BLODARV INTERVIEW FOR SLOWLY WE ROT/PEST ZINE

Answered by Hugin 2014.  Questions by Sónia Fonseca Interview for Slowly We Rot Pest Zine 2014

You have been involved in many projects ever since 1994. Why do you keep on ending projects and starting new ones? Is it because the principles and ideas change?

It’s true that in the earlier days I started and ended quite a few projects, but it’s a really long time ago now since I started any new projects or felled like I had to put some to rest. I haven’t done that the last many years. With that said there were several reasons for doing this though. Some of the projects were never meant to be continuing projects, some of them where unsatisfying to play in, some of them just faded away, and some of them where specific concept bands like SANSÂGER where the lyrics and everything else only focus on the history and myths of the island of Bornholm, or like GWATH and ESSOUPI where there was a strong concept bound to it also

Blodarv’s image is a black feathered bird… why have you chosen this symbol?

The black feathered bird you speak of is a raven. It is used as a symbol of BLODARV for more than one reason, for the symbol of the raven means many things. First of all it represents “Hugin” which again symbolize “Thought/s” wisdom intelligence, over-natural powers and the ability to fly between worlds. It’s the bird of the living and the dead, it brings stories from the land of the dead to the land of the living and from the land of the living to the land of the dead. But we use it in various ways in BLODARV and each way has layers of meaning and symbolism. When (just to give another example) we use it on the “banner/flag”, it refers to the first original Danish flag –and the world oldest. This flag from the past was originally called by 4 names. “Ravnefanen” (meaning:the raven banner) or “Danebroge” (meaning: Mark of the Danes)or “hrafnsmerki” (Meaning:The Raven mark) or finally simply “Ravnen”(Meaning “the raven”). It was once well known and feared throughout the most of the world as a united mark of the Vikings, and a symbol of Denmark going into war. The original” Raven” banner itself was a Blood-red cloth with 2 black ravens embroidered on it (one on each side). It was triangular with a rounded outside edge where there hang a series of black taps// tassels. The raven on each side was representing the 2 ravens of Odin: “Hugin” & “Munin” and the intent of the flag were to strike fear in ones enemies by the invoking of the power of Odin. When speaking about the “Raven” it was said:”when the raven spread its wings, great victory is predicted for the Danes” (and victory was its main purpose, since the original flag was mostly used in war times during battles, and not in times of peace.) Enemies of the Danish Viking’s called it “the raven of doom”.. 

Back in February 2012, you released the DVD "A Doorway Between Worlds Chapter 1" which features eight videos from your official youtube channel and a live recording from the show at Club Brutal, in Aarhus Denmark. How was it accepted by the fans? .Do you have plans of a chapter 2?

Yes it was released in February 2012 mainly because there were a lot of fans asking us if we couldn’t release some of our youtube videos on a DVD/ Video CD. It was never supposed to be seen as a pro “BLODARV DVD” meaning that it just contains videos from our youtube channel, and was particularly made for those fans that are weary of trying to watch our videos on YouTube at the mercy of the vagaries of their internet connections and with poor sound quality. The Video CD contains videos for tracks from ours albums “Soulcollector”, “Linaria Amlech”, “Civitas Diaboli” and the newly released “Gâst”, and as you mentioned a live recording from the show at Club Brutal, in Aarhus Denmark, filmed in December 2012. The response from the fans was really good, but many asked for some more live material, so when we did some video-recordings of our support show to CARPATHIAN FOREST the year after & filmed 7 tracks from the Island LIVE ceremony that took place on the island of Bornholm in 2013 we decided to release a chapter 2 of “A doorway between worlds”. So it’s not something we have plans of, it’s something we have actually already done.

A little over a year ago, on 12th December 2012, you released “Gâst” on Self Mutilation. It contains 8 tracks in a total that overruns 45 min. It’s full of blasphemous poetry in both Danish and English. This release set the bar very high for the upcoming release… how are you planning on surpassing this one?

