BLODARV INTERVIEW FOR ATMOSFEAR MAGAZINE
Answered by Hugin 2015
Greetings! We’re very glad you’ve accepted giving us an interview. Introduce yourself to our readers, please.
As for introducing BLODARV to the readers in a few words it is simply not possible as the universe of BLODARV is too huge. In here where the demons never sleep, there are thousands of caves and mountains to climb, hundreds of rivers to sail, everlasting fields of power and energies, demon filled dungeons, countless worlds within worlds and a million stories waiting to be told.. As for myself, I am Hugin , Philosopher, hell-poet and founder of the band..
Blodarv have existed as a band for 20 years already, tell us a bit how everything started and what was a reason for you to create a music project? How did the formation of band’s line-up pass?
It began 21 years ago with my first band MISANTHROPIA which was a four-man band where I did the vocal and lyrics. In 1994 I moved to Sealand from the island of Bornholm (where I grew up), and started this band of what we at that time described as “Satanic metal”. We quickly found out though -as we got our hands on our first Black Metal albums- that we came very close to the sound of that style and the lyrical satanic themes, and very fast we stopped calling our metal for “satanic metal” and took the label “Black Metal” on us. The reason for creating my first band was basically that I wanted to create music and lyrics that I personally wanted to listen to. I wanted to create music that I felled there wasn’t enough of around. I’ve been listening to metal since I was 11 years old, and very fast I wanted it more extreme, darker, more satanic, evil, powerful, mind-twisting and enlightening.
I wanted something pure and true and even though there were plenty of so called satanic bands around already then, it was something about a feeling you got about the various bands. Many didn’t seem to mean half of the shit they were singing about and it gave me the urge to create something myself. In MISANTHROPIA our guitarist did the composing and made all the riffs though, so along the side of singing I also made my own riffs and more personal lyrics with the idea of one day using them in a solo project which later on would turn out to be given the name BLODARV. Between 1994 & 1998 I played in different Black Metal bands and started and ended various projects, still continuing putting lyrics and riffs aside for BLODARV, and In 1998/99 I began recording the first BLODARV demo “Murder in the name of Satan”. Then followed the 2nd
demo “Mysteriis” and after that Isaz of FEIKN joined the band with female vocals, and soon after on bass also Huul of TÅGEFOLKET.
About 10 years ago Pestilens of SEPULCHRAL CRIES joined on guitar and Satinae Ma replaced Isaz on the female vocal. Ynleborgaz of ANGANTYR joined on drums, but was later on replaced by Fjorgynn of FJORSVARTNIR, and that has been the line up ever since.
Aren’t you going to celebrate 20-years-aniversary of your band in some special way? Do we have to wait for a special release or some live performances by Blodarv?
No, there are no plans of such kind, but we do have 2 shows left this month, one will be at OPEN GRAVE Metal festival in Jutland, and the other at BORNHELL festival on Bornholm. We always make our live ceremonies into a special and unique experience, but with that being said it’s never the same when playing at a festival as it is when headlining a BLODARV show because we can’t bring as much stuff on stage at a festival as we can at a BLODARV concert, as there are usually only like 15 minutes at a festival between the bands to set up everything on the stage, make line check and so on, but we always do all we can to make it special. From the bands point of view being on stage is like standing in a doorway between worlds were we become the physical intermediate link between both. We use candles, lanterns, &torches if possible and allowed by the venue. We use banners, symbols, alters, reversed crosses, bones, skulls and more. We smell of blood, sweat and plague, and try to stimulate all your senses at our shows. But it really must be experienced and not explained. The energy we have on stage can really not be explained in words.
What plans do you have for this year? May we wait for another full-length?
There won’t be any full-length out this year but we are releasing a 7” EP with new tracks. The EP is entitled “Flamekeeper” and are released in regular and diehard box edition in October on Self Mutilation Services. We also have a re-release of the old BLODARV/SILVA NIGRA split from 2002 coming out this year. As for the “flamekeeper” EP we are really looking forward to release this vinyl, and specially the box edition which will be a very unique collector’s item released in a wooden box with a piece of ritual candle, bone necklace, embroidered patch, Blodarv pick and other stuff. The vinyl will be a hail to lust and blasphemy, a hail to powerful energies, a hail to the moon and the beast of the night, a hail to the powers we got inside, a hail to the nights where the flame burns bright, where souls and demons and worlds unite, a hail to the power with a thousand names, a hail to the power of the ancient flames..It’s a celebration of the thousands of nights spent in the illuminating darkness.
5. Tell us about your sources of inspiration. What does give an impulse for birth of new music?
Philosophies, death, micro & macro cosmos, the forces of nature, the power of the universe and all the energies that cling to it. Dark visions, possessive muses, and powerful demons, haunted and haunting souls, tragic destinies, stories, smells, sounds, emotions and chilling dreams..My own mind. The island of Bornholm where i grew up and live today also has its Influence. This small and very isolated island and its strong energies, its myths and legends, its rich history, and beautiful, eerily evocative landscapes, is a source of inspiration and manifests in BLODARV’s sound, atmosphere and lyrics.
