30.7.2011

Darkthrone interview from Qvadrivivm #5 (2008)



Pizza, Rally & Black Metal

Interview: Kuronen

“The last time I looked in the mirror I slashed my own mirror and afterwards directed a middle finger at myself. Yeah, I was feeling that way one and a half hours ago but I’m feeling slightly better now.”

Usually known as the perennial joker, Fenriz begins the interview on a somewhat surprising note. Judging by these sombre words he spits forward, it’s no wonder Darkthrone found new conviction on Hate Them, something more forceful than anything they’ve done in a long time. The drummer isn’t wide of the mark in noting that for black metal hate is definitely a strong motor. Sporting very raw et grim vokills by Culto, awesome drum sound and some great seventh-grader drumming from the ex-postal worker, sometimes appearing as a cross between the songwriting aesthetic of “The Beast” and the overall sound of the likes of “En as i dype skogen”, Hate Them shot towards the stars after the bland ninth elpee, Plaguewielder. At the feet of Hate Them, you almost feel like yelling “black fucking metal!” and romping into the nearest forest with a portable CD player, an axe, a gallon of gasoline and a box of matches. Almost, I said.

The gravity of Fenriz’ introductory words soon vanishes into rampages of laughter. Not bullshitting when he’s supposed to bullshit, the universal laws of reverse tell Norway’s One and Only Black Punk Dude is obviously not going to be all serious-minded for the rest of the interview. What’s new?

Fenriz explains the pinches of salt: “On the one hand everything is really dead serious, but when I was asked to start to do interviews I was thinking this was going to take up a lot of my time—for instance, today I woke up at 5:30, worked a whole day through and then came here. I’m thinking, am I going to sit here like some kid from Ukraine who’s been into black metal for a year and go ‘Nnnngghhh, nnnnggghhh’? No, fuck that, I’m going to enjoy myself. So I always come up with some bullshit, you know. But if you look at the product, it’s serious. I could make a pizza, juggle it around, smile and do jokes, but that pizza has to be really good. Whatever I do around the pizza, that’s just some extra. The pizza, the product, has to be bona fide.

“In black metal you have to be careful in using happiness and then time it fucking well, because if you look at it as figuring some sort of picturesque art, you don’t insert a clown in a Munch picture.”

The product that is Darkthrone originates from the refrigerated kingdoms of black metal but it can be argued to have its warmer, ‘funnier’, more ‘drinkable’ side, as was first illustrated by their Hellhammer-type beer can BM attacks and then certainly by the crustier side of The Cult Is Alive and F.O.A.D. Fenriz objects to this classification, reminding that “it’s possible to drink without having fun”. Very well.

We’ve established that black metal is commonly serious. According to Fenriz (as well as some other moron—see page 28), it also has the double standard of being universal and exclusive at the same time. Black metal and Darkthrone amount to a whole throng of things.

“It has always been universal,” the drummer says of black metal. “For me, black metal is about the feeling but I always said in 1990, when we were rehearsing the A Blaze in the Northern Sky album and I had already gone on with the black metal feeling for one or one and a half years, that this is so fucking unique I doubt that more than 1,500 people will ever understand it. And I don’t think there’s more people out there today; an album can sell 100,000 copies but there’s still just 1,500 people that get what this shit is about.

“The kids sometimes think that music is a competition—even older people think that way, they’re discussing who’s the best drummer in black metal when they never think what’s the most right style of drumming for black metal. Would you have jazz drumming on an old Bathory album? I don’t think so. Modern black metal almost always has jazz drumming on it. What the fuck happened?

“For me, the black metal mission ends with Darkthrone. I’m not trying to be a missionary or anything outside of what I can do with Darkthrone. I have to have a product that I can offer, meaning that it’s not only about theatrical stuff now. It’s easy to get at least Darkthrone and some other old school alternative to all the new school things. Apart from that, I like it the way it was in the 80s better because it was more global and individualistic. We had to go through a phase of like-mindedness before we could break out of it as stronger individuals.

“We’re basically doing eighties black metal, like you have bands today saying, ‘Okay, we’re doing one style and that’s old rock n’ roll’. If you want to play old rock n’ roll you want to be much like old rock n’ roll, haha. That’s what we do; we want to be the 80s, we always wanted to be the 80s, so we try to be that with the sound and everything around us. If I’m looking for a rock n’ roll album, I’m not going to go for one that’s been produced for 500,000 crowns. I’m going for one that’s been played in the basement.

“We’re not going anywhere with Darkthrone. We like it like that. We like base one; we’re all about that. We’re old-age Thin Lizzy or we’re Status Quo or we’re the Ramones. We’re not moving. And still, we have a genre, extreme metal, where we can mix between slow, fast and mid-paced stuff. That’s much more difficult with the Ramones stuff, which is basically all in one or two tempos. We have many different opportunities, and still we want to do just our stuff.

“If you really want the secret of analysing Darkthrone, you always think riffs, riffs, riffs, riffs. In extreme metal, I never really thought that there was anything called real songwriting. Since the thrash metal days it has always been about riff-o-rama, fat riffs upon fat riffs. But some guys like old Bathory or some old Burzum tracks that are more monotonous; they’re more into this landscape of songwriting. But basically songwriting is what Bruce Springsteen does. What we’re doing with extreme metal, I’d say it’s more like riff upon riff. It’s more like a mixture of fast, slow and mid-paced riffs, and that’s what we’ve always had.”

In the split issue with Cair Andros, Nocturno Culto had to ponder what for him was the essence and meaning of doing Darkthrone. It felt appropriate to pose his partner-in-grime the same question.

“Nocturno Culto and I have worked together for fifteen years now—and Bon Jovi has for twenty years!” Fenriz laughs. “Anyway, we’re taking it easy and thinking very moderately. I think that if we try to work our way through the scene like water and not like a rock that says ‘I’m here, I’m the best’ all the time and shut up a bit and stay low, then it’s going to be alright. We’re not thinking of quitting this Darkthrone project. In our heads it’s maybe 40 percent of what we think about. But we’re doing a lot of thinking and not so much playing; we don’t want to end up playing technical like Watchtower or Dream Theater.”

To conclude on a bizarre instance of male bonding, here is how Fenriz defines the relationship between Nocturno Culto and him: “You have at least a couple of great rally drivers there in Finland, and as you can see on the rally one guy has to drive the car and the other guy has to read the map. You can’t both sit there and drive the car. The last few years Nocturno Culto has been driving the Darkthrone car—I’m just reading the fucking map. I’m a map fanatic anyway: give me a map and you’ve got me silenced for two hours.”

