Naglfar - 05/03/2006

It was 1992 in Umeå in the far north of Sweden where the bitter cold nights of winter arrive much earlier and longer than even in cool Stockholm. The two friends Kristoffer W. Olivius (bass) and Jens Rydén (vocals) start to lay down the keel of the band Uninterred in 1992. After some lineup changes the rechristened to NAGLFAR and soon after that they launches their first demo "Stellae Trajectio".

Their debut ‘Vittra’ slides into the metal-waters with a big splash in the year 1995 recorded in Peter Tägtgren's Abyss Studio. Naglfar successfully combine the raging speed of Swedish black metal and brutal force with nearly dreamlike, melancholic moments as well as intricate guitar-work to the point to which Jens added his characteristically raw voice. The album receives plenty of enthusiastic criticism dubbing the album a pitch black milestone. The second album from the band, ‘Diabolical’ emphasizes edgy death metal parts and reduces in darkness. In 2000 a deal with New Haven Records offers the needed base for a first sign of live after Naglfar’s long break: The EP "Ex Inferis" (2002), which contains a brand-new killer-song "Of Gorgons Spawned Through Witchcraft ". This EP is a perfect preview for the coming masterpiece ‘Sheol’, unleashed in spring 2003. ‘Sheol’ puts an exclamation mark behind the Swedes' career again.

When founding member Jens Rydén leaves the band bass-player Kristoffer W. Olivius takes over the vacant position. Naglfar return to the studio in early 2005 to record their fourth album ‘Pariah’ for Century Media Records. With the album ‘Pariah’ is Naglfar back to the realm of black metal beyond any doubt to reclaim the Swedish crown.

The band is currently on tour in Europe with headliner Dark Funeral to promote their latest effort ’Pariah’. Just after the band played their show in the small hall of 013, in Tilburg we had the change to have a little chat with the whole band in their dressing room.

Your latest album ‘Pariah’ was released almost 8 months ago but I’d still like to ask you a couple of questions about this album.
Ok, of course.

You changed from New Haven Records to Century Media Records, why change after recording one album and an EP with them?
We were not satisfied with New Haven Records at all. During the previous album ‘Sheol’ Century Media started to notice us and they showed us that they were very interested in working with us, so we said yes. They gave us a larger budget and did a lot more for us, like good promotion and everything. They gave us a good deal. We know that Century Media believes in us and that was not happening with New Haven, so we think it was a very wise decision. Before we signed with Century Media it always took us a long time to make an album because there was not much motivation. Centery Media is right on top of things and they really get us motivated to start recording.

How did you get in contact with Century Media?
They licensed the ‘Sheol’ album for New Haven Records, so they already knew the band.

How did you launch into writing the material for ‘Pariah’ after ‘Sheol’?
We did a pre-production for this album even before we started rehearsing. When we went into the studio, most of the songs changed completely, most for the better from our point of view.

Who is responsible for writing the songs?
Marcus and Andreas and I (Kristoffer) write the songs together. We are responsible for all the songs. Same goes for all the lyrics.

How did the recording process proceed and how much time did you spend in the studio?
We spent almost 3 months in the studio recording the album and now we’re quite satisfied with it. The studio is in the middle of nowhere, in the forest so we had all the peace and quiet and found it great for inspiration. Because we had so much time we could think things through and make changes, nothing had to happen in a rush. That way you can do good work. We went home for some weekends in those months. But we were there almost all the time.

You guitar player Marcus Norman produced the last album with Nils Johansson, how was it to record an album with a band member as the producer and are you planning to work again this way on your next album?
It was nice to have Marcus engineering the album. That took away a lot of stress. It’s easier to argue with him than it is with somebody who is not so close to the band. And Marcus knows exactly what the band wants since he’s part of it.

Now that Jens has left the band, Kristoffer is the only remaining founding member of the band. So Jens’ departure leaves a hole in the lineup. Will you try to fill this hole with a permanent member?
Kristoffer will go on singing. Everybody in the band loves his voice and hopefully there will be a permanent bass player soon. Maybe the one who is on tour with us right now, if everything works out. In the beginning it felt very strange to sing, you can’t hide behind your bass. Also you’ve got to know where to put your hands and get that good presentation on stage. But after the first tour it already felt a lot better and now I’m getting used to it. Andreas adds: “It was hard the first time for Kristoffer because we didn’t know what the reaction would be from the fans after the vocalist left the band. We were wondering if the fans would accept it”. But I think that Kris has proved that he is a worthy replacement. Kris did the vocals for a band called
Setherial before, so he already had some experience.

