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INTERVIEW: Ask – Kampfar

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WORDS: Laura McCarthy

KAMPFAR have been an active force on the black metal scene for years now. Since their emergence onto the scene in 1994, the Norwegians have been a force with their craft. Before their latest release, Profan. was released we caught with drummer Ask to talk about the new album, the band’s artistic direction and what drives the band in 2015.

Hi there it’s Laura from Distorted Sound magazine, hope you are well! Firstly, how are you enjoying the album now it’s finished?

Ask: Now it’s finished it’s in the past, so on my part I don’t listen to it any more. There is too much coming up to focus on to spend time with that which is already fully materialized. But there was a very enjoybale period once it was just completed when we could lean back and appreciate an album that to us sounds like we nailed everything we attempted to put into the album, the song writing, the lyrics, the sound, the visuals, it all.

How has the process of recording this new album been?

Ask: It was written over the winter and spring here in Bergen, partially through studio work but more so through a lot of jamming and fine tuning in the rehearsal room. We have a really rewarding creative process in this band where everyone is involved and where we push eachother constantly to step out of any possible comfort zones. After the initial basic tracks were in place in our studio in Bergen, we went to Sweden to record the drums in Abyss Studio, as the room sound combined with the studio kit combined with Jonas Kjellgren‘s deep understanding of our sound meant we got the exact sound we were looking for. Vocals were then done immediately after in Waterfall Studio in Oslo, where Stamos Koliousis assisted in getting the bile onto tape. Here we also had our shaman master Geir Torgersen help out on didgeridoo and throat singing. And after all of this, it all went back to Jonas who nailed the mix, with very few notes from ourselves.

What did you set out to achieve musically this time around?

Ask: We don’t really start the album process with any goals, we can only do what we do, what comes natural through the process. But early on we did have some clear thoughts on the sound, the vibrations which emanate through the album, and we nailed that part this time. It also became clear quite early on that we would step into an even wilder energy than on Djevelmakt, that there would be nothing that was contained, just free flowing expression of all that we are in 2015.

As a band, do you think that you’ve progressed in the making of this new record?

Ask: Life is progress, at least to us. One foot in front of the other, keep going, you will grow, develop, maybe even attain some wisdom. That doesn’t mean I think this is a better or wiser album than previous efforts, in fact I think every KAMPFAR album has it’s own strengths and weaknesses, and that is why they are such strong releases in the first places. Human beings are great and rotten at the same time, as is the art created by human beings. This is something to embrace, there is only so much you get to do with your few years, and for us we just dig into our own world and create, then leave it to the rest of the world to reflect over it.

You’ve just released the amazing video for Daimon- the first video you’ve released for a pretty long time. How was that experience? Did you enjoy filming that?

Ask: The experience was ace all the way. For us the work part of it was small, we spent a weekend in Krakow and filmed with Red Pig Productions, but their work was immense, so much effort went into the creation of this video. From the first discussions about ideas they took anything we threw at them and made it bigger and sicker, and nothing seemed a challenge, it was just “let’s do this, let’s throw that in there, let’s add more of this”, and the video turned out better than we dared hope.

The look of the video is amazingly haunting, what inspired you for the concept?

Ask: The video is based on the lyrics. We are aware that even though we mostly express ourselves best through our Norwegian lyrics, that the majority of our listeners do not master our language. So this was a time to tell the same story through imagery, which I believe just adds to the depth of this song. Again, Red Pig Productions took any part of that little story and transformed it into these strong images, these guys have the talent and devotion to match our view of performing music visually.

Is this the way forward for the band, making more cinematic videos?

Ask: We will look at future videos on an individual basis, maybe we will do a more classic performance video, maybe we will do something completely different. We only think one step at a time, and then we move on to the next. For now we have some thoughts on what’s next, but that will be revealed in due time.

KAMPFAR have been around a long time, what drives you after so long?

Ask: We ask ourselves this from time to time. It seems that age makes the fire grow stronger, and I can honestly say the band has never been as hungry as right now. We are ready to go back out into the world and perform songs from all our 7 albums, and look forward to meeting all the good people out there during our upcoming trek with GORGOROTH and GEHENNA, as well on the following tours that are being planned. We feel a strong desire to take the next step, and then the following step, and then yet another one, and for every step we feel stronger, more focused, more powerful.

What do you set out to achieve when you make your music, something for yourselves or something for the fans?

Ask: You would probably get four different replies depending on who you ask, but for me personally this is all about my own enjoyment. Yes, it is truly great that people connect with our music. And yes, it is tremendous to see the connection we get with the crowd during a show. But there is such vast amounts of work that go into this, and the driving force behind that is personal, the gratitude and pride that comes with it must come from within for it to fuel the way forward.

Finally, now that the album is pretty much ready for release, what are you up to?

Ask: We are doing a couple of shows where we play only 90s material, connected to the BlekkMetal festival here in Bergen, a one time thing with some of the great bands of early Norwegian black metal. Then there’s full focus on new material and creating the right live show for the upcoming tours. For me personally I also just released an EP with HADES ALMIGHTY and we did our first shows with this new lineup. And then we’re writing a new album, which is already sounding very promising. On top of that I’m also early on in the process of writing the next KRAKOW album, plus doing some guest work on some different projects, both drums and vocals. Times are busy and times are great!

Thank you for your time, hope you have a great day.

Profan is out now via Indie Recordings. 

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