Darkthrone interview from Qvadrivivm: Five by Four (2001)



Interview: Kuronen

What is Darkthrone, pa? Imagine this question being proposed to a Darkthrone fan by his posterity in thirty years from today. What is his answer, if there is such, and more properly, can we define a direction for a depiction of any sort? May be a trite subject and not always relevant to most but it does show accurately the progression the music industry continues to face from one decade to another. Thirty years ago it was ‘pieces of heavy metal hit against each other’ that forever marked and stamped this style of music that has now progressed to something that could justly be called a ‘random buzz sound round the bee’s nest’. And then there is Darkthrone.

So much a friend of this Norwegian black metal band – admittedly extensive users of tremolo and at times highly distorted production, for which reason they have often been caricatured in most imaginary ways – I am that I would not place them in a league at all similar to that of the regular cellar toilers of the black metal scene.

For the mentality has to be etched into your heart, you do not achieve it by forging replicas; Darkthrone have it in their blood to create music of this kind, and it is dubious to assume all the others are doing it out of the fire burning in their hearts. As Fenriz has said in an interview, ‘we understood that we were seeing something special in metal music, and it was sort of a religious feeling, but we were wondering when we saw more people coming forth, how can all these people have a black metal feeling?’ Rightly wondering so. The pre-requisite for the dedication, the devotion: that certain way of thinking, as a middleman would easily notice, I assume, has to be authentic – in order to create what may be entitled the genuine article, there must be an inner compulsion for it. Additionally it demands finesses and taste, and none more aesthetically uniform and impressive black metal ensemble have I met, not a black metal band echoing (and oftentimes living!) more shattering reveries of darkened shades, of wrath, of sheer enjoyment; not a black metal band as devoted as Darkthrone. Sure, their music might not be technically imminent as a connoisseur would see it, and may be faintly whimsical at times (cf. Panzerfaust, for instance), but by the sap of the gods, the compositions are capable of making one hell of an impact; even the demos and first album are worthy reminders of the ever present Darkthronean greatness.

And now’s been released Plaguewielder, Darkthrone’s eight or ninth album, depending on how you count these devilish platters. It is an album taking one step forward from 1999’s Ravishing Grimness, at the same time joining hands with all Darkthrone albums. After 1996’s bone weak Total Death, uphill is the only way to go.

But does the progression direct so much at an uphill? Seeing from the shrewd comments of the other half of the band, Nocturno Culto, calling from his home in the backwoods of Norway, at least they strongly suggest people think so. I give him the freedom of marketing their album, as any sensible person not blown out of all proportions would. He catches the drift at once, giving all positive answers about the response toward Plaguewielder, the recording session, their personal state of satisfaction on it, and what ever one may find between the empyrean and the beneath. Giving answers that are altogether as round as the juggler’s balls at the circus.

But then, how about the critiques delivered by some hardcore fans saying that it could be a good thing for Darkthrone to change their recording routines, that the ‘plug your instruments, rock the material on the reels and go home’ seems not to come to abundant fruitition any more; how does Nocturno Culto react to these assessments?

“Oh, people really say so?” the guitarist-vocalist utters in a tone which is something between inquiring and uninterested. “Yeah man, the entire concept, or some of the concepts anyway, with Darkthrone is that we play very organic music. The thing is that we want to have a certain sense of black magic in the studio. Obviously, if you are going to use two or three months in the studio – all the magic is gone. A lot of tiny, tiny mistakes do occur in the studio but we let it pass because we want the feeling and the black magic when we are playing and recording in the studio. That’s really important for us.

“Also, that’s how we have worked all the time from fucking day one. On Soulside Journey we used six or maybe seven days in the studio, with our last album Ravishing Grimness we used four days. This has been the case all the time, on every fucking album. So, it’s nothing new. If we were going to pull this set of DJ’s on the record, in our opinion it wouldn’t be Darkthrone anymore. I guess all the people just have to question their opinions at the surface and figure what are the honest opinions beneath them.

“A fact is that this album is different. Some people will always complain about some things, and some people might think this is a sound too good for Darkthrone, but I think the point is not to have a bad sound. The thing is to create atmospheric music – which we think we are able to do just with the sound itself if we want to. On the other hand, if you are going to have a very clean production, all of the atmosphere will presumably be gone. Plaguewielder has as some consider a good sound. I can agree that the production is good, but it’s not clean. If you compare Plaguewielder to Mayhem’s Grand Declaration of War for instance, then you can hear that Plaguewielder still has a fucking hard sound.”

A thing of its own is the cover design, which for the first time incorporates truly expressionistic colours in the artwork. Says Nocturno Culto on the cover: “It was actually the designer’s idea. I just gave him keywords of what I wanted. He also read the lyrics and went out with us on the photo session, so he got quite a good picture of what this is all about. I was actually very surprised when I first saw the covers and noticed it is in colours. I didn’t like the artwork at first that much but I kept it for several days and thought about everything and I think the final result is very good. I know some people are complaining about that as well. Everybody complaining can actually form a choir and they can sing out, produce a record by themselves instead of all the complaining, and then sell their record to us.”

At this point I will again bring into discussion the Darkthrone purists, by whose demands it must be rather laborious to make music, all of whose tastes it must be practically impossible to please. Albeit no self-respecting band makes music with fans as their first priority, Nocturno Culto’s take on the purists is notwithstanding a little less grave than one might assume, as he reasons the decisions made as ‘everybody has to understand that everything we do is all coincidences’. Somewhat to the relief of the most past-inclined, he tells, “We are in fact going in the studio in October of 2002, and some of the lyrics are actually ready for the new album. We have also decided that the next album will be in black and white, and that we will actually record it in a smaller studio as well. So everything is changing. Plaguewielder is Plaguewielder; the next album will again be totally different and as said in non-colours. The design will be done in a professional way but it’ll still be in black and white. The sound will perhaps satisfy the hardcore fans more, as it will be bad and coarse, haha. So for those who are concerned about the future, don’t despair because the next album will be amazingly cold and grim, rest assured.”

That is the cycle, the plan, the past, present and tentative panorama. Should we put an amen here?


Demise  Oh  Demise

As Nocturno Culto tells, though without exactly consulting with Fenriz, the lyrics on Plaguewielder are all about death – written in a cryptic and primitive style which Nocturno Culto goes as far as to say is ‘an art’. He speaks of the song-writing process between Fenriz and him and how the lyrics contra music are written, and so we are lead on to the music. And more specifically, the music of Plaguewielder. It has gone a little more professional and intricate, not being just like ‘one Hellhammer song, one normal song ’ or just tremolo all the way through.

