Svarttjern interview

May 14, 2016

SVARTTJERN was formed by HansFyrste and HaaN as a two man project in 2003. The two brothers decided to bring more musicians to the band to be able to start doing some live shows, and to bring the band to new levels.

In 2016 Svarttjern proudly presents their new fourth full-length album, "Dødsskrik".


BRS – First of all I want to know what is this “Death Scream” of the album’s title?
HaaN: The album title reflects the overall lyrical theme of the album, which is pure and simple: death. We also wanted a Norwegian title on this one, as there are several Norwegian titles and lyrics.


BRS – This is your fourth album and each album was released from a different label. This is an option or something happened? Soulseller Records will release your next album?
HaaN: Something that just happened I guess. Our decisions in changing labels rapidly has more or less to do with two things. First off, we have seen it necessary to change when the band has evolved, both musically and in size. Secondly, just over the last few years, the music industry has changed rapidly. This has caused us to alter our expectations and requirements in what we look for, in a record label. Yes, we are satisfied with Soulseller and will work with them on further releases.


BRS – The cover art of the Svarttjern’s albums are always great. What was the artist that made the design of the new album’s cover and what is the importance of the cover art to a Norwegian black metal band?
HaaN: As the previous one “Ultimatum Necrophilia” as well as “Dødsskrik” we wanted to work with the very talented and highly professional Linda K. Røed. As mentioned above as the music industry and the physical copies are low and the need for a proper artwork is crucial in my opinion. Not to increase sales, but to make a proper product for the fans that actually buy the physical copies. Further on it shows somewhat respect and gives more meaning to the music.  Regardless if you are Norwegian black metal band or in any other genre I would hope every musicians with respect for both his or hers music and fans invests in proper artwork.


BRS – You use the “Anti Human Anti Life – True Norwegian Black Metal!!!!” logo, like for instance, Taake. What is the concept behind this mark?
HaaN: Yes, we have used the TNBM mark on both previous albums and merch items. Guess the concept is that it symbols a quality mark in the Norwegian black metal scene. The mark was given to us by Nattefrost in our early days of the band and when we see it fitting, we will probably use again on upcoming merch/ artwork.


BRS – Is it important to spread the word of Svarttjern, by playing gigs or is it a consequence of making music?
HaaN: Yes, for Svarttjern playing live is probably one of the most important things for us. Not for “marketing” purposes, nor to make new fans or anything like that. The interaction with the audience is what drives us and is the important thing.


BRS – All band members are from the beginning of the band, in 2003, minus the bass player. I think it is because of the great importance that the sound of this instrument has in the band's sound and for being difficult to get someone to understand this, right?
HaaN: Yes, we have had some difficulties hanging on to our bass players, but all previous members on bass and in the current band are close friends. So there is no bad blood between any of the previous members and the current. Our new bass player “Malphas” is by far the most talented one we have had, ever. His abilities on the bass has taken Svarttjern`s music to another level. And I couldn’t agree more, the bass is absolutely crucial for the music, especially in this genre.


BRS - Older fans of the Norwegian black metal scene had been accustomed to the sound of Grieghallen studios. What do you think of this and why now there are not many bands to capture the sound in there?
HaaN: I have no idea, but guessing affordable and more studios in the Hordaland area might have something to do with it. The technology has made home recording more effective and cheaper for bands to hit the studio perhaps. Further on I am guessing Erik “Pytten” Hundvin is a grown up now;-)


BRS – The first track of the new album, which is available to hear, "All Hail Satan," is a powerful music with sound similar to the first album in 2003. The evolution of the band’s sound is present when the band begins to write a new album or is that something you do not think of?
HaaN: We have no initial plan when we start writing on how we want the next album/ production to sound like, expect the obvious criteria: very good. On “Dødsskrik” we heard pretty early on in the writing process that we needed a more organic and grittier sound than our previous releases. Hard to explain why, but the riffs, the structures, tempos etc., all pointed to a more natural sound. This is one of the reasons why we took control on most of the recording and production ourselves on “Dødsskrik”.


BRS – This album will be released in CD, Vinyl and digital edition. For a collector like me, the vinyl version is the best edition but the future tells us that the digital version will grow. You like these editions and think too that it will be important to sell the band’s music on these formats, in the future?
HaaN: Agreed, vinyl is of course the best option. Not too fond of the music industry being digitalized, but guessing it will be hard to stop that evolution. If anything-positive music have become more accessible to the audience and fans. And if you are a new band the marketing tools this digitalizing gives is endless.


BRS – Is it possible to live from the music in Norway or you must have a regular job?
HaaN: Of course it is possible to live off the music in Norway, but not in our case. Except if one consider welfare and social help as a “Professional musician”. We have no intention nor desire to quit our day jobs to the pursuit of becoming professional. So yes, we all have “normal” day jobs and commitments like most others.


BRS – What are the plans after the release of the album?
 HaaN: Maryland Death Fest in the US in May, Party San Open Air in August are the two dates we have lined up so far, but hopefully the release of “Dødsskrik” will wake some interest with the promoters which hopefully will result in a few more shows this year. Besides this we carefully starting on making new music.

BRS – Helvete shop (now Neseblod) has the importance nowadays like it had in the beginning of the scene? 
HaaN: We owe Kenneth and Neseblod a lot from our early days, they were the first shop that bought in our demos and “Pushed” us a bit in the scene. So if he is still pushing and believing in up and coming bands, shops like neseblod are important for the scene.

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