Interview: Darkthrone’s Fenriz on ‘The Underground Resistance’
You’ve often chosen to go against traditions and trends in Black Metal. Why do you think so many other bands can’t grow out of those ideals? What drove you to do it?
We only did some albums in the style of black metal, anyways where we come from, the 80s, black metal wasn’t ONE STYLE it was blackened metal really. One can be stupid and say that 1st album of testament and 1st album of destruction are both thrash but everyone with a soul or musical brain can fathom the pure thrash of the first and the blackened helldrive of 1st destruction compared. We did not start out as anything but a DEATH EPIC DOOM band of sorts, (recently found a never used logo that says just that on a banner on the logo) and the became epic deaththrash, then changed to technical horror death metal since summer of 89 and then again when death metal was starting to become to standardized and polished (during 1990) we changed to older style, hailing Celtic Frost and Hellhammer and Bathory on A Blaze In The Northern Sky, probably the first retro album in metal if you think about the hindsight/reviving spirit that was all over us then in 1991.
The only total black metal album we did was under a funeral moon that was written from late 91 until it was recorded in summer 92. Then we shifted gradually and slowly. And we see songs where y’all see albums, that’s another problem in discussing this matter, ha-ha. I can’t discuss other bands. I can talk of Darkthrone’s natural changes as we all change as humans, most of us except retards or rain men even sort of WANT to change. It’s natural. Diversion is also natural. However, as humans, also Darkthrone does not change it name during these changes. Then we ought to have a lot of different band names by now. No, look at it as an experiment, how natural can a band be? Darkthrone.
Also our metal will mirror what kind of metal we are most keen on at any moment (very natural thing to do) but if you are just thinking money it is NOT a natural thing to do. But we follow our hearts. But the mirroring…takes a long time, it’s not like we just change records on our stereo from Burzum to early Def Leppard that just takes seconds. Changing ones own songwriting naturally takes years, I’m afraid.
Darkthrone has come under fire as being racist and for your ties to Burzum. Why do you think people are so quick to judge you and what is the reality of your beliefs and ties to Burzum?
Long time since I heard that, haha! Well, first of all us on the inside never thought CHOOSE SIDES after all that happened with the murder. It was a tragedy that rammed our friends. While the outsiders, like scientists studying a wolf pack, quickly wanted us to choose sides. That behavior just shows that outsiders want to decide what the wolf pack should feel and make unnatural boundaries. Moronic. I had a great relationship with both Euro and Varg and that never changed or will change, I reckon. I take the vibe with me. So a band like WEAKLING is racist just cuz it’s obviously super inspired by Burzum? I don’t get it. You are a pedophile just cuz you like listening to Gary glitter? That kinda argumentation is dead in the water.
Darkthrone’s fan base is more diverse than most in the extreme music genre. Why do you think that is? Why does Darkthrone appeal to such a large group of people?
Cuz we were born in 71 and 72, grew up with the start of heavy metal from the heavy bands of the 60s and 70s and up to bands like napalm death when most boundaries had been broken. Then we decided to stop there, didn’t need no further experimentation, we already had monotone black metal from Bathory on the under the sign of the black mark album, which is the basis of most of the recordings coming out of Norway up to 93. It was from mid 90s that a lot started to copy and experiment at the same time, creating some sort of modern stuff, at the same time the death metal stuff was becoming ridiculous with typewriter drum sound and fast for the sake of fast. Then came Goth metal and nu metal and at the same time people had enough and slowly the old metal styles came back and now they are a huge part of the metal realm again and we are there too.
What I’m really trying to say (Uriah Heep sweet freedom reference) is that we love all the good styles but we don’t TRY to play them. We just play them and we ARE them because we ARE our metal record collections. And we always had old sound, lo fi sound. And that sound don’t attract trendies or mall kids the most, it attracts people that want something to bite into, to spend time liking, acquired taste not instant gratification. And I have a flaming love and interest for metal and I spend more time promoting other people’s music than I do promoting Darkthrone. That was maybe some of the reasons, I don’t know
You’ve released sixteen albums, each different and each one unique. How do you continue to tap into that creative vein after so many years?
I don’t know how Ted does it. We don’t talk about it; he never talks about his songs. I just continue to fill my head with old metal or new metal that sounds like old metal, or any heavy rock from the 70s and 60s and beyond, and any other style of music almost. And then when I finally get a riff into my brain, I must fetch the guitar and make it work. And because I never stopped worshipping other peoples music and I always have my ear to the ground – I might not be making anything obsolete, like so many “veterans” that just listen to their own band or bands that aren’t any cool – only they don’t realize that they’ve lost it. So many veterans that broke up come back again and fear that they mustn’t be dinosaurs and think they need to sound more like system of a down or slipknot on their comeback album. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA pathetic. Sorry. But I just had to get that outta my system.
Any hope of another Isengard album or is that all done for you?
Isengard stuff Is kinda incorporated into Darkthrone, and if I made Isengard it would probably sound like what I do now in Darkthrone, like Valkyrie or something. Anyway I never say never but it’s also a question of …. I had a studio at home when I did the Isengard albums; I love to work on my own. And I have enough with Darkthrone these days. Living situation changed drastically since I lived at Vinterbro and had rehearsal place and studio in my living room 1990-94.
What is your opinion of black metal these days and extreme music in general?
Didn’t have that term extreme metal back in the day. Every style has great and shit bands. But most black and thrash and death and doom and…NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal) and us power. I liked all the EARLY styles, I liked all the parties until the idiots came and ruined the parties. Black metal these days, it’s like 19 year ago, 18 years ago, 17 years ago, when the idiots arrived. Lots of great bands. Lots of weak ones. But I am biased, I like and FEEL the 80s styles, no matter what kinda metal it is, so I’ll always choose those, unless they play old style with new stupid production.
Those who saw the around 200 bands I put out on my blog know the truth here and can see that extreme metal is never I term I use and also doesn’t really fit most of the bands I hail, I like traditional styles and also OFCOURSE mostly 70s sound (many metal recordings from 80s had the 70s still in them cuz they had low budget and had to use 70s studio equipment) and 60s and so on.
Listen to HOUR OF 13!!!
Keep up with Darkthrone at their official website.