“Yes, it’s more technical,” Nocturno Culto says, “and that is something I actually understood after a very short time when I started doing the vocals – that some of the music on Plaguewielder is not going to be very traditional Darkthrone music. It’s more technical and more metal oriented stuff. As a whole I think the album is definitely black metal but as such it is also definitely not like earlier Darkthrone.”

What inspired you to this time venture with style and tempo so much?

“That is also coincidences,” he cops out. “When I am making a song it will be what it will be. We don’t plan to do a concept album or anything, we always get different results. Ravishing Grimness is a record that is also kind of an entire package to get. I feel the same way about Plaguewielder because as a whole the album is a monument, you know. That can’t be said about Total Death and that can’t be said about A Blaze in the Northern Sky because those were musically very varying albums. Things are different.”

As the lyrics are so much about death, it isn’t much of a surprise that this mood is also a leading incentive for Darkthrone to write the music.

“It’s like we’re worshipping death,” Nocturno Culto chuckles. “That’s the only mood we have. I’m constantly thinking about death, and when you’re worshipping death as much as we are, it is bound to become an inspiration. I also have to say that I get inspiration from Darkthrone itself. The band has taken 13 years of my life – which is quite much – and both Fenriz and I are connected more with Darkthrone now than we used to. It is a major part of our lives.”

A question that needs to be asked is, aren’t those in the band afraid that people are seriously starting to like Darkthrone if they keep on making snazzy albums like Plaguewielder and Ravishing Grimness?

“No, not really,” Nocturno Culto laughs, seeing the apparent intention of the question. “You just have to put everything in perspective. Maybe Plaguewielder is different, but still – what we do is plain metal stuff and there is actually no ambition at all. We don’t try to get new people to like us, and I don’t think that many ‘new’ people like us, as we’re still playing quite bare and primitive straight-to-the-bone metal. I think that many young people today, and women of course, will have more colour, sound effects and keyboards in the music, and as we don’t have that, some people will never like us.”

In spite of this, the albums are selling quite well, if anyone cares. Nocturno Culto tells that thus far Plaguewielder has already sold more than Ravishing Grimness. At their time they were also the best-selling act on Peaceville, but this is something the importance of which Nocturno Culto slightly downplays: “The thing is that in the early 90’s it was much easier to sell a record, whereas today it’s difficult because people can make their own CD’s and pirate copies, and then there’s the Internet and you name it, so there is a lot greater competition between bands. Today you have to work much harder to sell albums.”

To get back on Plaguewielder, it seems Fenriz plays in a style a bit more vivid this time. Was this upon his own decision?

“Ehh…” Nocturno Culto hesitates. “Sometimes I have to decide things for him because at times we disagree, but this time the music itself forced us to play more technically. I told him that when he is doing small technical stuff on the drums, in the tempo that Darkthrone are playing, I think it’s brilliant. I actually tell him that a lot and say that maybe it’s right to do those tiny things because he is doing those so fucking great. But he despises the drums a tiny bit.”

That I have heard.

“When he is doing the more varied stuff on the drums he doesn’t show off. When he is playing he isn’t trying to show the entire world what a great drummer he is. The purpose is on the music.”

He went quite to the extreme with the not showing off on the early to mid-90’s albums, I add.

“Yeah haha, take Transilvanian Hunger as an example.”

Indeed. A reminder of that particular album is the riff on Wreak that appears round 4:17, which Nocturno Culto says was put on Plaguewielder intentionally, to serve as a sort of commemoration. For the guitarist, Transilvanian Hunger is a ‘very important album’. When we speak more in detail about the previous Darkthrone albums, it comes clear that Under a Funeral Moon and Transilvanian Hunger are Nocturno Culto’s favourite releases in the band’s past, and that it is those times that he has nostalgic feelings for. The reason? The times were, as he aptly puts it, ‘fucking pure black magic’.

What of the leaving of former bassist Ivar then – a sudden dark cloud on a clear sunny day when all were set to have a picnic in the park?

Nocturno Culto explains: “Ivar left after Under a Funeral Moon, and we had a really bad situation which in fact could have ended in a tragedy, but fortunately it didn’t. He left in anger but calmed down after a bit and I’m still on speaking terms with him. Musically he didn’t contribute much to the band, it was more the person he was, his attitude and everything he did for us. He was a big part of Darkthrone, and if he some time in the future said that he wanted to play in Darkthrone again, we would definitely take him back in.”

Widenings on the Binoculars


Satanic moors are one thing, expanding the view another. I pose Nocturno Culto a few questions that should be taking the spectator a good way closer to a better view from the hills. Firstly discussed is the possibility that there is overexposure of Darkthrone via the interviews in magazines and other media through which the band is brought quite close to our faces.

“I’m very worried about that,” the guitarist sighs heavily. “It’s a very difficult choice really, to do a lot of interviews. I’ve talked with Fenriz about this several times – about whether we should do interviews or not – and the initial plan was not to give a single interview on Plaguewielder and just release a lot of pictures instead. But it didn’t turn out that way, so maybe we’ll do that in the future. I think to be over-exposed is not a good thing. But what Fenriz and I are doing these days, the interviews… every band does that, it is a very normal thing to do. However, in the future I think we’re going to lessen it. The problem then is are we going to radically limit the interviews? That’s a thing we’ve talked about and we think that’s a really bad idea. As a solution people tend to suggest that we can always do just the big magazines but we think this is a bad idea as well, because everybody should get a Darkthrone interview if they want one.”

Then, as some people always try to make something deep and profound out of Darkthrone, does Nocturno Culto think it is right of people to assume Darkthrone is a very intelligent band?

“Intelligent band? No. It’s really hard for Fenriz and I to agree with stuff that people think, as we are standing both feet in the middle of it all. So it’s really difficult for us to observe Darkthrone from all sides like other people are doing. All the people are seeing Darkthrone from the outside, and I really wish I could do that for just one minute, to see how it looks. It’s hard to comment on things like that.”

When it comes to personal tastes in music, Nocturno Culto is on the same lines with Fenriz, sliding onwards on an electronic trajectory.

“Well, some of it is always that. I mean, you should really hear some of the underground trance people and their fucking freaked out minds. What they create is much darker, much more hatred-influenced and altogether amazingly grim stuff; I think that stuff actually blows a lot of the black metal bands away. They’re insane, and many of the underground people there are actually old metal people. You can hear they are musicians and that they are creating stuff that’s really good and has a lot of quality. Some of them are so dark you wouldn’t believe. But there is also of course a lot of other musical stuff I listen to; I listen to a lot of things. But I always focus on or try to listen to something that gives me the right atmosphere: I don’t listen to happy music, to put it that way, haha.”

