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NAGLFAR studio report

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WEBCounter by GOWEB    


Kristoffer Olivius Kristoffer Olivius
April 2003

I talked to Kristoffer Olivius of NAGLFAR about the upcoming album, the past albums and life with Naglfar in general. We started to talk about the new album directly:

I have listened to the new album, "Sheol", and I must say that I think it sounds a bit like the natural progress from "Diabolical". A continuation of the Naglfar sound that was started with that record. Was it something like "Sheol" you wanted to achieve with "Diabolical"?

No, not really. "Diabolical" is exactly the way we wanted it to be from the beginning. When we made it we wanted a record that was a bit harsher, a bit more dirty. Not that the sound should be crap, but we wanted it to be more raw than the first record, "Vittra", which many people find so darn elegant and beatiful. We wanted to show another side of the band. On "Sheol" we try to integrate the two earlier records, without reinventing ourselves.

Have you got any own favourite tracks or parts on "Sheol"?

It is so hard to say with this record, because we have been doing it for so long, and been constantly making the songs better, some of the songs are very old... At the same time we felt that it was important to make a record where everyone thinks that every track is goddamn great! Every track is very different, in the way I see them anyways, but they sound like Naglfar and they can stand on their own.

The track "Unleash Hell" sounds even more different?

You are right there! That song was one of two that we did not do as a band, I did it myself. It came really quick to me, was finished in about ten minutes, and it is a song that everyone in the band thought was great from the first minute. I did not think that it would last until the final record, basically because it is so simple, it is straightforward and simple, but it did!

So do you write everything together in the rehearsalroom?

Yes, we do, and it hurts as hell! There is not much else to do in Ume. We are close in the band, and one of our goals is that everyone shall have something to say about every song. If you have made something that you think is great, it is good if someone else can come and tell you that "that sucks, we cant use that!" That is the way it has always been, and somehow we made it so that everything sounds like Naglfar! Weve got a vision with Naglfar, that it should sound a certain way to make it onto the record. That was one of the reasons why Jens (Rydn) did his Dead Silent Slumber record. The songs are fucking brilliant, but they aren't Naglfar. We are tough against ourselves and say no. That is something that goes for everyone in the band: if someone dislikes something we throw it away.

Is there much material that is being thrown away like that?

Yes! We kill a lot of songs, which makes it Naglfar - Sheolvery painful to write them.

Regarding the sleeve, did you give Niklas (Sundin, of Cabinfever media and Dark Tranquillity) free hands?

From the beginning we had a few other guys that were working on it. You know, "Sheol" is Hebrew for hell, in the most used translation, but it can also be translated to grave, or whatever happens after death: some kind of limbo where everyone goes. That was the thing I think Niklas cought so well. It started with an idea that Niklas had and sent to us. We thought it was brilliant, changed a few things and sent it back to him, and he made it great! One of the things that makes it so good is that it is does not follow the rolemodel for what a metal record should look like. It is more abstract, more like "Seasons In The Abyss" (Slayer, 1990) or "Reign In Blood" (Slayer, 1986). We are really satisfied, and we have got many positive reactions from all around regarding it. It just looks bloody great!

Have you been selling alot of records? Your earlier stuff has been sold out for quite a while!

We have sold quite good when keeping in mind that we are a Swedish black metal band. For example the vinyl that is beeing released now, is already sold out! It feels great to be able to experience something like that when you have been doing this for so long! One of the reasons that it goes this well might be that our music is quite easy to get into. We want it to be easily accessible, not so bloody pretentious and hard to get at.

Have you any written songs for the next album?

We've started to make some riffs since "Sheol" has been delayed for a year, some structures to build on, but we have no full songs yet. We'd like to make the most out of "Sheol" because we are not a band that releases new records every year. The band is still there, that is the most important thing. It has been there since we were like 14 years old, with the same guys to build on. Marcus (Norman), our new guitarist works great. We have known him for a loong time too. Matte (Mattias Grahn), our drummer, is bloody great too! We've had lots of drummers. The guy we had when we recorded "Vittra" could no longer be in the band. He was much younger than us, and we pushed him quite hard, which actually made him learn a lot, but at the same time I guess that broke him down. I think he felt that he wanted to try something new, without people telling him what to do all the time. So it was natural for him to move on. It took a while before we found Matte, who could be a stationary drummer, but he is, on the other hand, brilliant and I think he's got his own static style.

