As a matter of fact Kampfar turned out to be one of the most important bands when it comes to Norwegian black metal movement. The band has played very important role during 90s and has some marvelous parts in their history and discography from the very first records, released back then during 90s, to newer ones like a brand new issue Profan.
The first question is about new record named „Profan“ . Could you tell us something about new record, or could you present it from your point of wiew to readers?
Yes, you know, ever since we started working on the album „Mare“ in 2010, we had this idea of three albums of most following the same sort of universe in a way. To make it short, „Mare“ was about them and „Djevelmakt“ was about us. And now „Profan“ is more written in „Me“ kind of way. So, it’s like „them“, „us“ and „me.“ Sort of this three words that follow. So in that sense, i think that „Profan“ is maybe the most compressed and harsh album, even thought there’s lot of atmosphere, but still it’s maybe more „straight in a face“ album.
Yes, I also agree. But when we speak about musical style when it comes to a new record, we could say that is a kind of musical sequel if you could agree with previous one. So what can you say to us about this, as you say, quite „straight forward“ style? I would say even more agressive, but there is still atmosphere.
Yeah, it’s still low on atmosphere, I think that maybe there, though we had this idea about that three albums. We always started from a scratch. When we started on the new album, the same thing happened directly after a previous album „Djevelmakt“, so we started with „Profan“, we threw all away and started all over again. And in that sence, you can maybe say that it was quite hard to plan everything, even though you have enough idea for it, and I think that „Profan“ is also not planned to a detail. Some details are explosive and happens there and then when you create it, and both this album and the previous album, we went to the mountains where it all begins, where it all begun for me, so we write up all stuff in the cabin. There’s nothing there, you just have to create. And in that sence, i think it was quite hard to answer to that question because what happens there – happens there. Music is a big whole unit, but still so different. Why did „Profan“ ended up this way, it’s really hard for me to answer.
I have noticed quite positive reactions when it comes to your followers and fans. How do you feel about that? Do you read comments and reviews since now it’s easier to get feedback from the media and fans as well?
Sort of, I do. But I also try to disconnect from it. Because it’s like a personal thing going on all the time. But, of course, it’s a different world now with the internet and world wide web and everything . And of course you see comments and stuff. Basically, at least every mail that you get from people, fans, wherever. It’s more close connections now with the listeners than it was before. In that sence I think that it’s actually good, but in the other hand, I try not to be overhelmed by good critics and I try not to care too much about bad critics either. But it’s golden middle way there I think, which it’s way harder sometimes, but it belongs to our days, and of course I get offended sometimes, and also I get happy about other stuff. But it’s two headed about most really.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but since Kampfar is now on the new label „Indie Recordings“ from your homeland, Norway, comparing to „Napalm Records“, it seems that you have become a bit more agressive when it comes to style and I think that previous records are better in a way, and better received from a fans. But what can you tell me about this changing the label and going more straightforward to the style? Also I see that you have a LP CD-s, but with Napalm everything was a bit harder.
You’re absolutely right. That is not a secret. We had a good time with Napalm. But the last couple of years they weren’t artictic. The articstic way of thinking and artistic way of expression self. We stopped with Napalm, I think that they’ve become too big for us. We all agreed about splitting apart and then we got back in Norway again. It sort of felt easy and refreshing, almost like a new start actually. Maybe that’s the reason why you can say that with last two albums have been some sort of beast that had to be released again.
I can recall when I have started listening to Kampfar many years ago with first two records which were very straight forward at that time. Many entitled Kampfar like a combination between Viking and black metal at that time. Could you recall this days, especially with a first two records and a coorperation with „Malicious records“ at that time, and „Hammerheart productions“?
Yea, but it’s history though. But I mean we started with that and for me personally it’s actually good right now. In december, we did a tour with Gorgoroth, and me and Infernus talked about this for many years but we never did anything together back from the „Malicious Records“ times. So it took us 22 years for us to go on tour together, so we sort of got the same vibe again.
Almost 20 years later.
Exactly, and now, for months later, we’re doing tour with Borknagar which is also a band from this years, so it’s sort of reunion thing going on here, i dont know. But, of course, history always follow you and the roots are of course very important. We will never forget out roots.
Actually that’s the next question. About all this years and you have all this bands become definatelly bigger, more popular, but in a way that you can make a proper tour. So how do you look, you know, you had started all this 22 years or more ago with all this bands that you have mentioned like Borknagar, but now you are on the tour, you’re meeting the fans, people who are listening to this music and style and who has started to listen to this 20 years ago. So how do you feel about the past and now, the present? It took you almost twenty years to have a proper everything. Are you satisfied?
