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An interview with Kampfar…

Friday, February 21, 2014 Category: Blog Tags: , , , , , , ,
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01 – Greetings there. First, as I always do, I like to thank you for taking your time to answer the MetalCast Show interview. It is for me an honour to interview a band I have been a big fan for more than a decade. In fact, I have to admit that I only interview the bands I like, hehe. I should explain that I personally see this as website a work of love and support for the bands. Well, I digress. Please, I’d like you to ask you to introduce yourself to our readers/ listeners.

Thanx and all respect to you and your work with Metalcast.

Well to take the short version: This year kampfar have been going on for 20 years. The beginnings of KAMPFAR date back to 1994, as I bid farewell to MY former band Mock. My desire to continue expressing musically and to move ahead prompted me to seek new blood. I recruited Thomas to take on the guitar responsibilities and soon this duo began composing new material.

The bassplayer Jon and drummer Ask Ty joined the band during 2003

With the touring schedule in place after the release of “Mare” in 2010, KAMPFAR drafted in the talents of Ole Hartvigsen, already an experienced guitar player and songwriter, with a background from Emancer and Mistur. The band co-headlined Europe and North America as part of The Black Path tour, before headlining a second European tour, the aptly named Devilish Triumph. Yet more festivals were added and the cycle ended with the Barge To Hell cruise from Miami to Bahamas in late 2012.

The new album Djevelmakt was written in the first half of 2013, with the band doing a single live appearance at France’s Hellfest, and then recorded partly in the band’s new home town Bergen and partly in Pärlby, Sweden. This time the band chose to work with Jonas Kjellgren, who also helped engineer Mare, with Peter Tägtgren being tasked with the mix. The setup that worked so brilliantly on Mare allowed the band to walk in and record in the most relaxed manner.

Ole hartvigsen is now a permanent member of Kampfar.

 

02 – Well, Kampfar is releasing a new album very soon! Or, depending on which this interview will be published, the album will be already released, hehe. What can you tell us about it? Are there any concepts or meaning behind it that you’d like to share with as? Mostly, what the lyrics deal about?

Jepp the album is now out and it is more direct and grim than before.

The new album is anti religion , but not anti human if I may say so. This time its more directly than ever before. Its all condemned!

All religions condemn you to an infernal place (Gehenna , Hell you name it) if you dont apply to their laws. All these places are constructed normally out of places that exist or existed here on earth during mankinds time here.

Its still so very delightful or maybe you can say scary to see such impact these places still have on Us people even today. It’s scary… Where is the free man, where is the free strong self thinking individual that thinks and choose its own paths in life. Regardless to what others condemn you to?

Damn if you do and damn if you dont!

Fuck it!! We all heads towards the darkness no matter what we do, If we listen to them who speaks about salvation.

This goes both for the “light” side of religion and for the “dark” side of it.

This album is about that: Its about what these idiots tells you to do and about the condemnation if you dont! Light and darkness and the human in between. Raise the banner and be your own strong King or Queen is more or less the message comming trough on “Djevelmakt”!

 

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03 – Still on Kampfar’s new release, Djevelmakt, musically speaking now; comparing to the previous albums, do you feel that this release will be much different from the previous ones or a continuation (but not a simple “reproduction” as we can very well notice by listening to Mylder and Swarm Norvegicus). I have to admit that Swarm Norvegicus, in my humble opinion, is a pure Kampfar song. So far, again, in my very modest view, I believe that this album will be a success.

This album is for sure following in the same footsteps as our previous album “Mare”.

And if Mare was more accessible than before in Kampfar music history, then This album is that too.

But our goal has never been to be more accessible. It has been more about finding the ultimate oldschool sound but with a modern twist that suits Kampfar.

Musically its much more challenging than before I would say.

I had huge goals for this album. For the first time in years “I was sweating like a hooker in church” when entering that recording room.

I pushed my limits as far as I could at that point, we all did! Thats all I can say. If we succeeded or not its not up to me to decide. But at least it’s different than before in many ways. Again just another step further in the same footsteps as“Mare” started to walk in 2010.

All I can say now is that the feedback and reviews have been nothing like before, It has been totally great, so I take that as a good sign 🙂

 

04 – If you may answer, how satisfied is the band with Indie Records? Comparing to Napalm Records, could you point all the positive and negative aspects? Also, this might be silly to ask, maybe it was all around the internet, but I really don’t know, why did Kampfar decided to “leave” or to “change” to another label and not stick to Napalm Records?

