Hello, can you please introduce yourself, and give a history of Darkthrone according to Fenriz?
Since I first started getting interviewed by the global metal underground in 88, I felt that one of the most important parts of the interviews was namedropping other bands. I also like one way communication. Like when I was little and moved to a block of flats in Kolbotn, I liked to play “dreamer” with Uriah Heep so my neighbours could hear what kinda music was ME – and that was enough for me. Didn’t have to talk to them. Very much the same as I ended up doing in my BAND OF THE WEEK blog. I don’t write much about the bands either, I basically just spread the link, let the music do the talking. Aside from that, I must be one of the most interviewed people in the underground while I really only wanna listen to music. The funny thing is no matter how many interviews I do, the same questions still emerges. At first this surprised me, but after contemplating this on and off for years, I realized as much as I like for instance SACRILEGE or BOLT THROWER, if I decided to interview them, I’d ask the same questions THEY have probably always been asked as well. Why? Because I always let the music do the talking and didn’t read any interviews and also – to let the band be free to start with a “clean slate”, like every interview could be a restart/rebirth. Now, that’s the viewpoint of the journalist. They might have forgotten that BIRTH is an exhausting thing and most people just wanna get on with their lives after THAT starting point, HAHAHAHA. Apart from that I was born in 1971 and got my first rock album THE DOORS Morrison hotel in 1973 and then in 1974 URIAH HEEP, EASY RIDER SOUNDTRACK, GRAND FUNK etc. the years in music that shaped me the most was and is the 25 years of 1963-1988.
How would you describe Darkthrone’s progression musically over the past 25 years, and what is your secret to this longevity?
The secret is that I care about metal and music more than a lot of others that just wasn’t cut out for it. I was born to be me and a maniac metalhead forever rasing the flag of the global (or now, BLOGAL haha) metal underground. The secret to darkthrone’s longevity is probably NOT playing live. Playing live a lot kills most bands or configurations of band members.
Our musical REGRESSION is known and most interesting, as we were the one black metal band that could already play very technical death metal but instead wanted to play primitive black metal style. Unfortunately many others started out without skills and then PROGRESSED black metal and destroyed it. black metal is best in primitive rawness – nothing can beat ANNA DOMINI by TORMENTOR in my ears, for instance. If you don’t understand that that release is the essence of BM you got another thing coming (to quote priest)
Who would you say were your major influences in the early days?
CELTIC FROST and CRYPTIC SLAUGHTER were the reasons I dared starting a band in xmas 1986. Celtic frost rather simple riffs but GENIOUS, cryptic slaughter very sloppy. I was also spurred on by 1st slayer album show no mercy. Unfortunately my first demos sounded nothing like these bands. I was always rather bad at copying, but it’s good too as everyone steals but when I do it it often just gets the darkthrone sound. Whatever that is. It’s what people say, atleast. When Ted and me met we remember (we talked about this on a walk around KOLBOTN before the Bunker festival this year) talking a lot about the ORION track by metallica, and I still say that after 86 was over everyone copied reign in blood and not this epic thrash style by metallica and I think that was and Is a shame. So our first song together was 1988’s SNOWFALL, one of our all time fave tracks by darkthrone. A long epic thrash/metal punk in vein of 86 English Dogs style and metallica. Well, atleast we tried.
Have these influences changed in recent times, and therefore evolved the Darkthrone sound?
Only mongoloids listen to the same shit constantly, like they wanna have only 50 albums or something. I always see some people in interviews saying they are trying to decimate their record collection like they are killing their darlings and making a personal sacrifice or somethi ng. NOT MY KIND OF PEOPLE. Well, I liked agent steel for 20 years before daring to start playing that style myself, I don’t call that a WHIM exactly. But I am immersed in that style these days, along with all the other music (I am a dj and a compilation maker and ofcourse we are dealing with ECLECTISM here).
About Ted that makes half the songs, I don’t know his influences. But our new album is again a product of all the styles we’ve ever played, it’s not that we TRY to be versatile or anything, it’s just when we have been listening to heavy metal styles since we were born in the 70s, and we just follow our hearts, the style is bound to be a bit special and pointing in all directions because we are FREE and FREESTYLING METAL at this point, we certainly haven’t chosen one style or one year to worship.
You’ve been very open about your eclectic music tastes, has it been important then to work in side projects, such as Neptune Towers, in order to channel these interests away from the Darkthrone sound?
Ah, EXACTLY. Yeah, I gotta air out my tastes instead of them SEEPING into the metal and destroying our metal.i can’t believe more people don’t do this. I heard plenty of bands trying to “DO SOMETHING NEW” and destroying metal instead (Hi PAIN!) – but let me tell you what: EVELUTION IS FOR APES (quote Joel from ENTRENCH).
Can you describe the atmosphere surrounding the uprise of Black Metal in Norway in the early 90’s, and do you feel like the exclusivity, and underground nature of black metal has somewhat been lost now?
It was lost in 93 94 to me, when people didn’t collectively do the 80s style from the 80s band but instead copying the bands that copied the 80s. I was too personally involved and I could only deal with the one way – the 80s past. And so I like only the bands close the the 80s style but AGAIN with many exceptions. Most importantly I believe black metal was always a global thing, to usa to brazil to Switzerland to Sweden etc etc, and when I coined the phrase true Norwegian black metal it was very much just pointing out where we came from – not that the STYLE of under a funeral moon was anything typically Norwegian (it wasn’t) but our album covers were special and the whole take on Satanism and black metal we had discussed quite a bit with our fellow nation cohorts so this got blown out of proportion. Luckily or unluckily, one could say.
Anyway, there are still many bands each year that give the same bm feel as the ones I encountered through the 80s up to the point of 1991 when we started playing it ourselves. And as usual it’s a global thing, no special countries or anything. The biggest problem was the digital way of studios, up till 91 ALL bm releases were sounding raw and harsh, and suddenly throughout the 90s and 00s studio people have lured bands into clicky bass drums and compressed dorky sound that takes bm as far away from ANNA DOMINI as possible. A GRAVE mistake!!!
How do you approach the writing process, and get the inspiration to so frequently releasing new material?
We only gotta write 3-5 songs each to make and album. For the first time I scrap material, since our days of heavy metal began again in 2005. As we have no rush for time, there isn’t an approach, it’s just MAY IT ALL COME EASY. I used like 2 years on the song VALKYRIE from start to finished recording this time. But that’s not normal. But it’s like this, we’ve recorded in all ways possible since the start, and songs have come in all ways. 2 year period like I just said, or songs that fall into place in 15 minutes. And all those in between things, where I have a refrain or verse or mid part, and I lack the others and I just wait it out. I don’t know how Ted makes anything. I also always wrote lyrics first before. And now I do the opposite of that. Ch ch changes.
What lies ahead for Darkthrone, and what could we be hearing in the future?
I thought we were heading for sounding like Saxon in 1980 but now Ted said he made some black metal and I made some more heavy metal again so as usual there are no plans, since 2005 we make a song each and go to the studio when we can – and that was all she wrote.