite of that, the organization was doing their job, kept their promises and so forth. They also gave us a chance to see tourist attractions in Moscow and St. Petersburg, so it was great in general. Also the fans were quite enthusiastic, but it wasn´t nice to disappoint them. 

11.And some more about your whole live acting. Did you got some experience of live performance before part in Azaghal? What gigs you can allocate as successful and unsuccessful for all history of Azaghal and your participation in Black Metal? What bands and organizers you can label as worthy to play with at one stage and to cooperate?

I´ve played live gigs since 1997 in various different acts, mostly with Kingdom of Agony, so the gigs with Azaghal were nothing to me. We had only 2 rehearsals for Dunkelheit festival in 2008 but everything went maybe even too smoothly. This was also a festival that we participated with 2 bands, Azaghal and Wyrd. I started as a live member for Wyrd the same time. Of course the first gig with Azaghal was one that has stuck in my mind as a positive memory, no question about that. I think the worst gig for me personally was the one in Under the Black Lights festival. Again, we were there with 2 bands and Wyrd was playing the first night. Due whatever reasons, I started to drink the dirt cheap festival booze after the gig, and didn´t pause until the next night, 15 minutes before Azaghal gig. Naturally, I wasn´t in the shape of performing very well and it was a disaster. This was a self-inflicted mistake and the last time I drank before a gig. The best organization we have had so far, was our previous gig at Steelfest, in our hometown. I can´t stop praising their professionalism. We didn´t have much expectations as we usually don´t play gigs in Finland, but this time the expectations were exceeded, big time. We have played with quite many bands in our history but I must highlight Ad Hominem, Noctifer, Morbid Pest, Thunderstorm, Pogost, Inquisition, Funeral Edo, Deströyer 666, Primordial, Inquisitor and Hexenfaust. Great people, great bands and definitely worthy to play with and co-operate.

12. Even more general and wide question. What’s your opinion about the Finnish scene, its condition about 10 years ago and now, and about its development all these years?

I didn´t pay much attention to Finnish scene after the late 90´s. But when looking at it now, it seems to be more stronger than ever. Some old kvlt bands have been revived and some highly potential new bands have appeared. 

13.You also take part in concert line-up of the Wyrd, the pagan project of Narqath. Tell please about it more detail  If I understand right Wyrd now became in line-up similar to Azaghal but just with another musical stuff, yes?

We are talking about the same line-up basically. The main difference is that I´m only playing bass when participating Wyrd gigs. Then Narqath is taking care of the singing. We used to have a keyboard player Wircki but he is no longer performing live. Our circle is quite inbred. so to speak. You can either think about this as a negative or positive factor. It suits us quite fine in a long run.

14.I see, in Finland pagan heritage of your country and past history and culture of your folks in closely connected with Black Metal. Do you really inspired by paganism and Finnish folklore and heritage?

Personally I think that people shouldn´t forget the true roots of our heritage, that´s for sure. Never forget, never forgive! Our ancestors were burnt at the stake by these followers of the imported new-age god. Our holy places were desecrated and churches built on their ruins. This is something most of the people don´t know as the history is written by the conquerors. Personally I am inspired by our old ways, and it´s good to see that there are some groups rising who try to revive our past. Also knowing the past increases the hatred towards the certain group of people who are responsible of the destruction. Black metal is a perfect tool to channel that hate.

15.What’s your opinion about such statements, that Black Metal have to be only Satanic and religious and there is nothing to do with paganism? That’s music with such lyrical filling can be represented only as “Black Metal-like” or something like that?

I don´t mind black metal bands having topics related to their roots and heritage. Afterall, satanists and pagans do have a common enemy. I know a whole bunch of awesome pagan bm bands and I don´t think they should be categorized anything else. Of course, some black metal puritanists may give different opinion, but this is mine.

16.According to previous question, for what Black Metal have to stand your opinion and what Satanism means to you? Is it a some kind of Gnostic destructive religion or some inner bloodlust and destructive impulses of yours or something another?

Satanism for me is a way of life, meaning that I am the only one who can decide of my own destiny. I do not need any person to guide me who I should worship and why. I have no need to be part of any religious or philosphical cult that would back me up in my beliefs. Personally I despise the sheep-like behavior, practiced by organized religions. Only the strongest will survive and natural selection will take care of the ones that are not suitable to live on earth. Satan for me represents strenght, freedom and individuality. Jahve/Elohim symbolizes totally opposite values. 

17.What do you think about such things as alcohol, drugs, violence, sexual perversions, aggressive and deviant behavior? Can you tell that some of the listed things is a part of your daily life?

I must admit that I´m not very extreme personality what comes to these kinds of activites. I used to absuse alcohol a lot, but I found other hobbies to have something to do, instead of that. However, I do allow myself to stray from my controlled and disciplined life sometimes. I can´t say that I´m overly aggressive or violent but I will naturally revenge if someone harms me, and I will never run away from these situations. Eye for an eye. Sexual perversions? Absolutely, but I don´t see a reason to disclose what kind of stuff I´m into, haha.

18.After the talking of paganism, let’s note the theme about NSBM (and “nsbm” like a some bedroom bm bullshit). What’s your opinion about such genre and mixing of Nazy and Satanic views like maybe Satanic Tyrant Werewolf do? Maybe you got some racial hatred to jews, muslims, niggers or something like that?

Personally I´m not that interested in politics being involved with music or especially black metal. I know that some people are using NS-topics in order to get attention but most likely not standing behind their words in private life. Venom tried to get attention in the early 80´s by using satanic imagery, which was something never-seen before back then. And of course they succeeded well. Perhaps NSBM is the new way to shock people, now when black metal imagery seem to be every-day life. I don´t really know. More than racial things, I´m feeling hatred towards certain religious groups that have made my life miserable. I can respect some nenets satanist more than a white person who tries to convert people to their view of christianity at the railway-stations, if you know what I mean?

19.Your thoughts about WW II and participation of Finland in this war. And your thoughts about today condition of cooperation of Russia and Finland. It’s just interesting, whether spread some hostile moods in relation to Russia in Finland? Maybe in BM scene of Finland and yourself too, like Shatraug said in one interview to Russian Fanzine “Corona Mortis”, that he will never enter the “eastern land” because he promised so to his grandfather. So, it’s really sad that so few bands from Finland played here in Russia, and so few times. I can remember only you, Azaghal, Baptism, Charnel Winds, Verge and Saturnian Mist. I hope for more arriving of your, Finnish band to Russia for performance and surely you too, Azaghal, because I really like Finnish BM stuff!

The WW II was an unfortunate event in general. My grandfather fought as well, survived and also Finland remained independent, which means everything to Finns. This doesn´t still mean that I should hate or dislike Russia for that. When the great leader decides something, the common people must obey or die. I don´t follow politics that much, so I´m not aware of the current situation or co-operation between our countries. I assume it is better than, for example, in the 80´s. We had great times with great people on our way to Moscow last year and looking to do so in the future as well, if we are wanted there.

20.And so greetings to Azaghal and some last words of yours for House Of The Whipcord Webzine!

Thanks for an interesting interview. I hope that we can play at the eastern lands again soon! 

Remember to check out our latest full-lenght Nemesis and our forthcoming split with Anal Blasphemy!

Hail Satan!

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