Moving back to Norway with Kampfar so to speak has been a blessing for us. It’s about control believe it or not.

We were happy about Napalm Records too and there is no bad blood between us and them.

But we wanted more personal control over our own art. And that’s what we got with Indie Recordings.

It’s of course very easy to explain that its also so much better to have the head-office of the record label just one hour away from my house than have it in Austria of course.

And we are very pleased to be back in Norway again of course. After 20 years its about time if you ask me.

Then to the obvious question I guess, how can it possible be about more personal control over our own art when releasing the entire album for free on the internet and youtube? Well I can tell you why… With Napalm we got nothing like this, we sold a quite ok amount of albums there, but thats that. With Indie Recordings now we have done all the work together and every single detail is a detail agreed upon from both us and them. We wanted to pay the respect to the listeners and fans of Kampfar. That’s why we spent a lot of money on the artwork, double red vinyl version ,digi cd version w free patch ,Cd with T-shirt and so on. We released the entire album for free for people to check out if they wanted to (The list is so long) Its just a deeper respect to the people and fans that have supported Us during all these years and still do so. The album is in fact still out there on the internet. All planned and nothing banned from record label or band at all.

So what happens now after its out there for free? Well I can tell you what happens… we get the same amount of respect back from fans and our “Horde” it’s a mutual thing and its fucking important for us pay this respect to the loyal ones.

After one week since release, The digi cd is now soon to be sold out already, The first pressing of the vinyl too. Not long now before They have to press up the 2`nd pressing I guess.

The album in general are starting to hit all kinds of charts here in Norway now, we sell more physical albums than the last 10 years in fact.

Pay respect and you will get it back! Its so fucking brilliant to have a record label now that feels exactly the same!

That’s the control I am talking about and that’s what we got now with Indie!

 

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05– I know that you’re tired of answering so many questions about your book, but, I don’t think I’d like to lose the opportunity to ask you about it, as many of us are eagerly waiting for it. Do you have any idea about a release date as well as, is there a few things here and there that you could share with us about the book itself, without revealing too much.

Hehe.. Uhh.. where to begin…Yes I get questions about this book all the time. And that’s fine that people are interested of course, but I really need some time to fulfill this task. I have chosen to write this book for a reason. I wish to tell new stories about what really was going on in some “circles” Especially here in Norway back in the period of the early nineties. There is not going to be… Uhh just another book about the “Infamous Norwegian Black Metals golden age” I can assure you! And some people will be up for a shock!

But there is still so much work left here.. but I am on the run.. so its coming! Sooner or later thats for sure!

I am sorry but I will not reveal the stories here, cause that will ruin the whole essence a bit. But I guess and know that there is still a lot of work for me left here, so this book will definitely not see the light this year at least.

 

06 – As we’re talking about the past as well as the future, looking back in the past only, is there anything Kampfar related that you regret, that you’d change, anything that you would do differently?

Well I got the same question when I did an interview for Rock Hard a while ago and I guess I have the same answer still about this.

The most remarkable moment in Kampfar history must be as simple as finally deciding to complete Kampfar with full time members after many years as a two-piece band. Playing live for the first time was something remarkable and a personal highlight for me. It felt like starting all over again.

My biggest mistake as a bandleader and regrets? Hmm well that’s hard. But I have definitely lost tons of money by not reading the contracts good enough in the early years.

Just know that the debut album was given for free from Malicious to “Metal Blade or Century media” If I remember correctly. But that doesn’t really matter. But the album have in total since the Malicious times sold something like 50 000 copies in total and the only thing I have ever received from that is a box with some copies “for free” 😉 of the album in the mail.

So that is at least something I have learned the hard way when it comes legal rights and so on. So you might say that this is one my biggest regrets or blunders not reading contracts more carefully. But luckily I learn by time and age.

When it comes to the music itself, I have no regrets and I am proud of all the different “waves” Kampfar have survived. We are still here!

