Naglfar once said five years were way too long in between records, do they think eight years was too long?
Hey, my name is Jane, I am from the online rock and metal webzine Ravenrocksite.dk, can I ask you a few questions? After a bit of talk about the differences in Swedish and Danish Covid-19 restrictions, I was Lucky that Kristoffer Olivius was willing to answer my questions!
Could you introduce yourself?
My name is Kris, I am the founder and vocalist of the Swedish extreme hard rock band Naglfar, and it is extremely hard to say anything specially interesting. Except that we are now promoting our new album that is the first album to have been released by Naglfar for eight years. So that is basically all I can say about myself.
How did you meet and form Naglfar?
We were in school together because we were very young when Naglfar was founded, we were 15 – 16 years old and so it was the band we had and trained and rehearsed with on evenings.
You guys started up in 1992, as I was about to plan this interview, and had to tell a coworker about the planned meeting, she asked about you and fast claimed: from 1992, it is an old band! Made me feel incredibly old because I did not really think that! But going back as a second-generation black metal band, that would make you one of the oldest ones out there. How do you keep sticking together and keep the spirit up?
The most important recipe for us was that we decided, almost 15 – 17 years ago, that we were going to stop having our band as a full-time job. We used to be a band that toured a very lot, we toured North America and the European continent and Asia and stuff like that.
We lived off the band for maybe two years, where we had a god income from the band. It was not something that I felt that I liked and I wasn’t happy about it. Because I felt that I was always away from home, and I like my life, and I am happy with the things that I’m interested in besides music also, which is mainly being in the woods and hunting.
But I feel that this is also the reason we were not going to have Naglfar as a means for income but everybody who was staying in the band is going to have a normal job and be able to sustain themselves from that job. That does not mean that we are a cheap band, we are not selling ourself as a cheap band, we are a very scaled and popular band. We just do not want to be having the bands to pay bills and that, we wanted it to be an interest.
Doing so I feel that we have kept, in a way, the original reason for us of course, a brotherhood of old friends where we have this possibility to have the band as a forum together. I mean, we have known each other for all our life, and we live quite different and separate lives outside the band and next to this we do not really hang out at all.
It is an honor and a blessing and it is something that I treat with very much respect because I think that I feel that everybody else in the band is very happy about this way at looking at it. That this is not going to be something we have for paying the bills. But something we are going to have for making fun stuff and being able to go places where we have not been before and that is one of the main goals for our bands, to be playing places that we haven’t played before. Not to be a band that just do it because we can but a band that does it because we want to do it, it is a calling, I think.
I have seen in many interviews, where you have been asked, what you think about being compared to Dissection and that you find it tiresome…
I can of course see the melodic part of it, but you must also understand that we were bands that came out at the same time. Everybody knew each other and there were certain elements that was very much the same. You know with many bands but for me it is a little bit tiring to always speak about Dissection cause it was a different band, and it was a band that people could have many opinions about, that is now laid to rest, you know.
4.a. I rather wanted to ask, what are your inspirations and have your inspirations changed from 1992 to now?
No, I don’t think that they have changed, cause our inspirations have always been other things than bands, it is not that we don’t listen to other extreme metal bands and stuff like that.
Especially literature is something that have been very very important for Andreas and me, when it comes to writing lyrics and getting inspirations from, but literature is also something I feel can inspire the making of music also, so that is the other side of it.
Andreas is very much into looking at horror movies and cinema in general, and that was something I was really not into myself, but I on the other hand find tranquility and solitude in being an outdoor man, very much and something I like, I like hunting and animals and I like to be free more than to be confined and work indoors as well.
In the year 2005, Jens Rydén quit, do you feel that has had a significant change to Naglfar did that change anything in the way you make music?
Nahh not really, well a little bit at first because it was one of the guys, we wrote the music and a lot of it together and we did not replace him with a new songwriter. On the other hand, the vision is the same with Naglfar, I feel that the music has evolved in the same vain. We try never to do the same album twice, so we feel that we have this Naglfar sound and that we try to explore different kind of themes when it comes to music and such.
I read in an interview, that five years is way too long between releasing records, now eight years have gone by. Has it been way too long, or has the time been just fitting?
*laughing* We have been occupied, so I would not say that it is, of course it is embarrassing to wait such a long time. On the other hand, we never really felt that we had any reason to record a new album the first year. Also it came together with me having my first child, so because of that I felt that I wanted to step back a little when it came to it all, and just try to make sense out of everything, with having a kid and all that.
But it is also when you wait a long time, then you suddenly feel that you have the urge to make music again, then it becomes even more pressuring so we have been working with this new album for over 2 years. And the music for this album was finished already last summer, we decided to let it marinate for almost a whole year before.
That also left us with more room to write more poetry and good lyrics and stuff like that to this new album, and I think, that is very, very important. It is something I feel that is our trademark that there is quality writing in our constant music.
In the years between, have you had other projects other than Naglfar?
Personally, I have been playing with a band called Bloodline, which is an industrial black metal, and then in Bewitched, we have not really been playing live with Bewitched.
But not really – No, we have still during all these eight years been doing almost a gig every month I figure, I have counted it have been between eight or twelve shows every year that we have been doing. Then it has been one of those here and there things, festivals, playing indoors festivals, playing many different places, and in Asia and going to do one or two shows in the states here and there. Things like that, so we have always been around you know.
Always had good opportunity to meet each other and discuss everything but it was more a matter of: Why would we be doing new music now? I felt that when we found the inspiration and everything, it sorted itself out in a better way, than if we would have tried to force it – because that was of course never an option with this album.
