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Interview with Varg Vikernes
"Radio Metal" (05.05.2012), by Nicolas "Spaceman" Gricourt

In the early nineties you did four albums and one EP in just a year and a half and now you're at a pace of one album a year. How comes you're being less productive now than in the early nineties? Do you prefer to take more time to refine to music?

In the early 90ies I had nothing else to do so I spent almost all my time working with music. I also had a very pessimistic world view and was convinced I needed to finish my records before it was too late for me to do so. Today I have so much else to do as well, and am more relaxed when it comes to the future. I still think everything is going ad undas, but I approach the problem in a more Stoic way, so to speak.

With that said, I can tell that I do spend more time refining each album now.

Finally I can add that there are no "serious" (i.e. commercial) labels or distributors interested in publishing more than one album by an artist each year anyhow. They want to maximize profits before they allow another album to be released.

What actually inspires your creativity nowadays? Is it any different now compared to twenty or fifteen years ago?

No, there is really no difference. I think the best way to put it is to say that I am inspired by the metaphysical vertigo, and the subsequent need to create harmony to compensate for the lack of harmony in our world. I try to add colours to a gray picture, so to speak, to make it more bearable.

You have re-recorded some old tracks and released them as "From the Depths of Darkness". What didn't you like about the original versions?

Well, I found the vocals on the debut album too annoying, and also the lack of a ride, and the technical quality of the second album was simply too bad for me to be able to appreciate it.

What do these tracks and this period of your life inspire you now?

They are memories of what once was.

Has going back into your musical past had any impact on "Umskiptar"? If yes, how and what are the effects?

The "From the Depths of Darkness" album was recorded in mid 2010, in other words even before I recorded "Fallen", so it probably had more of an impact on that album than it did on "Umskiptar". How? Possibly by inspiring me to make more music in the first place, so it might have made both these albums come sooner than they otherwise would have. It is hard to point at any particular concrete effect.

It is apparent on "Umskiptar" that you wanted to give more importance to your vocals and its variety; there are actually a lot of clean vocals. What pushed you into this approach? Is it because you felt limited in your expression with purely raw vocals?

Well, I didn't really only used raw vocals before. Even on the second album there is a lot of clean vocals, used as choir on that particular album, and the clean vocal is there on both "Belus" and "Fallen" as well, so the only thing that has really changes in "Umskiptar" is the amount of clean vocals compared to the raw vocals. This time around I simply focused more on the clean vocals.

The reason why I did this? Because that is what fitted the concept best. I never really plan ahead when I make music. I let the music take the lead, and follow it wherever it takes me.

"Umskiptar" is the Old Norse term for Metamorphoses. Do you have the feeling to have metamorphosed with time, whether it is as a person or a musician? If yes, what has actually changed in you and why?

Perhaps you are identifying the album and Burzum a bit too much with me personally. I am really not talking about me or anything concerning me here. The title refers to the poem used as lyrics this time, the "Völuspá", describing the annual metamorphoses of nature, in a mythological language.

"Umskiptar" sounds rather peaceful and even relaxing. Is it because you're more at peace now than at the beginning of Burzum's career when you had much anger to express?

Probably yes. I am not a teenager anymore, and like I hinted to earlier in this interview today I relate to the world in a more Stoic manner.

The idea behind my music is in any case to enable some of the listeners to really relax and dream, and get a glimpse of the Godlen Age of the distant past, at least for a short while. The more mesmerizing it is the better.

You have stated that "Umskiptar" sees you going back to your roots. Does this mean you're restarting a cycle? And how does that inserts itself into Burzum discography that, I guess, follows this cycle?

To some extent you are right, that I am restarting a cycle, but on the other hand I have to say it is really not like that at all. I return to my roots in the sense that I am today inspired by and drawn to the music I listened to in "my beginning", so to speak. Everything in between has not been a waste of my time, but rather a necessary detour to arrive where I started, but with a different perspective. I stand on the same starting line, but I am looking in another direction meaning I now know where to go, so to speak. Now I can finally travel in the right direction.

The lyrics on "Umskiptar" are all taken from the "Völuspá" poem. Can you tell us what it is about and of what importance is it for you?

Like I have said already the poem deals with the annual metamorphoses of nature, but it has been widely misinterpreted as a Scandinavian creation myth and a myth about the end of the world. I have described the deeper meaning of the poem very thoroughly in my book "Sorcery And Religion In Ancient Scandinavia", and it was because of my work with the translation of this book I decided to use the "Völuspá" poem as lyrics for an album.

