ALDRAHN (EX-DHG, THORNS, DEATHTRIP)
DJ Astral Dog On Planet B8 - - 18
Story online since: 07.02.2008 / 16:51:53
It's been a long time since we all heard of Bjørn Dencker aka Aldrahn or BIKJA, whose passionate invocations from Kronet til Konge, For All Tid, Old Man's Child, Monumental Possession and Zyklon-B to late-days 666 International, Thorns and The DeathTrip still feel as fresh, edgy and open-minded as they were back then and now are. This is why I had to contact the man and take a chance to enter his present-day world views. All kinds of mental radars and chemical inspirations helped us to go through his memories as well. I feel it's good to go back in order to know where we're going. It's like psy trance, which is old-school tribal converted into innovative astral paths. Lucky I've been, because I honestly believe we both had a good time giving shape to our conversations. One of the most strikingly original Black metal vocalist out there, simple as that. - Doggy salutes to you all!
Hey Aldrahn, how and what are you doing these days in your part of Norway? I hope all is well for you and your family! From what I can make out of your hometown pictures, I believe you live in a far retired place, surrounded by beautiful, rural landscapes and together with a dogs colony. I remember Yusaf saying that at some point in time you apparently moved far away; what led you there, and could we say, you know, that this was some kind of a shift of mood in your life or something?
YOHO, I'm doing fine, thanks for asking. Yes, you're right about where I live. I've always dreamt about living close to natural surroundings. With few or no neighbors. Surrounded by the calm presence of nature. And just enjoy my self and my life in this kind of element. As I've always been a great fan of nature and spending time, whether it's in the forests or in the mountains. I truly come alive when I’m there. Life becomes richer and fuller. Existence becomes meaningful, and I feel like a totally fresh person with no trouble inside. It's the outmost freedom for me. And being able to do this with my dogs makes it complete.
So, my wife and I were lucky to find a house very perfectly located in a big forest area with the woods all around us, though it's also quite central as it's no more than about 1,5 km to the nearest facilities. Where we can buy what we want, where we got restaurants, entertainment, schools, library, etc. So I’m very happy with my life and very glad to have met a woman who shares the same interest for occupation and everyday life as I do.
So you can say that, after our daughter was born and we felt the need of settling down, we really wanted to realize this dream, and get away from the city and all the things that the both of us find quite meaningless. I've lived in lot's of cities over the years and I can only say that ::: FINALLY I CAN BREATHE.
By the way, before we get going, where is the name Aldrahn coming from and what does it mean? And also, back in Satanic Art era, why were you considered as Mr. Always Safe and Sound?
(Laughs) Funny you should ask that. Well, the name Aldrahn is taken from Old Norse language. Very close to the spoken language in Iceland. It's originally written without the H - Aldran - and it means DEATH. I took the name in 1994, added the - H - to give it my own touch, and it has been with me ever since.
Concerning the Mr. Always Safe and Sound, it was a very ironic description of me at that time of my life. I was constantly high on LSD, and as a result of that I was very uneasy, very visible so to speak in every aspect of my life. For example if I was standing in a subway tunnel waiting for the train, I could be dancing around people on the platform, singing and screaming for no apparent reason. Wherever I was, I was always gesticulating a lot, screaming and shouting like a demented overgrown baby (laughs). I believe I was a great deal of confusion and also a big pain in the ass for my surroundings, friends and family at that time.
I’m curious: now that you look back at yourself, what did you learn from LSD?
Hmm, I'm very eager to say nothing at all. But that would be too easy I guess. I think that the most important thing I learned from using LSD over a large period of time in my life, was that things aren't always what they seem. I mean that the world is endraped in illusions and cunning ways to draw people's attention away from the real thing. That underneath all the focus on money, politics, religion, etc., there's usually a greater picture and a nature that's very unsimilar to the things we take for sure, and the things we all call reality.
I've learned that you can never be too sure about anything, as anything might happen around the corner which you didn't expect. I've learned that people who seem to speak the truth very often are lying, either to their surroundings, themselves or in the worst case: both. I've learned to interprete my surroundings in a bigger scale than I might have done if I didn't go through all those crazy moments. Hard to say these things. I've also learned that taking drugs can be highly destructive and very dangerous to the mind and to the body. It's all too easy to get crushed by these things.
