Exclusive interview for hellfest.fr: KAMPFAR [Dolk (chant)]
“We think a lot about this: we don’t want to do the safe thing all over again and again and again” – Dolk – Friday 17 June 2016
How has been your day so far?
My day has been fantastic because 7 days ago I was rushed to the hospital and I was really thinking that I was not going to make Hellfest. Yesterday was the best day of the recovery so far and today we did the show and I’m just remarkably happy to be here.
Kampfar is a regular at Hellfest. I guess it’s a festival you quite like…
Yes, we do, we do. We always kind of speak good about Hellfest. We’ve also been on a lot of big festivals several times, like Wacken for instance, and I’m not talking bullshit about anything but I think that Hellfest has a genuine way of thinking about music instead of just making a big amusement park, you know. Hellfest still counts about the music. To me that’s very important and to me that’s one of the best festivals in Europe right now, to be honest.
You were still on stage a couple of minutes ago. Instead of chilling out with your mates, you’re doing interviews. Is it necessary evil or something?
(laughter) Sort of! But somehow I got used to this. I’ve been in Kampfar for 22 years now and we’ve been touring more or less since 2005 so it’s part of the business, you know. It’s really important for the record label as well. For us, it’s not such a big issue anymore to be honest but I like to do interviews when it comes to just talking like now. But I stopped doing e-mail interviews though because I have no time. Interviews like today are totally fine by me. Totally.
Do you share Primordial’s Nemtheanga’s point of view? He thinks that festival culture is killing touring.
No, not really. I don’t think that’s the thing. Over the last years, we’ve toured several times and we are going back on tour again in October and also in Italy in November. It’s what you make out of it. For me, it doesn’t matter anymore because – I’m being honest now – I really like playing on big festivals but I also enjoy going on tour, playing in small clubs for 300 people: it means the same to me. It doesn’t matter if the market is a little less because of the festivals and I don’t think that. I think that people who are genuinely interested in music and in your band are coming for the show when you are touring. Festivals are something different. People are there for many bands. I don’t think it’s a competition at all. I don’t feel like that. When we’re touring, there are people who have been following us for several years, you know, which is really cool obviously but festivals are really cool too: there’s a bigger audience and a new audience maybe. So I don’t think these two compete. That’s my opinion: they don’t.
Kampfar’s been quite productive over the last couple of years, with 2 albums in 2014 (Djevelmakt) and 2015 (Profan). Will you offer some new material in 2016?
When we started with the Mare album in 2010, we had this rough idea about doing 3 more albums and we have now done 3 more albums and that’s where we are right ow and we haven’t discussed the future at all. We had a set out to do these 3 albums and now we have done it. And right now, we don’t talk too much about what we gonna do next so I cannot answer! (smiles) I cannot answer that but right now it feels really good to be in this band and we are going to play live more than ever: that’s the focus right now. We’ll see what happens.
Are there some stuffs you’d like to experiment live wise at this stage of your career? Like incorporating traditional instruments or a choir for instance?
Of course, we always think like that. When we did Djevelmakt, we did songs that we had never imagined we could do. So we try to push ourselves, the limits. And with Profan, we got the Norwegian Grammy, which is also a very big thing for us. Also, that’s why we try to push ourselves and maybe the boarders of black metal in general instead of thinking what the audience wants to hear. We think more about what we want to do, where we wanna go. The audience will have to follow or will have to fall in a way! (laughter) We are musicians and we are a band and we are very… We think a lot about this: we don’t want to do the safe thing all over again and again and again. We want to develop and of course it means to bring in new elements.
I’m far from being a black metal guy. Apart from Kampfar and Satyricon, there’s hardly any other black metal band I buy albums from. How could you explain that those two manage to get my attention?
You know, in Norway, there’s always been a big competition between the black metal bands. It has always been like that but I think that Satyricon started something with Nemesis Divina. That album kind of opened a field a bit and I think that we did start some sort of the same thing with the 2 last previous albums. So in that way, maybe you can compare the two bands… The mindset is probably different but music-wise, if you could paint music, there’re a lot of similarities between Kampfar and Satyricon, maybe.
What will you be up to once all interviews are done?
Right now, I’m going to eat dinner! (laughter) This is actually the first show for 22 years for me without drinking any alcohol. So I’m not drinking ant alcohol or doing any drugs or anything today. And my plan is to totally enjoy the festival, talk to a lot of people and meet loads of friends. And then go home to my family on Saturday. That’s my plan.
Last question. I need you to finish that sentence for me: “This is a story I’ve never told before and I probably shouldn’t but…”
What can I say… I can tell the story that 7 days ago I was feeling really bad and I was rushed to the hospital with a heart problem and breathing problems. I did something that the fans never knew so that it’s probably something I should not tell but now, I’m telling it. But I’m here now and it feels so good! This is the truth and that’s why I’m only drinking water today. I have to grab my life back again now because in the early days I had some troubles with drugs and stuff and I have to clear up again now to really come back on track again. It’s a good thing. I’m telling you this because it’s a good thing for me. There’s also a motivation to maybe tell about it, yeah.
Many thanks to Elodie & Charles (HIM Media).