One of the most refreshing BM albums I heard in 2006 was simply called 'I' - the debut output from a promising Norwegian band that goes under the name of Gjenferdsel. It seemed only natural to contact founder and mainman Iudex for a chat...
Greetings Iudex and Thank You for agreeing to this interview with Vampire Magazine. How are you keeping these dark winter days?
The dark winter days are actually my most creative period of the year. So both me and my band are fine, thank you!
Since we last spoke, Gjenferdsel’s superb debut album, ‘I’, has been released on Ketzer Records. How happy are you with the finished product and what has the response been like thus far?
First of all, thanks a lot for the compliment! I'm quite happy with the album myself. Henning Ramseth did some splendid work in Space Valley studio and Alex at Ketzer Records really worked his ass off releasing the album and with all the extra work this process has taken. About the reviews, there have been both good and bad ones. But overall most reviews have been above average. For me, ratings are not so important, as long as the reviews contain constructive criticism.
Do you have any idea how many copies you have sold? Do you even care? A lot of black metal bands claim they don’t want to sell their music, but I can’t see the logic in this. Obviously it’s a small scene and the figures are going to be modest, but I’m guessing you want some kind of positive feedback?
As far as I know, about 1000 copies have left the label, and about 200 copies have left Black Forest only here in Norway. We don't have the exact number from music stores, distros etc. I don't care that much about the sale rate myself, but of course I hope that neither Ketzer nor Black Forest gets bankrupt because of our band [laughs]!
I mentioned in my own review of the album that it provides a perfect mixture of harshness and natural beauty, but without overdoing things in terms of melody. The music sounds very natural and organic but is also shrill and fierce... Would you agree with this? Was it something that you set out to achieve?
Yeah, I totally agree with you. To be honest, I don't get the same out of the fastest and most extreme black metal. Some people obviously seem to think that this is how it should be, but the best atmosphere is, in my opinion, achieved by slow, catchy and melodic riffs. It's when you manage to mix both beauty and ugliness that you have achieved the complete essence of what I think is black metal.
How proud are you to be Norwegian?
I'm definitely proud to be from Norway, but at the same time I'm not proud to be a part of the Norwegian people as we know it today. In fact, I'm not proud to be a part of the human race at all. But yes, I'm really proud to be from Norway, and of course I'm proud of our heritage and our beautiful nature.
You were due to play live at the Anti-Christ-Mess Gathering in Trondheim on December 9. Did that gig take place and what was it all about?
Yes, the gig definitely took place. It was an arrangement by a Trondheim-based organiser called Zone, and I guess it was meant to spoil the false joy of Christmas. At least it was for me [laughs]. I think the gig went quite well; at least we received a positive response from the audience. Anyway, the organisers really showed a professional attitude, so I'm glad we got the opportunity to play there.
A lot of BM bands have neither the capacityn or the desire to perform live, but Gjenferdsel seems keen to bring its music to the masses - how important is the live arena?
For me personally the live jobs are not so important, but I think that it's important for the band. And of course you get another feeling playing live than being only a studio band. With the right audience and circumstances, a band may create atmospheres and emotions that will be remembered for a really long time.
To what extent is Gjenferdsel a personal vision and how much collective input is there?
As I'm the only founding member and the songwriter, I think my own personal vision is very important for the band. Still, both Invictus and Infestus contribute with the arrangement for their own respective instruments. This has been quite important for extending the variation of our music, and to fulfil the musical scenery of Gjenferdsel.
How did you manage to get a deal with Ketzer Records for the debut?
Actually, Alex at Ketzer pre-ordered our demo. So when we released it I sent him a copy. We also sent it to some other labels, but Ketzer seemed like the perfect choice for us. So when Alex offered us a deal for our debut CD, we agreed to it. And I'm glad we did, as Ketzer is a splendid label.
I believe you also run your own label – Black Forest Records. What can you tell me about BFR? What releases are pending?
Black Forest Records isn't a label, it's a distro. I started it in 2004, as I started to import some metal music for friends etc. As time passed, and the amount of customers increased, I also expanded my business. I've also had a label in my mind, so maybe I will do releases on Black Forest Records in the future.
Would you like to be in a position to release your own material some day or do you even have any idea what label the next Gjenferdsel output will appear on?
It is not unlikely to use Black Forest to release releases where I’m involved in the future, but nothing is certain, and at the moment we are very pleased with the job Ketzer is doing for us.
Personally, I thought 2006 was a very good year for black metal. What is your own opinion on this and what are your favourite releases from that year?
I think 2006 was an average year for black metal and a rather bad year for metal in general. I didn't exactly discover much good music, but Elite from Norway, Trollech from the Czech Republic and MGLA from Poland are three really good bands I would recommend!
Do you listen to any other music outside of black metal?
Of course I do. Even though I mostly listen to old school black metal, I also listen to many kinds of genres; death metal, drone, grindcore, rock, heavy metal, and even some blues, country and classical music.
Not necessarily related to music but I’m guessing you are into culture and national identity so: who do you think are the three most important Norwegians in history and why?
Edward Munch for putting Norwegian art on the world map; Nils Gaup for directing the best Norwegian movies; and of course Alf Prøysen for all his great music and stories.
What other interests/hobbies do you have away from music? I’ve recently bought a DVD of a Norwegian movie – ‘Øyenstikker’. Have you heard of this? Is it any good? Should I even bother watching it?
My other hobbies are design, photography etc. but also same as you: movies! To be honest, I haven't seen “Øyenstikker” yet, but I’m pretty sure it's a decent movie. Still I would rather recommend you Norwegian movies such as Shipwrecked, Svidd Neger, Villmark, Ofelas. Nowadays I almost don't watch Hollywood movies anymore. Mostly international movies: Norwegian, German, Russian and Korean.
Okay, I’ve probably wasted enough of your time! Thanks again for the interview and Best Wishes for the future from me and my comrades. Any last words for our readers?
Thanks a lot! Sterkest står den ene!