Interview: BORNHOLM
Title: Lucky in misfortune

These self-trusting Hungarians have already been around for more than two decades - yet the flame of pagan Black Metal passions still blazes in Bornholm.

Their new and fifth album „Apotheosis“ skilfully continues the philosophical-melodic line of the Budapest trio.

Stable band founder and songwriter Sahsnot, vocalist and guitarist, is happy to take the time to talk about the new release and his band.

The new and fifth album „Apotheosis“ - how does it feel for you, especially within these damn pandemic?

„It may come as a surprise what I say, but it didn’t stop us from working at all. We weren’t really worn out by the Pandemic at all. We started working on the recordings in 2019, then there was a break for a year before we started mixing. That’s when the pandemic came, which hit us in the studio. At first, we were unsure if we could continue the work, but we decided to finish anyway. In fact, this thing was even helpful to us because we were able to work in complete peace of mind and nothing distracted us from the work. We even joked with him that the whole world had stopped, so we could work in peace. The record was born at a time when the world has undergone a huge change that continues to this day. But precisely because it didn’t come to us at a time when we were touring or just after an album was released, it practically only helped us complete the creative process. Everything happened exactly when it was at its most optimal, even if it went against our original intentions. In fact, we experienced an ascension during this time until the world was on the brink of collapse. It was very strange to experience this while everything collapses, our things come true step by step. We are lucky in this respect, we feel that something has taken care of everything to go well, we have experienced a kind of care. When we started working on the record, it was before the Pandemia, but we ended up in a completely different world. But in the same way, the band itself and the band members have undergone significant changes. The title of the album, what to say, and this whole background thing together was a very special experience.“

I hear highly listenable (Pagan) Black Metal material - what is still your very special formula to create this as extreme as individual and pretty catchy art?

„This is difficult to articulate because although I write music, it is never a conscious process. I’ve always written music from the heart, it’s mostly the music of the soul, not conscious or intentional. Somehow, this is music that comes from me. I have a basic idea, a basic mood, which we then work out later, but I always listen to my intuitions. For us, writing music is a personal process, we do not put the songs together in the rehearsal room, but these ideas are born alone at home. Sometimes I also hear the music in its entirety, and much of the work goes into trying to break it down into instruments. I usually record a demo, some riffs, which I then send to D to work out the drums for it. In such cases, the music is still malleable, and by the time we get to record it, it will be a completely different song. Each song is a separate world, a separate story, and not the songs are written on a template. It’s also not uncommon for me to come up with an old idea, from which then a whole new song is born. In fact, it may seem unique because, in my opinion, music that is written from the soul is like a fingerprint. No two people are the same, everyone has a different inner world. This results in unique music, and not everything is invented or weighed on the scales. I try to be open, to express the music world I believe in without any influence. In fact, there is no set formula for this, because inspiration is what brings out music and feelings are what shape it. I experience all of this as an artistic expression, not entertainment. For me, this has a very deep significance, which is why I spend a lot more time and energy on it than I just want to write a piece of music.“

Who of you guys composed the lion's share of the new song material?

„Some songs were born as early as 2015, before the release of the previous album. The songs were formed for a long time, several Demo versions were made, we tried to find our way. After a while, however, I felt like it wouldn’t go the traditional way. That’s why I let everything out completely, I let the music and creativity flow. I relied solely on my feelings and wanted to find what we really are. I wanted to create a kind of essential album that is entirely us. In the end, I felt like I might have succeeded. Our bravery reached for music, I used more courageously to use things that weren't very much on records so far. On the other hand, it was very important not to break away from our style, to retain all the hardness and stay the kind of Black Metal we play. I’ve never liked it when a band completely turns its back on what it represented before. This can never happen to us. Rather, we wanted to create a crystallized, purified, mature material. To that end, we put a lot more work into this disc than any of its predecessors. We went to the studio with almost completely finished songs because the music is written by D and I send a conversation between me. We usually listen to the songs for a long time, but there is always a guideline to follow. Furthermore, we have the musical ideas that fit into this band and the music. We try not to go over these, but we want what is possible within this to the maximum. We always work separately, we only agree on different musical things in the final touches. So for the most part, this music is a kind of artistic expression for me, a personal thing. Each song is tied to a separate life stage, each song was born at a different time, and each has its own story. At the end of the work, when the Demo versions have been put together, we will review them again. Now we were with him so that until we felt perfect, we could change anything about them. So this was the first record where the songs were formed even during the recording. We worked on the songs for almost two years, there were a lot more born than there were on the record, but that’s how we felt is a whole.“

How did your collaboration for the new work go?

„For this record, two of us worked in the studio with D, and almost no one or two guests were present in the studio. Since we have been a used couple for a long time, working together was not really a problem. It was very hard, long, but it went more or less smoothly and we really enjoyed it.“

Is it allowed to ask you about any special musical influences which led to the new material?