Back when I did these kinds of drugs, I totally ignored that fact, as young people often do. Luckily I went through it all with few scratches. But that is not the reality for loads of people who try this out. I'm saying this in case there're any young readers out there reading this right now. Be careful in your choices, things aren't always what they seem to be. And you can easily be destroyed by something more cruel than you can possibly imagine.
You seem to have quite a close relation to the world of dogs. Are you like raising them only to sell them later on, or are they definately part of your daily family? And only between the two of us, haven't they taught you how to develop some of your uniquely barking vocalizations (laughs)?
Most definitely!!! I remember very well the first dog I owned. I named him Pablo, and we actually became so close at times that it felt like we swapped personalities. I became him and he became me. I'm really not joking. It's a fact that we had something special going on, as very often he could sit on the chair watching me sniffing around in my appartment, though I've always been very touchy on smells and scents. I was given the nick name BIKJA (slang for DOG) by my friends I hung around with, and Yusaf even came up to my birthday with two packages. One for me and one for Pablo. I opened mine and Pablo tored his open. And I got dog food and Pablo got a chess board. I laughed my head off. This was indeed intentional and a great deal of fun for Yusaf.
I've always been very fond of dogs. It began when I was very little, and my uncle had a german shepperd that I played around with and became incredibly fond of. He was the nicest dog you'd ever come across. And he became my first true friend in life. Actually he is the very first thing I can remember. I've thought about it lot's of times and he is truly my very first memory as a human being. And I can recall all too well the day he died. He had accidentally chased a flock of sheeps out on thin ice, resulting in them all falling through the ice and drown. Because of this, he had to be put to death due to the law. I remember I cried my eyes out. I was sitting above a newspaper and it was just soaked in tears. And even today I still cry like a baby when I think about my good friend REX.
Anyway, my dogs now are a big part of my life and I'm racing them to be my closest friends whom I also can show the same devotion to, as long as we are alive together. My life would lack quite a bit without these creatures by my side.
For the last year many old-school DHG fans have been discovering with delight your new The Deathtrip project on myspace. Even though all the songs are presently displayed only with a demo sound quality, I think what I hear is for sure promising. I'd say, to make it short, that the music is really hypnotic after a while. Lyrically and vocally, how is The Deathtrip different from what you've done before? What kinds of emotions or atmospheres are you trying to convey within this particular project?
Thanks. Well, to tell you about that I first have to say that my way of writing isn't and has never been meant to transmit any just or absolute meaning. It is and has always been meant to transmit feelings and moods in the sense of emotional recognition without logical thoughts. I write about what I think, and I think about my life, my surroundings and how it's all connected and bound together.
As for The Deathtrip lyrics I believe I write in a much more coherent way than I've ever done before. I'm trying to manifest a dark tribal, trancelike atmosphere, consisting of elements from the human origins, from the old ways of worshipping divinity. The laws and symbols of prehistoric times, where we were a lot closer to nature and the ideas we had of our existence. Before electronics, science and modern religion made it into something else.
I try to capture some of the darker sides of the TRIBAL SPIRIT. The spirit or the essence of ancient human history. I try to conjure the primal senses: animal nature combined with human nature to visualize the similarities. I also write a lot about things I will describe as pure fantasy and science-fiction inside my brain. Not to be taken too seriously, but to be taken as entertainment. At least that's what it is to me.
I'm often greatly fascinated by my own way of putting down words, and I often hum and laugh when I write, as it usually comes pouring out of me. I seldom use more than an hour writing each lyric. And as I write I can visualize what I write about and my whole reality becomes like the distorted circus of a mad fool.
I really enjoy writing in this way. It humors me and entertains me a lot. And often when I read them a while after they are written, I find deep and profound details in them which I didn't recognize when I wrote it. This is of course very personal, and I don't expect other people to find or recognize the same things. But it seems like other people recognize things that I have little or no relations to when writing it. So it seems like people who read my lyrics enjoy it too, much in the same way as my self. And that's really something I'm very thankful for. It means a lot to me to get all the wonderful feedback I get from all of you out there. And it really warms me to get such inspiring credentials from people I've never even met.