 

07 – Till today I remember when I bought Fra Underverdenen in 2000/ 2001 (the album was released in 1999). I was blown away and I wanted more and more Kampfar. At the time, I didn’t know Kampfar, the seller knew me and recommended the album saying I wouldn’t regret buying it. After Fra Underverdenen, for some reasons, sadly, a new album was out only seven years later (Kvass). Now you’re taking about two/ three years to release each album. Do you intend to keep like this, releasing a new album every two/ three years or do you feel that, after the release of Djevelmakt, the next one will take a longer or a shorter time to be released? I am aware that Djevelmakt, hasn’t even been released, but, I don’t think we, Kampfar fans, would like to hear new music in less then seven years.

In Kampfars history we had 2 major fuck ups or cracks if I can put it that way. The first one was around millennium thats correct. That was really serious and maybe the closest ever we have been to a split up of the band. After the “Fra Underverdenen”album and in front too was the hardest personal period for Kampfar so far. And in my opinion you can actually hear that in this album.

Anyway, we had major issues in our lives both me and Thomas back then. And I have never talked about these issues to the media ever and I will definitely not do that now either. But we manage through those rough times and continued on our road/path all the until 2010. Then the second dark period came to life in Kampfar’1s history. My blood brother, companion and friend for almost 17 years in Kampfar and me splitted up for real. There was only darkness at that time.

But my will is strong when it comes to Kampfar. It’s my life so it is really some strong blood boundaries there for me, I refused to lay down and just give it all up. Even though it was “darkness” at that time I admit that.

But to end this question Kampfar is a way to strong “force” to be broken by one person , so thats why the “drive” you speak about is an unbroken one in a way at least. And again…. I’m still here, we’re still here.

Those big “Gaps” of years you are talking about here has its reasons, And both me and you then can say that the plans and hopes forward are not planned as another 7 years of silence at least. But who can predict the future? But we are on the run now and it feels so fresh again to be in Kampfar these days. So that’s about what I can say about this now.

 

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08 – This is the year in which Kampfar completes twenty years of existence. It is a very important landmark for a metal band as there are so many obstacles to overcome, againm especially for an extreme metal band. Having that in mind, the twenty year anniversary, do you have something special planned (besides the release of Djevelmakt), any celebrations or a more extensive touring?

Jepp 2 decades hmm what to say? To quote Robb Flynn ” Everyone than hasn’t managed to keep a band together for 20 years or more, doesn’t know what its all about. They may think they do, they don’t!” That’s for sure a true sentence.

I should know cause I couldn’t do that either. Thomas left in 2010 and there was just me again. (with Ask and Jon of course) But it felt like I failed massively and personally I was all alone again at that exact dark moment when this became a reality, that’s for sure!

I personally didn’t have any high expectations to be honest back then. Cause I had been creating Kampfar’s music for almost 17 years together with Thomas. So I did almost not see any future for the band back then. It was total darkness. But then came Ole along and the rest is history in a way. He turned it all around, flipped it all over and all that phrases.. He just made me feel more devoted than ever before again. So life works out in mysterious ways some times.

But to be honest, we all are in fact so fucking tired of this buzz with the 20 years anniversaries all over these days. It seems like almost every old school bands these days are celebrating 20 years, even if half of them haven’t been going on for 20 years, they seem to fake their way into a anniversary anyway.

So we have decided to just skip the whole shit. We are here for the music, not for fucking birthdays…. And we are more eager to show our music than ever before and that’s what we care about.

I think the only thing we will mark is that we have made some kind of 20 year old symbol for Kampar and we will pint up some anniversary shirts for the kampfar Horde, but that’s about it I guess. (There have also been some talk about a “film crew” that will follow us this year) But honestly fuck it!

Kampfar will just keep on doing what we always have done, play pagan black metal!

 

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09 – A question about your band Mock, which was formed and disbanded before Kampfar existence. In 2012, the band was reactivated. Do you plan to release new material with Mock or play some shows?

Yes that’s correct. Mock started back in 91 and splitted up in 94. Then last year two of Us got back together again started to create music again. But to be honest that band is really personal and will stay underground as fuck for a long time. What we will do with Mock in the future I do not know. It’s more a personal satisfaction this band than anything else. So right now I don’t even know if we will do something in public at all. Sorry but I have no better answer on this one than that. The future will tell what happens here.