As for the metal underground, he says: “I still follow the underground. I actually like the underground more than the famous things. I’m listening to a lot of new underground bands, I think they’re great. It is in the underground where the real and pure music is.”

Not just a token of half-hearted devotion, as is witnessed by his name-dropping when we’re discussing the topic more in depth. A thing someone might find amusing is his “fuck them bastards” flaying of the mainstream and glitterati metal publications.

On the other hand, he is already praising the forthcoming Satyricon album. Oh well.

Modern-day Appliances of

Making a Metal Band Work


Darkthrone have always been more clandestine than any Cornwell, more shadowy than any Steele, so the talk of videos and live shows in connection with the band may seem slightly disconcerting to some fans. However, one may better get accustomed to the thought, as this is where the aspirations are pointing. Nocturno Culto tells: “About the video I have some vague plans only, and it won’t be a typical musical video. It will be a video of about an hour in length, filmed in black and white with bad production. A lot of music and a lot of strange filming of Fenriz and I and where we live in should be included. It should become a very artistic video.

“Also, I’ve tried to convince Fenriz to do some live shows in 2003, but he’s a very difficult man to convince. Both Fenriz and I share the same view that Darkthrone isn’t really a live band, that Darkthrone suits best to be enjoyed by yourself. However, after so many years I think that we should do maybe three or four major shows in Europe one summer. All the people who have been with us, the metal friends, deserve to get a great live show.”

Referring to the gig in Oslo in 1996, the band’s latest recollections about playing live must not be very thrilling.

“Well, just remember that it was a very strange feeling to play for 1,100 corpses, haha! Very strange really.”

Has the situation changed, then?

“Absolutely,” Nocturno Culto exclaims. “It has changed a lot. People aren’t afraid of showing their enthusiasm any more. But at the time we played the gig people wouldn’t have cheered to any band. When I saw Slayer for the first time in Norway in 1988, I wasn’t in the front row going totally crazy. I just stood beside the mixing table trying to suck in all the atmosphere, and I guess that’s what people did also in ’96. But it really pissed me off at the time because, fucking hell, we did a lot of work to get this live show.”

Any good story concludes with a positive clang to the ending note. Darkthrone too have a bright-shining future ahead (any moron would twist this into a debate whether a brightly shining future is appropriate for a black metal band). For Nocturno Culto, the whole mechanism isn’t that difficult to figure.

“We are mainly doing this for ourselves, to satisfy our own needs of dark music. If we didn’t have any record contract anymore, if people said ‘now, we won’t have you ‘all die’ men surround us’, then we would still play Darkthrone, releasing demos and whatever. So we won’t quit for many years. Even if people didn’t want to release a record with us after the Moonfog deal, then fuck them, we’d still continue anyway. For us the important thing is to play in Darkthrone. That’s what creates the inspiration, to keep us on with our miserable lives, haha.”

Darkthrone interview from Eter #1 (pre-Q)



Interview: Chiaradia

Y'know, they say that armageddon is coming soon. And they also say that the new DARKTHRONE album is coming soon. So, there you have already two reasons (or excuses) why we simply couldn´t resist a DARKTHRONE interview when there was a chance to execute one. This is a real long one (the interview was included in its entirety because lack of time), so we certainly hope there is all the info you will need before the release of the Ravishing Grimness album later on (check the interview for an accurate date). Well, let the chat between David and Fenriz begin...

Hello, how are you?

"I'm happy today."

 So you're ready for the interview?

"Abso-fucking-lutely"

First I want to ask some questions from other people to the surviving black metal icon of the nineties.

To many people DARKTHRONE is a synonym for black metal. Do you think this is a burden or are you proud that DARKTHRONE has succeeded in keeping up the level this long?

"I would rather say I'm proud, it's not a burden because if I really had to do other sorts of music, then I just would make another project. We don't really feel a need to progress or anything like that. We are really stuck in the eighties and we never changed our influences, you know, we just kept the same influences and that means like we will be the same also. I think that if we would have been a band that rehearsed maybe two times a week, then maybe it would have been more progressive like all the other bands but we, we have our jobs, you know, we don't need to rush anything, so you understand it's very easy for us to do the same thing."

Well is it not difficult to create new material in that case? Because some people think that you haven't got that much moving space within the same musicfield.

"No we haven't got that much movingspace, that's true but we don't want to either, I mean, it's like the blues music you don't want the blues music to sound un-bluesy. But you know, I don't feel a need to listen to another black metal album unless it's influenced by older stuff."

Your next album is called "Ravishing Grimness" Does it describe the atmosphere or the music on the album or both?

"Describing the atmosphere well, you know I just made one song and my song is very different from what Nocturno Culto is doing. He's doing more atmospheric stuff now I think, mixed with the typical DARKTHRONE, BATHORY, CELTIC FROST influences. I'm doing more HELLHAMMER; he's more into atmosphere. The basic difference now from before is that we don't have the typical DARKTHRONE speed anymore, not that I'm saying we never were a fast band, but we had the moderate fast speed and now we just, technically speaking on the RG album, we have one riff with a tempo that is straight ahead fast, it's more slower now. You just, for a drummer it's easy to explain: you just play half of the speed on the drums and there's a lot of that on our new album. But it's a bit heavier, I think."

Referring to earlier comments DARKTHRONE is based on being Norwegian. If you were born in another country, would there be the same kind of DARKTHRONE as there is now for almost ten years? Or is it not fair to speculate with things like this?

"Yeah interesting would we be the same persons, how much does your country form you? The whole idea with metal was, I guess with the underground, where I come from, from the eighties, it was more of a global thing, you know, you even had guys from far-off countries, like even Africa, Costa Rico was usual, that was normal, you know lovely, they were always hanging in there from the beginning. Yeah I think it was really a very global thing. I don't think we wouldn't really be that much different you know. You could take a band like Sarcophago from
Brazil, you know, even if they were from Brazil they would still play brutal music when no one else was. Thinking of so much black stuff, so a lot of respect to SARCÒFAGO. I think we would probably have the same influences as today, but I don't know what our connection would be with the Norwegian scene. It was because MAYHEM had always the spirit for this, when no one else really had. Really all the other people came after MAYHEM, all the other ones and us too! But they kept the spirit alive you know."

Do you think that the new Norwegian black metal bands have a privileged position, compared to bands from other countries, since the old Norge black metal groups have kind of smoothened out the road for the new groups.

