Svarttjern

Svarttjern has been a pretty active band when it comes to releasing albums with you releasing 4 full length albums in 7 years. Have plans begun for a new a album and can we expect more Svarttjern shows? I think you guys are very much under appreciated.

Hans: Thanks. Svarttjern are first of all, might sound harsh but we only care about our own business. We do albums when we feel like it and when we have the time. For many years now different members of the band have been occupied with other bands as well. I was hooked up with Ragnarok for many years and didn't really have my priorities straight so things took time but now some of the guys are with Carpathian Forest which is really cool. We feel that its important that everybody in the band and others bands gets to do their own kind of stuff because Svarttjern isn't going anywhere. We are like a hobby, like the soccer team that you never leave, we are forever underground. Most of all Svarttjern has no intention on getting any bigger and that feels so good. We want to to club gigs, book some festivals when we get the opportunity so regarding a new album, yes we have something going but as for when it will be due for released, who knows. As for shows will we do 3 maybe 5 maximum every year.


                                                    


Obviously you did the big European tour package with Behemoth and Cradle of Filth, did you find that that helped the band with getting more exposure?

Grimmdun: It was a fantastic tour but too big for Svarttjern. We are used to smaller crowds and club gigs but it was an amazing tour and we had a replacement singer for the tour who did a great job and of course it helped us. We got a lot more likes on social media and stuff and hopefully we have kept those fans.


You say about having a replacement singer for Hans on that tour but also today you guys are a member short so could you tell us what has happened to Erik?

Hans: Well actually for this gig our guitarist Erik had a surgery a couple of weeks back and literally 10 minutes before he and Malphas were about to leave for the airport he starting bleeding really really bad. Erik was like "fuck yeah we are going man" but Malphas said that he should go to the hospital so he was sent back unfortunately.


Just now you touched on some members being in other bands so how do you think it will affect the band with some members also being in the rejuvenated Carpathian Forest, who will no doubt become very active again? Could that delay the release of a the new Svarttjern album?

Hans: From being a fan of Carpathian Forest then id like to say I hope so as I think the guys should really use that opportunity so yes Svarttjern is on hold. As I said earlier, Svarttjern is the ground base, Svarttjern isn't going anywhere. The guys in Carpathian may not want to admit it but they should prioritise that definitely.


                                           


What do you personally enjoy most when it comes to writing new lyrics?

Hans: Ha ha ha ha. Masturbation. Ha ha ha ha. The lyrics have changed over the years. Svarttjern started out being and still are of course, really really dark and a really in your face kind of band. We tell things to fuck off in a sophisticated way and I guess we still do but we wrap it in different paper and I think when Svarttjern started out with the first album we got a lot of attention. People asked a lot about the lyrics but they didn't really understand the lyrics which is kind of the point. All the lyrics are coded with numbers so nobody is really supposed to understand them but my goal is that your subconsciousness is going to get attacked in a way, that somewhere underneath your skin you can feel it. The sub meaning of it, I think that is essential to Svarttjern.

Grimmdun: We don't even understand the lyrics and he won't tell us so only he knows what it means sometimes.

Hans: So the lyrical part is different. Its personal because I want it to be ours. I want it to be mine. I want it to be 100% personal.


So is each song like a personal journey but only you know the true meaning behind it?

Hans: Yes it is in some ways. I think that is why I take so much joy in playing the gigs because I jump into that setting and I  really really do enjoy it as thats when I see people reacting to it. The first three albums are like a trilogy and if you put all the album titles together then  it makes one big sentence and for the last album "Dodsskrik" it was just a pure fuck you, ha ha. It was just an attack on everything that we don't like, what I don't like. Svarttjern lyrics today is an attack on the hippie culture of everybody, wanting to do everything together whilst being unique. You're not unique, you're not different, you're just the same as the guy sat next to you, accept it and move on. Its an attack from my own religious behalf as I think a lot of people will never reach that goal in life which is gaining that unique knowledge of actually moving on and moving forward. Over 10 years I have grown as well but its still an attack on weakness.


Black metal is very dark, twisted, evil, satanic, if it wasn't for Satan then what do you think would be the main lyrical theme in black metal?

Hans: Individuality. 

You do find that within black metal and maybe not so much with other genres that there are many individuals and people who keeps themselves to their selves.

Hans: I think its both good and bad. I mean with the old school heavy metal everybody was sticking together in like more of a hippy movement which was good in that sense because they were supporting each other but today a lot of the black metal bands are attacking each other and we don't understand why. I guess we just want to party and have a good time. I guess in some certain way that no matter how social you are in the band, how much you take part in the big scene of black metal or whatever you want to call it, its about individuality. You want to strengthen your band, you want to be the best player on the field and I think thats rock n roll anyway. You wanna have the biggest dick and you want to do the most whatever, get the most girls and that the rock n roll way. Translated into black metal I think its the same thing.