We never do anything half hearted and never release something we are not satisfied with our self. How high the banner is sat is not something that we think about, as we always strive to create albums that 100 percent lives up to the ideas and plans we have for it, and when we are satisfied the rest doesn’t matter.  Some may think “Gâst” is one of our best albums, others may think it’s one of the worst, and it’s the same with the new tracks, some will see all their splendor, and for them those tracks will be the best we have ever done, while others may feel different and prefer other tracks/albums instead. It all doesn’t matter, the albums are as they are and shouldn’t be any other way. We create honest Black Metal from deep inside and without any filters. The outcome will become what it becomes.

Your label Self Mutilation Services from Mexico was recommended to you by B.G Black Hate. Why are they the right label for you?

Because they are very dedicated to what they do and they give us the total freedom we need for our art.

“Flamekeeper” 7” VINYL & “Flamekeeper” Ceremonial Box Edition will be out in the spring of 2014 on SELF MUTILATION SERVICES. The 7” EP will be limited to 500 units and the Box edition limited to only 50 units! Why do you limit these releases so much? 50 units will fly away on the first day of its release. Do you believe it will help you achieve a cult status?

It has nothing to do with getting cult status or not, the reason for the diehard edition is limited as low as 50 units are because of what is included in the box. The 50 black candles Included (1 in each box) are the 50 candles that was used in the flamekeeper ceremony, during which the goat bones amulets were also crafted. And as I’ve mentioned before, in the official press release It´s about giving the fans something unique and personal together with the album beside the music, like it was done in the early years of the Black Metal Underground. The goat bones comes from “Hammeren” on Bornholm where we recorded the “I blaek og blod” Video. The bones were tied together to an inverted cross and used in the ceremony. This inverted cross also features on the regular cover for “flamekeeper” 7” EP. Later during the end of the ceremony the bones were made into 50 amulets -one for each black candle burning during the ceremony- and therefore 50 became the number of boxes we could release for the fans including 1 piece of each of the original ceremony material. As for the regular edition being limited to 500 copies, it’s simply because that’s what Self Mutilation can afford to release. Vinyl releases are very expensive to produce for the record companies and the profit is close to zero these days, so we are just glad that we have the opportunity to release vinyl as one of the first bands on Self Mutilation Services, and even though 550 vinyl’s doesn’t sound like much, you will be amazed by how few people actually buys vinyl these days. We have had the Flamekeeper EP up for pre-ordering on the official BLODARV store for 2 months now and I can tell you that the copies available for pre-ordering has not been sold out yet, so there is still plenty of opportunity to pre-order it from the shop if you want to be sure to get your hands on it, plus we will of course save some copies that will not go on sale before the actual release day.

To something else. Has the line-up change helped the band in any way?

I believe you refer to our newest joined member Fjorgynn which joined us 3 years ago taking over the drums from Ynleborgaz. And Yes, Fjorgynn fitted right in from the first rehearsal. He definitely gives BLODARV that final touch with his abilities of spanning over both great atmospheric drum play and really evil aggressive drums, and most important of all as I have said before- that flow you can’t explain. With Fjorgynn on the drums we have become an even stronger unit both music-wise and as a horde. We have already had many hours of rehearsing, planning, discussing, sharing ideas, reaching goals and setting new, sharing visions, sharing thoughts, travelled under shitty conditions and much more, which has had its affect in forming the band to the strong unit it has become today. Good, great, bad and worse times, we have been through it all, and all this has of cause strengthened the band in every possible way.

According to you, the lyrics of BLODARV explore death, micro and macro cosmos, the forces of nature, the power of the universe and all the energies that cling to it. It is hateful blasphemous poetry filled with dark visions, possessive muses, and soul-seeking demons. Will it continue to be so? What will be the main topic / message behind the new EP?