"Well new, old, I don't know. I don't know where you draw the line from old and new. Some bands started up in like 90, 91 and some bands started maybe I don't know how many new bands there are, we have got many bands that are playing for a long long time. I don't think of them as new bands, but I think it's now starting of being a big difference between new school black metal and old school black metal. And everyone always wants to ask me "would do you think of the new style?" because they know I'm an old school dude, you know, ha ha ha, but I just don't want to say to much either, just say that I'm into the old school sound. DARKTHRONE doesn't spend a lot of time in the studio, you know we just go in there and play. No fancy stuff from us. We are just a simple band; we're working men."

How would you classify black metal, what is for you black metal? I've had some discussions about this.

"Well I know for sure that I have got the black metal feeling. And in the beginning of this movement I was think, well now we have people around us here and around Euronymous that I know they all understand why we are all listening to TORMENTOR from
Hungary, why we are listening to this and why we like BATHORY when no one else was interested in BATHORY at that time you know. So we understood that we were seeing something special in metal music and it was a sort of religious feeling but we were wondering when we saw more more people coming forth, we wondered, how can all these people have a black metal feeling? That was impossible, you know that, there are a lot of people that ain't real, probably because it's impossible that all the people involved in the scene could have a real black metal feeling. I'm not saying you don't or you do, but I'm saying there is a lot of people that have understood it a little not so strong as we did at that time. We had to have this strong feeling, because why could we make all these crazy things in the beginning, without a great feeling?"

And that was I presume why the new Darkthrone was formed in 91? To spread an ideology for yourself, or more a passion for the music itself.

"Of course, people are always wondering now, why don't you enjoy Soulside Journey and things like this. This was really we don't really plan things. But for us it was really important to say that knowing we're quitting death metal, death metal has become totally nothing for us anymore, you know? We had to say that extreme, we had to draw a line. We were up to our necks in the death metal stuff. That's why we said we'll start again, or something like this, but I think Soulside Journey is a great album, you know, but at that time it was important to say no, and it worked. But I don't know how happy I'm now if I see what has happened it is so many bands. There is nothing to stop black metal now. And I don't know man, it's going to be an
America it's going to take off there Jesus, you know But the old days are definitely over. You know Satyr says, it's over, done, finito, let's move on. But I just rather sit down to dream of the eighties; the nineties are not for me when it comes to so much metal. But I still hear great albums, so I'm not saying, there is probably. I think there are about 30 great albums each year and I guess it was 30 great albums in 91. But I'm not saying it has to be black metal. You know I've been doing that trash stuff and I'm really getting into that, and man, I'm getting tired of my old trash albums, so then I'm going again in the death metal. And I really enjoyed the new MORBID ANGEL, ANGEL CORPSE and like this brilliant."

Do you think everything is already achieved with DARKTHRONE or do you still have many things you really would want to do with your band?

"What I want to do, you know, are you going to do if I want to do a video or so? Ha ha ha, that's not for us, you know. The only plan that I ever had in my life with music was to get a record contract, and I got that ten years ago. And I didn't have a single plan since then. We were just doing black metal; we didn't have plans to make it big. We already played our final gig, we just want to keep on making some black stuff, some black metal. And it's strange: people are starting to make these fantastic albums, I just heard the new SATYRICON, it's tiptop entertainment, it's all-professional. It's starting to completely take off now with the studios we have today and the budget. The metal is really starting to be entertainment now. I don't know where to go, but with Darkthrone we are not going anywhere theoretic, technical stuff. We'll just wait, maybe in eight years it will be a popularity like simple old fashion DARKTHRONE again, and then we will be there, ha ha."

What would you like Darkthrone to be remembered 20 years from this day?

"I don't know if they will remember us 20 years from today."

I'm sure they will.

"He, it depends on who you're asking, you know, let's take the fifties man, and I'm saying rock'n'roll, what do you think? What comes to your mind when I say 1950ties rock'n'roll. You don't come up with the names of the people that created rock'n'roll. You will come up with Elvis, Bill Haley and things like this, this isn't just right man, these are just the people who sold the most. But I want for the nineties or the eighties, or the whole black metal thing that at least MAYHEM will be remembered 20, 30 or 40 years from now on, because they are the ones that should be totally remembered I think, and for the rest of us, it's not that important. But it's bad I think, it will be very sad if the bands that sell the most, like in the 50ties, but it will happen again, that's typical. You don't get that much credits for staying more or less underground. But we even said now when we were recording the album, that we were wondering how many it is going to sell, and if it sells more than 20000, then we would start to get a little bit worried, you know, ha ha, if you know what I mean. We don't want to sell that much because hell, we would think something's wrong or so if we sell too much. I think it's amazing that MORBID ANGEL sells that much albums because their last album, or 3 last albums are really uncommercial stuff, I mean that's not girlies-music."
But nevertheless they are very popular here in
Belgium, their last gig was superb.
"That's good, because if you like Morbid Angel albums, they don't really have the cosy sound anymore, you know, so I think it's fantastic that so many people can get in such harsh music they are doing, so that's hope for people ha ha."

During the years many bands have tried to copy DARKTHRONE's unique sound.

"Oh, have they?? I don't think we are unique, you know! That's what we never said, we were mostly just influenced by eighties and mostly BATHORY and CELTIC FROST, you know. We don't think it's unique, I don't know what's the DARKTHRONE sound, I have no fucking idea. I read in many reviews, the reviewer is saying "Oh this just sounds like DARKTHRONE", I don't know what they mean, what the hell is DARKTHRONE? We just try to make some fucking black metal, we don't sound that unique, you know."

Well, but many people think this, there are many clones around. You know for example the band JUDAS ISCARIOT?

"No."

It's an American band, the sound is quite the same as DARKTHRONE, I think, also a bit slower now. But DARKTHRONEis perhaps a bit more harsh.

"Well., I've never heard of these bands, I'm NOT interested either. I just want to continue to listen to music that gave me the black metal feeling. There are not a lot of bands that can give me the black metal feeling now. But I'm not saying that I'm listening to fucking everything you know. It's impossible, do you listen to all black metal that is released today? It was crazy how the scene changed with all these small labels and with everything coming into the picture. I mean in the eighties you could at least see, you knew all the labels, now with so many labels it's unbelievable. It's amazing that the scene changed this way, but I don't know, a lot of people say that it's killing the music and everything, but it's getting a bit more independent as well. I really have no opinions about the scene changing in this way, it's not important for me."

Does the music you create for DARKTHRONE come spontaneously or does it demand some special efforts?

