Interview with CRAFT 2006
by Bradley Smith and Alex Pichler
Fuck the Universe carries on the tradition of your earlier releases but to me it has a lot more rhythmic of groove oriented feel to it. Do you agree? Is this a sort of progression within the confines of such a strict genre?
I think you’re right, we are more rhythmically oriented and we have more ‘groove’, perhaps, than many other black metal bands, but our inspiration comes equally from rock music as well as metal and because of that it comes very natural to do it this way. The new album is more of a step in this direction than before, but that is just a natural consequence of me getting fed up with grind beats. Progression, I don’t know, we are not interested in making black metal progress.
In retrospect, how do you think about your previous releases, namely “Total Eclipse”(demo) and the 2 full-length albums “Total Soul Rape” and “Terror Propaganda”? Are you satisfied with their outcome? Would you want to change anything if you had the chance?
I am satisfied with “Total Soul Rape”. I am not satisfied with “Total Eclipse” or “Terror Propaganda”, I don’t think they stood the test of time very well. If I could I would completely rework the sound of “Terror Propaganda” but I don’t have the original tracks anywhere, I think they are in possession of our former drummer, if they even exist anymore.
You have recently made the move from Selbstmord to Carnal Records. What prompted this change? What was your relationship with Selbstmord as compared with Carnal?
Selbstmord was a good label in some ways and a bad label in some other ways. There were too much intrigues and business talk, and I really don’t like the music business. I’m just interested in writing and recording black metal. Selbstmord Services was a very pushy label; at times it seemed like they could sell hundreds of CD’s to anyone, they did a lot of promotion, and so on, and they really did a lot for Craft, but on the flip side there was always something interfering with the business, like intrigues between the label and others all the time. There was always a problem and somehow we always got to hear everything about it from every direction possible, which really made us get tired with the whole black metal scene and the unprofessional, socialistic attitudes, the rumours and the childish behavior of many people connected to it. Carnal Records are in many ways the opposite to Selbstmord. They always conduct their business on a professional level; they don’t get personally involved, they are a lot more organized, and they know we hate business so they take care of a lot for us, like the contact with magazines, other labels and so on, so we can just keep concentrating on the music.
It seems like the Norwegian scene has always gotten the largest amount of the notoriety, but it seems to me that the Swedish scene is the one that is making a huge impact with the quality and integrity of the bands such Svartsyn, Arckanum, Armagedda, Watain, and so on. What are your opinions of the current Swedish scene? Any thoughts on Dissection’s return and the MLO?
I don’t know much about the Swedish scene. The bands you mentioned are all among my favorite Swedish bands, but I don’t know if they are representative of Sweden as a whole, I think the bands in general keep a lot lower standard than these fine bands you mentioned. Dissection’s return is awesome!
Speaking of Swedish bands, what do you think of Armagedda leaving the scene and their reasoning behind it? Does this subject even touch you or do you only mind your own business? How tight are your connections with other Swedish UGBM outfits in general?
I don’t really know why they decided to drop everything, I haven’t kept up to date with all the black metal gossip and stuff lately, and I don’t have any contact with them anymore. I used to keep in contact with a lot of the Swedish bands, but in the last two years or so I have changed my priorities a lot and the black metal scene is no longer a significant factor in my life. The friends I had within the scene I still consider to be friends or allies, but many of them I have unfortunately not talked to in quite some time. I keep close contact with a handful of black metal “sceners” and that’s it.
Black metal has a lot of idiosyncrasies that I like to call Traditions, such as Corpse paint, Underproduced instruments/bad production, spikes, and other stuff. What do you see as the valid traditions and aesthetics that you associate with black metal? How do you see the way Black Metal moves in 2006 in general?
I don’t think any of that stuff is essential to black metal. The music and the message is holy, and cannot be changed, but as far as imagery and aesthetics go I’m not that interested. I am completely blind to the direction black metal will take in 2006. I haven’t given it a single thought and I don’t have enough information to form an opinion.
From what I have discerned it would seem that Craft uses black metal as a literal sort of “Terror Propaganda.” What methods do you use and what sort of affect do you hope to achieve? Are you trying to spread a certain ideology as the so-called “NSBM” bands do or are you more attached to the “traditional” BM themes like anti-christianity(or even anti-religiosity), misanthropy, hate, Satanism, violence and such?
