Interview with Varg Vikernes
"Mortem Zine" (30.04.2012), by Garmfrost

Greetings. When listening to your new album I feel something like a "post-Ragnarök syndrome", meaning that everything perished and the new things are being created. Am I correct? Do you think that Ragnarök has began or that the end of the world has already occurred and we are now living in the age of chaos?

The Ragnarök described in Völuspá occurs every year, on the holiday we today celebrate as "New Year's Eve", when we chase the remaining winter spirits away with fire (and today also with fireworks). Each spring is a new beginning; the return of Baldur.

The age we live in is truly an age of chaos, but I guess the chaos of this age is only the travail of a new era, so to speak. It is necessary for a new Golden Age to be born.

On your earlier recordings you have used art by well known Norwegian artist Theodor Kittelsen and when not - the covers were still resembling his style. The graphic change came with "Belus". Why did you decide to change this and use different painters?

Because Burzum is not a static entity, and because there is no reason to make an album if it is exactly like the older albums. I may remind you of the fact that I didn't use Theodor Kittelsen on the two first albums either, or on the "Aske" EP. So the change found on "Belus" isn't very graphic after all. The biggest change is in fact that I no longer release albums in pairs, like I did in the past. I used the same artist on two albums every time, until "Belus", when I no longer did that.

The promo sheet for "Umskiptar" mentions the term "Skaldic Metal". Why did you choose such term? Have you felt a need to distance yourself from Black Metal?

Yes, I think it is utterly silly to describe Burzum as Black Metal when I revolted against Black Metal as early as in 1992, with the anti-Black Metal album "Filosofem" (which was actually recorded in March 1993). I was against this trendy scene even in 1992, and I still regard it with contempt. So I make it very clear that Burzum is not Black Metal by calling it "scaldic metal" or "scaldic music" instead.

I chose the "scaldic" term because it fits the concept of Burzum very well. It is both Pagan and romantic.

Not a long ago you mentioned working on the book "Sorcery And Religion In Ancient Scandinavia". Could you reveal an annotation of the book and how is your work going on?

The book was published last year, and you can find more information about it on Burzum.org

Promotional photography for "Umskiptar" is divided into two parts. Hunter and WargaR. Hunter is in more militant style while WargaR is approached in more classic manner with you wearing armour. Could you tell us what these photos represent and what did you want to express with them?

They represent the fighting spirit of Europe and the European man. The WargaR character is the ancient European man, wearing blue (the Pagan colour) and fighting or preparing to fight the enemies of Europe, and the Hunter is the same character, metamorphosed, in our own age or in the future. The European fighting spirit cannot die; if killed it will only be reborn later on, ready to inspire us to keep fighting. We will never surrender and never accept slavery or mongrelization.

I don't know whether someone asked your permission but what do you think about the upcoming Hollywood movie based on the book "Lords Of Chaos"? Your person is the centre of the movie and you should be portrayed by some nancy boy whom I don't know.

Well, it was "upcoming" three years ago too, and we haven't heard a thing since then, so I think we can all assume it went more down than up, so to speak. Naturally I was very much against this film, as can be seen on Burzum.org

You started your own label Byelobog Productions which releases only music of Burzum. Haven't you thought about releasing albums of other bands? What kind of requirements would such bands need to meet?

Sorry, but you have been misinformed. Byelobog Productions is not my label, and as far as I know they will not release any other music.

You are releasing new albums every year. Your inspiration seems to be inexhaustible and very strong. But aren't you afraid that you might start repeating yourself?

In a sense I have repeated myself since the first album, but I don't think that has ever been a problem. I say the same thing, every time, over and over again, but in a different way every time.

If I did use Theodor Kittelsen and sounded exactly like I did in the past it would have all been a waste, and this is the why I always try to do things differently every time, and I do. It is all still made and played by me, so the spirit will always be the same, but still.

Anyway, do you plan to create only metal music in the future? Haven't you thought about doing something completely different? And I don't mean recording another purely ambient album even though that would be welcome as well.

Well, I always do something completely different, on a few tracks on each album, but I have thought about doing everything "non-metal" as well, but we will see what happens. I follow no rules, so...

You give yourself an account of a withdrawn individual but on your website we can even see photography from your childhood. This is in my opinion quite contradicting. Aren't you concerned that your privacy, which you have always guarded from the publicity, might get exposed too much?