Yes, the new EP once again allows the listener to get a glimpse into the dark universe of BLODARV in which we lead the listeners through a world filled with powerful demons, powers and energies. A journey that goes through their own mind into -and through- the dark universe that is BLODARV. As announced in the press release the tracks on “Flamekeeper” salutes the power of the ancient flame, the fire that feeds us and the fire that eats us. It’s about putting demons into art & protecting the old, but that’s all I’ll tell for now, because the lyrics and the music speaks for themselves. Both have many layers, and many stories to tell. How the listeners experience this journey and what they take with them depends on the individual, and is not something we can, or will, control. There isn’t just one “true” way to experience, feel or understand our lyrics because as I said they hold many layers. The tracks and the lyrics have their own life now and what people take with them after hearing it will be for them to answer

You are responsible for all the layouts and covers… why have you decided to do this yourself? Don’t you trust it in the hands of other artists? Will you also do it for future releases?

Yes I think I will always do the layout, cover and artwork designs for Blodarv, I cant imagine it any other way, the shortest path from an idea in my mind to the final physical product goes through my own hands, and I always find it easier to craft things myself in appose to explaining others how I want it to be. It’s really not a trust issue, I am an creative artist myself, so just like a painter that has never considered asking another painter to paint his personal visions, I have never considered to get an artist to do our covers or layouts, I have too much to express myself, and I like doing these things. Our covers will always be much more than “pictures and words in a nice layout” it’s a part of the entire experience of the album, and there are many links and symbolic features crafted into our covers where you can find an extra layer to the album, certain links and even hidden stories if you seek deep enough. There’s a meaning and a thought behind all our layouts.

Satinae Ma is the female witch that sings both live and in the studio. What’s your opinion of women in metal? What does she add to the band?

Satinae Ma who does the female vocal parts makes it possible to add an extra layer to the music and the complete experience of the lyrics. She constantly evolves on her vocal, always willing to experiment with it in various directions, and  is fantastic at sinking in to the lyrics, catch the emotions and mood of the lyric, and still add it her own perspective. in many ways she completes the circle. Just as Every other member she fills a certain space in which where there would be silence and emptiness if not. As for my opinion of woman in Black Metal I believe the same as I do with men in Black Metal. Some belong there, some doesn’t. It all depends on what you have to bring to the table and what you hold in your mind and soul, not what gender you belong to.

Do you believe Facebook can actually help you spread the word/message of Blodarv? You have reached over 15000 likes already. How important are fans for you?

We have an extreme strong connection to many of our fans, a connection that goes way beyond most bands relations to their fans, so they mean a lot. And yes there is no doubt that facebook and the fans in there helps spread the universe of BLODARV. There are so many people, bands, bookers, venues etc on social media’s such as facebook these days. And after having our old website closed and crashed and closed again, we decided to give a fuck about it until we can find a prober host for it, and instead we post all our news on the official BLODARV FB page. And yes we are a growing horde, and we don’t use those “Boosted” post or paid for “get more likes” thing, so everyone in there are actually real fans and followers, and not some fake number with loads of fake profiles as followers as you see many places these days after FB decided to get the terrible idea of letting people buy themselves likes and fans.

In a day and age in which many BM bands are leaving corpsepaint behind, Blodarv still use it. What does corpsepaint represent for the band?

Several things..We have always used it and always will.  Personally I have used basically the same corpse-paint the last 20 years and it has become like a ritualistic thing. It’s always there when we stand face to face with the demons and the energies of the great beyond, this is the face that fits our souls and who we are, like a portrait of our mind and deepest most inner self.

On live shows, apart from corpse paint, all band members use ripped clothes. Does that represent something in particular?

It represents the journey we have gone through, the long and dark labyrinths with thorns and obstacles that shreds you on the outside and strengthens you on the inside. We never clean any of our stage cloth, which we have used since 2007, and it smells of blood, sweat spit vomit sickness flames and energies.

You have some die-hard fans who have tattooed symbols of Blodarv in their skin. How does this make you feel?

