Svarttjern lacks labelling

Taking some of the philosophic elements of their first album “Misanthropic Path Of Madness” and taking it to another level with their new album “Towards The Ultimate” which be released six days before halloween in the USA on Agonia Records. Svarttjern been flying the flag of true kult black metal since 2003. One thing I like about this band, they never seek approval from the mainstream crowd or seek glory or popular acceptance which is prevalent in the Norweigan black metal scene. They remind of the earlier time of the second generation of the second wave of the black metal movement which was created by Mayhem and Dark Throne.

Hello how are you today? I hope everything is all good in your neck of the woods? Sept. 25th Svarttjern will be releasing their sophmore release “Towards The Ultimate” on Agonia Records. How does this album differ from the band’s debut effort?
It differs in a number of ways, but most of all musical wise. The new album shows much more diversity in the songs and arrangements. We have even managed to make the album over 40 minutes which is a new record for us. On a more technical aspect the members in the band has gotten considerably better on their instrument which makes it easier for me as composer of all the instruments to get ideas down without thinking of ‘are we good enough to play this’ and things like that. HansFyrste continues in the same ideology and philosophy as the “Misanthropic Path Of Madness” album, true fans can expect more unrevealing when reading the lyrics.

How long it been since the band released their first album?
The “Misanthropic Path Of Madness” album was released in 2009. The “Misanthropic” album as this one was recorded about a year before it was released.

I don’t know much about the band can you tell about the band name and what source the Svarttjern derive from?
We get this question all the time, especially from the English speaking countries. The name is taken from a painting by the Norwegian artist August Cappelen, We think the painting represents the bands dark nature and art. So the name Svarttjern has nothing to do with “blacktarn” as we so often get called. It is not that simple as google translate. But had we known back in 2003 what we know now in terms of international recognition we might would have had a couple of more discussion with regards to the name.

Did the band used the same studio to record this album?
Yes, we have used Strand Studio now for both for full length albums, a quality studio which can deliver the sound we are looking for. It is located in Oslo which makes it more accessible as well.

Did you guys used the same producer on this album too?
Don’t like that term at least for our albums, we do not use a producer in the typical sense. Everything is well prepared when we hit the studio. If you ask me it would have been more sense in having a producer when one rehearse the tracks, to get input ideas etc, not after the tracks are finished. Our “producer” has a more technician role, he controls all the studio gear and so on, and we control the music.

Are you pleased with the way the label been supporting the band as far as promoting the new album?
So far so good, getting interviews and good promotion so can not complain.

Have you played any of the new songs in a live situation and what the feedback been from the audience?
Yes, we have played the two tracks “Breathing Soil” and “Hellig Jord” both on the previous European tour with Shining and the Inferno Festival. The feedback was great, especially good hearing it from our fans, as the tracks are a bit different from the debut it. The “Towards The Ultimate” album is also perhaps more “headbanger friendly” not by intention at all, just came out that way. Our new live set will have more mixtures from both albums, don’t think will ever play the whole album just because we are promoting it, would rather promote the band.

Can you tell me and the readers about the songs on the album and what your main source of inspiration when start writing songs?
I can only speak for myself on this question, HansFyrste and I have very different approaches when it comes to creativity. Inspiration wise it’s hard to say, I try to distance myself as much as possible from music when in a creative phase. As cliché it might sound I often feel inspired and creative after visiting new places, it doesn’t have to be the mountains or in hell, could be anywhere. But again it differs from person to person, that is at least how I make the music for Svarttjern.

How does Svarttjern different from other Norweigan black metal bands like Dimmu Borgir or Dark Throne?
Well, if it is of your perception that the two bands you mentioned are both black metal bands and by so plays the same music, I don’t think I can convince you otherwise that black metal is a huge genre with tons of different aspects.

How’s the Norweigan black metal different now then when it first started?
Very different I would think. Think perhaps Norway has lost it’s position of “leading provider” of quality black metal, tons of new black metal bands have appeared and I personally thinks the Swedish bands are taking a bit over. Not that is means anything to us. Musical wise it has altered a lot, one have much more possibilities to day then for 20 years ago. To day you can almost label anything black metal, typical suicidal black metal, black trash metal, there are so many new sub-genres popping up these days, so the labelling does not mean anything to us.

I feel the movement is becoming more of a cash cow thing than a underground movement when I started to get into it?
No, I don’t share that view. Think the scene as gotten so divided from mainstream black metal and underground black metal that the movement is fragmented and do not share that many views and ideas of the music as before. With that being said the genre still has room for so called underground bands getting huge such as Watain, but also room for Dimmu Borgir which obviously makes music for the sole purpose of selling albums and making money.

Are there any bands you like listening to now these days?
Other local Oslo based black metal bands such as Sarkom, Koldbrann and a few others. Tsjuder is a good band, Orcustus from Bergen is a good band.

I like to thank you for your time, is there anything you like to add?
Thanks for the interview. Hopefully we’ll see you all through extensive touring over the next months.

Interviewer: Paul Lewis

Sep 1, 2011

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