Fjellnord: I'm not a very good writer, I just play music. If you take away the church burnings then what do you have left? Aggressiveness means a lot to me. The reason I am on stage is because then I can do what the fuck I want. You can't do that here. You can't scream, you can't shout because you will just be put in jail. Society has changed so even if you don't add the church burnings then I think it would be like this anyway.

Grimmdun: My brother wrote a paper on the black metal community in Oslo and he called the paper "Together Alone" and that is a great title as it says a lot. We are a big community but mainly individuals.

Hans: What I like about it and I really really agree is that its personal. We are artists, we don't make oil paintings, I wish I could but I don't  but we are still artistic individuals and we want to shout out what we feel and we want to burn for it on stage. We truly do. 

Grimmdun: We were going to make a ship out of fingernails at one point but that never happened.

Hans: For many years I actually saved all my nails, I let them get really long on my hands and my feet and I saved all of them in this jar.

Fjellnord: Thats artistic.

Hans: I just think its fucking sexy man. Its kind of a secret but here I am saying it in an interview but I don't need to tell people about it because its personal. Its a fun fact though. We have drifted off a bit here so I'm sorry about that ha ha.


                                         


Obviously some bands have their lyrics in Norwegian, others are in English and some have both languages. What is your personal preference? Do you find you can get more meaning across when its in Norwegian?

Hans: When Svarttjern started out we did a lot of our stuff in Norwegian but also some in English but I think quite early I just felt it was right in English because I just listened to bands who were doing it in English and with being in other bands I just wrote in English so what I really liked about the last album was that I went back to writing in Norwegian, it was like smacking our passport, we like that feeling.

Grimmdun: Your lyrics are uglier in Norwegian.

Hans: Yeah they are uglier in Norwegian but maybe over the years where I have been getting better where I was ill for a lot of years, I think its suits Svarttjern really well, its trashy, its black, its a fuck you statement and we want to have fun.


I personally really like the last album as it kind of has a bit of everything such as a creepy intro, lyrics like 'All hail Satan", fast tempo parts, groove to some of the riffs, do you feel that it's the bands most complete album to date? Do you guys prefer writing Svarttjern albums that way or do you prefer the more darker elements?

Hans: Well I have to put myself without an opinion because its these guys that make the music. I'm just lucky to be playing with them.

Grimmdun: We have Grown. We play in a heavy metal band also so the groove element just comes naturally but also with age I think. We wanted a thrashier sound on this album also because the first 3 albums are very well produced and the last album we did ourselves so it was cool to work that way and do it how we wanted to do it.

Fjellnord: As I said earlier, its aggressive music. I like the complicated shit but I just like doing whatever the fuck I want. I've always said that as long as I can head bang to it then its really cool.

Hans: Who doesn't like groovy? I mean I really like it. All of us grew up with groovy shit.

   
                                                           


Do you think that when it comes to the new album that you will incorporate more groovy elements into it, expand the sound of the band or will you go back to the in your face black metal sound?

Fjellnord: For some reason the mood has changed a lot for me over the years and I want to give a song a certain mood, like when you think of Autumn you think about falling leaves and you think other things depending on what season it is and that affects a lot of my writing. I try to picture myself places while playing riffs wether its in a castle or underground so that influences a lot in my writing.

Malphas: I think that the new songs that we have already written for the new album are really good and you can tell that they are definitely 100% pure Svarttjern, you will understand that its Svarttjern and some of the songs are very groovy and we are kind of continuing along the same path.

Hans: They are very atmospheric, groovy and we like it because its us. Once again being on the sidelines because these guys plus Erik does all the work. Im a lucky fucking guy. I just jump in and do my funny lyrics.

Grimmdun: He's just underselling his role in the band.

Hans: I am humble.


Its hard to become established in extreme metal anyway but as a Norwegian black metal band from Norway, do you find it harder to become established or does it help with all the Norwegian history in the genre?

Hans: I think Norway has turned into like a club where you need I.D. to get in. You have to work hard as fuck to get in. Once you get in you get a lot of respect because you've actually been out there, you've done the gig, you've done the shows, you stuck around for 3 or 4 years. I don't think its harder but its more honest to get in today. If you're a hard working band and your good then everybody deserves to get in. I don't think the history helps anymore.

Grimmdun: Maybe it did when we started. If you want to be in a band then you have to follow rules but we don't follow rules.

