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Tags: Kampfar, Nick_Malone, Indie_Recordings, Denim_And_Leather, Djevelmakt, Black_Metal

Denim and Leather - Kampfar Interview

Norwegian label Indie Recordings are heading into 2014 stronger than ever with brilliant new releases across the board from a stronger roster than ever. After eight years with Napalm Records, Black Metallers Kampfar have joined their cause for their new album Djevelmakt. We spoke to founding member Dolk about the recording of the album, it’s condemned theme and artwork, and what life is like on Indie.

So congratulations on Djevelmakt which was released to the world on the 27th. How happy are you with the album overall now it’s finally out there?

Thanks a lot! Well yeah it has been a long way to go. After a year with one single live appearance we are now eager to launch the new songs to the public and go out there in the battlefield again. To be honest, we have not got the time to celebrate this release yet. It has been so much work here in the Kampfar camp this last months. So I guess the award, celebration or whatever have to come later in 2014. We have never been working harder and more focused over a such a long period of composing for another album ever before all of us. We do for sure take this album seriously. I do not care if that sounds just like a promotional thing to say or not. This album is very personal to me! And it feels good to finally get it out there.

This is your first release with Indie Recordings since leaving Napalm Records after Mare. What was the decision behind this move after two re-releases and three full lengths with Napalm?

To be honest it’s all about control. We were happy about Napalm Records too and there is no bad blood between us and them, but we wanted more personal control over our own art. And that’s what we got with Indie Recordings. It’s of course very easy to explain that it’s also so much better to have the head-office of the record label just one hour away from my house that I have in Austria of course. And we are very pleased to be back in Norway again of course. After 20 years it’s about time if you ask me.

What kind of effect, if any, has the move had on the way this new album came together creatively?

Creatively it had absolutely nothing to say. We have always walked our own path in Kampfar no matter what label we have been under. But to go back to what we already talked about,  it’s maybe the obvious question I guess; how can it possibly be about more personal control over our own art when releasing the entire album for free on the internet and youtube with Indie Recordings too?

Well I can tell you why... With Napalm we got nothing like this. We sold an ok amount of albums there, but thats that. With Indie Recordings now we have done all the work together and every single detail is a detail agreed upon from both us and them. We wanted to pay the respect to the listeners and fans of Kampfar. Thats why we spent a lot of money on the artwork, double red vinyl version, Digi-CD version with free patch , CD with T-shirt and so on. We released the entire album for free for people to check out if they wanted to ( the list is so long) Its just a deeper respect to the people and fans that have supported us during all these years and still do so. The album is in fact still out there on the internet. All planned and nothing banned from record label or band at all.

So what happens now after its out there for free? Well I can tell you what happens... we get the same amount of respect back from fans and our "Horde", it’s a mutual thing and its fucking important for us to pay this respect to the loyal ones. After one week since release, the Digi-CD is now soon to be sold out already. The first pressing of the vinyl too. The album in general is starting to hit all kinds of charts here in Norway now, we sell more physically albums than the last 10 years in fact. Pay respect and you will get it back! Its so fucking brilliant to have a record label now that feels exactly the same! Thats the control I am talking about and thats what we got now with Indie!

Ok so moving onto the album itself, the theme is condemnation. Although you’re noted as saying this is not a concept album per se, one can’t help but feel on a journey with the running theme throughout the record. Is this something you were aiming for?

The whole album is for sure a journey under the same theme banner if I may so. But it’s not really a region or a concept in that way. But Infernal? O`yes indeed! The new album is anti-religion , but not anti-human. This time it’s more directly than ever before. Its all condemned! All religions condemn you to an infernal place ( Gehenna , Hell you name it) if you don't apply to their laws. All these places are constructed normally out of places that exist or existed here on earth during mankind’s time here. It’s still so very delightful or maybe you can say scary to see such impact these places still have on us people even today. It`s scary... Where is the free man? Where is the free, strong, self-thinking individual that thinks and chooses his own path in life, regardless of what others condemn you to? Damn if you do and damn if you dont. Fuck it!! We all head towards the darkness no matter what we do, If we listen to those who speak about salvation. This goes both for the light side of religion and for the dark side of it. This album is about that. Raise the banner and be your own strong King or Queen is more or less the message coming through on Djevelmakt!

Furthermore, finisher ‘Our Hounds, Our Legion’ brings the album to a close in spectacular fashion right through to it’s climax just short of eight minutes. Do you take a lot of time to consider track listing?

The devil himself speaking- "The world will be supreme and only the strong ,new world of pain and supremacy will live on." That’s more or less the ending of it all with this song. I find it quite good as an end of this album. There’s for sure some devil power there in the eyes of the "white ones and dark ones", a unit that concludes this album perfectly in my mind. Yes we do for sure think about track listing when creating a new album. And especially this album is created a whole "one unit" from start till end. So there is nothing casual or random about our track listing on this album.

The Fourth track on the album, ‘Swarm Norvegicus’, stood out for me as being one of the anthems of the album with hints of Bathory in the foundations of the sound. Who would you say you’re most influenced by at this point in the band’s career?

Yeah..The influences have not changed too much for me during the years I am afraid. I get drilled all the time by my band mates about my age and that I still talk about old stuff, so I guess I am no different than anybody else when it comes to the fact of looking more backwards than forwards sometimes. I myself also looks more back than ahead maybe in general when it comes to that haha...

I started doing this a long time ago. I started kampfar back in 1994, but I did metal a long time before that. Back in the late eighties in fact, so you can just guess what kind of influences that brings along.

But of course I can not go without mentioning Bathory and the album Under the Sign of the Black Mark from 1987. This album is still the master of all black metal in my opinion. And in that way maybe my most influenced album too, so what can I say?

The artwork for the album is really something to behold, and it’s easy to see why once you read about where it comes from. Can you tell us some more about it?

It`s a blast first of all. True sense of art, period! But maybe even more important , It's also so close connected to The lyrical condemnation on Djevelmakt and the essence of the lyrics and

music. Its just perfect! Nothing more to say really. We knew immediately when we saw this art that this is it.. this is the paintings for 2014. Some lyrics and songs on the album are even written as a direct inspiration due to these paintings... so it’s just perfect. I can not say it any clearer than that really. The main cover is a painting by Zdzislaw Beksinski and for the main one in the booklet it’s the art of English John Charles Dollman.

So now that the album is out what do the next 12 months look like for Kampfar?

We have never in Kampfar`s history had such full plans for live shows at this early stage of the year.. So I guess 2014 will be an active one for us. It all starts in March with the beginning of our European tour.... So lets see where 2014 ends. I don’t know that yet, but there are more offers for going live now than ever before so I take that as a good sign.

Finally, who are the bands that you guys are listening to at the moment? Anyone new on the scene that’s got you excited?

I still listen to those Bathory, King Diamond and even Kiss albums that got me into this in the first place. But of course I am not senile. I still enjoy new art like the more classical Watain, Behemoth, Ghost and so on. But I also enjoy some new stuff like Obliteration (Nor), Velnias (US), MGLA (Pol). It Is quite interesting and fresh to me at least. Even If the old school roots are there without any doubt...

Djevelmakt is out now on Indie Recordings and the various wonderous editions of the album are available here. Be sure to Follow Indie Recordings and Kampfar on Facebook for any updates, and check out Denim and Leather for all the latest interviews, reviews and more



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