Interview with Fenriz of Darkthrone 2010 (April)
Hi, how are you?
doing fine, just back from tenting alone, and it was a record, as i had up to last year tented in 99 various spots in the MARKA around Oslo, 1600 square kilometres of boreal fur forests and waters. yesterday was a new place in a nature reservoir (SLATTUMSRØA NATURRESERVAT) so it became the 100th place i've tented on in MARKA. listening to BLACK MAGIC demo cassette from Norway now.
Some call Darkthrone albums starting from "F.O.A.D" a "new" Darkthrone, but it does remind me Isengard a lot - and that's all pre '93 stuff, hardly a "new" era for you. Why do you think there are so many people that are not comfortable with Darkthrone evolving (or devolving) into more open musical classification? Are they the ones that should "Circle the Wagons"?
yes, those people usually met metal in the 90s, the worst decade for metal, and their twisted brainwashed 90s minds can't handle metal how it used to be in the 70s and 80s - and always SHOULD be. some 90s are just spice, not the REAL dish. if i sing a bit like Isengard, that's ok, but NONE of the riffs on CIRCLE THE WAGONS has anything to do with any Isengard AT ALL. it's COMPLETELY different style
"Circle the wagons" was actually recorded 6-7 months ago. Are you still musically and lyrically in the same place or have you already moved on? Do you play or rehearse your old songs often or do you start creating new songs once one album has been recorded?
no, as usual since 2005 it was recorded in batches, 2 songs each time, so it was recorded on 4 different occasions during 2008 and 2009. we already wrote two new songs and recorded them in February, so we are on our way with the next album again. i really dislike repeating myself as an artist, it was always like this since 1988 - when the song is recorded its time to move on, i quickly tire and am a typical Norwegian, we moved into Scandinavia as the ice melted, always following it, wanting space and possibilities to change
You're infamous for your no "live" policy. Is it hard to keep record labels interested in Darkthrone when these days they are making more money getting bands to play on tours to promote the latest albums and selling merchandise?
i don't know ANYTHING about the business and that is my own choice. i see the business and actually making songs as two VERY separate worlds, and i always wanted to just make albums, this want came to be as i grew up as a child. anyway, are labels making money on tours? i don't know anything about that, and i don't want to know either. all i know is i hate playing live, and as a kid i always wanted to make albums, not be on stage.
First 4 Peaceville albums were re-released few years ago with additional video interviews, that was a great insight to Darkthrone early days. Any particular reason it was decided to film these interviews?
cuz Ted said we had to do it. So i did it. in a long time relationship, it's a lot of give and take. haha! by doing stuff like that, i always hope questions are answered so i don't have to answer them ever again. boy was i wrong, hahaha!!!
Moonfog has been dead for years, are there any plans (or even a slightest chance for that matter) to re-release any of the albums originally published by Moonfog with similar video interviews and additional comments? Vinyl versions were recently licensed to and released by Back on Black records, has any labels contacted you about licensing the CD version?
YES, a month ago i got a great email saying that Snapper/Peaceville had negotiated a deal so that all our 7 darkthrone albums on moonfog/tatra will be re-released on PEACEVILLE. i will make commentary tracks on them, it seems, and that was MY idea, as i like the NERDISM of commentary tracks for those that REALLY want to know more about the music and ourselves instead of just blabbering on forums online. Paul, did you DESIGN this question for them? HAHAHAHA!!!
Did you knew Helvete is now open for public and there are videos on Youtube of people pulling silly "black metal" poses in front of the basement wall with black metal written on it - the very same wall some of the Darkthrone and Mayhem pictures were taken of. Any thoughts on the subject?
well, it’s a part of town where i lived for ten years 2000-2009, i've rehearsed in that part of town (GAMLEBYEN) in Valhall 96-1999, i got my all my tattoos there since 1990, it's all a small part of Oslo. also friends live and lived there, and the LET THE STREETS BURN club is 50 metres away from there. the local shop (now called Joker) has an owner that used to call Euronymous "THE BOSS" back in 91 and 92, haha, all of us that hung around the helvete store shopped beer and food at that place back in 91 and 92. Euro rented the WHOLE first floor and basement there, now it's a bakery and a hair salon, people always go there to see Helvete, but it's no point, it's all changed. maybe the basement is the same, i don't know and i don't care, as i told you i am a person that likes to MOVE ONE, even if it's in cycles - hahahaha! good and original question!!
