Posts Tagged “Gaahl”

Shining's Niklas Kvarforth

Shining’s Niklas Kvarforth

Metal Hammer and Subterranea aren’t just proud to host an exclusive preview track from Swedish miscreants Shining’s new album, 8½ – Feberdrömmar I Vaket Tillstånd, but we’ve also got an exclusive interview with infamous band founder Niklas Kvarforth as well.

Released on September 23 via Dark Essence Records, 8½… revisits tracks from their early 00s period – many of them unreleased – with a raft of guest vocalists including Wardruna and God Seed’s Gaahl, and both fomer and current Mayhem frontmen Maniac and Attila Csihar. Check out the track, Selvdestruktivitetens Emissarie, featuring Gaahl, and the interview below!


The last time we spoke you were saying how numbering the albums set out marker points for you. After dropping that for Redefining Darkness, was it important for you to go back to it again (and implicitly stating that Redefining Darkness – the eighth Shining album – was still in that sequence), or was it just to say that this is an ‘in between’ album?

“During the recording of Redefining Darkness there were numerous things in our universe that were changing, and instead of doing something half-assed as most people do, I wanted to change all that was interfering with what was lying ahead. However, as much as the murder of the old is a necessity, some things are holy and shouldn’t be touched. The aftermath almost destroyed the band and its founder as well. So, when I was working on the ninth album and had the opportunity to revisit the past project, which is now being released, this mistake had to be corrected. And yes, it might have our less intelligent fans understanding that it is not a new album that’s being released as well, which in this day and age might have been quite a smart move on our part.”

Why choose this particular period to revisit?

“These songs were recorded in 2001-2002 when Hellhammer requested some pre-productions before entering the studio to record III. Of course, these recordings got spread to others and eventually released as a very poor ‘we-wanna-make-some-easy-cash’ bootleg album by a German company. This has bothered us since then of course and when we started reclaiming what was ours from other companies, the idea of releasing these songs ourselves combined with the idea of re-recording our debut album with six different vocalists suddenly seemed like quite an appealing idea. So, here you are.”

How did having guest vocalists affect the way you relate to the songs, particularly when they’ve always been from such a person viewpoint? Did you find yourself being able to see them more from an outside perspective?

“Its very odd hearing these songs sung by others. And I had to take things bit by bit in order to be able to grasp the whole thing when being sent recording after recording. Nevertheless, now I’ve had some time to go through the songs with a somewhat more evident distance, and although it’s still strange, I feel empowered when I hear that my brothers have all managed to do their own thing and treat the material with the respect it deserves.”

Was there anyone you would have liked to have contribute to the album who couldn’t be on it?

“When the initial re-recording idea was first being considered about six, seven years back all my favorites were already onboard. Yet, as time goes by, one gets to learn a thing or two about those you know, and because of this, two singers who were originally going to contribute were excluded and replaced. But no, I feel I got exactly the ones I wanted on the album.

Did resurrecting the earlier material bring you closer to it or do you feel it was a way of summing them up and moving on?

Definitely brought me closer. Especially as I was able to do something proper with the recordings and also add things that I felt were missing initially. Lars did a magnificent job getting the whole fever-atmosphere to come alive too. A magnificent artist, who will, from now on, definitely be contributing to my future work on a much larger scale than before.”

By his own admission, Gaahl can take a lot of time finding the right… resonance for recording vocals, particularly black metal vocals. How did he approach recording for you?

He was the last one to finish, let’s put it like that. But no, there were no actual problems in getting him to record once he was in the studio. What was a problem was getting hold of him at times, because he, like me, is involved with so many other things that are time-consuming. I have to say though, that Gaahl’s work really does stand out and took me by surprise. Finally, the two of us managed to get something recorded together, something the two of us have been planning for years now.”

Famine from Peste Noire is a bit of a controversial figure due to perceived far-right views. What’s your take on this and what did he bring to Terres Des Anonymes?

I always knew about Peste Noire but didn’t really get into it until after a week-long visit to one of my best friends in Ljubljana who introduced me to Famine’s genius. I also of course knew about his reputation and sometimes controversial outbursts in the media and whatnot but honestly, those things do not interest me at all. I seriously couldn’t care less. I chose him because over the last couple of years we have developed a sincere friendship,and apart from being one of the most interesting and talented musicians around, his vocals are otherworldly. Famine made Fields Of Faceless a completely different song from what it was originally and I am truly honored to have him putting some of his magic into my work.”

Your time on Spinefarm was pretty shortlived. Why did you move on, and do you see it as a failed experiment or learning experience?

Shining has always been cursed. Sometimes to an almost ridiculous extent one could say. Spinefarm was a learning-experience, but so were Avantgarde, Osmose and Indie as well. I do not care much about living in the past though and neither do I have the authority to discuss contractual matters in the media so let’s leave it at that.”

Do you have any information on how Martin Strandberg’s documentary on you is progressing?

