HIT CHANNEL EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Fenriz isn’t just a highly influential musician. He’s also an avid listener and a person who doesn’t fear to say what he believes. With the re-release of ‘Plaguewielder’ as a pretext, we had the opportunity to discuss with him a variety of subjects. Read below the very interesting things he told us:
Did you have to work hard for the ‘Plaguewielder’ re-release?
Nah, we didn’t have to work particularly hard, but it’s the whole MASS of re-releases that is too much too cope with – we have normal lives and jobs on the side and we also gotta write and record new songs. So it’s too hectic, I mean – it’s our 16th album we are recording and writing these days but I have to deal with over ten re-releases as well.
Why you decided to change the original cover artwork and used a new one by Zbigniew M. Bielak?
The old artwork came in a period I didn’t care about cover art (I only cared in 1990-1996 and then from 2006 and until now). I think people are easily led (and so are we) and that the cover was one of the main things that obscured “PLAGUEWIELDER”. Also the title was too complicated, most people wrote “PlagueWILDER” hahahahaha !!!
Looking back, do you like today the sound of ‘Plaguewielder’ or you have overcome it?
You’re kinda asking the wrong person, as I only wrote ONE song for “Plaguewielder” and one for “Ravishing Grimness”. It was Ted (ed: Nocturno Culto) who carried Darkthrone through those dark years of my mind (‘98-‘01). I think the sound doesn’t communicate well «with eachother» aka the instruments isn’t perfectly mashed together, but Ted still likes it a lot.
We sort of found ourselves with the songs we did since 2005-2006, and at least my songs are very old sounding speed metal/heavy metal with lots of clear vocals. Ted is making more threatening rugged heavy metal with raw voice, but riffs are more heavy metal than ever perhaps. We have done half the album now. My songs are maybe for people who like Savage Grace, Agent Steel, Gotham City, Landslide…a mix of old Swedish speed metal and US power. And when I mean old, I mean ‘79-’85.
You are a musician who speaks and writes about other bands, but you are the exception. Do you have an explanation why others don’t do it? Do they want to keep the monopoly of «glory» and public’s interest for themselves?
Well, from when I started answering interviews in 1988 I thought the best and most important part of the interview was namedropping other bands. It was maybe a bit normal at the time, but most people seemed to only care about their own band when they got bigger…but in years ‘91-‘97 I didn’t do many interviews. But since then I have been supporting hundreds of bands ofcourse. I don’t know why most others don’t do this, but I always felt like doing a fanzine but it would take too much time ofcourse, so instead now I have the BAND OF THE WEEK blog (http://www.bandoftheweek.net ) and such. And many big old bands are careless about new or other old bands, but the worst things is that many modern metal bands create a product that is rather modern but they never listen to other bands like themselves. No, instead they go home and listen to Deep Purple and Saxon and stuff that I listen too, but their own band is just modern and some kinda money machine. I think they should follow their hearts and play what they want to listen to themselves.
How strange is to be idolised by ‘fans’ who mostly misunderstand your views?
It’s heartbreaking! Also, I never had any idols really, I think.. I mean, I like the way many bands or people play their instruments or write songs but this idolism has little to do with constant love for real metal.
Are you happy with the triumphant come-back of vinyl?
Ofcorpse, Darkthrone always released on vinyl anyway, so we feel very good about that. But every vinyl I get or buy takes like an hour to transfer to wav files and then burn on a CD and then transfer to one of my mp3 players. It’s a bit too much work, but it’s good work. At least when the album is great and didn’t waste my time.
Are you active with any other music project except Darkthrone?
No, since 2001 Darkthrone had room for everything I wanted to do musically. That’s what I was talking about above, more people should run their bands like that, freewheeling. But I am a Dj and so on…
The new Aura Noir and the new (not released yet) HOUR OF 13 album, listened to them at work today together with LANDSLIDE and MAGNESIUM 2006 single, as usual these days, hehe.
Do you think that the collapse of the major recording labels is a kind of justice for all these years of corporate greed?
I am not sure they are collapsing, I think they just focus on safe artists maybe now, and it was better for music IN GENERAL 98-2006. I think, they seemed to take a chance on many new bands. Anyway, we will see if SPOTIFY and other pay channels will pay off in the future, musicians need extra money usually. We have extra jobs, so it’s ok for us.
Is there any musician or artist you’d like to meet? With Klaus Schulze for example?
Not at all, I have waaaay too many contacts already. But people tell me I should meet this Alan from Primordial. Hmm, we’ll see what the future brings.
Send a message to those Greeks who’ll read this..
Keep listening to early Manilla Road and don’t believe all the charlatans out there. The 80s metal sound is the main one and so it will and shall always be.
A huge “THANK YOU” to Fenriz for his answers and to Paul from Peaceville for his help.