|Formed in 94 by Dolk and Thomas, Kampfar quickly became a cult band, thanx to its great discography that pleased all fans of great pagan/viking-metal. After 7 years of absence which looked like an eternity, the norvegian band recently offered us the excellent 'Kvass', an album in the straight way fans were awaiting. In last may, temptation was too big for me to send some questions to these vikings. But it took 6 months for us to answer. Finally Dolk and Jon sent it me back in October 2006, heres the result.|>Hi ! For lovers of pagan black-metal, Kampfar's return is a really tremendous event. Explain us why & when you decided to come back ?
D: Thanx a million ! Its really great to hear ! This is a question every magazine wants to know it seems. But unfortunately I have the same answer here as always. After our second album both me and Thomas had a very rough time and a lot of personal issues had to be solved before we could get back together and creating music again. This was for sure a hard time and we just had to put Kampfar on ice for a while. But when that is said I have also to explain that me and Thomas was never enemies or anything we have always been friends and we also knew that when the time was right, Kampfar would rise stronger than ever again. We just had personal problems in life on each side, and this had to be solved before something could happen again with Kampfar. This whole process took us almost 3 years. To get this whole new band working as a whole unit and in a professional way took us two years more. So all in all it took us almost 5 years before something serious could start happening again with Kampfar. So here we are now. Back and better prepared than ever. And this is the most important thing for me now ! >You refuse to be categorized as a viking-metal band. What are the differences between viking & pagan-metal ?
J: People seam to call us what they want, but we don't call ourselves viking metal, just because our lyrics are not only about that theme, and the music isn't only what you can describe as viking metal. Kampfar's music is about old norse folklores and nordic nature, including some viking themes, but thats only a very small part of it !
D: The essence of Kampfar have always been pagan/heathendom, superstition in mankind, life in general and not at least nature it self. I had a very clear vision about the outfit and how Kampfar both should sound like and be like from the very beginning. I named Kampfars music back in 94 for norse pagan folklore metal and to me, no one has never been coming up with any better explanation or labelling of our music since either ! Kampfar is norse, pagan, folklore still and could never have been something satanic ! I think its just as simple as thats not me and have never been ! Kampfar have never been a political and anti-human band either. So in that manner I guess you can for sure say that we can not be connected to the anti-human evil side of black-metal. But I do of course still have roots in this ! I mean I have been into this since 91, so? But I guess in the end you can say that I really concentrate and put all of my energy into Kampfar and what we are doing, rather than on what others do. What others do here is really not so much of my interest any more to be honest !
>What is the actual line-up in Kampfar ? Why don't you continue to play music on a duo basis like for 'Fra Underverdenen' ? The fact to be a real band is important for you ?
J: The main thing about being a full line-up would be the live playing ! It's very important to play live, if you're gonna get somewhere. I also think it is more structured, as we're being forced to rehearse at a regular basis
D: When we got back together again we had really two options. One was to continue in the same way as before. Releasing albums and creating songs, or get a whole band at place for further evolvement and for live shows. Luckily we chose the last option. The line-up is now : Dolk vocals. Jon bass guitar. Thomas guitars. 1113 drums.
>Kampfar was born after Mock splitted up in the early days of norwegian black-metal. Why did you decide to change the band name while continuing to play a mix between black & pagan ?
D: Ever since the start of my old band Mock back in 91, i had always an idea for a more closely and honest project of mine. Namely Kampfar, but due to too much work with Mock it did not occur before the end of Mock back in 94. Mock and Kampfar is really two different things, even if some of the ground ideas are of course at present both in Mock and Kampfar.>Where/when did you record this brand new album entitled 'Kvass' ?
J: 'Kvass' was recorded at Silvertone studios, with Rune Jørgensen by our side ! It's located in an old part of our town, and the atmosphere is great ! As it was near by our home, we could use afternoons and weekends to work, and that was a must for us.