So, therefore I'll continue to enclose my lyrics in the booklets of every release I’m part of. This way they can hopefully continue to entertain all of you who like them.
In there lies the whole message behind my lyrics.
Then, musically speaking, do you think The Deathtrip is like a road back in time to both Kronet Til Konge and Monumental Possession, or is it a lot more than that?
For me personally it's very much the music I would have continued making in DØDHEIMSGARD, if I were the only composer, and if Yusaf didn't infect the nature of the band (laughs). So, you can definitely say that this is like a continuance of Kronet Til Konge for me alone. But you have to understand that I am not the composer of the music in The Deathtrip. That's a man who calls himself Host. And as far as I'm concerned, he's a genious when it comes to composing this kind of "back-to-the-roots" Black Metal. So I'm very glad I met up with him, and started this cooperation, as I now feel that with this band I can express all the things I had in mind in the early Kronet Til Konge days, but didn't get the chance to. I feel very much at home in this picture of sound, and I'm really enjoying my self being a part of this construction.
Are you in the studio with The Deathtrip nowadays? I wouldn't expect you, being the singer and lyricist, to mix and master the album in the studio, but I'm pretty sure you do have a sound picture in mind. Will you go as raw-sounding as on the demo, or are you expecting to head towards a more, let's say, well-produced approach? And isn't there already an album title?
We have been recording the album for the last three months. So most of the guitars, bass and drums are finished. Note that we don't have a drum machine on the album recordings. They are highly organic and are played by a man called Dan STORM Mullins. We just need to tidy up some parts, and then it remains for me to record the vocals. Hopefully I can start on that during the month of march. Snorre will be helping out as the engineer and co-producer, so we need to get our schedules syncronized. Soundwise we wanna capture much of the same feeling as on the demo songs, though try to enhance it a bit. It's very important for us to maintain the raw, naked, unpolished sound. We want the grimness to reach the bone (laughs).
We will, in addition to the album, release a cassette demo, prior to the album release. With low-fi sound and crappy black and white cover, limited to 60 copies, containing a bonus track, only to be featured on the demo. Plus a couple of new songs that we haven't put out on myspace, and also a new vocal track on MAKING ME (one of the songs on the myspace profile). The demo is called "DEMO 08". Very simple, the way we like it. And it is a treat for the old schoolers, and for everyone else who would want this nostalgic piece of item. Very limited supply, though.
The album will be entitled "DEEP DRONE MASTER". Hopefully we'll get a deal with a Norwegian label, as that would be best suitable. But none has yet been particularly interested, so we might sign on a foreign label.
We're in 1994 and Darkthrone are at their career's peek - how the hell did you get Fenriz involved on Kronet Til Konge?
I don't quite remember really. I think it was due to the company we shared at the ELM STREET ROCK CAFÉ (which was every BM person's place of gathering back then), where he was a part of the conversatons Yusaf and I had about the band. Whether we asked him or he more or less fell into the role by nature, I really can't say for sure. It's beginning to be a long time ago. But I do however remember well our rehearsals. Fenriz seemed to enjoy playing bass alot.
We were rehearsing in a VERY small room, with no air conditioning, and I remember how Yusaf and I stripped down to our underwears each time we rehearsed during the summer season. And how all the guys next door, which were people from Satyricon, Demonic and all others, got displayed a setting they seemed not to understand (laughs). It was quite a laugh! We did function well as a band the three of us. Though Fenriz left the band for personal issues, which I know nothing about.
It’s never been clear as to who did what before 666 International. To which extent did you compose music for Dødheimsgard, from Kronet til Konge all the way up to Satanic Art?
Okay, I would have to say that Kronet Til Konge and DØDHEIMSGARD were very much MY devotion, and I composed about 80% of that album, along with writing all the lyrics and performing them. Gradually Yusaf became more and more involved. So at the time we recorded Monumental Possession, Yusaf and me had composed about 50/50% I think. Further on DØDHEIMSGARD became more Yusaf's devotion. I think that Satanic Art was the turning point where he more or less took over the ship. And from that day on it has been more or less his thing. Which I think is good, as I don't know if DØDHEIMSGARD would have been an existing band if he hadn't. You see, when I came across the world of psychedelics, goa trance, psy parties and such, I became very consumed by it, resulting in me neglecting DØDHEIMSGARD very much. I think in many ways I layed it down to die. But Yusaf picked it up and kept it well alive.
