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Interview with Varg Vikernes
"Rocking" E'zine (24.04.2012), by Antonis Kondylis

"Umskiptar" is the third Burzum album in the last two years. It seems a very creative period for you. Had you composed those songs after "Fallen" or there were some ideas gradually developed throughout many years?

The tracks on "Umskiptar" were composed after "Fallen", but a few riffs might have been made before that. Sometimes a riff can be very good, but does not fit in a track until much later.

Yes, I guess I am rather creative these days, but I must remind you of the fact that this is not something unusual. The first four albums and the "Aske" EP were all made in a 1,5 year period, and only my imprisonment stopped me from making more albums. It is only natural that I keep working in this pace now that I am able to do so again.

How long did it take you to compose and record this album? Where do you receive inspiration from?

It is hard to tell how long it takes to make an album, because there is no definite start to the work, but if I am allowed to make a guess I would say it takes a few months to make the music, and a month or so do record it, mix it, master it and ready it (with cover art etc.) for printing.

Personally I am very much inspired by the memory of what once was, be it a romanticized memory or not, and also by the despair and anger I feel by living in the rotten world we live in today.

"Umskiptar" follows a minimalistic musical form. Can we attribute that just to the fact that it presents a poem or you intend to follow this pattern in the future?

I intend to make music I like, and that's about all I have planned. Whether it is complex or simple is less important, and I don't have any plans to do it one way or the other. I think the atmosphere is more important, and also the concept of the album.

The new album musically keeps a distance from black metal, as people regard how black metal should sound. Does this depict your future musical dimension?

Yes, and this is also why I call it "skaldic metal" or just "skaldic music", to make sure it is not identified as "black metal". Burzum is not black metal. Even "Filosofem", made in 1991 and 1992 and recorded in March 1993, was a revolt against "black metal", and I find it hard to understand that anybody still think of Burzum as black metal.

I can say that each Burzum album is a unique journey. What kind of journey do you believe "Umskiptar" takes the listener to?

My guess is that it would remind the listener of old school metal, from the 70ies, and also of traditional European music. I would like the listener to think about each song title and the lyrics (which can be found translated to many languages online; it is after all from the famous poem Völuspå), and then let the music take them on a journey to this mythical past.

Compared to the early 1990s which are the differences between that period and the current one in the way you create music, record an album and the sources of inspiration as well the differences of that Burzum and the present one?

Back in the 90ies I was surrounded by rats and traitors who pretended to be my friends, and I am no longer. Thankfully. There is not much difference when it comes to how I did and how I do things I relation to Burzum, except I take it more easy now than I used to knowing that the end of the world is not just around the next corner, and if it it that doesn't really matter anyway.

Is there a Burzum album that you regret for it and if you had the chance you would make it totally different?

It is not very constructive to think like that, so I don't.

In the past you have said that metal is a kind of music which comes from blues and you do not want to deal with it again. Why and how did you decide to come back to the metal music form from "Belus" and on?

Because my metal music comes from European classical and traditional music. I have no roots in blues whatsoever.

Besides, what I really criticized back then was the metal sub-culture, and I still do...

It might be irritating for you, but I would like to go back to the early 1990s. In 1992-93 many events (church arsons, murders etc.) took place in Norway and you were among the protagonists. Do you regret about them? How do you feel, 20 years after their occurrence?

I guess I should have killed a few of those rats and traitors as well. They could not have given me more than 21 years in prison anyway, and the world would have been a better place if I had done so...

If you can go back in time, would you avoid any of those actions?

I regret nothing I have done, only the things I didn't do. And note that you should also know that I might not have done all the things you believe I did.

Has your imprisonment changed the way you see music or the world in general? Do any of your political statements or beliefs differ nowadays compared to the past?

Well, they are more enlightened and rests on a sturdier foundation, but by and large they are the same. I was mostly right to think the way I did.

Do you believe that Burzum music serves any purpose or it is just a way to express your beliefs and your feelings?

It serves a purpose for me and for many others too and the rest does not matter.

Do you long the old Burzum or old black metal days?

No.

Do you follow the current black metal scene? What kind of music are you fond of this period?

No. I don't know any black metal music if this period. Black metal is of no interest to me. I don't know any death metal bands either, for that sake because death metal is of no interest to me either.

What can we expect from you in the future?

More music, maybe a new book every now and then, and honest answers to all questions asked.

Thank you very much for your time.

Thank you for your interest.

Author: Antonis Kondylis (© 2012 "Rocking.gr" E'zine Greece)



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