When you prepare an album, do you somehow set time off to it, and have deadlines? Or do you write stuff, and let it take the times it needs?
Yeah, I feel you must do that or else nothing happens. I mean everyone does it in different ways, but personally I feel that you must put agrees of in blocks where you do different things. And then you count down.
What are your plans for Naglfar during the Covid-19 period, do you have anything planned?
Nah – Not accept doing four or five interviews a day – I think that is quite enough. And I mean we still meet up, me, Andreas and Marcus always, because we are best friends in a way, so like yesterday.
Even though it is a quarantine and everything we went to the rehearsal room and we recorded a cover for the Japanese edition – a bonus track. Things like that we do, but most of the time we try to distance ourself like everybody else, and – yeah see what happens, I think the earth is going to keep spinning. The earth will go on, it is just the way it is, you know.
You have played as Naglfar in 28 years now, do you still have something new to add to the extreme metal scene?
I do not know if we have something new in that way. But I still think we have more good songs that we have not released yet. That we still have not put together, so that is something that I still feel that we have some more albums in us. That is interesting, and it is a good feeling also.
Is there a track of yours you like to play more than others to live gigs?
It depends a little bit. No, I feel that most of all the tracks are, there is a reason why we are playing them, and we have quite a broad catalog to choose from. So, we almost never are playing songs that someone totally hate – if that is the case, we retire them.
No it is hard for me to say, cause these things they also differ from the kind of mood you are in, when you deliver certain kind of lyrics, sometimes it feels very draining and otherwise it feels empowering you know, so yeah.
Of the numbers on your upcoming album, which track has been the most interesting to work with?
I do not know. For me maybe, and this is by no means me stating this is my favorite song – because it is not! It was on the other hand a very interesting song to do. We did a song that was more death metal oriented, much, much more than we have ever done before, working with a song like that that was very much American death metal oriented like Morbid Angel. The song we called “Cry of the Serafim”. I felt that was very interesting to work with, because I myself was never really into death metal music like that, just always felt that it was very boring.
That it was non-soulful music, this is one of the reasons that I have been doing these things that I have been doing for all those years, because I like music to be more soulful, that I find most death metal to be. That is of course my personal opinion, it is interesting to try and do something in a different style and try to get it. Build it up and to blow some life into it, and I feel that the “Cry of the Serafim” is a very evil and occult death metal song by Naglfar and it was an interesting song.
Is there an overall theme on Cerecloth or is it nine individual tracks?
Nah not really, cause the songs are almost always written out of the perspective of that person and on this album the main songwriter or the main lyricist on this album has been Andreas.
I feel that both me and Andreas are very similar when it comes to the theme that we hold to, when we write and it is almost always about feelings and trying to explain different kind of emotions like hate, rage, sorrows, fears, anger stuff like that, so I would say that is more something that always goes into everything that we creates but otherwise I feel that the songs stands for themselves.
Like you also said earlier, Naglfar is not that much of a touring band, still Naglfar has an economy that runs on its own, what do you do to make Naglfar’s economy run around, do you have some gigs planned?
Yes, we have had quite a lot of gigs planned for this year, but as I see it, everything is cancelled, I think. So, we have to take it for another year, and when this will be, and how it is going to happen, well see about that, it is very hard for me to say.
How many years do you think it will take before a new Naglfar album is released?
It is very hard to say, it could be someone gets nagual of this covid-19 stuff and starts to create something, but most likely I would say it is going to take 3 – 4 years.
15.a. But not eight?
You never know, maybe this will be our last album also.
I have heard that the show you played in Denmark in 2018 was quite small and that maybe even because of it, it was a really nice evening. Do you have any shows in sight in Denmark in 2020 or 2021?
No nothing. We do not have really know that many people in Denmark, also, that is probably also one of the reasons you have not been able to see us that much over the years. It is not that far away, but it still all comes down to having the right connections and stuff like that.
I mean yeah, we have played Denmark, but it has always been on very weird dates like Thursday on Christiania, when not that many people go out.
Naglfar had one hell of a startup, do you have any advice to people starting up a new band?
Well, I think you really must ask yourself if this is something you want to put a hell of a lot of interest and effort into. If you are willing to sacrificing everything that your friends can do when it comes to their possibilities and plans, they can have when working regular jobs and stuff like that.
If you are down to living to a margin, and not being a wealthy person. Then just go ahead, go to the rehearsal room, start practicing, that is all I can say about that. But I would never recommend anyone to do art, I feel art is something that decourses you either it is something you do a little bit reluctantly, or something you do for fame and recognition, but that is not something I am about.
If you were to be asked to play Copenhell, would you do it?
We would like to play there, but first we will see what happens with everything and how the environment is regarding gigs and concerts, how it is going to look you know, the demands when everything is opening up again. Cause of things like promoting basically, they lose a lot of money from not being able to be in business, I used to do this myself and I feel very bad for those that can’t arrange shows. And therefore, are not going to be able to continue after this crisis. We will see what happens.
Is there a question you would have liked to have been asked, that you would maybe like to answer here?
*laughing* No not really, I think that it was a nice interview.
I really want to say thank you to Naglfar, and the team behind them for setting up this interview and a huge thanx to Kris for answering all my questions. I do hope that this will not be the last album from Naglfar, cause as you said, you still feel Naglfar have songs in them left to give, then we will just have to see how long there will be in between, hopefully enough time to catch you on the road.
Assignments: Reviews of Releases and Concerts and Interviews. Nerd on all levels (finding releases, bands and labels) - Giving the editor gray hairs... Active: 13-12-2019 - 27-08-2022 Favorite genres: Blackened Death Metal - but listens to all kinds of metal and rock!
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