There have been several black metal documentaries, you have been involved with few that give a bit more serious look into the matter instead of just trying to shock viewers with murders and church burnings. The most recent one is "Until the light takes us". I haven't seen it yet and I understand you haven't either, but what kind of a vibe the film-makers left you with of the whole project?
first of all: this was filmed in 2001 and 2002 and i was coming out of a depression, i don't think i have a lot in common with what i say there, but then again i don't know what i say in that movie, what was included and what was not. all i know is i could kick 2001-Fenriz' ASS hahaha! and no, i haven't been in many documentaries, but i have said no to at least 10-15 projects. i don't like to see me on film or tv, i have said no two 4 MAJOR tv appearances so far this year here on the Norway’s answer to BBC, NRK.
Pretty much everyone must have asked you about Varg since he got out and continued with Burzum. Is that a sign that metal journalism is becoming more and more similar to yellow press publications, trying to get the next "big exclusive story" instead of concentrating on things that matter?
yes, but it's also because of the internet. that actually someone WANTS to read anything on a page calling themselves BLABBERMOUTH (a term for traitor in the HARDER more old school trades of life) is a sign of the metal scene becoming brainwashed by gossip. no one asked about Varg and me in 92 or 93, now everybody is asking. what do you think i think about that? MAN TENKER SITT.... all relationships should be more or less private, it's sick when everybody has an opinion about someone they never met or never will meet, but THAT is nothing new, it has always been so in the history of mankind. but it's more of it now. again, good question. as you all can see on my BAND OF THE WEEK blog at darkthrone myspace, it's all about the music, i almost don't write anything i just post cool bands. if you are a music freak interested in the music, come to me. if you want gossip or trivia, go somewhere else, that's what i am thinking.
You have mentioned in countless interviews you were burnt out around '96 after releasing 12 albums within few years. What kept you going? Did you ever consider giving up on making music completely or at least on releasing it to public?
no, but i realized ONE thing - i had to stop emptying my head of music, instead i had to put EVEN MORE MUSIC THAN BEFORE into my head. and even more styles, always more styles. and that eventually gave me the balance i needed to get the songs flowing again, but not maniacally like in 93-96, maniacally meaning i made 11 albums and some demo stuff in those years. now i make 5 songs a year and it's enough, it's been that way for almost a decade, YEAH!! it started coming back to me in 2002. still, that year that i didn't do any darkthrone in 97, i was drumming and rehearsing weekly with VALHALL, so i was never out of the picture or taking a holiday since i first started song making in 1986.
Fenriz' Red Planet songs were released 16 years after they were originally recorded. Was that your last well guarded secret or is there a possibility for another surprise release from the past?
i made 2 punk songs, "normal" punk, in 93 too, it was called REGRESS FF but i couldn’t get any members to play in that band, as we all know the 90s sucked haha. it hasn't been released yet, it only need some bass on it, but i have no plans releasing them. anyway, another proof that i have always been doing a helluvalot of stuff that defies "trends", i also did some "real" metal tracks in ca 92 i think it was, but i think i lost them. also the first doom (trad doom) song i made hasn't been released, it's called THE LIGHT and the project name for it is PILGRIM SANDS, this was in 1990 and I have the track thanks to GEORG currently living in Trondheim, thanks dude!