"No, I don't really hang around and play my guitar every day, I don't fucking like to play instruments, you know I hate playing drums and I don't like playing guitar really. I'm making like this, I'm always making HELLHAMMER stuff now and I'm doing that for a while. When I'm making a song, even if it's for this project we're going to do know with NECROPHAGIA dudes and things (EIBON), then I will also make this probably, mostly always typical the type of riffs you want to hear when you're drinking beer in your pick-up truck and throwing beer cans out of the windows and going (evil spoken) "Alright", that's the kind of sound we're basically looking for, no romantic black metal here, ha ha ha."

I know that most people will ask you a lot of the new album (I also did), but I also would like to know what is currently happening with your sideprojects. It's because there are so many rumours and debate.

"Oh, rumours and debate, so waw, what about that. I'm doing the EIBON project together with Maniac from MAYHEM and Killroy from NECROPHAGIA, Satyr from SATYRICON, Phil from PANTERA. It seems that this is going the right way, but it's a lot of work of getting all of us together in the studio because we are busy people. People are always talking about this because it's funny to talk about this, like it's fun for journalists when they have a lot to write about when there are projects like this might be happening. I'm not saying it's going to be something fantastic, and I mean like with the DARKTHRONE album also, I'm just saying "same old, same old", you know it's another album. I'm not good in doing commercial for myself you know and I really hate to say (evil voice) "Ohhh, it's sooo fantastic, I get orgasms when I hear my new album" [a lot of fucking laughing! -ed], you know , that's not for me. I mean people shouldn't be wetting themselves waiting for these albums, I don't think so. But SATYRICON, that's the worst wait I think, it's a very entertaining album. It's more like old metal, you know what I mean with old metal, it's got all the styles, like trash, death metal."

It's more in the vein of the mini Intermezzo?

"But Intermezzo was just the intermezzo, you know? Now it's (with an Italian accent) "the grand crescendo" you know, yeah, yeah, it's pretty much majestic I would say, and I've always been the biggest fan of Satyr's style of writing either. I was arguing with him when we were making riffs, because I want four to the flour, you know straight ahead and he always wants to make ornaments in the music, but with Meggido they did shot the Goldenberg I think, but you will have to wait another 2 months I guess if you don't get the promo early."

I also wondered what happened to the Spacelab album from NEPTUNE TOWERS?

"Ah, fuck that man, it wasn't good enough to be released. Blehhhh."

OK, next one, any new STORM or ISENGARD?

"NO, because now I've been making the DARKTHRONE and EIBON and I'm also doing VALHALL which now sounds like a mix between Jimi Hendrix and old BLACK SABBATH, because we have this fabulous songwriter and guitarist, so I'm playing some pretty funking shit on the drums there. I'm doing these 3 projects: DARKTHRONE and I'm doing EIBON and I'm doing VALHALL. I'm not doing anything else right now. I might, I want to do another ISENGARD in the future, that would be like HELLHAMMER-like songs I guess with a rotten sound of course. When it comes to sound picture in black metal I feel more connected to the punk attitude then the metal attitude, you know? I would rather have the sound of the early UK SUBS than DREAM THEATER."


If a real Jesus and God would pass you in the streets, how would you feel about the situation ? What would you do to them ?

"Well you see them every day, ha ha. It's just ATTITUDE. I always had a problem with attitudes, it's such a big thing you know, we are discussing how much energy are we supposed to use on this, you know? I'm thinking for instance that Satyr doesn't really give a shit. Satyr wants to use his energy to create what he has created. He started with 2 fucking empty hands and now he's got a label going, he's got a lot of good musicians on the label and shit, what I'm saying is that people should follow his example, you know? To use your energy on yourself, creative in stead of thinking of too much religious questions. But I'm not going into religions because I've been sitting here for all day talking about it, you know? I'm not too happy doing that. Next question, go go go, I would say I have to go to the forest but I've got a bus to catch, but just ask more."

If the end of the world came tomorrow, what would be your last act ? Would you regret anything you have done in your life ?

"Well, it would be nice, what I will do, I would probably watch South Park, I don't know, ha ha ha What the hell would I do You know this is better for writing, if you do written interviews you should ask this, because I don't think a lot of people have thought this trough and I definitely haven't. I would probably get fucking drunk or I could just go into the forest because if I knew it was going to happen, I totally don't know. Maybe I would just shoot a lot of people down or so, there are a lot of possibilities to do crazy stuff, but you know, if you would have 24 hours you could have enough time to do pretty crazy stuff. I mean it will be one hell of a party, ha ha ha, everyone knowing that the apocalypse is there yeah totally cool."

Do you like the introduction of industrial sounds in black metal? DODHEIMSGARD, THORNS.. ?

"I don't think it's industrial at all, I think it's just creative, but I'm not really into industrial sounds. It's not funky enough! Ha ha ha No I was never big into it, I just like a little old MINISTRY or something like this, but don't make me listen to FEAR FACTORY man then I would kick your ass!"

I won't! Some people think to linear like "hmm black metal is evil, and racism is evil ,.. .OK so now I'm a racist and I want to kill all people from other cultures. But on the other side there are people who think "politically" correct and yet listen to extreme metal.

"If you're a racist, I don't think that you think racism is evil. If you're a racist then you feel like anserine is evil. That everything against you is evil. This is another question that we could sit here and talk about forever man, asking about evil and good, but no I could give you an example. If you're raising a kid and you say to the kid that you can't eat candy, that you can only eat candy once a week, because it's going to give you a hole in the tooth, it's going to hurt ya. So it's GOOD for you that you don't eat candy, and then your grandmother is coming to visit, or your mother, that would be the grandmother of the child and she would bring the kid lots of candy, because she wants to be GOOD for the kid, you know, and then there's a conflict because both parties think they're GOOD, who is right? Fucking unbelievable This is the state of the world today, we can't really agree on a lot of things. When people can't really agree on some basic things then we have a real problem. But we don't have a real problem because it takes all kinds to make a world at least I guess it takes all kinds to destroy the world too, ha ha ha."

Nowadays there are many soft, cheesy melodic "black" metal bands. Compared to early bands like DARKTHRONE, MAYHEM etc these sound like pop-music. But nevertheless they sell many CDs. Did you never get the idea to create such a poppy album?