Would you say you are a daring dancer or is it the more mental side of psychedelic goa trance that you feel at home with? I'm asking because in psy parties, there are people grooving, dancing and screaming everywhere, among which, however, you can find individuals with both their eyes closed, daydreaming and hypnotised from the inside but not physically moving very much.
I was all of them!!! Concerning dancing, I was against that kind of activity (as the juvenile black metaller I was), until it was Fenriz who introduced me to psy trance. When I then got that music under my skin, I started to dance like a crazy man. The sounds just entered my body like nothing else, and I was totally bewitched by it all. In a good way I have to add. I never knew that moving your body in this way to rythm and sound could feel so wonderful and relieving. Being at one with the sound, just letting the music enter me totally and move to the groove. It's just too much to explain. It has to be experienced. It's much in the same nature as having sex, I can tell you that.
Nowadays, when I listen to goa trance, I still get the dancing vibe, but not that often. Now it has become more something I listen to for the sake of the music mostly.
You previously told me that you wanted to get yourself a couple of turntables, in order to create your very own trance mixes. Has that happened yet? And do you think it could be pleasurable, by your standards, to act as a DJ and transmit your tribal mixes in psy parties?
I got my self a couple of turntables yes (Vestax pdx 2000), but I sold them again as very litlle psy trance records are being released on vinyl, and those that are, are also released on cd. I think it would have been great to mix psy trance for people if one was to get hold of the proper audience, as there are few people I know that listen to psy trance in Norway. Though it has alway been a dream of mine to do so. Anyway, I would have to get my self a CD mixer, and there're always things to be prioritized when it comes to money. For the time being, I got enough as it is to spend money on so it will be a while until that would happen. But hey, what would life be if one didn't lust for anything or didn't have any passion?
Lust and passion, right. Well your freestyle and alien performances on 666 International, one could argue, certainly made a major impression on a black metal scene which is usually more concerned by its juvenile evil shock-value than by artistic innovation, whereas you proved that experimentation and a wild eccentricity both have their own rights upon the darker forms of metal. What was your state of mind when recording such an out-there and emotionally charged album? There even were rumors that most of your vocals had been promptly improvised in the studio; now, how true is that?
666 International was a very amusing record to be a part of and a record I'm very glad I've taken part in. It's very true that most of the vocals were highly improvised. I recorded one song per day over a period of two weeks I believe. And the performance was a result of my state of mind at that time. I expressed much of the things I had inside of me due to several years tripping on LSD. Listening to loads of psychedelic music, Devil Doll and experiencing years of psychedelic moments. And I wanted to experiment with my voice all that I could, as I found it totally uninteresting to sing in a more fashion-like black metal way. I had too much going on inside, and I'm very glad I did it. I can now look back at it and plot out things I like a lot and use them in a more structured, and for me, functional way.
Do you remember people's reactions to what you accomplished on there? We know the magazine reviews, but both your friends and family must have been quite surprised (laughs)! This was a powerful record if there ever was one.
My uncle had a big laugh when he saw the pictures on the back and said he thought the music was cool. The rest of my family was more or less like everybody else: they didn't understand it.
I'm glad though, to see that the album has begun to grow in people's ears, as I remember on the 1999 tour with Dimmu Borgir, none of the people in the audience did seem to grasp any of it. We got the finger, people were shouting "fuck off" at us. And very few people seemed to appreciate it then. There was however a handful at every gig that did dig us. Four or five people that truly liked what we were doing, and stood out from the rest of the crowd. You know who you are. Special greetings go to all of you from me.
Two years later we found you performing for and with experimental guitarist Snorre Ruch, Thorns mastermind, on his band's first official self-titled record released on Moonfog Records. Also present was, of course, Satyricon's famous Satyr whose vocals also took the lead on a few songs which were then compiled with some of your own vocal expressions. How did you get involved in the famous Thorns rebirth?
Well, I was living in a place called ÅLESUND at that time, a place far west of Norway on the coastline. I was studying to become a hairdresser there when I think it was Snorre who gave me a phone call, saying he had been in touch with Satyr about me as a vocalist, and whether I was interested in working with him on that album.