Don’t know really. I think Martin is working for SABATON at the moment but I also know he’s just as much a perfectionist as little old me. But be sure, it’s coming, it’s coming. But once again, neither I, nor the band are personally involved with the project so do contact Martin himself for further information.”

Check out Shining’s homepage here

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Norwegian folk act Wardruna, featuring Ex-Gorgoroth members Kvitrafn and Gaahl, is streaming the new track “Fehu.” The song was taken from the band’s latest LP “Runaljod – Yggdrasil,” which was issued in March via Indie Recordings. Check out “Fehu” here:

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Viking folk music constellation WARDRUNA — which features multi-instrumentalist Einar “Kvitrafn” Selvik, Kristian “Gaahl” Espedal (ex-GORGOROTH, GOD SEED), and vocalist Lindy Fay Hella — will release its second album, “Yggdrasil”, on March 15 in Norway, on March 25 in the rest of Europe and on April 2 in North America via Indie Recordings.

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Today Wardruna releases the second trailer from the upcoming album “Yggdrasil.” This trailer, available below, gives you a preview of tracks 5 – 7: “Ansur,” “IwaR,” and “IngwaR,” including comments by band members Kvitrafn and Gaahl. ”Yggdrasil” can also now be pre-ordered from Wardruna’s own webshop right here . The album will be available as regular jewel case CD, digibook CD with an exclusive 32 page booklet, and as a very limited digibook version including a necklace.

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Viking folk music constellation WARDRUNA — which features multi-instrumentalist Einar “Kvitrafn” Selvik, Kristian “Gaahl” Espedal (ex-GORGOROTH, GOD SEED), and vocalist Lindy Fay Hella — will release its second album, “Yggdrasil”, on March 15 in Norway, on March 25 in the rest of Europe and on April 2 in North America via Indie Recordings.

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Viking folk music constellation WARDRUNA — which features multi-instrumentalist Einar “Kvitrafn” Selvik, Kristian “Gaahl” Espedal (ex-GORGOROTH, GOD SEED), and vocalist Lindy Fay Hella — will release its second album, “Yggdrasil”, on March 15 in Norway, on March 25 in the rest of Europe and on April 2 in North America via Indie Recordings.

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Viking folk music constellation WARDRUNA — which features multi-instrumentalist Einar “Kvitrafn” Selvik, Kristian “Gaahl” Espedal (ex-GORGOROTH, GOD SEED), and vocalist Lindy Fay Hella — will release its second album, “Yggdrasil”, on March 15 in Norway, on March 25 in the rest of Europe and on April 2 in North America via Indie Recordings.

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Viking folk music constellation WARDRUNA — which features multi-instrumentalist Einar “Kvitrafn” Selvik, Kristian “Gaahl” Espedal (ex-GORGOROTH, GOD SEED), and vocalist Lindy Fay Hella — will release its second album, “Yggdrasil”, in North America on April 2.

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Wardruna: Simplistic mystics

Wardruna, Norway’s mystic trance-inducing dark folk troupe featuring are nearing completion of the long-awaited follow-up to 2008′s Gap Var Ginnunga. In the second of our two-part studio report (read Part 1 here), band founder Kvitrafn discusses the temperamental nature of ancient instruments, and his remarkable singers, Gaahl and Lindy Fay Hella.

Has recording Yggdrasil been a different process from recording the first album?

“No, I used the same approach, so basically it’s going to be a combination of indoor and outdoor recordings, playing on the elements. I could easily cheat and cut off a table leg to get the same sound as the birch trees, but I’m pretty sure that consciously or not, the listener will feel that energy. That is always my goal, that I capture the energy and atmosphere I’m aiming for.”

Have you had to unlearn a lot of stuff musically since you started Wardruna, switching from modern to ancient instruments? I guess they have a very different musical language to them, and maybe they play you to some extent. They have their own history.

“Definitely, and a lot of these instruments are alive. That is part of what is difficult with them as well, because they are quite… moody, so if there’s too much moisture in the air they sound like shit or impossible to tune, or sink a half-tone. I’ve done outdoor shows where the goat horn has suddenly dropped half a note because of the weather, and that is what makes it exciting as well, because these are alive in many ways. But yes, for me it was actually a relief to drop the other instruments, because basically these instruments have whatever it was I wanted to play on the guitar, they have it, and my guitar doesn’t.”

When you see Gaahl singing these songs, you can tell it’s really personal for him, and he’s delving deep into something of his own that feeds into what you’re doing. You have this strange dark and light between him and the other main vocalist, Lindy Fay Hella.

“Yeah, they balance each other very well. The media world portrays Gaahl as a Satanist, but we who know him know that he is pagan to the bone and he has always been pagan to the bone. So his approach on Wardruna, his use of the word Satan, that’s more opposite to the church than it is anything else. So this is really personal for him. I think he finds performing with Wardruna much more difficult than with something that is not so personal and direct and naked. I feel that as well. We talked about it recently and the group as well, that it can be really intense for us onstage because it is so fragile in many ways, and the music is not 4/4 beats with choruses and refrains. You have to feel the whole and everything is floating and it’s really challenging to perform. It’s been a lot of work, but the result was really good.”