„In fact, we have no particular musical influence beyond what we grew up with. Since I am the main songwriter, practically this music can be linked to me from the beginning. So it reflects the effects that have come to me over the years, but no specific band or music has had an impact on this record. Our music has a kind of melodic world that can be connected to us, it is definitely present on this record as well. It obviously draws from various musical influences, but we didn’t want to copy any of the bands, no matter how much we respect them. What’s really exciting about music is when you create your own world.“

Were any Ups and Downs during the songwriting?

„The part of the studio work when we recorded the instruments was very hard, as I played almost all the instruments. It was very stressful, so much so that when the vocal recordings had followed, my voice was almost completely gone from exhaustion. Before the drum shots, D noticed signs of chickenpox in private, so that’s why we had to postpone some shots. Fortunately, we were able to replace these at a later date. The whole studio recording was a big change, both humanly and musically, everything changed and even the end of the world and around us. We went through very tough private things, but the work never stopped for even 1 minute, and we felt like something was taking care to keep things going despite all the difficulties. We lacked nothing, although we had to fight hard for everything. When we mixed the record in the spring of 2020, the Pandemic hit us, which hit us in the studio. We thought about stopping the work, but in the end we decided to finish. The studio itself was far from the populated area, so from the start we felt like we were on another planet. However, with the onset of the epidemic, this intensified, as we didn’t see too many people in the city when we went out, perhaps some masked figures in the store. There was a kind of apocalyptic feeling to the thing, and it was quite surreal that sometimes my only company outside the sound engineer was a bunch of cats living in the studio yard. In addition to the studio work, everyone went through a number of crisis situations, and in the end we were able to pick up the finished material under completely changed conditions. It was a very special experience and I still think about it to this day.“

Black Metal … endless popular … legions and legions of bands worldwide - in which position between all the more or less similar acts do you see your own bunch?

„The weird thing is that I mostly listen to old classical Black Metal bands. When we started the band, I actually focused much more on our own music than on other bands. Obviously there are plenty of bands in the world, but I don’t follow today’s scene at all. Sometimes I have a record that catches me, but I don’t keep searching for new music or bands. It’s too preoccupying with my own music and being immersed in this particular world. As a result, it’s pretty hard to tell where we’re located, perhaps fans can tell more about that. I don’t constantly pay attention to the scene, as neither the fashion waves nor other bands influence me. As a style of music, I like to listen, but I also listen to a lot of music. We’re with him to do our own Metal, whatever they say. It’s hard to say a band that I think is similar to our own. Whichever one I mention, I would not feel that none of these similarities are well-founded.“

Nearly everything has changed since Bornholm's foundation in 2000, the world, the music business, the societies - how much have you changed, how much have your views on true art changed now?

„Perhaps the biggest change in the world while writing a record. When we started, it was a completely different world than the one we live in. And it is somewhat predictable what will happen next. The one thing is for sure is that change is not over and will not be for a long time. When we started the band, we were still teenagers, so it’s natural that everyone has changed a lot. From the early line-up, no one but me is a member of the band, so from this point of view it can be said that the band has also changed completely. But this change has been to my advantage, in my opinion. Everyone is much more mature, more thoughtful today. Music is also more elaborate and the most important thing in our lives. My attitude to real art, however, has essentially not changed. For me, it is the real art that comes from the soul. It is an elusive thing, a gift that in ancient times had a separate goddess. It counts as something that, in my opinion, is not entirely from man. What makes this plus is, in my opinion, art. It is not affected by any ulterior motives, honest, uncompromising self-expression. In addition, it has a performance that goes beyond what an average person can do. If all of these things are present, then in my opinion we are talking about art. It is completely independent of eras, worldviews, or any current external judgment. Nothing will be art if someone thinks so. Art will be art by itself, and by the superhuman surplus it contains. This presupposes a worldview that is completely different from today, eternal, and permanent.“

Which styles of music do you like to hear nowadays then beside Metal?

„Metal itself, and Rock music, is so broad-spectrum that the music I listen to largely belongs here. Regardless, I’m close to different martial ambient music, soundtracks, or even other styles depending on my current mood. Nor is it a musical style, but rather certain emotional worlds that catch on even in completely different styles of music. If you’re emotionally adding something to your tune world or inspiring, it’s a useful thing. I don’t intentionally say performers because really listening to music no longer stems from my passion for performers. A music is good for me because of itself.“

Anything you would like to add ?

„I think it’s important for people to delve into what really interests them and not listen to what they keep repeating to them. Question everything, doubt everything, because in fact this is the one way up. Do not accept as true what they find for them, experience yourself, and by no means believe in anything without certainty. Music is actually magick, as it has an effect on the personality, thereby affecting the person and his actions, and thus the events of the world.“

© Markus Eck, 18.10.2021

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