"No, why the hell didn't I do that I'm reading interviews with people that were in the scene in the eighties and they always had this "Why why did you like to listen to, especially with KREATOR, why did we get a kick out of listening to CARCASS? It's because it was extreme, total maniac music, you know and that was some of the thing I want, I mean I could like nice metal too, but then I would rather listen to a band called OMEN from the States which was something '85, '86 or half there, a little bit IRON MAIDEN like, then I would rather listen to this. But with black metal I didn't really want to create so much extreme things, it was more of a very hideous atmosphere, that caught my ear, but still we have a lot of maniacal black metal, that's great, but I don't understand the whole structure, the type of riff structure. I don't know nice, I don't agree on the notes it chooses and things like this. But hell man, I haven't heard that much things that have been irritating me, because I don't listen to, I don't want to seek this music out, I don't want to try to find it, you know in Norway there is no black metal being played on for instance Elm street, you know. We don't have to listen to it. It's more MOTÖRHEAD we're listening to. You know when we're in the studio and thinking "Well what would Lemmy do?" Ha, ha, this is basically a cool rule.

Probably get drunk?

"No no I'm more talking about decision making in music and I would sit and make a riff and think "would Lemmy do this?" ha, I'm kidding but I'm talking about but that would really be a smart thing for people to think about. Before they do their romantic stuff, because Lemmy ain't that romantic. There is too much romance in the metal these days, at least when I see album titles and reviews and things like this. It's really soft. I like soft music, but I don't want it in metal you know? Everything to its own time. And you know you will be hearing the new DARKTHRONE album and you will perhaps not know but I've been listening all sorts of fucking music a lot, for I know the fact that some of the metal scenes maybe here a few different albums that they like and they start to change the sound a bit. And I don't know why the hell they have to do that. Because if I would have been influenced by what I'm listening to, DARKTHRONE would not sound as DARKTHRONE at all, we can't just change like that. It's the same with Nocturno Culto also, he's been listening to psychedelic stuff and we haven't changed a bit man! No problem, you've got to be able to listen weird music without changing your band afterwards. At least WE are not changing."

What do you think of bands that succeed in making out a living of being in a band?

"I think that they probably wanna live of the music, I don't want to live of the music anyway. What I'm thinking is that if you want to live of music, you've got to do sometimes what your boss says to. It's just a few few people who get so big that they can say that they are their own boss. I'm thinking this, I'm not saying that this is correct, I'm thinking this, so I 'm thinking in DARKTHRONE we can do whatever we fucking want because we don't fucking need to play, we don't need the money really, we can really do what we want, that's brilliant you know. But what we want to do is, like we want to play old school black metal and nothing more."

About the new album again, is there already a release date?

"The fourth of October. Wuw, wuw, and we have a forest on the cover, a big shock, yeah."

We know that the world-population is still growing and we still aren't able to leave the planet on a huge scale, do you think your new CD could be a driving force for engineers to create spaceships so that metalheads could be deported to Mars?

"Ha ha, well I definitely start to think that humanity is starting to look like a plague, you know, mother nature, we will see how long it takes before she is going to blow the whistle and start to regulate us because we just don't regulate the animals, we kill them, but who the fuck is going to kill us? Someone's gotta kill us, ha ha we're going nowhere fast, you know ha ha ha ha ha, it's brilliant but I don't think it's going to be a total disaster before I die, I might die any day, but it would be nice to see it all go down, you know. And you know for sure, that's a horrible thing, a terrible uncertainty that there will always be new life, and it will be the same thing over and over again. I guess the big question is, are we going to leave the planet before we inevitable have to. I guess we are going to make that. But I don't know what metal people will be looked upon like when that will happen. Cause man if I look upon a guy like Satyr, I would look upon him as a lead, not only in metal but he's a creative person, he's a survivor, right? A lot of male people like me are"

Well speaking of dying, how would you like to die? Fast, slow, or do you consider yourself immortal?

"I have wide lunacies (???) how I want to go...I don't know man someone asked if I wanted to go if I had a hangover or when I was drunk, I've been thinking a lot of suicide, man it's easy to stand and you're just seconds away from death if you stand at a tall place where you can just throw yourself out, but hey, what if you don't die? What if some sucker comes to save you take all those pills and everything like that and then you're what are you then? You didn't even manage to kill yourself, I mean that's a bit totally horrible It's like falling out of the boat and missing the water, you can't do anything right. I think that I you really blow your head off, well people have actually known to miss that as well I've heard that drowning should be pleasant but I don't know. I don't know how I want to go. I think you would totally be really sado-masochistic or masochistic if you would like to die slowly, that would be the ultimate masochism. I'm just killing myself to live; I'm not killing myself to die. Have you got many more questions?"

That was the last question I really wanted to ask.

"YEAAAAHHHH, it was a nice interview, but I've got to run."

Any final incantations???

"You've got to watch out for the project I'm doing with my friend Matt from
England who does almost John Tardy vocals, completely the same as John Tardy, you know OBITUARY and Astennu from DIMMU BORGIR, we're playing WOMBATTOR, and we will do anything live, throw or crush xylophones or anything like that. All right, that's all I have to say, thanks for doing the interview with me. In 40 years I will be sitting in a chair watching TV and go "hey, no one's interested in doing interviews anymore""

Well, then we will call you back

"Ha ha ha, ALL RIGHT, party on man, bye!"

So that's the end of this very entertaining interview with a guy who is considered as a god in the black metal scene. But in doing this interview, I noticed that he's a guy like anyone else, he's also human, only more intelligent than most metalheads and someone with a strong personallity. A person with a strong spirit capable of creating music that is unholy to many! Thanks to Fenriz, Moonfog and Mikko for letting me do this interview!

28.7.2011

Yearning interview from Qvadrivivm #4 (2001)


When the Banging Does Not Stop

Interview: Arkadin

With tragedies adorned, from plaintive scenes and fresh out of the frore meadow, Yearning have been creating original music in the underground for many years now, perpetually refining themselves and their unique brand of death metal, classical and experimental music rolled up into one with each subsequent album. I have got in touch with the main composer and vocalist/instrumentalist, Juhani Palomäki, via electronic mail, to uncover some of the nuts and bolts of the machine… Read on and learn as I do more of this great and totally understated band…

When I encounter Juhani the first question I ask is of something that I am sure must have caught many people off guard; namely, the apparent reduction of the band from five members to two. What happened to Tero, Mr. Woodland and Lady Tiina between the Plaintive Scenes and Frore Meadow (Holy Records 2001) recording sessions? Are any of them still actively involved in the band, or will Yearning remain a two-piece for the time being?

“The members you mentioned were kicked out of the band because we just couldn’t work with each other in that old line-up,” Juhani replies. “I wrote all the material of Plaintive Scenes also so it was no problem to make a third album as a two-piece. None of the former members are involved in the band anymore, but we’ve got new session members for live performances: Matti S. on guitar, Loikas on bass and Jouni J.N. on keyboards.”