How much did your worldview at opinion about real black metal change? And can we expect nonstandard decisions and experiments of Blodarv in the future?
We have always done things our own way, when you ask if we will experiment in the future, and make nonstandard decisions I must reply that we don’t stick to a set of rules, but of course there’s a certain red line that runs through the way we work and the music we craft. We always just do what we feel is needed to create the mood and the atmosphere that we want to dominate a track and its lyric, and we always strive to create albums that 100 percent lives up to the ideas and plans we have for it, and will work on it until we are satisfied with the final result. But if you mean experimenting just for the sake of experimenting itself and just add effects, weird instruments that have no purpose, or step over and do extremely technical BM then no. We work as we have always done with our music, it’s a process that is hard to explain to outsiders, but you can be certain that BLODARV will remain BLODARV.
As for if my opinion about real Black Metal has changed? Not for REAL black Metal it hasn’t, I Basically still have the same view on Black Metal today as I had over 20 years ago. REAL Black metal bands are the ones that puts all of them self into the music and manage to create the pure and strong energy Black Metal can be when it comes from an honest being and not from a façade build upon what others proclaim to be “true”. The ones who don’t have to prove anything to anyone about how true they are, because they know themselves what they are and what they stand for, the ones who are true to their art and are willing to go through fire and pain and fight with blood sweat and tears for their art because that’s the most important thing in their existence and because they have something important to say.. Those are the bands I consider as REAL Black Metal bands. I don’t care for all the other empty fuckers who just copies stuff from other bands and has opinions and believes after from what they have heard others proclaim to be the true way.
Can you list the events (good and bad), which happened on the creative way of Blodarv? Are there such things in the past you’d like to change, to make them better?
No I wouldn’t change the past, because it is the past with both its good and bad experiences that brought BLODARV to where it is today. Today we are strong unit both music-wise and as a horde. One of the really important events has been finding the real line up that made it possible to bring BLODARV to the stage. All those many hours of rehearsing, planning, discussing, sharing ideas, reaching goals and setting new, sharing visions, sharing thoughts, travelling under shitty conditions and everything else we do together, naturally has had its affect in forming the band to the strong horde it has become today. -From our first real shows, the band also has evolved enormously when it comes to the art of performing live. We have been through a lot together already, good, great, bad and worse times, we’ve been through it all. And all this has of cause strengthened the band in every possible way.
There is an impression that every full-length of Blodarv tells a certain story to its listener. For example, “Linaria Amlech”, which is dedicated to the queen of witches, who killed herself… Was there a prototype of her image or it’s just a fiction?
There is nothing fictional about the story of Linaria, it’s a true story and she died on a cold January night in 2002. And yes it’s true that each album has a red line going through it. The tracks and lyrics links together in various ways, also between the albums. Each album is a book of its own but it has a connection to the previous albums, and each track is another chapter in the universe of BLODARV.
When you’re making up an album, do you have a clear idea how it must sound or does a final result comes in the process of working with songs?
I have a very clear idea from the beginning but that idea can evolve, I often refer to this as “the creative circle” where one sound, or riff can inspire to another riff, that again brings out a new “tone” in the riff you couldn’t hear before, that again inspires oneself to craft extra layers and so on. How can I explain it, it’s like when you are listening to a song you’ve been listening to many times and all of a sudden you hear a melody or an instrument that actually isn’t there but only exists because your mind creates it between the layers of sound, these subconscious sounds and melodies I often add on top of the original idea and create a stronger sound than attended in the first place, and therefore I would say I have a basic idea on what I want the outcome to be when I start working on the sound of a song or an album, but the creative circle often steps in and makes the final result even stronger than first intended.
You’ve always had your own view on chaos, which has become the sign of Blodarv. Your music is pretty raw and primitive, but it also has certain difficult elements, so there is an ideal balance. Is it what you tried to gain or did it just happen by itself?
I just create music the way I prefer it to be myself, it comes from my mind, heart and soul, but nothing happens on its own, and everything is well thought of to create the power, the energy and musical landscapes I want to craft. We create honest Black Metal from deep inside and without filters, and then the outcome becomes what it becomes.
Who makes the cover art for the Blodarv’s albums? What can you say about its design and meaning? Does it matter to you that the art of album must be linked with its content?
We have always been a D.I.Y band, and I do all the cover art and layouts myself. And yes I think it matters that the art of the album is linked with its content, at least it does for me personal and I always try to create a cover that is representative of the title, lyrics and the music on the album itself. 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. I am an creative artist myself, so just like a painter that has never considered asking another painter to paint his/hers personal visions, I have never considered to get another artist to do our coverart or layouts, I have to 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 links and symbolic features crafted into our covers where you can find an extra layer to the album, even hidden stories if you seek deep enough.