 

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10 – And now we’re on the part where I ask some questions about the man behind the band, the man behind the music. Obviously I don’t ask anything that would take your privacy away, but rather, general subjects, thoughts and feelings about you. So, Dolk, this is a question I always ask band members, as, so far, I was never disappointed with their answers. What are your feelings and thoughts when you get to know that music and Kampfar releases have actually helped people to go through a rough time or that, at least, they forget about the troubles while listening to your songs? In a way, at least, to simply hang on. Have you thought about this?

This I already know. During Kampfar existence I have meet so many times people with true strong stories that I can only say “Thank you for telling me” cause all other words gets just “silly” after hearing those stories.

I have met personally people that have told me life changing stories due to the fact of Kampfars music and so on.

I have never thought about success in a way that selling a lot of albums and so is the way to measure if it is a success or not. I mean it really doesn’t matter where I travel with Kampfar around the globe. I always seem to meet people that tells me life changing stories and some even thank me directly for still being here on earth. Wow… well so what can I say about this?… Nothing!

But if that isn’t a success nothing is!

 

11 – The always present what have you been listening lately? And what kind of music/ bands/ musicians are you interested outside the metal world? Do you enjoy cinema? Any Norwegian movies or TV series that you’d recommend us? Also, which album or movie that you own that a Kampfar fan would never expect you to?

Well , among the bands today… I must admit that maybe I have become too old. Cause I am not so updated anymore like I used to be on the “new” additional to this metal scene. I guess that mainly because I am to busy with my personal work.

But of course I enjoy all the great work from bands like,  Watain , Behemoth and the classical ones. When it comes to new stuff, I must say that Oblibeteration (Nor) Velnias (US) MGLA (Pol) Is quite interesting and fresh to my mind in a way. Even though even here is the oldschool roots pretty obvious too.

Cinema I havent been going to since 2 years or something now, due to all the work with Kampfar and my family and so on there is definitely no room left for cinema at least. But of course I am not a zombie either and get to see movies from time to time. But I can not say that I am an “film” expert if I can put it that way. so I guess I skip the test there 🙂

When it comes to music though I guess some people would be a bit surprised if they saw my “David Bowie” album collection at my house haha..

 

12 – What does inspire you when creating, overall, music? Are there any books or writers that influences, in a way, you?

I think to be an artist you more or less creates music and lyrics all the time, even if you not mean to do so or not. At least I do, I think about music and Kampfar almost 24 seven at all times.  At times this can be more or less like a nightmare more than a blessing too. Cause sometimes I just want to get away from all people to just create music and lyrics. So it can be the opposite to a blessing some times to be honest.

But where does the inspiration comes from? How can I answer that in a good way? Well I guess I can not. I have always been interested in history etc and my Grandmother did lit a fire in me very early in life when it comes to forces of nature, superstition etc and I guess that force is still running me somehow today. So I guess life in general and of course history and nature itself is still my biggest influences for creating music. Music and books are not of that huge importance for the outcome of Kampfar these days at least.

 

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13 – I’m not a religious person or even a spiritual one, but I enjoy like to study spirituality, in all its forms, esoteric themes, old and new religions (organized or not) and, that’s the reason I like to know what are the people’s views about such subjects. Do you believe in some sort of superior or superior beings? Could you share with us your views on spirituality, god (s) and organized religion?

hmm , well its like I mentioned earlier.. “We all heads towards the darkness no matter what we do, If we listen to them who speaks about salvation in religion at least” So I couldn’t care less about that. I have my own believes my own views upon life regardless to what these people preach about.

But when that is said, there is a much deeper meaning behind the reflections of why I say this.

At a very early age I got interested in history, pagan history and religion. I am not a stupid idiot that doesn’t know that history. In fact I have even been active in debates at national radio shows etc here in Norway about religious history and about issues concerning stave churches here in the Norway and so on, the list is long. I have really studied these fields so I am not “blank” there.

Anyway I still walk my own way and try to figure out things by myself based upon historical events and so on. So no I do not believe in anything organized or spirituality besides my own self awareness. But interested I am and not narrowminded.

 

14 – So, Dolk, we reach the end of our interview. Thank you very much for this interview. It’s indeed a pleasure to interview bands which their music that have helped through hard times.

Thanx a lot for the support. we are so looking forward to hit the road again now after one year of hard work composing music. Kampfar is a live band and that’s were we belong!  “Spreading The Plague MMXIV” Tour will soon hit Europe as a start for 2014 and it will be a blast!

 

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