It is important because it is a part of our European culture, and it deserves our attention.

There are some new promotional pictures of you available. You appear dressed like a hunter on some and a warrior on others. What are you hunting / fighting against? What is the concept behind these pictures?

The warrior is dressed in blue (the Pagan colour) and fights or is preparing to fight to defend Europe against our enemies. The hunter is the same warrior, only metamorphosed. They both represent the fighting spirit of Europe, and show that even if it can be broken, it will always return metamorphosed in later generations.

I read you say somewhere that it was best for you to keep what you do secret until you release it and that you wished that you had done that with "Umskiptar". Why?

Because I had a PR agent who sent a promo copy of the entire album to all sorts of magazines for a review, and because of that the album was leaked almost 2 months before release date. As I see it there is no good reason for anyone to get a copy of an album until it is out, and there is no need to have a review of the album ready at the moment when it is released either. If reviews come months after the album has been released that doesn't matter.

You compose and record everything by yourself in Burzum. We can compare this approach to Quorthon of Bathory who was seen by many as mysterious and solitary. To you feel close to him, to his vision of music and possibly more?

No, and I don't know very much about him either. I do like his "Hammerheart" album and also his "Twilight of the Gods" album, and a few tracks on "Blood. Fire. Death", but the rest of his music is not my cup of tea I haven't even heard his post-"Twilight..." music anyhow.

You have sometimes clearly expressed your opinion on the fact that you had nothing in common with the Black Metal music, scene and community. On the other hand, this is precisely the community that praises your work. So, what do you have against them and what differentiate your music from Black Metal as a sub-genre?

Well, what can I say; I just think the whole post-1992 Black Metal scene is ludicrous. I knew most of these guys (in Norway, that is), and I find it very strange when the guys I knew as rats (i.e. police informers) and as cowards running away like little girls when I ended (or even just appeared to end) up in fist fights in Bergen are portraying themselves as so bloody tough, raw and brutal.

I guess my dislike for the Norwegian band members I knew have influenced my view on the whole scene too much, and I know that is unfair but I cannot help it. Sorry, but the mere mention of the word "Black Metal" makes me reach for my pistol, so to speak.

We talked with Ihsahn of Emperor and he said the following thing to us: "Nowadays, people tend to see Black Metal as a more traditional type of metal because everyone knows what it is about and it is often defined by what it should or should not be. This goes completely against what I always believed Black Metal to be. For me, Black Metal always represented the idea of musical freedom. Now that there are so many rules, it is no longer Black Metal. " Do you agree with his vision?

Ah, well. Speaking of rats...

First of all, Ihsahn wouldn't know what Black Metal was supposed to be. He was one of those death metal musicians who all of a sudden wanted to play Black Metal instead in 1992, long after Darkthrone and Burzum had released their first so-called Black Metal albums that year in February and March respectively, and this new thing was already turning into a trend in Norway. So his death metal band "Thou Shalt Suffer" changed name to "Emperor" and all of a sudden claimed to be Black Metal band instead. Okay, fine, they changed style, and of course were free to do so, but they didn't know the idea behind the concept, they didn't influence it in any way and they were just like the other followers only they were very early followers; if that makes a difference.

Black Metal was a new concept. The name itself came from a Venom album, because Euronymous was a Venom fan, and the concept was named by Euronymous, but it had nothing to do with any particular music style (save any type of metal music in general, of course). The whole point with Black Metal was that each and every band should be different from all other bands in contrast to the ultra-trendy death metal bands who by that time all sounded the same. If a band didn't have it's own style, it's own originality and a special approach then it wasn't Black Metal. When the rats in Emperor and Enslaved very quickly dropped their death metal dreams and all of a sudden started to copy (!) Darkthrone and Burzum we Euronymous and myself were bloody pissed at them. They didn't understand anything! All they had done was to exchange their death metal icons with Black Metal icons, and all they did was to rip off and copy Burzum and Darkthrone and to some degree also Immortal instead of ripping off and copying Death, Morbid Angel and so forth, as they had done before, when they played in their worthless death metal bands.

So they turned Black Metal into an entire genre defined by and based on the music of Darkthrone and Burzum and to some degree also Immortal. From then on 1993 when these followers released their first albums Black Metal became a music style with a particular (ridicules) image linked to a particular style. They didn't do anything original, they didn't invent anything new, they just did the same as what we had already done before them. They were as anti-Black Metal as you could possibly get!