Mentioning other bands in your interviews isn't anything new for you, yet Band of the Week feature on Myspace, Darkthrone album booklets and recent interviews the past few years are taking this to a completely new level. Is it because internet as made it so easy to share information between like-minded people, or has your personal desire to educate people / share your favorites grown last 3-4 years?
thank you for noticing and shedding some light on this matter! thank you!! yes, when i started doing interviews in 1988, i quickly thought the namedropping other bands section was the most important parts of interviews. i still think so today, and i have a list to give you to this interview too, but i have to send it separately. but even before that, i was always lending out albums and making tapes in the early 80s and mid 80s too, before i started to play, and this is what i live for, SHARING MUSIC!! i make countless compilations of totally different music, most notably FOR YOU OUT THERE they are on the VICE MAGAZINE online, many mixes to download. these get downloaded by thousands of people, and it's better than all the dj'ing i did, cuz then people don't really pay attention, only drink beer.
Talking about BotW, recent entry mentioned Arvo Pärt, a famous Estonian classical composer. Has any Estonian metal acts caught your attention?
nothing from Estonia came to my table, but remember i have way too much to handle already - last year 550 titles came over my doorstep, i know cuz i wrote it all down on a list. the most fantastic thing would be if it was an Estonian band that was better than 2nd and 3rd FATES WARNING (not possible)
You're not the only one that is fan of art of name dropping. In recent press release for Murderdolls reunion Joey Jordison stated Darkthrone and Satyricon are similar acts to how they plan to record their new album, with only 2 core members, doing everything themselves. Are you surprised to be mentioned by seemingly such an unrelated band?
i NEVER recorded anything for satyricon! satyr only dragged me to the posh studio they were in once to do some tambourine. (late 90s?) recording processes of those two bands are COMPLETELY different, they have nothing to do with each other. we are not control freaks and let coincidences rule. murder dolls should mention darkthrone alongside DEAD MOON we do everything ourselves, rigging up the studio and putting it down as well. the other band does NOT do those things. it is not surprising to be mentioned by a seemingly unrelated act, we also do the same thing, the drums for HATE THEM was, i mean the drum SOUND, was taken from girlschool's C'MON LET'S GO song, for instance.
There's Live Evil festival taking place in London later this year. Line-up is completely put together of bands from your BotW posts. Could "Approved by Fenriz" replace "Parental Advisor" stickers on album covers one day?
yes, but that would be PARODIC. one doesn't want it to be THAT sucker-ish. the festival came to be because my idealistic and uncorrupt blog made another person get an idea of a festival with ONLY band of the week bands. that means my whole life and interest became a festival without me doing nothing else than WHAT I ALWAYS DO. and to me, it was the ultimate feedback to get!! WO HO!!
Are you still active member for Valhall, as you did answer question or two for their interview with Nocturnal Cult fanzine and the latest album (which was recorded 10 years ago) is promoted as "features Fenriz of Darkthrone"? Would you consider recording another album with them or will you strictly limit your current musical outlets to Darkthrone, and only Darkthrone?
yes AND no, in very late 2009 Ronny asked if i wanted to make a song for them - AND I DID. the end of the decade 00s and beginning of decade 10s was ME writing a new song for valhall, it was done in a week, i just made the guitar riffs and song structure - no lyrics or song lines. i won't be playing drums for it, the drummer of OBLITERATION drums with them since 2008 now. the 3rd valhall album you mentioned was rehearsed all 98 and 99 with me on drums every time, i also do extra METAL vocals on the MADE IN IRON song. i was in a band called FUCK YOU ALL in 2000 and 2001, but it died out and since then i have been MORE THAN HAPPY with just doing darkthrone and supporting other hundreds of acts! YEAH!!
What/who is the greatest enemy of true and honest music?
click drums in metal. also synth music WITH FUZZ GUITAR is so so so wrong. BUT, people, THERE ARE ALWAYS EXCEPTIONS!
Thank you for spending your precious time to give our readers insight to
Darkthrone latest ventures, any famous last words?
AN APPLE A DAY KEEPS THE POSERS AWAY!!
Photos by: Professor Mikael Ohlson