Well you don’t get a tattoo of any kind unless it means something really important to you and have given it thoughts before you decided to go through both pain and money-cost to get it because it. So naturally it makes me feel very, very proud and heard. More than I can explain actually because it’s an incredible dedicated thing to do, and when you see another person that has a symbol inked that represents Blodarv -a mark that will follow them forever,- it makes me and everyone else in the circle –as I said- very proud.

Were you educated to believe in any kind of religion or did your upbringing teach you about religion’s ignorance and hypocrisy?

Life, experiences, seeking insight inside, seeking truth of the outside, and using natural intelligence to question all that was laid in front of me taught me about religions ignorance and hypocrisy.. I have never been educated to believe in any kind of religion, never been forced to go to church or stuff like that, but like all in Denmark I grew up in a country where Christianity has become the main religion, and where many believe that “the country is build upon Christian values” So I saw and felled the hypocrisy and started putting question marks to religions, existence and the so called “truth” at a very early age, and as long as I can remember I have philosophized over life, death, existence and everything in between, and never taken the first answer as the one truth, but seeking alternative ways of thinking. The power of the soul and the mind, connecting with, and seeking insight into these powers, into life and death itself, and many other things has played an important role in my path to concluding that I don’t believe in any of the established religions of today, in fact, I despise them. I am a curious soul with a hunger for wisdom; I hail my old ancestors and my Blood-inherited abilities to see beyond life and this world’s borders. To be able to feel, see, and hear things that only a few can. I have my own moral standards and ethics, and my own view upon life, death and existence. I’ve build them on knowledge, insight, visions, and own experiences as I’ve mentioned, plus those of my respected ancestors. I don’t believe in “Gods” in the sense of which Gods are defined by humanity today, but I believe in energies and the powers of the universe. In the creative force of the Nebulas and earth’s nature, the power of the human-mind, the great cosmos, and the dark matter that surrounds us with its all time presence.

You moved on your own at a very early age. What “sacrifices” have you done in order to be where you are today? (Obviously you had bills to pay and had to renounce to some stuff that you wanted because of that!)

You have done your research well. I have always put my art above anything else. You must be willing to sacrifice all if that’s what it takes to be able to reach your goals. And no, the art of BLODARV is not created on polished floors. Since I was 15 and moved on my own I have had to spend all the money I could on equipment, recordings etc being able to create and bring my art to life, and so it has been ever since, because I’ve never wanted to make compromises when it comes to my art, which of course results in lots of compromises on other things, such as having money for food, bills, going to concerts, visiting friends, and all that social stuff. But I am not complaining, it has never been a big problem as I have always been a bit misanthropic and don’t mind not having many friends, as long as I got the right ones. I get by with a few tight friends, my demons and my art, and has done so since I was 15 years old.

Do you believe being independent from such an early age has been highly important in the way you decided to live your life and your beliefs in general?

More the other way around..The way I lived my life and my beliefs, did that I became independent at a very early age.

Denmark is not very famous for its Black metal bands… are there any worth mentioning?

Well I live very isolated with my art here on the island of Bornholm, so there is probably a lot of bands and stuff happening that I am not the first one to hear about, but I enjoy bands like DENIAL OF GOD, the now departed FEIKN, NORTT and old stuff like that, plus my band brothers own projects SEPULCHRAL CRIES (pestilens) & FJORSVARTNIR (Fjorgynn).

Final message to Pest readers please!

If some of the readers got curious about BLODARV and want to know more You can find more info the following places. Official Website : www.blodarv.net Facebook: www.facebook.com/blodarvofficial Youtube: www.youtube.com/huginofblodarv Soundcloud: www.soundcloud.com/blodarv Webshop: http://blodarvshop.bigcartel.com Twitter: www.twitter.com/blodarv Reverbnation: www.reverbnation.com/blodarv Myspace: www.myspace.com/blodarv Management: www.patriciathomasmanagement.com Record label: www.selfmutilationservices.com Booking: stafahugin@hotmail.com