It was actually very convenient as Snorre and I didn't live too far from each others. By coincidence we had moved to the same spot of the country for school the both of us. Anyway, I said that I was interested and it didn't take long before we met with each others and started to work out some thoughts. Luckily we found the "Good Vibe" very quickly and became rather good friends, which is a friendship that has continued to grow ever since. I'm very glad to be a part of THORNS and have become more and more dedicated to it. We share a lot of the same thoughts for the music and Snorre is a very nice and easy man to work with.
A new, upcoming Thorns album is in the works. Have you written all the lyrics this time around? Are there some specific themes, or let's say, mental orientations that you think you're going through along the way? Any new song titles you'd like to reveal? I'm sure a great deal of fans from all over the world really are excited about the upcoming album.
Yeah, I certainly hope so, as I think it will turn out rather well. Sounds to me like it will be entertaining for people who enjoy extreme music in general. I've written almost all the lyrics except two pieces that I've done together with Snorre. And without telling too much I would have to say that they are kinda violent, frenetic and transmitting mental disorientation. And I'm doing all the vocals this time.
As things have evolved and settled down, I am now the vocalist in THORNS. The rest of the lineup is also very altered. There’s a new drummer and a new second guitarist. None of them have had any particular experience within the field of Black Metal before or metal for that matter. I don't know them all that well, but as far as I know they come from more settled musical backgrounds, such as Jazz and things like that. And when it comes to revealing song titles, I'm afraid that no such thing is yet set as for sure. The creation of this album is a very slow-moving process to say the least. I don't know how many times I've felt ants running around in my ass because of the tempo of this band. But I've had to learn that this is the way this band functions. So the more I stress down, the more I meet its normal pace and progress.
Alright man, let’s all stress down our impatient expectations then (laughs)! How different would you say it is to work either with Snorre or with Yusaf? I mean, you've obviously got two very creative guitarists there!
It's really not that different. As you say they are both skilled musicians. I do however find the co-work with Snorre very appealing and comfortable, as the music is very straight-forward and right on. It's a more defined environment for me to be in, and that's very pleasant. It makes it easier to focus on what I'm doing. And the outcome becomes more stable and strong I think. But I wouldn't be surprised if Yusaf and myself shared path again somewhere in the furure, making whatever kind of sound.
I know you have shared the stage presence with DHG last year. How did that go? Do you like performing live? Is this where you can act out the tribal spirit you were talking about earlier? The European tour you had with Dimmu Borgir in 1999, according to Yusaf, was a complete disaster. Would you also go as far as to say that?
(Laughs) Yes, in fact it was, by my knowledge, the worst tour I've ever heard of. (Laughs) Looking back at it now, it was also a very fun trip through Europe. Beside the live performances, which were pretty much like shit, we had a great deal of good fun on that journey. Lot's of great friendship, lot's of laughters and fightings with each others. Nice sleep every night (never felt better than in that constant moving bus, like a cradle). Free food every day, without having to do the dishes.
But yes, unfortunately it's very true that the gigs themselves went to hell. I guess it was due to several issues. We hadn't practiced as a band in years, and we got five days to get into it before we set off. And as for my self, I totally burned out my voice during these rehearsal days. So, I really didn't have any decent voice for one and a half month. I was whispering and having huge trouble with my voice throughout the whole tour. And that made it very difficult to rise any particular excitement on stage and of course also very hard to get any voice out to the audience. I actually didn't get my voice perfectly restored until six or seven months after we returned home. Anyway, that's something I could have easily been without if I had taken more care of my voice in the beginning."One learns as long as one is alive".
As for stage performances, I really enjoy that when things come into place, when the band is well adjusted due to routines and things like that. Then I feel safe and I can express what I want without hesitation. And that's really a great feeling. I do believe that I try to express my inner self on stage and the essense of things I think is important to me. Both the tribal spirit and the hidden human themes are definately some of my high priorities.
Your image, so to speak, in the 666 International booklet and on numerons stages among Europe, was something special to say the least! Was this yours and Yusaf's vision of what Dødheimsgard should be presented as? Does the image, in a black metal world, have any strong significance for you? Were there any guidelines at all? I always thought that Apollyon, without of course speaking against him, was a bit out of place, particularly in that more experimental era of the band.