I was pleasantly surprised that with Frore Meadow the metal core still remained strong without any compromise in regard to the avant-garde and progressive elements that are so characteristic of the band…

Juhani agrees: “The album came out spontaneously and the result is very professional. I’m satisfied with it. There’s no limits concerning musical expression on this album and this was a basic idea: to work with interesting musical themes to create something once more unique. The first part of the album is the ‘easier’ one and on the second half there’s more experimental material.”

Experimental in title also, it appears. It’s a curious choice for a name. Could the Frore Meadow overtly symbolize anything in specific?

“The title can be interpreted in many ways, but it could stand for a hollow inner landscape or emotional coldness, for example.”

In regard to the challenges recording the new album, Juhani sees some specific ones: “The challenge in making this album, besides lack of rehearsals, was definitely the method of how we did it, because we’d never done it this way. I went to the studio alone to work with the engineer Ahti, recording guitar and keyboard parts and after there was a lot of material on the tape T. Kristian came to check out what was going on and to record the drum parts. After the drums were ready I recorded the bass-lines and vocals, et cetera. Anyway, it seemed to be working in an excellent way with this inverted method.”

Did it take longer than usual to record the material?

“The material of this album was written partly during the years and also partly during the sessions,” he says.

What were some of the sources of the samples and electronics used, if you can divulge?

“What comes to the effects on this album we just used our imagination. I’m not really informed about electronic music.”

Informed enough, however, to try out some strikingly courageous experiments on the new album, several of which utilizing the samples and electronics I’ve mentioned. The tracks Years of Pain and Disappearance are especially unique for Yearning. Have these new approaches been fulfilling; the classical instrumental in the former and the ambient soundscape in the latter, looking back now that they are committed to tape?

Juhani: “I believe Years of Pain could have been better with better equipment. Disappearance was made to confuse the listener and that’s what it does. I’m listening almost exclusively to classical music, so that influence will always remain.”

Looking back, the production on all of Yearning’s music has been excellent ever since the inception - even the demo material sounded great. It seems that Tico-Tico studios has some sort of special significance for the band in recent years. Is there any special reason, outside of the obvious, of why it is the preferred Yearning studio?

“We’ve produced pretty different sounding albums in Tico-Tico compared to the other stuff recorded there. We’re satisfied with the results and Ahti is also a great engineer and personality. Production is definitely one of the most important factors in any album,” Juhani affirms, “with a bad production you can kill any material.”

But what about when you want your music to sound dead purposely? When you strive for a ‘necro-production’? Seems that in the case of Yearning the music is strong enough to stand on its own, minus any extraneous embellishments.

Is music then the sole outlet of expression for everyone involved in Yearning? Or do the other members engage their creativity in other things worth noting? How much of a role, exactly, does music play in your lives?

Juhani keeps a low-profile to my question. “Music has been a big part of my life since being a child and it’s still my main interest.”

Is it possible that the melancholic character of Yearning is an extension of the real life experiences of the band members - in other words, does Juhani ‘live’ the life of the music? It’s a fair question, I think, as it’s very easy to come to such conclusion judging from his passionate creations.

“There are real life experiences and felt emotions behind our songs, but there’s also imagination and symbolism in the lyrics. I guess writing this music has always been a way for me to handle the negative side of myself and that’s why I think I’ve captured something really emotionally powerful now and then.”

An effusion of powerful and personal emotions, if I may say so. In the Yearning lyrics there is so often mention of pain, desolation, sorrow. It really does make one empathize… well, it makes me empathize anyway. What is the most painful part of the human condition if such a thing can be quantified? How can such things as mortality, anguish, etc. be evaluated?

“The world is full of suffering, so I think it’s quite futile trying to measure what’s the most painful misery. We live, suffer and die and one just has to bear it; it’s just as simple as that. The best thing about banging your head to the wall is when it stops…”

Is pain therefore an essential part of life? And could the modern quest of erasing it - particularly mental pain - betray a futile, vain, and ultimately short-sighted endeavor?

Says Juhani, “Erasing mental pain with medicines has of course its place when needed. We would end up in chaos without them - a nuthouse called the world.”

A nuthouse, indeed, of no escape, unless, maybe, if you have a great deal of power and a great deal of cash. Has Juhani ever imagined living in another period of time, or another place, in order to, perhaps, escape from this nuthouse?

“Not really I’m OK being here right now.”

Returning to the band, if a visual-accompaniment or a ‘video’ for Yearning would be made, something to capture the essence, what would it be like - if only a few seconds of it? Is it possible to translate such feelings into images and vice versa?

“This of course depends on the song and its atmosphere. Slow-motion pictures would likely do a favour to many songs of ours. Of course you can succeed in capturing the right mood at least in some way. Basically it’s about personal impressions.”

Does Yearning consider itself a proud member of any ‘scene’ in particular? What are some of the things Juhani would like to see changed in the metal world, if he could make it happen?

“We are a metal band. Right now I haven’t been following too actively what’s going on in the metal scene, because I’m mainly concentrated in listening to classical music. Anyway, good albums remain good albums.”

As certain artists today receive a great deal of spotlight, while others, some even more deserving, receive very little, is there any band or artist to mention that has been disregarded, as we in the underground understand the word, by the public?

“Well, naturally we should be the ones selling millions of records. I haven’t heard any really astonishing stuff for a while.”

Well, a million sold or not, now that three CD’s have been released, three ‘chapters’ finished, so to speak, what does Yearning plan to do now? In the dim haze of the future, can any definite shapes be seen? As Juhani has written both the music and the lyrics on Frore Meadow, will there arise a point where he will consider working alone, without anyone else?

“Right now our main priority is playing live and we’re looking for a tour this year. I’m also gathering musical ideas together as always. I have no particular reason to work without such a good drummer as T. Kristian.

Any consideration to produce the demo on CD sometime?

“Our demo must be very rare stuff nowadays,” he says, “but there hasn’t been any plan of releasing it on CD anyway.”

The interview drawing to a conclusion, some interesting bits of knowledge noted for posterity, I thank Juhani for his time and patience with my questions and finish by asking him if there’s anything else he’d like to add for our readers - any greetings, hails, fuck-offs, etc. The imagination is the limit. My best wishes to everyone in Yearning.

“Thanks a lot for this original interview. Those of you not familiar with Frore Meadow, check it out, goddamnit. Greetings go to all our supporters. Cheers!