Hans: One of my favourite bands is actually from Indonesia. We toured with them with Ragnarok when I was there and I mean those guys were fucking insane. Alphas and I actually spoke earlier today about the Serbian black metal scene which is so so so underrated. Serbian black metal is a fuck off to Norwegian black metal. They are so good and they have so much passion. Norwegian black metal, what the fuck is that ha ha. So yes in some ways its hard to get in. Svarttjern are certainly on the outside but we don't give a shit. As long as we can have a good time and play are gigs. Its a hard question to answer but if you work hard enough then you deserve to be on the stage.


As you said earlier you had a few issues in the past with being ill etc, do you still feel as if it was the right decision to step aside from Ragnarok?

Hans: Ive never really spoken about it before other than with my friends but when I joined Ragnarok I was young. It wasn't that long ago but mentally I was younger. It was a dream come true as I was a big fan of the band and I still am so respect to those guys but I was not well. I was sick, I had a lot of issues so taking the decision to leave Ragnarok was very very very hard. One of the reasons I wanted to quit was because I thought that I lost control over a lot of stuff. I gave Svarttjern, my friends, my brothers, too little of my time. For some reason I left them on the sidelines which I regret so much because the rules in the band was "give it all or nothing" and I wanted to give it all but I wasn't really able to give it my all for the last couple of years. I ended up in situation where the guys were doing a lot of work and I was trying to hang around with it but I really couldn't because I didn't feel it in a way so leaving Ragnarok was a very honest decision.  I told the guys that I feel like that I can't give 100% any more and every band deserves 100% so I really think its best for me to pull out. 

Fjellnord: And that's what she said.

Hans: Ha ha. I do regret this this but I do miss it of course. Good friends, playing gigs, having a good time, who wouldn't enjoy that but the dedication and the effort that needed to go in it, I just did not have enough room in my life to do it.


                                         


After you left Ragnarok released such a good album in "Psychopathology". Did any part of you wish that you had been a part of that album or was it more like a chapter closed for you?

Hans: I haven't even heard it actually. The album is one thing, I did hear one song actually which was good but I don't feel that I had it in me to be a part of the album because the albums aren't actually that important but when 4, 5 or 6 guys are on tour playing gigs and having a good time, thats, I want to be a part of. I want o be a part of the stage, I want to be up in your face saying "here we are, this is our stage, now fuck off". That I miss. I will always miss it and thats what I really appreciate with Svarttjern these days. Really get down back to basics, doing what we want to do and  I think our last album "Dodsskrik" is a kind of self proclaimed confession that we are back to basics and we want to do what we want to do but of course I miss the good times with Ragnarok and I learnt a lot. Would I want to go back....probably not because I can't.


It seems as if you have made the right decision in refocusing and committing to the Svarttjern family.

I have always appreciated having my friends around me so much. I joined Ragnarok and as I said I was not well and Im jut glad that these guys stuck around. I am so humbled. I am grateful that Svarttjern stuck around for me because I was a dickhead rocking around. I am back to my roots and I appreciate my friends being with me.


Tonight Svarttjern are here in Romania as a co-headliner on day one of Rites of the Black Mass. What's it like to be part of a small festival in Romania that has brought so many people from all over the world together. I have met people from Sweden, Australia, Honduras, Qatar. It seems as if extreme metal fans appreciate the music a lot more than say some other genres.

Hans: We love it. Being appreciated by what we call friends, some would call fans, being on stage we give value for money and being an important role in that, we love it. We have fun, they have fun.

Grimmdun: A lot of bands would probably cancel if they lost their guitarist before the gig.

Hans; We've never cancelled. I mean Fjellnord on guitar has a big job ahead of him tonight so we are going to treat him well, blowjobs, foot massages.

Fjellnord: It happened one time in Germany so we have done it before and it went fantastic.

Hans: We played in Bergen in Norway and we reconized some old friends coming from Mexico and we just switched to English in-between songs to show that we appreciated those guys being there so thanks to everyone that shows up for a gig. Wether its 10 people or 1000 people, I don't care, we will give you hell anyway.

Grimmdun: All of the outsiders are gathered in one place. Its great. Like when you walk around the festival grounds at say Wacken then its like having 50'000 friends. Who wouldn't want to be a part of that.

Hans: We are here to have a good time, we are here to appreciate ourselves and our own artistic music and the bonus is that people pay to see us. Some people have seen us many times before and we really really appreciate it so we are, Im using this word again but we are humble.


Thanks for your time guys, Its great to talk to you before the show and I look forward to you hitting the stage later.

Hans: Thank you very much and we are looking forward to it too, well maybe not Fjellnord seeing as he has a two roles to play tonight.

Fjellnord: I am actually feeling a bit nervous but its ok.

Grimmdun: We had a band practice back in the hotel room and it went pretty well.


Svarttjern