This is the first interview I’ve got it done since I quited doing zine in 2006. Why I did it? Simply because of this great person. Gylve Nagell, best known as Fenriz. I’m sure knew about his role in Norwegian metal scene. I had good time recalling my memories with DARKTHRONE’s music as its soundtrack. I remember spending my pocket money and riding my bicycle to town just to check out their albums “A Blaze In Northern Sky” and “Transilvanian Hunger” pressed by Valentine Sound Productions (VSP) in cassette format. A few years later I finally got the chance to listen to their debut album which is way too good- that Fenriz himself didn’t want to talk much about it.
I got my first Darkthrone T-shirt in 1995 given by a friend as he thought DARKTHRONE were too grim for him. I wore that shirt almost everyday. And nobody knew it was black metal. Back then in my hometown, there was only 9-10 guys knew what it is ‘black metal’ all about.
Thanks to the internet. Everything become easy these day. I get to know Fenriz personally. And yes, he is no cannibal. But in reality, we shared something in common. I mean, like him, I’m a working-class metal head. I worked 8 hours per day as a social worker, then taken care of my studio and label, doing some artworks, composes some songs, practicing guitar and drums, maintaining my blog and touring with my bicyle if I have a free time. Fantastic or not. This is the life we choose.
Fenriz is a charismatic person I always thought he was. Devilish rocker who inspired others to fight for true metal and keep it the way it should and always be. You don’t need to be hypocrite bastard with this guy, you can talk to him about anything. So here are our interesting conversation tonight...
Interview by Raimi
Your very first whispers from the north?
Just back from tent trip nr 27 this year, listening to Dogs D'amour
So, what things that you enjoy most in life nowadays? I knew you are fulltime metalhead, is there anything out of music? I see everyone really wanted to live their life like yours, maybe from the myth they were told- everything is fun in Darkthrone...
No, there's only working class lifestyle, and i work way more than most people, every day up at 05.55 go to work, listen to music that people send me (on a discman) 7 hours there every day, that means i almost never have time to listen to music that i bought myself and WANT to listen to , cuz i have to listen to all that stuff that people send me. very frustrating, it is now 20th july and so far on my list (i write a list with all the releases i buy/get/trade) is 344 titles!! can anyone imagine how much this is? anyway, on the way back and from work I listen to mp3, and then there is lifting weights at the gym for 4-6 hours every week.
In the weekend i go on tent trips, and as you can see right now I have to work in front of the pc. this myspace page has 3000 + visitors every day, over 53 000 friends are signed up, and I work here to promote other bands I like TOTALLY IDEALISTC on my band of the week page. The worst think I know is when bands ASK IF THEY CAN BE BAND OF THE WEEK, that's disgusting. Of course it has to come from my own soul/brain, people can't ASK for that. then I would be corrupt. These bands only destroy for themselves.
So I get between 30-60 inquiries every day. It's NO fun in Darkthrone, only work.
What do you think about this black metal against technology attitude? I meant, you know like “Hey, we black metal demons don’t do internet, we satan don’t use keyboards”..? I remember you got pissed when I told this guy who wanted to contact you but didn’t have a myspace account?
Black metal is thinking for yourself. That can be done with or without computer. Most importantly is to stay away from copying 90’s bm. I don't play bm anymore because of all the trendys defacing the value of bm, and all the arty people into emperor and such... I didn't sign up for that. I signed up for rebellion, and I do that the best with my own songs since 2005 which is a mix of NWOBHM-punk and speed metal.
Myspace is the best thing for underground since the scene in the 80s WHICH I COME FROM AND BELONG TO. People must stop thinking of me as 90s person.
Are you happy with the myth surrounding Darkthone till these days? I laughed when I heard some kids even think that you are a caveman, that why you could composes primitive sound?
No, the reason I started doing interviews again in '98 is that I hated all the rumours. but my METAL EARS are "cavemanic", I cannot stand modern sound, not since shit like “Release From Agony” with Destruction, or “Blessed Are The Sick” with Morbid Angel, and that 3rd Death album... these releases had early modern sound and my ears couldn't take it. Also our first album had modern sound, but we had no choice cuz of SMALL BUDGET. We regretted ourselves and have spent the rest of our career on having THE CORRECT sound, namely RAW.
