Interview: KAMPFAR
Title: Genuine purism

Fierce, how the Norwegian Viking Metal men's union around frontman and vocalist Dolk exhausting themselves on the new and sixth album „Djevelmakt“!

2014 marks also the 20th anniversary of the absolutely strong standing Scandinavian pagan horde from Fredrikstad.

And Kampfar are also currently fully aware of what they owe so to their name, which is important for the whole genre. Finally, „Kampfar“ stands for an old Norwegian battle cry in honor of the mythological god Odin.

Thus, the flaming sharp fervor of the participants burns into the eardrum by means of the compellingly intense work.

Even during the slightly more laid-back, atmospheric passages, one imagines being in the middle of a devastatingly thundering hammer-dance, massive Pagan Black Metal beats again included.

What started 1994 with the self titled EP in spartanic duo formation, now ends in eight brilliantly celebrated tracks of pure Nordic rage.

Dolk, first my best congrats as a long-year follower to the newest work „Djevelmakt“!

Where and which way the finalization of the album has been celebrated?

„Thanx a lot! Well, yea, it has been a long way to go. After a year with one single live appearance We do now eager to launch the new songs to the public and go out there in the battlefield again. To be honest, we have not got the time to celebrate this release yet. Cause it has been so much work here in the Kampfar camp this last year. So I guess the award, celebration or whatever have to be come in 2014.“

It's Kampfar's sixth studio album - seems that you guys take all needed time for your music, isn't?

„Well its like I already mentioned, we need the time to create something we all can stand 100 % behind in the end and then it has to take the time it needs to be done. This is very personal indeed so thats why we also decided to do one exclusively show only last year too, during all our work with the new album. We did Hellfest only... and we do not regret that. It made us focused on the new album!“

2014 marks 20 years existence for Kampfar. How do you feel inside about this - unusual - long lasting and consistence of the horde?

„Yea, time flies, its scary some times cause it still feels like yesterday some times when creating the first Kampfar tunes up in my cabin back in 1994. Whats really amazing though is that I still have many of my "brothers" and friends around still today. When travelling with Kampfar I still meet some old friends in every town around it seems. Doesn’t matter if we are in Europe, America or whatever. Its amazing! Hehe... yeah "The Horde" is in fact a name that has followed us almost since 1997 or something I guess. It was a name putted upon some of the very first "fan bastions" (if I can say that) that popped up in Europe after our debut release album in ’97. It was an intense time in Kampfar’s history and a huge interest in Kampfar followed back then after that album. Anyway … “The Horde" name is still very valid though cause people attend to appreciate that and we appreciate that too, cause in the end we are all here for a fucking reason. Its not about glam,fame and fortune. Its about a way of life and attitude in general in life and I am fucking proud of being a part of that!“

The newest band portraits show a grim and determined looking bunch of roundabout consolidated guys for their ‚own‘ thing.

What do you think about the (manipulated) world outside the band's ‚cosmos'?

„Thanx. The new photos have been shot just 10 minutes away from my house here in Norway. Another "funny" fact about these photos is that its in fact the same place as the now famous gatefold picture/photo in Bathory`s "Hammerheart" record. And I live here... and if its good enough for Bathory then it should for sure be good enough for us "natives" too, haha... Hmm, but then what I think about the "manipulated world", do you really wanna know? I am sick of everything some times, and sometimes it all strikes me so hard that I want end what I am doing. But in the end its more a feeling I guess. Cause the force behind being a creative soul will be there no matter what in the end I assume. So it really doesn’t matter. In the end I focus on what we do and by time and age I have become better and better in just doing that really. I do not wish to turn mad, I have a family to take care of and I am my own master, Thats it... fuck the rest!“

Many discuss still about a ‚downfall‘ of the so called ‚giant Pagan/Heathen/Folk Metal etc. boom‘, which arose from around 2005/2006 on. How Kampfar experience(d) these?

„…wow where to begin? I do not have to much nice words to say about all the “Hey Ho Metal” pagan bands out there if that’s what you mean. But I do not have any war against them either, its maybe more a fear or even irritation about being compared with these bands all the time. So this "downfall" or whatever have never been of my concern to be honest. Cause Kampfar has nothing in common with those bands. We belong to the black roots of Metal period! Just because of that I feel its less likely that we will bring in some heavenly golden traditional instrument in our music, too. But its of course impossible for me to say what we do in years to come. But I see it less lightly to become a reality that we will do that to be honest. But, yes indeed we have folk, pagan roots in our music, but its more hidden in the Metal itself. More than just adding something folklorish that even my mother enjoys, if you know what I mean? So back to the question... you are probably correct about this "downfall" ... but do I care? Not at all!“

What still counts most for you in making music with Kampfar?

„Its family, its a personal force that I have to do. Without this I will slowly fade away I am sure! So what counts most? Well, I can not answer that. This is my life and have been so ever since the late eighties, pure and simple.“

How much time took the complete songwriting for the new album and who were the main composers of the stuff?

