Interview with Varg Vikernes
Metal Army America (27.04.2012), by Ridge "Deadite" Briel

Ridge "Deadite" Briel recently caught up with Varg Vikernes of the legendary band Burzum to discuss his upcoming new album "Umskiptar" and other issues, such as setting the record straight on exactly how to classify his music, what he thinks of the "Lords Of Chaos" book, and what sort of music he listens to.


Ever since you got out of prison, you've been recording new music like crazy. Were most or all of these songs written while you were locked up?

No. Only of a few of the tracks on "Belus" were written whilst in prison or before I went to prison. The rest is all new material.

Tell us about "Umskiptar". What does the title mean and what is the overall storyline of the album? What is the backstory of the painting that adorns the cover?

The title means Metamorphoses and it is a musical interpretation of the poem Völuspá, a Norse poem dealing with the metamorphoses of nature. The cover painting is a romantic image of the goddess of the night, "Natt", by P. N. Arbo, a Norwegian painter. The lyrics deal with the metamorphoses of the year, and the cover art the metamorphoses of the day and night. After Night comes Day, and then Night again, and so it goes of for ever...

What is it that stands out to you about the poem Völuspá enough to make an entire album about it as compared to other sections of the Prose Edda?

It is a very misinterpreted poem, understood for more than a hundred years as a creation story and a story about the end of the world. So I wanted to present it in another light. If understood in context with "Sorcery and Religion in Ancient Scandinavia", it will grant the listener a new perspective of a poem that deserves our attention.

What equipment did you use for the recording of this album?

As far as I remember the same as on "Fallen", only I also used a lure and an old grand piano as well. Actually, I think I used another bass this time but I cannot remember its brand or anything like that. I pay no attention to such things when I record.

Tell us what a typical day in the studio would consist of. Did the lyrics come first or the music? What influences you when writing this type of atmospheric Black Metal?

This is not Black Metal. Burzum has not been so-called Black Metal since before "Filosofem" (made mostly in 1992, recorded in March 1993)... Burzum is Scaldic Metal.

Anyhow, I recorded each instrument first and then did the lyrics. A typical day in the studio would be hard work from the morning to the evening.

Why have you chosen to do a return to the roots of Burzum, the more atmospheric portion that is, instead of creating the kind of music that was on "Fallen" and "Belus"?

Well, I think you (and it seems most others too) have misunderstood what I said in the press release. I said I returned to my roots, but my roots are not early Burzum. My roots can be found in European classical and traditional music.

Why I returned to my roots? Good question... probably because the circle has been completed, and I have to start all over again. Or perhaps because I have been visiting different places and realise that the best place was were I started.

I've read that each of your albums is supposed to be a type of spell that first makes them susceptible to magick, to inspire a trance like state of mind, and then to carry the listener into a world of fantasy. Is there a specific function that each album has that isn't shared between them? And if so, what is the function of "Umskiptar"?

Ooooh. Your use of the term magick is very misplaced in relation to Burzum. You could use the term magic or rather sorcery, sure, but never magick. I detest Crowley and everything he stood for.

The purpose behind the music was to enable the listener to enter a fantasy world, to return to our Golden Age, so to speak. "Umskiptar" is a voice of the forefathers; a call from our past, reminding us about our Pagan origin and responsibilities.

In reference to the album "From the Depths of Darkness", why did you choose those specific tracks to re-record as compared to other tracks? Do you plan on re-recording any more tracks in the future?

No, I have no plans to re-record anything else. I think both "Hvis Lyset Tar Oss" and "Filosofem" are fine as they were recorded the first time. The tracks were chosen based on my personal preference only. Some tracks needed more than others to be re-recorded, and others I just wanted to re-record.

Are there any music artists or bands that you would recommend to others? What sort of music do you personally listen to on a day to day basis?

Personally I like some of The Cure a lot, like their fantastic "Disintegration" album, and I also like the beautiful "Within the Realm of a Dying Sun" by Dead Can Dance.

In "Belus", you had two previous tracks that were re-worked to fit the album. What compelled you to re-write these songs into the album? Is there anything like that on "Fallen" or "Umskiptar"?

No, all the material on "Fallen" and "Umskiptar" was new. I used old tracks for "Belus" because I really liked these old tracks. That's it really.

What is your view of the old bards of Norway? Do you feel that the culture has lost some of it's value due to the disappearance of the bards and their lost tales?

Norway never had bards. We had scalds. Gaul and Britain had bards. It is basically the same thing, but being a bit pedantic I just had to stress the difference...

Yes, we have lost much due to the disappearance of the bards and scalds, or rather we lost our bards and scalds because of Judeo-Christianity, so we lost much due to the appearance of Judeo-Christianity.

In a nutshell, what is your overall view of Anton LaVey and Satanism? Do you agree or disagree with the nine Satanic Statements? What sort of values do you feel people should incorporate into their everyday lives?

My view of Anton La Vey and his so-called Satanism? Anton Le Vey's original name is Howard Stanton Levey (which is the same surname as Levi), so in other words he was a f***ing Jew. I detest that Jew and all his teachings; they are created to break down European morals, ideals and ideas, just like Christianity was, much earlier by the Jew Paulus (alias Saul). Levey's Satanism is just another form of Judaism for non-Jews, just like Freemasonry, Christianity, Islam, et cetera.

I don't know about people, in the sense that there are different races of humans out there, and ever different human species (see www.mariecachet.com of proof of that), so I will only talk about my own race and species; the Europeans! We should embrace our traditional (Pagan) values of honour and righteousness. Nothing more, nothing less.

What are your views on the "Lords Of Chaos" book? There are a lot of contrasting views spread over the internet, so maybe we can set this straight once and for all.

There are contrasting views only for those who don't know that the only reliable information you can find about Burzum and me can be found on burzum.org.

The book is written by a Laveyist, Michael Jenkins Moynihan, and his humanist idiot companion, Didrik Søderlind, and if you want my view on their worthless book you can read this.

Is there any sort of literature you would recommend people to read and to gain knowledge from?

You should read Baron Julius Evola's books, for sure, as well as the classical Greek stoic philosophy, and if you have an interest in Scandinavian mythology I can also recommend my own book, "Sorcery and Religion in Ancient Scandinavia".

Any last words for your fans and what people can expect from "Umskiptar"?

From "Umskiptar" you can expect more of Burzum... slow, atmospheric and mythical.

Trust only the information you get from burzum.org!

Author: Ridge "Deadite" Briel (© 2012 Metal Army America USA)

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