I was thinking about these re-recordings of old songs you have made. Were you not happy with them, or did you get an new angle of approach?

We were really happy with them as they were. It had nothing to do with that. We were thinking about doing a taster for "Sheol", and then it was natural to choose "Of Gorgons Spawned Through Witchcraft" since it was the first song we did after "Diabolical", which is quite easy to hear. There is a new generation growing up, and they have had no possibility to have records since both "Diabolical" and "Vittra" have been sold out for a long time. "When Autumn Storms Comes" (7" vinyl) have been sold out for a long time too, so out of respect for the collectors, we did not want to do a re-release. The Massacre song ("Dawn Of Eternity") was a song that we all could agree on doing, since it is a band that has meant much for us in the band, and it is darn brutal song! The song has meant something for all in the band and I think that we made a great version of it, eventhough we don't like to do covers. It does sound like Naglfar though! Since those songs were already on the internet we felt the need to remix them if we were going to re-release them, so we mixed the other songs so that they sounded good together, and released a taster with things we have done earlier, and one song of what is to come. During that time we needed something new with Naglfar out on the market, to draw attention on the coming release.

I really like your version of "The Evil That Men Do" that is on the "Made In Tribute" (Iron Maiden tribute, Toys Factory 1997) record. What is the history behind that one?

Ohh! That one was a long time ago! We are old Iron Maiden fans, which can be easily heard on the first record, "Vittra", it is like British heavy metal crossed with black metal.

Why did you choose that song?

Because it is so darn great! And "The Evil That Men Do" is what we are doing musically. The problem now is that we have played that song too much, which is sad when you are listening to Maiden while partying or something, and you have to skip that song because you are tired of it. It is a bit sad that we did a Maiden cover, since you never can be as cool as Maiden anyway. We were just a bunch of kids from Ume! But we got time in the studio when we did it, in Sunlight, which was big for us and we thought that it was really great. We did also record "12th Rising" at the same time. That song was on "A Tribute To Hell" (Full MoonProductions, 1998) and later on "Diabolical".

I was in Wacken 2001 and saw you live, which I am happy I did since the stage and Naglfartime got changed in the last minute. What did you think about that gig?

So you were one of the few that there was room for in that little tent? Well...They told us that we had 40 minutes to get to a tent that was somewhere over there. We were searching for it, and when we finally found it, it was time to enter the stage! We had barely no time to tune the instruments, and no time to get mentally prepared for the show. It seems like the audience thought that it was good though, it was a furious show!

You dont do that much gigs at all, why is that?

Well, there is a reason for it...You know, we live in Ume, which makes Naglfar an "expensive" band to arrange a gig with. And we dont really like the thing with travelling a whole day by car, and then get right up on stage to do a gig, without getting anything at all from it! We are trying to do gigs with serious promoters that can guarantee an interest in the band, and that can give us the possibility to travel by train or flight, and to - maybe - make something out of it. I mean, it is a bit sad when all around you can see that everyone makes money out of music but the artists! It is not about trying to get as much cash as possible, we just want things to be right! If you give all you've got, and put your soul into something, then you are worth at least something little! Especially when the same promoters can give 40 000 to some popular shit-band!

What is the "metal climate" like in the northern parts of Sweden nowadays?

In Ume, where we are from, it is growing good right now! Jens and Markus have got a promotor thing going on that is called Midnight. They are arranging death metal gigs once a month, and somtimes other metal gigs. They are trying to rebuild the scene again. There are many things being made up there. Another band of mine, Setherial, is releasing a "best of" record on Napalm this spring, and a new release on Regain this fall. Bewitched will release a mini CD this spring and a full CD this fall, so we keep it going!

Great to hear such things! Well, that was it I guess. You take care and good luck!

Thank you!

submitted by Andreas 24.07.2003









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