You are touring with Dark Funeral now, how is the tour going until now?
The tour is going really well, lots of people are attending the shows and they are a good crowd. The guys from Dark Funeral are also nice guys to work with, they are really cool. We have another 6 weeks and 28 shows to go. This is the 3rd tour in one year and if we don’t drink all the time we will make it till the end of the tour. Usually you drink beer to forget the smell that’s in the bus from our clothes and stuff hahaha. But now we have a good bus so we will survive all the heavy metal smells!!!

”So what did you think of the show today? “ Asks Kristoffer.

Well it sounded great. The sound was also way better than on the X-mass metal fest last December and we couldn’t hear that you actually have a bad cold.

As mentioned before you played here in Tilburg some months ago, it this not too soon because there are a lot of bands touring and things are not getting any cheaper these days?
Why not? We got the chance to tour again so we did. We don’t mind, now all the people who missed us can try again and everybody who liked it can also come again. So everybody wins. We don’t decide where the tour goes, we just tag along. Both 013 stages large and small are very cool to play, we like it here.

Coming back to the ‘Pariah’ album, have you received any feedback on it yet?
We got a lot of reactions from all the media and the press and we are happy to say that those were very good reactions!! Everybody was very positive including the fans.

Do you have your favorites on “Pariah,” songs that you think are somehow above the others?
Everybody has a favorite song; we are very pleased with the whole album. Kristoffer is mad about the song called “Spoken Words”. “Because it’s very emotional, the lyrics are good and the song gets to me every time I hear it or play it!” adds Kristoffer. It’s a very sad and moving song.

Could you please describe the meaning of the title “Pariah’ and can you tell us something about the lyrics on this album?
Hateful, pessimistic, dark, depressing and other than everybody else and so on. Basically it’s all about being some kind of an outcast. That’s why the album is called Pariah, that means outcast!!
We wish not to be a part of the “normal” people. Maybe we are outcasts, but everybody who acts or looks a little different is soon called an outcast. This is just the way we are and it works for us.

Naglfar is frequently compared with Dissection. How do you feel about this?
We don’t mind being compared with Dissection because we love that band. But we don’t agree because we don’t sound like them. We’ve heard that before but we can’t say that we see the similarities. We don’t try to sound like them. We had bands that we listen to of course but when you meet those persons you see that they are just human too. So the illusion fades away when you meet your “hero’s” and realize that they are the same as you and me!! When were started with this band we were influenced by the old At The Gates and several others.

You guitar player Marcus Norman has two other projects/bands (Ancient Wisdom and   Bewitched) besides Naglfar, is it easy to combine playing in several?
Kris is also a part of bewitched! So it’s easy to combine. When we go back home, we will finish the Bewitched album and after that we will hopefully start touring. We think the time has come for Bewitched to do some live shows.

How do you feel about the illegal downloading of music from the internet, a lot of albums these days are already on the internet before they are officially released?
We don’t give an f#*@ and we don’t care. If somebody wants to steal our music, they can. We cannot do a thing about it. But we do know that this way fans can listen to it and we know that they will buy the original anyway. Because it has the booklets and extra’s on it. Metal heads will also supporting their bands by buying the CD’s and coming to the shows to hear them live and buy the merchandise. That’s also what we grew up with.

How did you get involved with the music business?
Well that was a very big mistake hahaha. Like lots of young kids we started a group to play music and get very famous. We got signed for an album pretty soon and we made it. Music is all we have and all we do.

Is there something you do or like to do besides Naglfar? Do you have jobs or can you live by being in a band?
We are all unemployed; we all got fired when we decided to do this tour. But we would rather be poor and make music than work from 9 to 5. Being a musician is a way of life!! We have a “rich” life when we’re on the road.

Do you already have ideas for the next album?
We will hopefully start recording when the tour is done but we are also taking it one day at a time, we never look far into the future. We won’t rush into but we do have a lot of new material already and we have to be satisfied with everything before we even consider going into the studios. It’s too early to know what the new album is going to be like. We will figure that out while we are in the studio. It could be a really heavy or a hyper speed album; we will see what is comes along. We never know what it’s going to be like until it’s finished.

How do you see the future with this band?
We will see if there is a tomorrow, hopefully……We just live our lives by the day and we never plan to far ahead. You never know what’s going to happen.Well this is our 3rd European tour in one year so we will see what we are getting into next.

Is there still something you want to tell us after these questions?
Yes, everybody stay true and metal and keep supporting the bands you love!!

Ok, thanks for your time,
Talitha and Martina.

Current line-up:
Kristoffer W. Olivius: Vocals & Bass
Marcus V. Norman: Lead & Rhythm Guitar       
Andreas Nilsson: Lead & Rhythm Guitar
Mattias Grahn: Drums

Naglfar albums:
2005 - Pariah
2003 – Sheol
2003 - Diabolical (re-release) 
2002 - Ex Inferis (EP)
2001 - Vittra (re-release)
1998 - Diabolical
1998 - When Autum Storms Comes
1995 – Vittra