Interview with Sarke from Khold 2004

by Bradley Smith

 

Khold has a distinct musical style to me.  Many people have said it shares a lot with the founders Bathory and Celtic Frost and even some Darkthrone but I think that it truly stands on its own.  Even your closest rivals Darkthrone and Carpathian Forest are more concerned with atmosphere whereas Khold seems more Groove oriented which is very heavy in its own right.  What would you say is the strongest inspiration musically for your compositions? 

I get most of my inspiration to make music from paintings and lyrics. Often dark paintings of death. I have listened to Celtic Frost and Darkthrone and still do, but know how I want Khold to be and sound. So I create my own music.  

The term “Black N’ Roll” has been bantered about by reviewers and interviewers alike when referring to your music.  Do you think this is accurate and where do you think this “style’s” name came from?  I personally just think there is a lot of groove to your music and that confuses some people who are used to either melody or speed oriented song writing.

I don`t think we sound like rock`n roll or black`n roll or whatever. I know we have a lot of groove, guess that’s because that’s just our playing style and songwriting. I feel we have our own style within the black metal scene, so maybe people are looking for a name on it. Some people also say we play black doom.

 

One of the things that separates Khold from its compatriots is its use of the bass guitar.  The Bass guitar seems to be back to the forefront again on Morke Gravers Kammer.  It seemed to disappear somewhat on Phantoms after playing such a dominant role on Masterpiss.  Was this intentional?  How important do you feel the bass guitar is to your sound and overall song development?

The bass is very important. It’s such a powerful instrument that we want to use at its full.

It was not intentional to have it so low on Phantom, it was just the sound that would not allow it. So I’m very satisfied we have the bass sound back. Hopefully it will be even more mighty next time.

 

You did a video for “Død” this time around.  Why did you choose this song and what specific ideas were you trying to convey with the video?  I was a little confused by the person’s apparent terror from the dog, which seemed to symbolize Gard.  Also who directed it and why did you choose him?

We choose “Død” because it would be a good song for a video and the lyric also was good for a video. It was directed by “Marcel Lelienhof” a famous guy here in Norway.  I think he did a very good job. The lyrics deals with death. Death will come to you one day and leave you cold, empty and dead. The only sure thing in life is death.  The director had the dog with him, so it was his idea. 

What was the reasoning behind your change from the name Tulus to Khold?  How was the response to your old Tulus Material?

Tulus was more a project with 2 people. We wanted a full band, so we got 2 new members, sign to Moonfog and change our name. The response for Tulus was very good and still is.

 

Why did you guys leave Moonfog?  I hadn’t really heard about this move and was surprised when I got the new album and it was on Candlelight.  Why did you choose Candlelight and how do you fit in with their current roster?

Candlelight wanted to release our new album. We all got to an agreement and the album is now out on Candlelight. For us it was a step up. So far they have [done] a good job for Khold.

 It seems their was some confusion as to the meaning and lyrical concept for the new album.  Can you further explore this problem and the lyrical intent of the album?

First it came out the translation to English was wrong. But in Norwegian it has always been correct. It’s very hard to just translate it, so as far as I know Candlelight has sent out the story behind the lyric of “Mørke Gravers Kammer”

 

With the drumming you provide a really driving beat that seems to propel the songs along and give them a lot of momentum.  What aspects of drumming most interest you and how do you approach the overall beat and fills that you will play?

I just want our music to sound heavy. I never make music to show off how good people are on their instruments. Fancy stuff and guitar solos and stuff like that. That’s not for Khold. I create songs that mean something for me. Put music on our lyrics.

 

There seems to be a bit more stylistic experimentation on this album to me.  It ranges from the death metal sounding riffs that open “Opera Seria” to the minimalist guitar passages and breaks that are interspersed throughout the title track.  Am I just reading too much into this or are you guys broadening your musical horizons?

Nothing has changed with my musical horizon. I still just make Khold music. I think the new album is more varied than Phantom, I can agree on that. There will always be some new things on a new album.

 

Gard seems to have a unique image when it comes to the typical aesthetics of black metal.  Where did he come up with this? 

He just knows how he wants to appear.

 

A lot of artists create their art as a reflection of their own personal philosophies and tastes.  How do you feel you imbue your music with the aesthetics of your internal beliefs?  Do your views on the world and spirituality clash at all with other band members?

No beliefs, we just want to make dark music. We are all working in the same direction. 3 of us have known each other since we where 6-7 years old. We all lived in the same area. The last members have played with us since 1991. He also lived very near.

 

A lot of black metal art is coloured either by the brutality of modern life and societal coldness or by the primitivisms of nature.  Which of these two influences would you say have a larger impact on your music?  Which holds a stronger pull on you as a person?

I am more into the primitive stuff. Also dark stories and myths of old days.

The packaging on Morke Gravers Kammer seems to be a lot darker in its presentation of the band.  It presents the band as a group and removes the previous focus that surrounded Gard.  Was this move intentional and how do you feel the artistic direction of MGK differs from the previous two albums?  Also the Art direction on your albums has been pretty unique.  I can’t recall anyone else having anything like it.  It reminds me of some sort of mental nightmare.  What has inspired this artistic style?

Mental nightmare is good view on it. We wanted the cold feeling combined with death.  Imagine stuck in a close basement with this guy. Not a happy thought. On Phantom we only used Gard. It was more to have a figure…a phantom. But now it’s a bit different again. We knew we wanted the full band on this one.  

I read in an interview (I don’t know where and when anymore) that there were some tracks recorded during the Phantoms session but never released from that session.  Is this true and if so what happened to them? Have they been released on "Morke ..." or are they lost forever?  Also will you be releasing the Tulus Demos on CD sometime in the future?

Yes, we recorded 2 more tracks that were never released. They are not lost. Moonfog have them. They are not on Mørke Gravers Kammer, only new songs.  All 3 Tulus demos-1991-94-95 + our 2 first albums “Pure Black Energy” and “Mysterion” + 2 covers songs of Obituary and David Bowie is to be found on the CD “Cold Core Collection”, released by “FaceFront” mail to them is scream@scream.no 

 

How satisfied have you guys been with last year’s tour with Satyricon?  Also a few years ago you also did a tour with Carpathian Forest, but Khold did not finish the tour.  I heard you had some problems with Nattefrost of CF and this is why you left the tour?  Could you tell us what happened?  As a band how important is it for you to play live?

The tour with Satyricon was ok.  I guess many new people got their eyes up for Khold.  Nattefrost only talked about Harry Potter, so no problem with him. You got the wrong information. It was more problem a with other things. It has to be a bit more serious than that tour. We like to play live and it is a chance for the people that are into Khold to see them live. Live is fucking great…Loud sound and see the band..next time Slayer comes near I will be there!

 

Thanks for providing me with this opportunity.  Khold truly is a band that has earned my respect both through its music and attitude.  Any closing comments for the fans?

Thanks, hopefully we will see some of you on tour one day!

For more info visit :  www.khold.com