Apollyon, or GYM POSE as I call him (gymnastic bag), was, I believe, the most traditional one of us. And I think he fit in nicely because of that, as DØDHEIMSGARD do come from a rather traditional BM ground. I can understand what you mean though.
I think that basically the image hasn't a strong relevance concerning the music. It's just clothes and hairstyles really. But I do find it rather funny to dress out and wear something that changes my appearance into something quite extraordinary. And on stage it does make a stronger impression of the band, their ideas and such. But what I mean is that you don't need fancy outfits or crazy textiles to make soulful music.
We didn't have any guidelines no. It started up with a gig we were playing in 1996 I believe, where it was unthinkable to dress up in corpse paint. Personally, I had gone a long way from where I did fancy that kind of traditon and, to me, very boring style. So we had to come up with something else, and that's when it started. I remember I put on some kind of simple war paint and later on I started to paint my self in red, with flames coming out of my mouth. Later on, red facial paint with chinese robes and all kinds of strange stuff I could find, all related to the image of red, as red is my favorite colour and I think it fits fine with black.
We discussed the meaning of your lyrics earlier on, but I would like to know a bit more about your collaborative friend FOG, with whom you wrote a couple of lyrics throughout the years, among which Final Conquest from 666 International and The Beast from Ravishing Grimness probably are the most well-known. Do you still write with him? And do you usually write side by side or are you more like exchanging lyrical snippets whenever you meet each others?
FOG is a guy I spent lot's of time with on the second half of the 90's. We did alot of tripping together, partying and all that stuff. So, I guess it only became natural for us to write some lines together, as he is a good writer himself. Not a very metal person in particular though, but more a music figure in general, with strong roots in Hiphop and Rap.
I only wrote those two lyrics with FOG (as far as I can remember). He was very much into DØDHEIMSGARD and also a huge fan of DARKTHRONE. We shared lot's of great times together, and I will never forget it.
I seldom write side by side lyrics with other people. It's usually a thing I wouldn't do. Unless it pops up something out of the ordinary which is exciting and something special. It usually works in the way that one starts to write a sentence or a verse and then passes it over to the other person, for example by mail. And then the other one gets his ideas and follows the lines, sends it back to the first one, and so on it continues until it's finished.
What about Dimmu Borgir? You seem to have been friends from the early days, as I remember you singing on their first album and also writing many lyrics for them back then. To tell you the truth, I even witnessed a 1995 concert where you were their frontman and singer. Now were you in the band? Unorthodox Manifesto is also a song you wrote with Sven Atle in 2003: in fact, do you enjoy what they've been up to?
Ah, Dimmu... Yes, I've known Stian, Kenneth and Tommy (Shagrath, Tjodalv and Galder) from way back when we were young Skaters listening to Dead Kennedys and Sex Pistols. Stian and I attended the same school class in highschool. We were good friends before any of us had even heard of Black Metal. So you can absolutely say that we have known each others for a long time. Together all of us eventually slided into the field of Death and Black Metal. And I got lot's of good memories from those days.
When Dimmu then was formed, I guess it was a natural thing for me to take part in some way. And the live gig you speak of with me as a front man was a gig in east Germany. I was only singing on one song though (OVER BLEKNEDE BLÅNER TIL DOMMEDAG). And it's a gig I remember well (laughs). So, no, I wasn't in the band as a line-up member. But still, I have taken a little part here and there on their releases, such as Unortodox Manifesto and several other lyrics too.
I must say that I'm very PROUD of my old friends. Happy for them, and I truly think they deserve their success more than anyone else, as I know that they have worked harder for their cause than most BM bands have. For instance, when I and many other black metallers from the 90's began exploring drugs and alternative lifestyles, cracking our heads open every night, partying and ending up in an ashtray the day after, Stian and the gang kept on focusing on the band and their music.
I find many of their songs appealing to me, though it's not entirely MY thing. Anyway, that's rather irrelevant. I think they deserve the honour they get for their performance and dedicaton. Though I must say that I was very sad to see that they didn't give me the credentials I got the rights to on the re-release of STORMBLÅST, where I in fact wrote the title song plus one more (VINDER FRA EN ENSOM GRAV). I'm not mentioned anywhere as the writer of those ones. That hurts me, I must say.