These childhood photos were published in the "Lords Of Chaos" book you mentioned above, and if it was up to me they would never have been published, but now that they are out there it is pointless trying to "hide" them or pretend they don't exist. We want burzum.org, the only website I am involved with by the way, to be the sole source of reliable Burzum information, so we try to include as much as we can, without having to compromise too much. We want you to visit burzum.org instead of other websites, so we have it all there. Or better; we have all the truthful information there, including photos.

Some exposure is at any rate necessary if you want to make a living as an artist. I am more exposed than I appreciate, but it is a price I have to pay if I am to make a living as a musician.

Have you ever been a target of some kind of an attack? After all, your person causes rather hostile emotions in certain people and various sectarian organisations.

On the contrary. I only experience support from people who recognize me. Most of them thank me for having the guts to tell the truth, or they express appreciation for my music or books. I have yet to meet anyone hostile. Maybe if I went to some Jewish gay bar, I would have met some hostility, but I rarely do so...

The more orthodox part of Black Metal scene is profusely pervaded by Satanist, anti-Christian and nationalist ideologies. This applies both to fans and musicians. What do you think about such orthodoxy? Is it just a pose and play-acting or a real life stance? In these days churches are not being burnt like it was during nineties, nonetheless do you see some displays of Black Metal orthodoxy in today scene?

Sorry, but I have no idea. I pay no attention to the Black Metal scene whatsoever. What they do or don't do is of no interest to me. I hope they are nationalistic though, and that it is a real life stance and not just pose and play-acting.

Europe has changed significantly. On one hand there is an European union striving for a multicultural unitary state structure which denies individuality and on the other hand there is a growing threat from Muslim countries. Do you think that there are still places of old pagan traditions to be found in the contemporary Europe?

Well, all our "Christian" traditions are originally Pagan, so I guess that answers your question. You should read "Sorcery And Religion In Ancient Scandinavia" and you would see just how Pagan the "Christian" traditions really are and where and what they really come from.

I wonder what do you think about the growing interest in the northern mythology and especially about the recent "phenomenon" when even high ranking managers (from USA for example) are entering organisations like Ásatrú or Wicca and they really believe in these contemporary achievements of neopagan magic. On top of that they also believe they are an incarnation of Thor etc. Isn't it paradoxical?

We live in 2012 and are surrounded by advanced science and technology, and still many believe Jesus walked on the water or that Marie was actually a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus (if that ever happened, that is), and I find that no less paradoxical. We live in an age of chaos. All our morals and ideals have been broken down, and even our survival instinct is broken, so I am not surprised when I see lost human beings wander about in search of a new meaning and new ideals. What else to expect, when we live in an age of chaos?

Have you ever gave a listen to any band covering Burzum song? There are countless tributes to your band, some are good and some are utterly poor. To mention two interesting examples - Czech Umbrtka paid tribute to both Burzum and Kraftwerk in a special song "Kraftvarg" and Infer from Slovakia reworked "Der Tod Wuotans" into Death Metal for example. What do you think about such tributes and Burzum "clone-bands"?

You should differ between bands playing cover tracks and Burzum "clone bands"...

Anyway, I am very much oblivious to what goes on in the music world, so to speak. I pay no attention and I don't want to pay attention either. I am sure they do this for themselves anyhow, and that is fine by me. Sometimes I wish I was more interested, but I think I am just too anti-social and too busy doing my own thing.

Do you sometimes listen to your own music? Or are you more like Fenriz who cannot listen to Darkthrone unless he is drunk?

Yes, I listen to my own music sometimes. That's why I made the music in the first place. I am never drunk, by the way.

Talking about Darkthrone. In the past you have co-written some lyrics on "Transilvanian Hunger" and "Panzerfaust". How did this cooperation happen back then? Can you imagine something similar nowadays that you would help out some other band? If yes under which circumstances?

No, I don't see this happening again. I did back then because I was frustrated, betrayed by most of my so-called friends, and I guess Fenris thought the same, and wanted to show his support by using lyrics by me. I appreciated his gesture, and I think it mattered in the long run. He at least never betrayed me. Nor did Hellhammer of the other guys in Mayhem. The rest did.

That is all from us. Thank you very much for the interview and your time. If you have anything to say to our Czech and Slovak readers go on please. Have a nice day.

Thank you for the interest. Long live Bohemia and Slovakia!

Author: Garmfrost (© 2012 "Mortem Zine" Czech Republic)

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