I then (in March 1993) made my "Filosofem" album intentionally different from what I had done before, as a protest against this new Black Metal trend; I made an anti-trendy Black Metal album, and funnily enough they still didn't get it, and they started to rip off and copy that album instead and today "Filosofem" is seen as one of the original "Black Metal" albums.

They probably still don't get it, but why would they? Idiots never understand anything. You probably have to beat it into their heads with a baton.

Well, fine, Euronymous named our concept "Black Metal". I never cared much for the term, so they Ihsahn and the other followers can have it. I don't want it. I don't want to be associated with them or their crap in any way. And that is one of my main issues with this term.

With that said; yes, Ihsahn is perhaps right when he says that the bands who play so-called Black Metal today are not really Black Metal bands, but neither was ever "Emperor" or "Enslaved", and I guess he still fails to see that.

By the way, many musicians of the Norwegian Black Metal scene of the early 90's - in which people associate you - have scattered into much different directions, sometimes more rock 'n roll - like Satyricon or Abbath of Immortal - and sometimes softer and more elaborate - like Ihsahn with his solo project. What do you think about the evolution of this scene and these musicians?

I guess they ran out of Burzum albums to rip off, as I didn't produce anything metal between 1993 and 2008, so incapable of coming up with any ideas themselves they had to find other bands in other genres to rip off...

Well, more seriously, I can tell that I don't pay any attention to what these guys are doing, so I cannot say much about that. To me they are nothing but rats, and they belong in the dark and damp sewers of Norway.

What comes to your mind if we remind you of this Norwegian scene of the early 90's? Do your memories comply with the idea that people have of it nowadays?

What comes to my mind? Ah, well, I remember vividly how they all ratted each others out in 1993 after I had killed their idol, Euronymous, and then blamed me for all the petty crimes they had done. I remember them running away from fist fights when I stood my ground and won the fights on my own without their help. I remember them talking about how tough they were, and how I supplied them with guns and explosives, only to never see them use any of this for anything, except to tell the police I had given it all to them when they were arrested (because they ratted each other out). I remember them confessing to crimes the police didn't even know about. I remember how Euronymous shook his head in despair, when he saw these losers hanging out in his shop. I remember selling a shotgun for a symbolic sum of about 5 EUROs to one of them, thinking afterwards that I bloody well hope he uses it to blow his own head off. *spit*

No, the image people have of this scene hardly comply with my memories...

Are you still in contact with the friends you had at that time in this scene?

...

No.

Your album "Belus" was originally supposed to be named "The White God" in Norwegian but you changed the name because of speculation of racist undertones on its meaning that arose. Do you somehow feel limited in your artistic freedom because of people who tend to over interpret in a political or ideological way everything you say or do?

Not really. It was only a working title anyhow, that I came up with a few days before the album's announcement. The original title was actually "The Return of Baldur" (or actually, in Norwegian, "Baldurs Tilbakekomst"), but I figured that would give many false ideas too making them think I saw myself as Baldur or something. I wanted a more neutral title.

On the other hand, in a message published on your official website last year, you took a stand for the French FN party and called the French people to vote for its candidate. Do you think it is the role of a musician - more so a foreign musician - to encourage its fans into a political direction?

Yes. France is the heart of Europe, and my nation's future depend on how things go in France. Today, mainly because of your worst traitor generation ever (i.e. those of age 50-70 today), you are stuck with the choice between an incompetent Jew-lackey (Hollande) and a lying Jew (Sarkozy), and you might not be the next Hellas Italy and Spain will probably beat you to that finish line but your nation will surely soon go ad undas, and because of that so will mine. All of Europe will suffer because of the Frenchmen's inability to think clearly.

You know, I would gladly fight, kill and die for France and the French people, your nation is European and your people is like a brother to mine, but how can I when you don't even care to fight for it yourselves? You just give up your own nation and spit on the memory of all those who fought and died to defend France since the beginning. I guess half of you don't even know who Jean D'Arc was or what she did. The Jews are too busy teaching you about the Shoah in school for you to ever learn anything about your own history, and they are too busy replacing you with Afro-Asians for you to have the time to even learn your own language properly.

Don't get me wrong; Norway is not any better, but unlike France we never had the opportunity to fix things, like you had when you had the opportunity to vote for Marine Le Pen. We only have desperate men like Anders B. Breivik, trying to fix things in the only way possible in our totalitarian Soviet state. We have no legal means to defend out nation left.