Now that we’re regressing in time, are you still in touch with Carl-Michael and O.J., Aura Noir’s thrash conquerors but also ex-DHG mongos? I’m asking because it seems that after 666 International, all of you guys kind of lost sight of each others, at least musically so!
Yes, I believe we did fall from each others. I really can't remember any valuable moments after that era. I'm not sure why. But speaking for my self, I moved rather far away, aiming for new things to experience. I guess I lost touch with them when I fled out of the capitol city of Norway, where I had all my memories with this gang. I got the impression that for lot's of people, especially people who are closely connected to Oslo from childbirth, it's like everything outside of Oslo is a nonexisting place. So if you move away to a more desolate place in Norway, people seem to think that you're either gone, or don't exist for some reason.
Anyway, moving away from Oslo was the best thing I ever did. That's when I met my woman who later on became my wife. Which later on led to the birth of my wonderful daughter child. And which has led to a life I'm very thankful for and a life I hold greater than anything else in this world.
And is your wife also into black metal? If not, she must have been quite surprised to hear what her new beloved man was up to in his spare time!
Oh, my wife. She's called Camilla, by the way. No, she had no background in black metal or in any metal genre what so ever when I met her. She was more a hip hop/rap girl, with background from those things. And we connected nicely, much due to our unsimilarities, as I think we found each others very unique and interesting. We had the same thoughts about lot's of other things in life. We could easily releate to each others even though we came from two so different worlds. Lucky for me, she's very much into the things I'm working with and very supportive. Not that she has too much interest for Metal, but she's interested in backing me up.
So, you can say that she wasn't at all surprised with me. In fact, I believe, I was the more surprised one, that someone with so good understanding about things I found important in life could hail from a background such as that. Not that I look down at Rap and Hip Hop. But I always thought of that as rather superficial and not a very spiritual cult.
What do you do in life nowadays? Are you a professional hairdresser? I also heard that you were doing tattoos but I don't really know how true is that.
No, I never became a hairdresser, as it went to prove more and more that I had bet my money on the wrong horse. I did find the creative part of the profession quite interesting, so schooltime was ok. But when I went out in salons to put the skill into work and everyday life, I eventually began feeling that I was at the wrong place. I thought that it became too much vanity involved. What shampoo one should use for this and that condition, what coulour to dye your hair with related to what kind of colour your eyes are and so on. It just became too much nonsense. And eventually I lost my interest in it and got out.
Later on I began to rehearse the tatoo art. I opened my own tattoo studio some years after that. But it didn't work out the way I had hoped for. So I put down the buisness, yet I still do some tattoos in between, just as a hobby thing though.
My income today is based on several things. Beside the music (which doesn't pay off too much) I work steadily as a support contact in my community, helping out disabled people with their daily life. And I also paint which contributes a bit to the money drawer.
I was wondering about something. We all know how black metal have been and still is, at least to some extent, related to a mostly darker form of self-expression, even sometimes a quite hateful, despaired, rebellious and destructive energy channeling. How can a man as happy and content as you presently are still feel the need to dive himself into such a decaying atmosphere? I know you’re not 16 years old anymore; therefore your 1994 vision of black metal must have changed and evolved. What is still attracting you back to this particular art?
It's who I am and what I know best. I've always been a part of metal music in some form. I think I need it as much as it needs me. It makes me focus, and releaves me from things that would become seriously sickening and hurtful if I didn't have it. Which I guess would ruin my life and leave me endlessly miserable and unhappy. I guess it's my channel in life where I can create a product of the darker aspects of my being, and present it as something entertaining both to my self and others. And at the same time I have lot's of fun doing it. It leaves me with a great feeling of contemptment and confidence, knowing that I have accomplished something out of the ordinary. And that I'm capable of doing something that not everyone else can do.
The way it has evolved and changed since my early teenage years is in the sense of becoming more a thing I understand and can more easily relate to. Now it's much more a thing I wanna do more precisely and seriously. It's like art to me now, and not some juvenile thing to mock society with, or some thing to be utterly deranged from because of not being able to seperate things from each others. So to answer your question in short terms: Black Metal is one of the important things I need in life to keep going on.
