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Darkthrone Interview

A Conversation with Fenriz

By

Darkthrone

Darkthrone

Peaceville Records
Updated March 06, 2013
The legendary Darkthrone just released their latest opus The Underground Resistance, which received great reviews and was named the best metal album released in February by this site. I caught up with the always entertaining Fenriz, who gets us caught up on what the band is up to.

Chad Bowar: How did the songwriting and recording process for The Underground Resistance compare to other recent Darkthrone albums?
Fenriz: It pretty much continued where we left off. The first two songs were made and recorded even before Circle the Wagons was out for sale. Then things came to a halt as we both got new girlfriends and life altering situations thereof. but all the while we were writing, more or less.

A song might take years to put together, but when we meet to record, it's taught to the other person and we record basic tracks within an hour or two. After we got our second wind of releasing albums in 1999, we released 8 albums in 11 years then, and I think a break would materialize in 2010 anyway.

The songwriting for Circle The Wagons was split pretty evenly between you and Ted. Was that the case for this one?
It has been like that since, well, the first album we did that on was Total Death from 1996. That continued with Hate Them in 2002, and then we did it like that ever onwards. Nothing new under the sun there, but the total splitting didn’t fully appear until this album as Ted wrote all his own lyrics on this one.

What will you remember most about the creation of this album?
Probably the long and arduous journey for the “Valkyrie" song. It's seldom that half the rest of a song takes a year and a half to enter my brain.

Would you characterize the style/sound of The Underground Resistance being in a similar vein to your last few releases?
Yep. Journos are always looking for something different to put the proverbial musical coat on, but it's just a whole lot less punk this time and a whole lot more of old heavy metal.

A couple songs on this record are among the longest you’ve recorded in quite a while. Was that a conscious decision, or just how they happened to turn out?
We don't make plans, really. We've been keeping it short and sweet for a while now and we've always done both, so a couple of long ones on this album was no shocker.

What inspired the album title?
My life long fight against the more soulless sound production of the metal scene, which began in the ‘80s. I am still shocked (as I was then) over how much more soulful the Mercyful Fate stuff sounds compared to the more streamlined King Diamond stuff. I'd still like to hear Pyromania by Def Leppard with a more ‘70s sound like the Scorpions Taken By Force album, for instance.

This situation just got worse and worse during the ‘90s. I think The Underground Resistance kept the ‘70s sound closer to heart, and the others wanted to try all sorts of plastic sounding endeavors.

When it comes to creating the artwork, what was the level of collaboration between you and the artist?
None. I don't like that. I like finding an image that fits and using it. We paid, of course.

Late last year you released a special 20th anniversary edition of A Blaze In The Northern Sky. How was it received?
Beats me, and I don't know how it was received in 1992 either. I seldom read reviews. When the album is out I have little time doing much else than interviews and forging onwards.

There was a bonus disc of your recollections and memories of the album. Did you enjoy reminiscing about that era of your life/career?
It's a duty, but also thrilling to find I could make commentary tracks for albums. It might have been my idea to bring this to the audio world. It is common for DVDs. it's very personal, no script to say the least, and people get so much more and different information than they would through an interview. They get the truth, or at least, MY truth.

20 plus years ago could you have imagined Darkthrone would still be around and making music in 2013?
It looked bleak when all the other guys moved far away after having recorded Under a Funeral Moon in the summer of 1992. I took a break and decided to forge on on my own in late 1993. Luckily Ted wanted to be a part of it and sang on that album (Transilvanian Hunger) and so we just continued. We didn't discuss it much, nor make long term plans. I guess we love to make old style metal tracks always.

You guys don’t play live anymore. Is there anything about that experience that you miss?
I didn't want to do it anymore after the Finland tour of early 1991. I played one more with DT after that and some sporadic ones with Valhall but there is NOTHING I miss about it. There was nothing I wanted from it back in the day either, it was just something you had to do to show your music to people. It was something you had to do to be noticed, I guess.

Are you currently involved in any other musical projects in addition to Darkthrone?
Not as such, but I am the musical dictator at Kniven bar in downtown Oslo. There's the Band Of The Week blog and my reviews and articles. I spend most of my time promoting other peoples’ music for free, not promoting Darkthrone. It's weird to many perhaps, but that's how it is.

You’ve mentioned you struggled with depression in the past. Is that still something you deal with?
A lot of work and little sleep can bring those thoughts on, but after one has been through one depression the mind knows you can handle and survive another.

What are your interests/hobbies outside of music?
Sex, beer and the forest.

What’s the best advice someone gave you?
Very good question. Hope for the best, expect the worst? Don't carry all your eggs in one basket? Necrobutcher told me in 1987 that when you had recorded an album, it seemed like a good idea to let it rest for a while, like 8 months, until you listen to it again. I don't know how that is possible, but it seems I often do it, or try. You gotta talk about the album for months around its release, so you gotta just try to remember what it sounded like, and then suddenly it's years until you hear it again. So I half way tried out that tip.

Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
Get your mastering done by Jack at Enormous Door if you want fat sound and listen to Hour of 13!

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