Much time passed and Blodarv changed a great number of labels; in the beginning of your creative way you even released your first demos on your own, so what did finally make you stay on Self Mutilation Services label?
Mainly because they have been very dedicated, and have given us the total freedom we need for our art.
It’s unusual to hear clean female vocals in such a band as yours, if to take into account the raw sound of Blodarv’s music. How did an idea to invite Isaz, and then later Satinae Ma for being a permanent singer occur?
The lyrics of BLODARV is half of the music, and in the lyrics there’s now and then the presence of a female character (like in the songs to Linaria, and songs like “Heksen” and “forseglet forevig” etc) so to make the music authentic to the lyrics I felled I needed a female vocalist to do those parts where a female character appears. I knew Isaz and I loved her vocal in FEIKN so it was natural to ask her first. As you said, she was then later replaced by Satinae Ma who now does the female vocal parts and makes it possible to add an extra layer to the music and the complete experience of the lyrics. Satinae Ma constantly evolves on her vocal, always willing to experiment with it in various directions, and is fantastic at sinking in to the lyrics, really dig into them to catch the emotions and mood of the lyric, and still add it her own perspective. Without satinae ma we would be a 5-arm candle-holder with only 4 candles in it, and 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.
It’s a known fact that you also have several black metal projects except of Blodarv. Are they active, and, if it's so, when are you going to release albums with them?
No, none of my elder projects is active anymore, it’s a choice I made many years ago where I decided to put all my focus, energies and power into BLODARV
Attributes of black metal have turned into the part of pop-culture long time ago, and maybe it’s a reason why some bands refused their using. But what does a traditional image of black metal musician (corpsepaint, upturned crosses, skulls, etc.) mean to you?
Personally I’ve basically used the same corpse paint the last 19 out of 21 years. 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. The items we have on stage like reversed crosses, skulls, alters and so on represents the universe of BLODARV, the ripped cloths and spikes we wear 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. It’s just a part of the whole picture that has always been a part of BLODARV and always will be.
What do you think about rising of black metal popularity? How do you think, are there any worthy representatives of this genre among new bands?
I must say that BLODARV take all my time, and has done for many years. It’s where I prefer to put my focus, so I haven’t used much time following all the “new” bands and I have no idea where I should start if I were to follow all the Black Metal bands of today and what is defined as “The Scene”. When this is said, sure there are bands I like, bands I am in contact with, and listen to these days, and now and then I discover a new great band, but as I said almost all my time and effort goes into the universe of BLODARV and has for many years. It gives me very little time for anything else, including discovering new bands & thinking about the rising of Black metal popularity. I’d rather use that time to feed the flames of BLODARV.But I’m aware that Black Metal has gone from being an underground movement to become a part of the so called accepted music industry.. These days every metal store sells Black Metal back in the early days there were 1 or 2 stores in each country distributing Black Metal and 3 or 4 albums that were added to the list each month at top, simply because there wasn’t more bands playing it.
As we all know, more and more started practicing this art form, and it got many followers as the media covered it intensely in Scandinavia. These days we all know how insanely many so called black metal bands there’s around compared to back then and Black Metal has changed in so many ways in all kinds of aspects since those days where BM WAS underground, and most people in the industry didn’t dare to touch or promote it. These days it seems its more and more about image, fast solos and very technical played riffs, but somewhere along the line the magic becomes harder to find, the chills that makes your hair stand up on the back of your neck has become fewer and fewer, even though there now are more bands than ever. And it’s a funny anecdote that in the beginning there were SO many metal heads that didn’t approve at all of Black Metal, it was mostly met with the opinion that is wasn’t technical enough, and people thought the vocals sounded terrible. The majority of people who listened to metal in the 90’s thought that Black Metal with its high-tuned guitars, high-pitched vocals, thin high distorted sound, and a less is more concept, was a completely fucked up art-form they couldn’t relay to at all. And in general there wasn’t many in the various metal genres, either when it came to the bands or fans that accepted the shadow of church burnings and the satanic message that followed black metal..The funny thing is that the very same metal heads that didn’t give a shit for Black Metal and its essence in the beginning, played it themselves 5 years after when it suddenly became really popular.
What are personal band members’ preferences in black metal, their own classic? Are there any bands, which are close to you by spirit and conceptions nowadays?
Some of the Black Metal classics to the various members in BLODARV are bands like VENOM, DARKHTHRONE, BATHORY, DISSECTION, HORNA, MAYHEM, BURZUM, MORBID, ISENGARD and many, many others. If there are any bands that are close to us by spirit and conceptions these days is a hard question to answer cause I’m not really sure actually.
How do you imagine Blodarv in 10-15 years from now?
At that time we will still be carrying the banner on, and remain keepers of the ancient flame. I don’t see an ending to this at any point of time.
Thank you for your time once again, and in the end say something to our readers, please.
Thanks for an interesting interview. Keep up with our activities on our official sites. Hold the black banner high and hails to all who walks with us through the fire!