Do you think it is your attitude that make your music valuable and worth to be recognize?
Yes, it's 1100%% ATTITUDE! JOHN McENROE!!!!
You refused Darkthrone to be nominated in music awards yet you appeared in TV shows, metal documentary, etc as seen in Youtube.com? So, what is commercialism in metal for you?
I work hard as hell every day so I can do what is RIGHT with Darkthrone, I don't have to "join the circus". Soo many clowns out there.....
Well, the “Darkthrone And The Black Flag” is out now! And from what you’ve told me the differences between your previous material was an addition of N.W.O.B.H.M tastes which we won’t find in any of your past albums or in any of Norwegian bands? So, how could you explain this?
Because we grew up with stuff that was NWOBHM influenced, and for instance my fave album this year is “Wheels Of Steel” by Saxon, it is TOTAL perfection to me. not music for musicians, but for people with HEARTS AND SOULS!! anyway, everything moves in circles, personal music tastes too, I would like us to sound like 1972 or 1968, but for now - we are proudly stuck in 1980-1985, it seems.
Also, listen to the KILL EM ALL by Metallica, it has 30% punk and 30% NWOBHM on it. And this albums should be one of the most important for metal, along with Iron Maiden. But people today... triggered drum, STUPID use on synth ( there is good and bad styles of everything ) ...and a modern sound that takes away ALL the soul. They are traitor's of metal ..producers with their studios ..andy sneap, peter tätgren ...they destroy metal.
AURA NOIR has some riffs that are speed metal-ish. And norwegian band HJALLARHORN has often Nwobhm tendencies.
What things that make you strong each days to continue with Darkthrone? I remember when I’m still doing zine back in 1999, Darkthrone was going to be lay down to rest. I even put that news in my zine.
Because we keep DISTANCE to one another. We don't join the LIVE circus. Bands usually break up cuz of touring. Also we don't make plans, we take each day at a time, just like LIFE ITSELF, as darkthrone is a part of our LIFE like eating or girlfriends. And also, as we as people change, lyrics change, style changes...but we change in different ways than almost ALL other bands...others ALWAYS in more commercial style or style that has more support..we ALWAYS went with ugly sound and smaller styles than we had success with...now with metal punk..the smallest style ever since the late 70s when Motorhead "invented" it.
I knew your reasons for all this raw/harsh recording. But what is your comments on bands with crystal clear sounds, profesionalism in packaging/layout and attitude?
Crystal clear is to me PIECE OF MIND with Iron Maiden. And I love that. The problem is when people need more modern sound than this. Because NO METAL really needs it...it just became this way...and do you think these new bands actually listen to other bands with this modern style? No, they listen to Piece Of Mind with Iron Maiden!! HAHAAHA always they return to the old style when they want to listen to stuff themselves ...so why don't they go after that style instead? it's a mystery, and an AMBUSH on the metal that both I and the modern bands love.
Do you think Darkthrone musical direction detonates a new fashion in the scene as you does with Black Metal in the early 90’s? Do you still has that excitement to the new Norwegian Black Metal bands? Did you already gave up with Death Metal scene since you only recommend me those old Thrash metal mongers...
When we started playing primitive black metal ourselves in EARLY 1991, of course we didnt' listen to 90s bm AS IT DIDN’T EXIST. We only listened to 80s black metal and in our minds this was kind of the black metal we made.
When mid 90s styles came with Dimmu Borgir it was nice to listen to their 93 rehearsal, but when they went to the studio it was not so cool anymore. Many bands played like Burzum but had more modern sound, it was a copy, and they had "wrong" solutions ..also copies of our “Transilvanian Hunger” style just became totally boring after a very short time, and i was never interested in listening to copies of what i did myself, BECAUSE I ALWAYS MOVE ON after writing songs, albums, lyrics ..and i have no interest in listening to copies. But some are good. like Tangorodrim. (Yeah! I love them)
Now I am nervous about making metal punk into a trend, I hope it will not happen. but this style has been underground for so long, it was bound to get a revival anyway. I mean, almost no one was talking about a band like WARFARE in the 90s. But i listened to them always since I got one of their albums in 1987.
