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Interview: Dark Funeral Talk Black Metal, Satanism and Touring New Zealand

Interview: Dark Funeral Talk Black Metal, Satanism and Touring New Zealand

Fluffy / Photo credit: Hannah Verbeuren / Thursday 5th September, 2019 9:55AM

Sweden's Dark Funeral have been stalwarts of Scandinavia's feared and revered black metal scene since their 1996 debut The Secrets of the Black Arts. 2016 saw the quintet drop their sixth full length Where Shadows Forever Reign, which they've been relentlessly touring since, including playing at metal mecca Waken Open Air festival in Germany. The purveyors of musical darkness will be touching down in Aotearoa next week to spread their aural blasphemy for the first time in Auckland and Wellington. Ahead of the sunless gig rituals, UTR's roving reporter Fluffy beseeched the spirits of unholy communications (aka Skype) to commune with band leader and founding member Lord Ahriman, for a discussion about black metal's portrayal in popular culture, the vinyl resurgence and, of course, Satan...

Dark Funeral

Monday 9th September - Valhalla, Wellington
Tuesday 10th September - Whammy Bar, Auckland

Tickets available HERE via UTR

Fluffy: Tell us a bit about your recent opus Where Shadows Forever Reign? Was there an underlying concept that was driving you during its creation? Did it just flow naturally? Did you take any different approaches to that than previous albums?

Lord Ahriman: It was a couple of years in between the records and I was going through a pretty tough period. When I finally started writing for the new album, I had lots of inspiration from that period to take note of all the darkness that I was in. In that way, it was more of a life saver to start writing the new record and at the same time it was quite normal for me to put in more personal input to everything, which, in a way, made the writing process easier, because everything just came very naturally. Every record is personal but this one was on a completely different level because there had been so much going on in my life.

Your 2000 album Teach Children To Worship Satan has recently been reissued on vinyl. What are your thoughts on the recent vinyl resurgence?

I think it’s cool. For every record we released, I always pushed for having it released on a gatefold vinyl. I'm a sucker for gatefold vinyl, I always liked it when I grew up and I still like it. It's a big folder that you can open up and it just presents the record in a better way. I’m looking at myself as a listener and as a fan of many bands, that’s the way I wanna have a record. Also, the sound is much better than a CD you have a much more open and filled up sound on a vinyl. It’s a completely different sound picture.

It's also a generation kind of thing. I think the people that grew up in the years after my generation and now until it came back a couple of years ago, those people don't really have the same experience with vinyl as we do. So that’s the lost generation. [Vinyl] is much cooler, but of course, it's really convenient with Spotify, you have it on your cellphone when you’re moving around. Its difficult to carry around a vinyl player.

In a couple of weeks you’re heading to New Zealand have you guys played here before?

Never. So we’re definitely looking forward to it. We’ve been to Australia, where we play right before we come to New Zealand, two or three times, I think. So we’re really looking forward to New Zealand and everybody has always been saying good things about New Zealand, the nature, the environment. So finally we’re going to get a chance to experience it a little bit and meet you guys, that’s going to be great.

I read recently that in America that someone stole your stage armour. That’s pretty disrespectful.

Yeah, we had a car burglar. This was two days after tour ended fortunately, so we didn't have any problem with the shows. Someone broke into one of the cars we had and stole everything inside of it. I guess it was an inside job from the hotel because the car was parked right outside the 24 hour reception. The alarm went off and this is ten metres from the night staff and nobody fucking cared. It was definitely an insider job, so fuck that hotel. Even the police said well, this is definitely an insider job but we don't have any proof to arrest the staff. I know you can make reviews online for a hotel and I just haven't had time to do it, but that hotel is definitely going to get an official review from me. I won't forget it, that’s for sure.

I wanted to ask you what you thought about [recent film] Lords of Chaos? Do you think it’s a positive thing that these stories are being told, so that actions such as Varg [Vikernes]’s are not repeated? Or do you think expressing these stories might potentially encourage vulnerable people to engage in self-destructive behaviours?

No, I don't think it's going to influence people to do bad things. I think more that this is a movie that reached a bigger audience, I think people are going to be like “oh shit, let’s check out that music” and through that they discover the black metal music. Maybe that’s the impact it’s gonna have. Of course, it’s a historical event that took place in a big music scene. There’s been millions of documentaries about the hip hop scene so I’m not surprised it’s coming into black metal. Whether I like it or not, usually, personally, I'm turning down pretty much every documentary request I get. I'm not interested to participate in much of those. I’ve done one or two and maybe I would do one or two in the future but I turn down 95% of requests. Personally I'm not so interested in being a part of that but as fans, I guess they think it's interesting to watch.

On the flip side of that question, part of the tenants of black metal, as tied with the occult, is that there’s sort of an element of secrecy or maybe there was back in the day. Do you think that bringing it to this larger audience is slightly watering down some of these ideals? Or is that crossing into elitism territory?

Hard to say but I think what came out from the movie isn't really so in depth. What really was going on was a little bit more deep in reality then what the movie shows. Of course, there was a chaotic side but there was also a serious side of it and the serious side didn't come out too much in the movie, which I guess is good because it’s kind of hard to portray the seriousness that was really what was going on at that time. It's easy for it to become a big joke with everything when you try to portray it like that, so I think that was maybe a wise move but it’s hard to say. The people, us, who were part of that era, we know what was going on and it's just a touch of everything that shows in the movie. I guess it's impossible to make a movie which really does everything complete justice.

Dark Funeral lyrics, as with many black metal bands, discuss Satanism. I wanted to ask you your thoughts about Satanism’s recent representation in popular culture. Do you think that people are coming around to the ideas expressed in Satanism recently?

I think the more knowledge people get, the more aligned that the people become, the easier they will attract you to a more healthy way of life and how you view things, instead of following some made up fiction stories.

Is there anything you’d like to tell New Zealand audiences?

I'll see you guys in a week, we fly out in twelve hours from now. We have thirty hours of travel ahead of us so it’s going to be a long day.


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