Is Lindy trained?

“Lindy has some Sammi origins, a couple of generations back, so she’s not trained, it comes naturally.”

It almost doesn’t seem to come from her. You’ve got to find something within yourself to sing like that. How has this been for her being in Wardruna?

“I think it’s been fantastic for her, because she always wanted to do something like this. It’s strange how some things work out. I saw her many years ago, way back before I started dabbling with Wardruna, and I said, one day, I’m going to play with her. I could feel that ancient tone in her voice, and I remember the first time we recorded and I just said ‘Go’ and she did. It was goosebumps and hair standing on end. It was totally awesome.”

What was she doing back then?

“She does a lot of weird music, but basically she’s worked with some really famous composers and done quite big setups earlier, but for her own music it’s been more like weird, electronic stuff.”

You find these very individualistic singers, like her, Gaahl and Agnete Kj¿lsrud (from Djerv), and you get them to create something very collective at the same time. You have to lose your ego to be a part of this.

“Definitely. It took some time to find that balance as well. That’s something that we have discussed a lot as well. I of course have to be really clear on that and have the overview of it. But it all came quite naturally even though we’ve talked about it.”

All the different parts seem to be distilled to one common chord. The way the songs develop seems very natural too.

“That’s what I want with it. I don’t want individual focus, I even want the vocals to be down in the music. I want it to be one force, just driving towards the audience.”

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Wardruna, Norway’s mystic trance-inducing dark folk troupe featuring former Gorgoroth members Kvitrafn and Gaahl, are nearing completion of the long-awaited follow-up to 2008′s Gap Var Ginnunga. In the first of a two-part studio report, Subterranea invoked band founder Kvitrafn for a meditation on rune communion, Odin and shamanistic suffering for your art.

The new album is going to be the second part of a trilogy. Are you approaching it differently to Gap Var Ginnunga?

“It basically evolves around the same approach and the same tools, but the story I’m telling and the runes I’m portraying are totally different, so the album will be quite different too. And also I’m evolving into the tools I’m using. I used to be a drummer and a guitar player and suddenly started working with these old instruments, and I feel that that process also, I feel really like a beginner in it, and there’s so much more I want to learn and to do. So I think the next album is going to be quite different, but still no doubt about it, it is Wardruna but the story is also very different. The first album is about creation and sowing a seed, and the next one is Ygdrassil, that’s about making the seed grow, to strengthen it and nourish it. The third album, which is Ragnarok, is the transformation.”

So this is very much a cycle?

“Definitely. The whole trilogy is a cycle, but also the album in itself is a cycle. The use of a lot of these ancient, monotonous rhythms, the shamanistic approach, makes it more alive and it demands something from the listener, and it involves the listener. You get taken into the music. It’s a really interesting way of making music, but also because I want to get as close to the runes as possible. So basically it’s the runes who decide what words, what instruments, what setting I record in, even dates, or time of year – the seasons, the elements. So in many ways it’s the runes that are the composer, I am the instrument.”

So do you feel like a medium for something?

“In some ways you can say that. But of course in an intuitive way and a spiritual way, but also in a quite scientific way as well, because the problem with people working with runes today is that they start out reading some American books on it, which is utter crap. In most cases it’s obvious that the authors don’t even know the theories that they base their whole books on, so when working with runes you should always start with what we know, from a solid fundament, and then you can go into the whole intuitive approach to the runes, because they are very powerful symbols and alive in some sort of way. There are many levels to it. So these days I’ve even started doing rune courses with a Swedish runeologist, and it’s really exciting to spread knowledge about these things in that way as well. I don’t like the whole preaching thing. That’s why showing people through music is important, and we’re hopefully waking some interest in it.”

If it’s a journey of discovery for you, that open-endedness is going to come across as well. You get to translate that sense of wonder that you feel.

“Definitely. For me the most important thing is to grow, to evolve, to seek knowledge, and that’s what Odin is about. That is the core of Odin. He is the one who is willing to do whatever it takes to grow. He is the seeker of knowledge, and he is willing to pay the price. If you want to go into these things you have to be willing to pay the price also. Not many people are, and the price can be many things of course, but a lot of time and effort is a good start.”

What has that price been for you personally, apart from the time and effort?

“Heh, well, how do I say this without being too personal? For me, I have also a shamanistic approach to this, and when I go really into the process being that medium that we talked about, being at one with what I’m trying to express through my music, it is very overwhelming, and it can be really tough. I’ve been sick, it’s really demanding. I think a lot of artists, if you are painting or if you are writing, the whole creative pain and suffering within creating is an important part. I think many people who are into these things in many different aspects of art or creating can relate to this. But it’s been really fruitful. I feel that we talking about the deepest pools of wisdom and knowledge here.”

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