D: The album was produced by Rune Jørgensen together with ourselves, and we went for this spontaneous feeling. We played with energy and emotions, and there were some heavy moments in the studio where it all became pretty intense. When we went in, we ignored anything that is happening in the music scene, and focused solely on our own sound, and I think we managed to get that.
So nothing was a piece of cake here really it was an intense 3 months period of hard work really, hehe
So I must say that nothing here on this album is done without a purpose ! That goes for the sound and production also.
>Musicaly, 'Kvass' is very close to 'Fra Underverdenen'. Personally, do you see some strong differences ?
J: I know what you mean, but personally i think it's different in many ways. 'Kvass' doesn't have the illustrious folk elements as 'Fra Underverdenen', and it's more fluent in the melodies. I also think Dolk improved his voice, singing clearer and colder than ever before.
D: If you compare 'Kvass' to our previous album, you could say that this album is more one whole unit with different topics than it was with Fra Underverden for instance. Cause with that album you could almost say that it was a thick red line going trough it all, both considering music and lyrics. This was more an album that told a story from one specific time and period here in the north, and it also was a kind of mirror to this in the music and lyrics. This time its different. And in one way you can almost say that we are back too our roots now. But each song is now dealing with its own topics. And each song is standing more alone than before I think. Kvass tells in short sentences about the true soul of Kampfar. Namely nature, heathendom and superstition in mankind. 'Kvass' is also the sharpest album so far in my opinion both when you considering the production of the whole album and with lyrics and music. We have never used so much energy in making an album like 'Kvass' before in Kampfars history. Kampfar is still Kampfar and I can not really say that there is so much of differences here in mind and soul of Kampfars music now than before!
>Please, tell us what do your texts deal with ? It's evident mother Nature must take a big place. But what exactly are they about ?
D: Well to tell about my lyrics here in short sentences is quite hard to be honest. But as mentioned before have Kampfar always been a band that deals with nature, heathendom, superstition in mankind, pagan history and so on. And this is also the case this time of course. But when it comes to the lyrics, I must say that first of all, I am norwegian and therefore I do of course also express myself best in my own language. And yes
There have always been an idea about this, cause a lot of the topics my lyrics are dealing about is northern topics, northern nature, mythology and superstitions thats lies in the norwegian nature and in the northern nature and heathendom. These very important issues in Kampfars music and aura and therefore also best expressed in norwegian I think. But we have done 2 different songs in english also : Norse and Ravenheart. This is done more in way to try to explain to the non-speaking norwegian listeners out there what our lyrics and music is really about. These songs could of course also have been done in norwegian, but we decided to do this in english for our foreigner listeners. Uhh where shall I start when it comes to the translation of the deeper meaning of the lyrics? I can at least try to tell about the first song on the album Lyktemenn. This deals with a topic/issue that I have wanted to write and sing about for many years now, but the time and song material was just not right before now. This is a topic that have been in nordic history since ancient times and its also about the supernatural and superstition that lies deep within men and nature.
Hmm, well I dont know the foreign word for this, but I can at least tell the Hollywood kind of version about it. Cause Tolkien kinda stole this issue from nordic history and placed it into 'Lord of the Rings' ! You can even see this in the movie. This is a phenomena that still can occur in nature and I have my self some experiences from this. It is some kind of blue flames that can occur in certain parts of nature. This have been a very hidden kind of history until the new age of men really and the christians tried their very best to forget about this phenomena. Cause in ancient times the nordic ancestors believed that this was the spirit of their forefathers and so on. Translated this will be something like fire men lamp men torch men or something like that. So I guess this tells a bit about it right ? This is no fucking fairytale, this is heathendom in its raw form. 'Ravenheart' is the english song on 'Kvass' and its really the whole essence in both Kampfar and this whole heathendom and pagan black-metal movement so to speak. But dont misunderstand, this is not about any laws and organisation ! Fuck that ! This more about freedom and free thinking under one banner heading in the same direction ! But no fucking organisation or group. More in a free thinking heathen thinking heading for a goal and in a true way towards your self... Follow the ravenheart !
color="#CCCCCC">>Explain us how do you compose inside the band ? Are you really a democratic band or just some guest musicians behind Dolk ?