„One year more or less. It has been a massive amount of work and flights back and fort to Bergen and travels to Sweden this last year. The change in compositions have also turned out for the better. Due to Ole have his own studio in Bergen. And he is really a creative soul... So just guess what that has to do with the case. Its a total new world for Us! All for the better! We are still a complete band though so even if Ole have been doing a massive part of work on this album it all has to fit and a lot of common composition work between all of us has been the fact this last year. "Djevelmakt" is a product of the band Kampfar in full.“

„Mare“ started the third cycle, and now ‚Djevelmakt‘ reaffirms that Kampfar' s music is timeless, yet also very much a representation of Kampfar today.“ Please describe what stands behind these „third cycle“ and what Kampfar means today to your mind!

„Well, to fulfill the "phrase" about the third cycle: with "Mare" we took huge steps both musically and lyrically. We brought it maybe closer to our native and origin if I can say so. It was more darkness and soul-searching in a way and it also started something new when it came to live shows. We did a massive part of shows after "Mare", and we had not been doing that before "Mare" and all of this together really felt like something new and fresh for us personally. Plus that we had now also a new guitar-player and full-time member in the band , so therefore it felt like a third cycle had started more or less. And we continue to walk down that road with "Djevelmakt" now.“

Please describe the main musical character of the new album!

„This album is for sure following in the same footsteps as our previous album “Mare”. And if “Mare” was more accessible than before in Kampfar music history, then this album is that, too. But our goal has never been to be more accessible. It has been more about finding the ultimate old-school sound but with a modern twist that suits Kampfar. There is no point what so ever to go back into the basements and record something with a tape recorder again. Face it we live in the year 2013! What’s the point in not using the technology thats here? The music is not more true because it sounds like shit! Or is it? So there you go… Yes, we want to be modern! But hell yeah, we belong to the old-school side of Black Metal, too... Have no doubts!“

Which noteworthy (small) differences to the previous Kampfar albums are waiting now for the curious listeners?

„Musically its much more challenging than before I would say. I had huge goals for this album. For the first time in years “I was sweating like a hooker in church" when entering that recording room. I pushed my limits as far as I could at that point. Thats all I can say. If I succeeded or not its not up to me to decide. But at least its different than before in many ways. Again just another step further in the same footsteps as “Mare” started to walk in 2010.“

For what or behind which meaning stands the title „Djevelmakt“? One can be very curiously while listening to the newest compositions.

„Infernal … O`yes indeed! The new album is anti religion, but not anti human if I may say so. This time its more directly than ever before. Its all condemned! All religions condemn you to an infernal place ( Gehenna, Hell you name it) if you don’t apply to their laws. All these places are constructed normally out of places that exist or existed here on earth during mankind’s time here. Its still so very delightful or maybe you can say scary to see such impact these places still have on us people even today. It`s scary... Where is the free man, where is the free and strong self-thinking individual that thinks and choose its own paths in life? Regardless to what others condemn you to? Damn if you do and damn if you don’t! Fuck it!! We all heads towards the darkness no matter what we do, If we listen to them who speaks about salvation. This goes both for the “light” side of religion and for the “dark” side of it. This album is about that: Its about what these idiots tells you to do and about the condemnation if you don’t! Light and darkness and the human in between. Raise the banner and be your own strong King or Queen is more or less the message coming trough on “Djevelmakt”!“

Is it allowed to ask about special musical and personal (spiritual?) influences which led mainly to the newest Kampfar material?

„Its all a result of some sort of a road we have been walking the last couple of years this one. With “Mare” we handled the witchery in Northern history in a way, with a huge sting towards all the devilry religions have caused here. And now the Devilish hell from religions is some sort of hell or a goal to fight if I may say so. But I guess there is an infernal force that gets me going at some times. I have always since childhood been very much into history and folklore. My grandmother taught me somehow in short words how to be my own individual and she showed the old ways in nature and so on. The list is really long but she lit a fire in me somehow and I still have that within I would say. A lot of my old friends are now dead due to drugs or other shit... I am pretty sure the road was splitted in 2 ways some decade ago for me and I chose to walk the path with Kampfar. That’s why there it is not strange for me to still be here with Kampfar. (Even though I had some dark spots during the road walk with Kampfar during all these years). And after Ole came into the band… I feel more dedicated than ever to continue... If all this influence me in a way or another to go in the direction we do with Kampfar is just impossible to answer for me. But of course I will always have this focus and I guess you can hear that in our music and lyrics, too.“

Are you still searching for silence and inner freedom in the old cabin in the mountains?

„Yes! Without any doubts. This is my second home and my shelter, and it has been so ever since I was 6 years old in fact.“

Some own words to the old and new Kampfar fans and all other open-minded music followers out there?

„Hmm... Not really! Just raise the banner and be your own strong King or Queen!“

© Markus Eck, 12.01.2014

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