Last week or so, Kvohst announced that he finally decided to quit DHG for personal reasons. Did you personally enjoy his performance on Supervillain Outcast? There have been people complaining about your absence on this album so I just wanted to know what the most concerned man here does think about his own absence.
I think Kvohst did a marvelour effort in taking my place. Concerning all the complaints about me not being there, I really have to say it warms me alot, and it makes me glad to get all these "annoyed" comments (laughs). As for my absence, as you put it, I have many times wished that I hadn't left, but I did that because of something I thought was way worth more. My daughter was born and I wanted to spend all my time and put all of my energy into her baby steps, instead of focusing on the band and traveling around the globe. Knowing that she and her mother were home alone without my support... I could always return to the music in some way, but I would never get back to that precious time in my daughter's life.
As many fans out there are starting to wet dream at night regarding an eventual reunion, well, I guess it's quite fair to ask if you would like to re-join your astral forces together with Yusaf in DHG.
As Yoda so galantly puts it: "hard to see the future, always in motion the future is". I really can't tell, or predict anything about that matter. I'm very content with my place in THORNS and The DEATHTRIP though.
We have been doing this interview under the conveniance of a webzine admittedly interested by avant-garde metal in general. What do you think you and your own breed of musicians have created thus far? Electronics are indeed a new driving force, but to me, it seems that we are even getting further and greater than both the eighties and the nineties together. Or do you think we'll never surpass what's been done? Are Thorns and DHG, for exemples, re-shaping metal so to speak, and is this what avant-garde metal is all about?
Well I don't know about that. And I really can't relate to the term Avant-Garde Black Metal at all. It tumbles in my mouth when I say it. I don't really see why it has to be tagged so dramatic and advanced. To me it's still just Black Metal, but the genre has become greater and more evolved. It's the same thing anywhere else in the world. Everything evolves, that's the fact of life. And nothing stays unaltered forever. Everything changes. But we don't call it an AVANT-GARDE HUMAN RACE because we have evolved from being stone agers or vikings. We still tag ourselves as humans. And we don't say AVANT-GARDE CARS, even though cars have been modified and expanded greatly. I really don't like too much labels in life, and I think it's very unnecessary. It takes away some of the magic in things.
I think I've been one of the people who have contributed a bit to this kind of development within a small part of the world of music. Because of my diehard interest and devotion to metal, and Black Metal in general, along with all the others, I have made a difference in this small field of profession, which makes me strong and proud to think about.
And it is also a fact of life that everything has a tendency to repeat itself. But when it does, it does so in a slightly different way. Everything comes to a certain level of stretching, when it snaps and starts all over again. Just think about the jeans they used in the sixtees, with the wide ending around the legs. I remember that when I was 13 or 14 years old, they returned, but this time they came with the widening being more drastic. Up till then, the sixtees jeans style had been gone for twenty years or so. So, I think that it's the same with all kinds of experimental and extreme music. It reaches a highlight, where it must stop by natural laws, and then return to its origin in some way.
I got your point and I would say it's interesting to see it this way, though I wish there were more black metal related people who shared your views about these matters. I mean, it's always been only individuals who pushed further the genre, while hundreds of followers were recycling the same ideas over and over. Anyway! Thank you so much for your time Captain Aldrahn, it was as much an honour to get to know you better as it was a real pleasure to do so. As a finale, what was one of the craziest thing that ever happened to you throughout all these years of creativity and self-exploration, something that made you literaly loose your mind for a while?
Well, I'm sorry if I sound boring, but like many others, my problems have been related to women. Falling in love with the wrong girls and things like that. Not being mature enough to deal with the situation, and letting it become loads of supressed emotions. That one day can get down to such a heavy burden that it fucks you up badly. I think I've learned that there's only one thing which is worse than dealing with your problems, and that's not doing it.
Strange that so many mental and emotional disasters in life are related to women. The power they got to bring a man to his outmost despair... They are truly what life is all about. Without them I wouldn't have bothered getting up in the morning.
Thank you for the interview, I've really enjoyed it!!!
STAY SHARP, UNDISTURBED AND VITAL .........