J: Most of the melodies are made by Thomas. When he have something going, we all jam the song finished. It's a good way of making music i think ! The lyrics are all by Dolk, and is usually the last thing in place.
D: When it comes to the creation of our music i must of course mention that Thomas is a main person here cause he is really a person which never stops to pull out all these great ideas and riffs all the time. So without him i guess Kampfar would have been a bit different thing. But yes this time we are a complete full band. And this time we have worked together all the time, and everyone have contributed and we have as mentioned composed these songs together at the rehearsal place. Im very happy and pleased about how Kampfar works now. Kampfar is for sure one whole unit now and finally we are a band with full time members all of us !
>Traditional instruments are discreetly used on 'Kvass'. When do you decide to add some folkloric elements to your black-metal ? Does it depend on an atmosphere, a lyrical detail ?
J: We were talking about using some old norse intruments on 'Kvass' as well, but we didn't find a natural place to put it ! It's only the traditional instruments used in a cold way, and it's working well on the album.>'Mellom Skogkledde Aaser' and 'Fra Underverden' are also re-released. Is it a strong demand of your fans or just a commercial strategy from your label ? Are there some bonus tracks ?
J: The label was happy about the re-releases, and it was us wanting them out on the marked again ! They've been sold out for a long time, and the most important thing is that people where asking for it.
D: Yes, the whole back-catalogue (except the first mcd) of Kampfar is now being re-released. Why? Well its very simple indeed. Our two last albums and the mini cd Norse have been sold out for almost 5 years now and impossible to get hold of. So its a very logic reason to release them again, I must say. I have got around 10 emails each week for the last 3 years or so from people just asking about these releases. So I guess its about time to get this out and available for the public again.
>'Kvass' cover-artwork is really close to 'Mellom Skogkledde Aaser' with its splendid nordic landscape. Is it a picture you specially took for the album ?
J: We really worked hard finding a suitable cover-art. We found this professional photographer, and asked him for the right to use the coldest of them. I think it turned out very well !>You just finished a european tour in april. Was it a good experience to meet old fans & new ones ? You played several shows with Nydvind being guest. Do you appreciate this french band ?
J: We really enjoy touring a lot ! All the gigs are special, and the fans are different in all countries. Some of them travel hundreds of km to visit the shows, and that makes it great ! Nydvind are good friends of ours, and we get along fine indeed. The time in Paris was great, as we had the day off after. It's a marvellous city, and we'll come back as soon as we can !
D: Yes, we have just finished our european tour this spring. And it has been a very nice one I must say. A lot of great places, a lot of great shows and not at least a lot of great people to meet. So this have for sure been a very positive return. Its definitely not the last tour we are doing in Europe thats for sure ! The reviews and interest in Kampfar have also been overwhelming I must say. So right now, everything is great and Im very satisfied with the situation. We are also planning a lot of festivals and maybe a small tour next year too, but its just too soon to mention anything more about it at this stage. But I can tell you for sure that there will be more live shows from Kampfar in the future. Thats 100% sure !
>Do you live in town or in the country-side ?
J: We all live in smaller cities. Some of us in the centre, and some outside. I live by a river, and just a short walk from the deep forest. It's a great place for me to relax !>Last words are yours, thanx for your time !
J: Thanx you for the interest, and greeting to all the frenchmen visiting our show in Paris ! Hopefully we will see you and lots of new people next time ! Cheers !
D: Thanx a million for thy support and interest in Kampfar, its really appreciated ! Keep the banner high ! Its fucking great to be back after almost 7 years in the shadows. And I can guarantee you that it wouldnt take another 7 years before you hear from us again ! Cause we are back on track now and this time I will not let it go so easily !