You often seem to consider yourself as a European before considering yourself as a Norwegian. Does this mean you feel more European than Norwegian actually?

Well; my race is my nation, so to speak. I have more in common with the many blonde and blue-eyed individuals in e. g. France than I do with the Nachgedunkelte Schrumpfgermanen ("dark fading Teutons") in any Scandinavian country. And I feel more Danish than I do Norwegian, anyhow, in the sense that I am not as helpless and Marxist as my utterly brainwashed countrymen are (and I do have roots in Denmark [and Sweden] as well).

What is "Norwegian" anyhow? Our whole national identity was built on lies in the 19th century, and just about all the culture we have was imported from other countries in Europe. Judeo-Christianity destroyed everything that was ours, except our people itself but they are doing their best to destroy that too, by importing masses of Afro-Asians to our country and trying to make us procreate with these creatures.

(If Eva Joly is representative for Norwegians then dear [Pagan] God! my nation is surely doomed!)

What is your opinion about the crisis Europe is going currently through? Many people think we have reached the limits of the capitalist system and of the European economic union, is this also your vision? What would it take according to you to have Europe back on track?

What else can we expect but misery when we allow Jewish bankers to print money from ink and worthless paper and then loan it to us for interest? They have been doing this since the beginning of the Industrial Age, and have aggressively sold us their loans all the time (and you are a "anti-semite" if you don't want their money!), so by now just about all nations on this planet owe them money! And so do just about every individual human being in our part of the world too! You cannot even buy yourself a place to live without having to loan money from them! They made sure of that, amongst other things by importing millions of Afro-Asians to Europe, causing a huge need for more homes and thus extreme price increases.

Today one single Jewish family, the Rothchilds, own more then 50% of all wealth in Europe, and they are not the only filthy rich Jewish family in Europe. The problem is that the Jews are too greedy for their own good, so they will not stop until they own everything we have. They are also too stupid to understand that if they own everything then there will be nothing left for the rest of us and when we cannot even feed our own children we will revolt. We will finally revolt when we have to, and then we will see another massive pogrom in Europe, and the "poor" Jews will suffer again, like they have done so many times in the past, when they did similar things to our forefathers. So, if you want to solve the problems of Europe just strip the Jews of all their power and throw them our of Europe! Then we can take their lackeys, "our" treacherous politicians, the journalists and left-wing extremist teachers who all spread the Jewish lies to us, who all betrayed their own nations over and over again, and let them all hang!

Since you seem so concerned by politics - including foreign politics - have you ever thought about initiating a political career?

No. I have zero faith in so-called "democracy". The only thing that will solve the crisis we are in is a popular revolution and it is just a matter of time before that happens.

You have also written a message about Breivik. In this message you seem to condemn his acts because "true nationalists don't kill children of their own nation". Does that mean that you wouldn't have condemned his killings if they hadn't been perpetrated against Norwegian people or, possibility, against Jews, since they are at the center of your argumentation and although some of them also have the Norwegian nationality?

No, no, no; the Jews in Norway don't have a Norwegian nationality. They might have a Norwegian citizenship, alongside their Israeli citizenship (granted to all Jews worldwide, including the "French" Jews), but they will never be Norwegian or indeed European.

Anyway, I don't generally condemn it when someone kill in self defence. When your life is threatened, or when your nation's survival is threatened, you have the right to defend yourself, if necessary violently.

Do you condemn your forefathers who killed others en masse whilst defending France and French interests? I don't think so. Why should you? France survived because of them. France is great because of them! Everything you have today you owe them.

Burzum have reached a point where a majority of people know it more for its history - your history as a matter of fact - and your ideology rather than its music. Is this something that you bemoan?

Not really, no. Music is nice, and all that, but I think what I say is more important. I contribute to awareness in Europe in a time when the truth is banned, and that is more important than any music can ever be.

From what I know you have never played Burzum's music live. What could possibly motivate you to perform your music in a live setting?

It's a good question, but... playing live is really not something I want. Some like it, others don't and I simply belong to the latter group. I am more thrilled by the idea of going down to the garage to vacuum my car than I am by the idea of playing live, so to speak.

Do you have any musicians in mind that could join you if that ever happen? If yes who are they?

No, I don't.

Thank you for your time answering all these questions.

Thank you for your interest Philippe. Good luck to you and to France. You will need it in the coming years... with either Hollande or Sarkozy steering your ship (intentionally into the abyss).

Author: Nicolas "Spaceman" Gricourt (© 2012 "Radio Metal" France)



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