DARKTHRONE's FENRIZ: 'We Are The Definition Of Keeping It So Real It's Unreal'

Shannon Joy of the LA Music Blog recently conducted an interview with Leif Gylve Nagell, better known in the music community as Fenriz, the drummer and lyricist of the legendary Norwegian black metal band DARKTHRONE. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

LA Music Blog: "Circle the Wagons" was released last year and carries a heavier punk and speed metal influence than much of your previous work. Was that the intention going into the writing and recording process?

Fenriz: There is never any intention; we make what we need to make — in other words, what our hearts tell us to. The opposite would be doing the Christian thing of trying to control every next step, and also the way we record this and that and how we write. There are no plans, and we only write one song each at a time. So there you have it — we are the definition of keeping it so real it's unreal.

LA Music Blog: Musically, DARKTHRONE seems to be doing a 360, returning to a similar sound as to where the band initially started out. Although the process somewhat began with "The Cult Is Alive", what was your motivation to take such an extreme departure from black metal?

Fenriz: Easiest motivation: R&B '60s and what R&B became in the '90s remind me of a lot of what I've always got the black metal feeling from, and what "they" have been trying to peddle since, well, 1995-ish. Here's some explanation, but I'm just winging it as usual. Those who get it will get it, and the others can take a long walk on a short pier: Well, we had the inspiration we needed to make black metal already in early '91, meaning our inspirations came almost solely from the '80s. Seeing how press, newer clueless "scene" people, and record companies alike changed everything plastic and hyperfast into being "BM," the party had just gotten too lame to hang out at anymore. This happened for Zephyrous and Nocturno Culto already in '92, for me it happened in '94 when I didn't really like any of the new styles after that, but regardless, took responsibility for fronting the way of black metal. I still do — this week's "Band of the Week" is black metal and this year I will focus on spreading more black metal bands than usual. But playing it myself isn't what I crave at the moment.

LA Music Blog: You've been pretty outspoken about your disapproval of the book "Lords Of Chaos", but then appeared in the documentary "Until The Light Takes Us". What made you decide to be a part of the film?

Fenriz: I can't really disapprove of it if I didn't even bother to read it. Haven't you sometimes gotten a promo CD and you started to listen and you think after 14 seconds, "No," you know they got it all wrong? Well, that's the "Lords Of Chaos" book for ya. The movie that Aaron and Audrey did I did because they are cool as hell. I didn't see it yet; it's my own choice. Already in '88 I didn't like to receive my interviews back typically three months after I did them because I'd already moved on a lot in my mind about lots of the things I'd say. Now, here is a movie that was shot 10 years ago, and in addition to that, I was coming out of a depression at the time, so I'm sure you can understand I'd be uncomfortable watching it. I mean, I don't even like watching me when I'm doing funny stuff on TV here in Norway.

LA Music Blog: There is a lot happening this year in the DARKTHRONE camp, but what else do you have in store for 2011?

Fenriz: Making more compilations, always doing that, but I'm happy doing them just for other's blog pages really! WAY better than DJing: I kinda quit that, just doing one-offs now. Like the METALUCIFER show that Proxy is setting up in April here in Oslo. Kudos, Proxy. And this weekend, I attend the only festival I go to, Metal Merchants. BROCAS HELM will be playing this year. Although when I curate my "own" festival again in London this year (Mark Lewis' Live Evil festival), I prefer new bands that play old styles instead of, for instance, Germany's Keep it True that mostly has old bands that still play or have reformed. But anyway, festivals like Keep It True and Metal Merchants do more for old metal than most others, so they are all cool in my book. Then we gotta record some more songs after they are written. 2010 saw major life changes for both Ted and me, so we only did two songs that year; we need 7-8 more for a forthcoming album. But, you know, we don't wanna make any plans or anything.

Read the entire interview from LA Music Blog.

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