Misanthropy is the first pillar! That’s what we have in common. Anti-christianity: of course, but equally much anti-islam, anti-judaism and so on. We are anti-every religion that in some way praise and worships the demiurge. Hopefully Craft can assist in igniting the flame of a few people. If it does, then Craft has earned its right to exist, so the propaganda is important of course, but we can’t say we write only for the sake of spreading our views. We do this even if no one cares, even if we ‘preach’ to deaf ears, because ultimately this is what we want to do, so we do it for ourselves. We will also take this concept into other musical genres in the future, with new bands.
I have read that you share some sort of brotherhood with the American band Ibex Throne. I used to get into heated debates with Lord Dying of IT regarding Darkthrone and their modern era. I know Darkthrone influenced you to a definite extent, what do you think of Darkthrone’s modern era? And what sort of relationship do you share with Ibex Throne?
I was in close contact with LD for some years, but as I wrote in a previous answer, I don’t have much contact with other people anymore. I still consider them allies, of course. About Darkthrone’s modern stuff… The last album I liked was “Total Death”, but now “The Cult is Alive” is some really fucking good stuff, like a rock ‘n’ roll version of “A Blaze in the Northern Sky”, so now I’m a modern-Darkthrone fan as well.
The cover art of Fuck the Universe is emblazoned with a huge Chaos symbol. Does that symbol and corresponding set of beliefs hold any special meaning for you? What is your interpretation of its meaning? Do you think about “Chaos” as THE driving force in our universe?
Yes. Chaos is the primal state of everything. The ‘universe’ was born out of Chaos through the horrible misdeeds of the demiurge. Everything will return to Chaos eventually and the demiurge will suffer for his crimes. By the way, for everyone out there who keeps misunderstanding: the mathematical unpredictability and cause-and-effect turbulence that regular chaos magic deals with is not Chaos with a big C, however this specific symbol represents the Will spreading in all directions; a magical wave.
I have read a couple interviews with you guys and I felt that you had an interesting perspective on suicide and death. What are some of the vision and views you have on these topics?
I don’t know what you mean about interesting views. It’s quite obvious you are fishing for something specific, please specify.
I am not Fishing for anything specific, in Oskorei #6 you stated that you supported Suicide and wanted the readers to slit their wrists as well as you wanted to legalize Euthanasia. So I thought you might have some interesting perspectives on Suicide. Do you?
Well, basically I think suicide is for weak people. I do think a lot of people should give it a try though. There are just too many whiny people around, and black metal is just filled with people who feel sorry for themselves all the time; crybabies who do nothing about the situation except boring everybody else with their problems. Euthanasia should be legal, but honestly I think everything should be legal, I don’t believe in laws.
Interviews do not touch the personal level of the involved persons behind the bands too often. Thus there often arises the question for me WHO those people are in their personal lives. I am talking about jobs, hobbies and other interests. Or do you want to keep these issues private since they are not directly linked to the musical activities?
I’m the same person in CRAFT as I am the other 90 percent of my time. I won’t go into details about my personal life, but I can tell you my life revolves around magic/religion, which is a 24-7 experience, as well as music, rounded off with physical training (an interest I discovered pretty recently) five days per week. The word ‘hobby’ is too small to describe the significance of these things.
Based on this I must surmise that you are a spiritual person. What sort of magic do you practice? Are you spiritual practices really structured with ritual or do you base your practices on the emotion and energy of the moment, basically as the moment comes to you? What do you mean by Physical training?
I practice Chaos Magic, it’s been my preference for some time. I do both rituals and spur of the moment-type things, of course. If I get a strong emotion I will try to work with it the best I can. Sometimes I also try to use strong emotions to try to suppress and control them. For me, the natural result of working with magic was to start training hard physically, something which I unfortunately have ignored for a big period of my life, because it’s my will to be strong in every way possible.
What does the future hold for Craft? Can we expect any new releases in the near future? Any other plans like playing live or even going on a tour soon?
We have plans to release three unreleased tracks through our webpage, as well as on vinyl for those who are interested, but we have no plans yet when they will be recorded. Our website is located at www.oblivioncreations.com/craft, for those who wish to keep updated. We have no plans of playing live.
Any last words before you rest in peace?