Kampfar - Nature, heathendom and metalOn the 2th of November Kampfar will be performing at de Azijnfabriek, Roermond, The Netherlands. After releasing Heimgang not too long ago, we would like to enlighten you what Kampfar is all about.
Hey guys. How have you been?
‘Hello to you! We just arrived home from our small Tormentor Tour 2008 in Portugal, Spain, Italy, France and Belgium so I have a lot of mixed feelings now. The tour was in fact a big success when it comes to the audience and great feedback on the shows. I am totally happy about that, but it sucked big time when it came to our agency Icon Music and the organized part of the tour. It all ended up in a broken down bus in Austria and that we had to cancel our show as headliner on a festival the last night. Kampfar has now ended all co-operation with Icon Music and will from now on only work with our new agency ICS.’
Could you please introduce yourself and the band for those who didn’t pay attention for the last fourteen years?
‘I am Dolk the singer in the Norwegian band Kampfar. The essence of Kampfar has always been pagan/ heathendom, superstition in mankind, life in general and not at least nature itself. Without nature, Kampfar wouldn’t have been Kampfar. Nature has always been the main force and inspiration for creating such music at all time for me. Nature is in my soul! What could possible be more true than this? So I guess you can say that I follow nature. Nature is my religion!
Kampfar was an idea I had even before we started up with my old band Mock in 1991. But due to lack of time during the Mock period, Kampfar did not take place before the split of Mock in 1994.
I had a very clear vision about both the outfit and what Kampfar should sound like and be like from the very beginning. I named Kampfar’s music back in 1994 for “Norse pagan folklore metal” and to me no one ever came up with a better explanation or labelling of our music either! The main idea behind it all is just as simple as that I really wanted to do something more real and provide honest work in this music scene than these tons of “evil kind” of bands with no substance. With Kampfar I wanted to create something that is 100% real both to myself as a person and musician!’
On the 26th of September you have released your latest full length Heimgang. When listening to Heimgang all I can do is close my eyes and wander off; the atmosphere is amazing. But what were the overall reactions to this album? How do you feel about that?
‘Thanks a lot for thy great words; it’s really nice to hear and an honor! The reactions have been very good indeed! It has almost taken me by total surprise to be honest, because the reviews really have been so much better this time all over than the case was with the previous album Kvass and that means a lot to me of course. So I am really happy about the situation right now.’
Why did you choose to title the new release Heimgang? In what way does the name of the album represent the tracks on the album?
‘Of course this album also deals with a lot of topics and myths from the North. But it's not fiction or fairytale metal what we do. The word Heimgang itself is in fact a word that was used here in the North some hundred years ago. The word explains the path or connection between our own existing world and the underworld. This specific connection or path was called heimgang up here at that time. So it’s pure history in fact. When considering this you can say that the whole album is dealing with topics around this theme.’
What were your biggest influences when you were writing Heimgang and why?
‘Hmm… the biggest influences when it comes to Heimgang must be again to be able to create something that is 100% Kampfar both in music and lyrics. I guess in the bottom line that is still the main force. There are of course a lot more reasons for creating an album, but in the end it’s still to try to create something that is my personal thing. No doubt about that.’
What is the reason for Kampfar to use only Norwegian lyrics on Heimgang? Could you please explain what the lyrics are about, since the promotional material didn’t elaborate on that?
‘When it comes to the lyrics I must say that first of all, I am Norwegian and therefore I of course also express myself best in my own language. And yes…there always has been an idea about this because a lot of the topics my lyrics are dealing with are Northern topics, Northern nature, mythology and superstitions that lies in the Norwegian nature and in the Northern nature and heathendom. These are very important issues in Kampfar’s music and aura and therefore are best expressed in Norwegian, I think. But we have done two different songs in English up til now, that’s correct: Norse and Ravenheart. This is done more in way to try to explain to the non speaking Norwegian listeners out there what our lyrics and music is really about. These songs could of course also have been done in Norwegian, but we decided to do this in English for our foreign listeners. The content for the lyrical aspect will still be mainly Norwegian. But I can not say at this moment whether there will be more English songs or not.
Almost 80% of this album is written lyrically about true events that happen here in the North and about events and strong thoughts and beliefs of the dark folkloric stuff people used to believe in hundred of years ago. This is stuff that people have totally forgotten in these days. So you can maybe say that Heimgang is a history lesson from the forgotten North then. Hehe.. Heimgang is much more direct both when it comes to the music and lyrics. As mentioned before, almost every track here is based upon true events or dark myths that happened here in Norway 200-500 years ago.
To start to tell about each single track on the album would maybe be over the top here. But I can take the song Antvort as an example. Antvort was in fact a priest that lived just one kilometre away from my house. He was practising for about 200 years ago in a local church here. The church is still valid today actually, so it’s quite fascinating to see it now in real life and then know the story behind it all. Antvort was what the locals called a “black priest”; he had a lot of knowledge about both the white and dark sides of things. Officially he was a white priest and the Norwegian state was supporting his acts of God, but the locals and especially the kids knew that there was a different side of Antvort if I can put it that way.
So as you probably understand this song and also the rest of the tracks on Heimgang deal so much more with true history and dark actual local events from my home place. For me this is definitely the most personal album so far, no doubt about it!’
What would you say is the biggest, musical difference between Kvass (release: 2006) and Heimgang? Why did you choose a different path?
‘Well, I would not say that we have chosen another path on this album than the path we choose with Kvass. With Kvass we maybe drew up the sketch for where Kampfar was heading. With Heimgang we have maybe taken everything a bit closer. I’m really proud of this album. I think personally that we have not even made the perfect Kampfar album yet. But we are getting closer now.’
What does the concept of pagan black metal really mean to you? Where do you get the most inspiration from and what is the number one drive behind your music?
'Black metal and pagan metal deal with a lot of different topics both when it comes to the music itself and the lyrics. To me black metal is supposed to be deep and with satanic backgrounds. Otherwise it’s not 100% black metal. Black metal should be very strict in my opinion.
Pagan metal can be more free and alive both in music and content, that’s what I think at least. But then again… it should not be up to me to decide what others get out of this, of course. Everyone should be their own masters and start to think for themselves. And really, I try to focus only on what Kampfar is doing these days, because I know what we are dealing with and I know where we want to go, so for me this is more interesting than thinking about all these rules when it comes to music.
So all in all I guess you can say that this combination of nature, heathendom and metal is just me. I don’t have any other clear answer, sorry. And if others get this or not…..hmm well, that’s really not my problem.’
What can we expect at your gig at the 2nd of November in Holland? With which bands will you be on tour?
‘We were supposed to be on a month tour in October and November with Elite (Nor) and Koldbrann (Nor) as support, but due to all the shit and chaos with our previous agency Icon music we called the last part of the tour off. We will still do both Ultima Ratio Festival (Ger) and the Roermond gig though.’
What’s the next step in the future of Kampfar?
‘The next step has already been taken when we started the work and co-operation with our new agency ICS and of course we also have a lot of ideas already for the future music from Kampfar, but no secrets will be revealed here.’
If there’s anything you would like to add, please do so. Thank you for your time and I will see you on the 2nd of November at Roermond!
‘Thanks for the support and interesting interview! I’m looking forward to the Roermond gig and hope to meet up with a lot of great persons from The Netherlands there, since this is our only gig in The Netherlands this year!
Keep the flame burning still in 2008!’