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Interview with Varg Vikernes
"Infektion" Magazine (#14, May-June 2012), by Joel Costa

Infektion Magazine"Umskiptar" brings a concept related to the European pagan roots. In which way would you say that this new album is a "metamorphosis"?

It depends on what you mean. The concept of the album is metamorphoses, but the album itself is not necessarily a metamorphosis. It is different from the older Burzum album in the sense that all the lyrics are in Old Norwegian this time, a much more powerful, poetic and beautiful language (compared to modern Norwegian). The music is also slower than for instance the music found on "Fallen".

The concept of the album is the metamorphoses of nature (including man); mainly the transition from Autumn to Winter, Winter to Spring, Spring to Summer and Summer to Winter, and the processes taking place in nature every year.

In this new record there's a song which can be translated to "Golden Age". What is the golden age for you?

To me personally it would be the time when we were nomadic hunter-gatherers, in the Stone Age, living healthy lives in harmony with ourselves. The Golden Age to me personally is the time before agriculture brought malnutrition, famine, wars, tyranny, genocide, pestilence, religions and so-called civilization to us.

In context with this album, "Umskiptar", the Golden Age is the Spring, when the Solar deity Baldur (alias Appollon, Byelobog et cetera) returns from the realm of death and regains his strength.

Are we people - in terms of knowledge and thinking - very far away from that age?

Yes, we probably are. What most people don't know today (because they are not yet allowed to...) is that we the Europeans are about 99,84% Neanderthals and only about 0,16% Homo sapiens, and that this tiny portion of Homo sapiens DNA changed us a lot, and in particular our senses, heads and brains. So we are no longer harmonious creatures, but instead we are permanently unhappy, in despair, and because of that we are and think very differently. You can read more about this on www.mariecachet.com if you wish to.

In the press release, we can read that "Umskiptar" your own return to your roots. Would you explain us why?

Because of the influence on the album from European classical and traditional music. This music is my musical roots, so to speak, so I returned to my roots...

Burzum is not a live act, as you prefer to make your music some kind of a personal thing. Why don't you support the idea of playing live with your project?

Well, I could list a number of reasons, but I guess the main reasons would be that I don't approve of the rock'n roll (anti-)culture cultivated by the normal live performances and also that I just don't like to meet individuals I don't know all the time.

I read that you recommend to people to listen to Burzum alone. Since you spent a lot of years in jail, would you say that this wish of yours is because you also spent a lot of time listening, feeling and imagining your music alone?

No! Not at all. (I wasn't even allowed to listen to music most of the time I spent in prison anyway.) I had this attitude in 1991 as well, and there is nothing new to that since then. Like I stated above, I don't approve of (any) rock'n roll (anti-)culture and I have never made music for a rock'n roll audience, so to speak. Back in 1991 I even imagined that each song I made would be a spell and each album a series of spells, and they were supposed to take the listener on a journey to somewhere else like to the Golden Age I described above. The music has always been from me to you (singularis) as a listener. It is supposed to create a special relationship between the listener and the music/me. I first and foremost make music for me and for others who are like me.

Where do you find inspiration to write your lyrics?

Well, I didn't write the lyrics on "Umskiptar". I used a famous Old Norwegian poem, the Völuspá ("the prophecy of the sorceress"), which is all about the metamorphoses discussed earlier in this interview.

Tell me about the drawing of the cover. For me, it reminds me of death. What does it mean?

It is a romantic image of Natt, the goddess of the night, by the Norwegian painter P.N. Arbo. I used it because it fitted the concept of the metamorphosis, as it takes place in nature also every day, when Day is replaced by Night.

What does life and death means to you?

It is hard to answer that question without writing a book with several volumes, I may add...

Life is a recurring phenomenon all around us, every day and every year. This is of course what "Umskiptar" delves into; the changes in nature, ergo in life, because all around us nature is alive. But it is also dead. Life is born, it perseveres for some time and then fades away into death. So can we see changes in death as well? Well, we do when nature is re-born, and death is (yet again) replaced by life. Or Night by Day. Or the darkness by light. Or the Winter by Summer. Et cetera.

As in nature so in man we are after all a part of this nature as well , so our very intelligent forefathers believed that we too returned to life after we had been dead for some time. Like the Sun returned in the East after hiding behind the horizon in the North during the night.

To me personally life and of course death is a mystery. I do not believe in anything and I do not know anything. Just like I can understand the endlessness of the universe I can understand life and death, but I cannot really fathom the endlessness of the universe or life and death. However, I think I can describe my approach to this problem as somewhat Stoic, because I cannot find answers to these questions, so I don't bother trying either. I accept my shortcoming; I am a mere human being, and the once brilliant Neanderthal brain has been ruined by DNA from the inferior Homo sapiens from Africa...

Now, I say "somewhat Stoic", because I am not always Stoic, and my music is an expression of my less Stoic side and the despair I feel when I understand the world but cannot truly fathom it...

Which kind of battles have you been fighting lately?

Many personal and private battles. None very interesting or dramatic. I also constantly fight my will to truly revolt against the ills of our world. My logic always win, because I have too much responsibilities to allow the will to win.

Author: Joel Costa (© 2012 "Infektion" Magazine Portugal)



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