Yeah, for sure. I’m really satisfied because we never started this thing to become a rockstars or anything. We started this thing because the way we felt and the way we wanted to create art somehow. That was the main goal back then, but we didn’t have any specific goal back then. I think about that even today. We’re still here, doing what we want to do. The only think that has changed is that it’s better economics now for us. It is much better because now we can do much more stuff. But still, we’re on the tour. We could easily skip touring because we could play just on festivals to be honest. We could easily skip touring, but for me, and for rest of guys, touring is maybe the most honest way to do this stuff, and it’s greatest way to meet the people that had been supporting you for all this years. It’s so much better to play in small clubs than in this huge fields of people that are somehow there for the festival. When you’re on tour the people are there to listen to big bands. But still, it’s so much important for us, that’s why we still do touring. I don’t think too much about that. We had all this years, and we had huge gap in Kampfar for five years. There was major problems in our lives that we had to solve, but it’s all history and I don’t think about it for too much. I think about
where we are now, and I think that it’s fantastic to meet people that have been there for 22 years as a support.
Actually, this venue isn’t so little. It’s actually much bigger, up to 2000 people. I think it was meant to be smaller but people were interested.
I don’t wanna run a distance here, but it’s still underground.
Also I see that you’re very active when it comes to live performances. I have seen Kampfar last year, it was on the „Metal Camp“, „Metal days“ and now. So people are able to see Kampfar live. Will you continue this way? Also, in last two years you have recorded and released two albums. You are one of the most active bands when it comes to black metal. Any comment about this?
Yeah, it’s kind of strange actually. I think it’s maybe where we even started. I think that maybe Kampfar had a nwe start with „Indie recordings“, going back to Norway, I got sort of fiery. I think that’s the reason we want to do shows, we want to go out there, we want to do everything we can do. And it’s always hard for a band like us, because most of us have family and we have regular jobs and stuff, and offers now to go touring and festivals, are actually too much, so we have to find other way. In the middle there, we tried to do that all the way now, because we could easily have stopped everything and just dump Kampfar, but that requires a different life, that also requires that our families have to suffer all the time, and it’s not fair actually.
Definately. But how would you explain that after so many years, about two decades and more this tale has become not only popular, but regulary we can see this names „Borknagar“, „Kampfar“, it become regular, normal to see this, nobody reacts like in that time. There were different kind of reactions, bad or good, it was mainly focused on black metal magazines in Germany, but now like „Metal Hammer“ it’s very regular. Could you explain this?
Actually, I cannot explain that, but I think that it has become more regular. In a beginning everything was shocking, and also environment was really harder. If we talk about this days, it seems that we have one common goal. All of us. We had one common goal and one common enemy. In my opinion, we had more enemies inside of black metal circle than outside of the circle, because everyone were fighting for positions. I think that’s really gone now. Now we can do tours, there’s no competition anymore, because we always do the same thing, we have the same goal and I think that it’s not that scary anymore for magazines to write about it. Also all this „church burning“ stuff it was a youth riots in my opinion. It’s not important anymore. What’s most important for me, it’s making black metal, trying to distance from common popular metal forms. Still it’s important to me, but it’s not that scary. We got easier, we got popular on metal scene in Norway, we’ve had been on television, and millions of people saw that, and suddenly it’s entering a new world in a way, and you have to adapt to that either you want to, or not.
One more question actually. There was huge pause, period of silence when it comes to Kampfar. I think around seven years. Between Hammerheart years and Napalm years. So how did you happen and how did you return? I actually remember some that time, when we were waiting for the new record. So was it some kind of personal problems, or problems in a band, what actually happened?
That’s actually a part of my life that I don’t speak too much about to the media. But it was really much personal stuff going on. I have tons of old friends from that period that they are now dead
because of drugs, and that would probably have happened to me too, if I didn’t take the actions. That’s the main reason for staying away for so many years. And also Thomas had huge issues in life that he had to solve, and we just had to do it. Otherwise, Kampfar would be dead. Seven years of silence was really personal level that we had to work through.
During that even years, it seems that band has become bigger.
Yes, but people always love to talk. There’s lot of talk when band gets sort of silent in seven years and then return again. And the world is not that big actually. People talk and then all of a sudden there are rumours all over the place. I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing, but maybe it made Kampfar even bigger.
- Answers by Dolk
- Interview by Marko Miranovic