In 87 I got a bit tired of thrash metal (or else we would have played total thrash in 87, but we didn't. We had a lot of punk and sludge (Celtic Frost slow style/Dream Death).
In 1990 totally tired of death metal. In 93/94 totally tired of black metal. But this is not totalitarian! it doesn't mean I didnt listen to the style. I am speaking GENERALLY, not specifically! there are always exceptions!!! in 94 it was the 3rd time I started to support thrash more than usual, since then I never quit haha!
Lyricwise, it does changed, right? It is still evil, but its like rock & roll lyrics. More straight forward and 'in-yo-face' kinda lyrics, is it?
YEAH, it's "STREET LYRICS" - but again that's just SOME of the songs. Ted also write lyrics, and I also wrote very emotional lyrics like “Norway in September”!! I am a result of a lifetime of music and lots of experience.
You don’t like to spend you time in rock pub but in techno club, as the chicks there far more interesting. And I read in local newpapers about System Of A Down new album which claimed to have your influences on it... all these things in media really make you a legend, Fenriz...
It is very embarrassing that System Of A Down continue to site me or Darkthrone as influence, they are modern metal and once in 98 or 00 I left a party because someone was playing it. I didn't know what band it was, I just left. Later someone told me it was System Of A Down.
And the first story about clubs is a TOTAL LIE. And since 2005 I stopped going to the clubs, and I am not interested in meeting more girls since 1990, as I always had a steady girlfriend.
I didnt' drink until 1990. Before I was only into music and 80s tape trading underground. After 2005 with Oscar from OLD opening my eyes, I returned to only work in the underground and almost stop drinking again.
I tried to be a social person from 1990-2005. But then I had enough, I found out after all that time that I am NOT a social person and that I have WAY too many people in my life anyway. I am cutting down.
What do you really miss from those old days? It is a whole different scene today, right? Like if before bands only release a fucking tape and spread it around themselves, replying interviews with letters, etc...
It's still exactly the same. my mailbox is always full, and I send out at least 3-4 letters a week with burnt cd's (instead of tapes) but the scene is now releasing tape like never before, Flo of THRASH ATTACK zine just made his own TAPE ONLY label with first relase IRON KOBRA which is great speed/heavy metal (covering THOR), and I get tapes from ALL over the world. I prefer cd'r's cuz I already have a system with my discman at work. Anyway, the mail is the most important for the underground still, mixed with computers. It's the best of both worlds. Only FUKK OFF to Greek postal system and Frankfurt mail that STEALS PACKAGES!!!
The biggest difference between 80s underground and these days, is that everyone has an opinion now, and they can spread it like the WEAK VIRUS that it is. In 80s the underground was purely CONSTRUCTIVE, if someone had a negative opinion they had to form a band and sing about it to get their opinion through. capice?
Sorry, but I can’ help to ask you this: What do you think about Mikael Jackson?hehehe...
He did the best stuff in late 60s and late 70s, I think. Probably first Jackson 5 album ABC and then OFF THE WALL is the only records worth having (i am the music police).
I remember (in old interviews) you said the best performances you watched was Iron Maiden “Powerslave” tour. Was that from video tape? You’re not keen in playing live but don’t you enjoy other bands perform?
No, it was “Live After Death” on video in ca 2001. But before that I saw some live show from 82 and 83 (back when I was a kid) with Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Def Leppard, Quiet Riot etc ...I watched those shows to death, but it was on video taped from tv...I never wanted to see a show, my friends wanted to go to Iron Maiden but I refuse. I hate crowds. And I played my first gig with Darkthrone in may 1988 BEFORE I EVER SAW A LIVE SHOW IN PERSON.
Later that year I saw my very first gig, was Slayer with Candlemass and I hated it - not because of the music but because of the OTHER PEOPLE. They acted like total sheep, and actually standing in line outside before the show was a sheep-treatment, and I hate crowds and standing in line. Then everybody bought the tour shirts and walked around in them like brainwashed idiots.
The month later I got a steady job, and I started instead to go to BLITZ, Oslo's punk house. It was more individualistic there, but I never made any friends there. Just bought records, ate some waffles (famous waffles) and watched hundreds of GREAT gigs.
Anything else say to our readers? Thanks and keeps on rocking....
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