Interview to "Heathen Call" magazine – March 2014
Please name the current members of the band and their roles.
Greetings! Here is our current line-up:
Why was Gjallarhorn, the horn of the Norse god Heimdall, chosen as the band name?
Scandinavian mythology influenced me strongly in the early period of creativity, thus it was not surprising, that we chose this name for the band. In our opinion, the Horn (including the musical instrument), calling for Battle, is very suitable name for the music band. Our lyrics are no longer connected with Scandinavia, but there is no question about the change of the band’s name, because the meaning, embedded in it, is still essential and consequential.
Name some of the topics expressed in the lyrics and their significance. Would you like these to have an impact on the listeners?
The main topics of our lyrics for now are the pagan weltanschauung and will in the conditions of the modern world, historical persons of the past, battle themes. To our opinion the significance of these topics (especially the first two topics) can hardly be overstated. We do pay much attention to our lyrics, to its meaning and to its form. For me it’s very important, that lyrics must be perceived as the poetry, not just as the text for the song. The certain perfection of the piece of art can be gained only with paying enough attention to all the elements of creativity. The translations of our lyrics, made by our comrade R. W., are available on our website: www.gjallarhorn.org.ua.
What sub-genre of black metal would you describe as the style of Gjallarhorn? How this compare to other black metal bands and their ideologies?
We describe our genre as Pagan Black Metal. Now the term “Heathen” is used often. But we prefer to use the term, described above. It’s closer to us, and it expresses everything we wanted to include in. As for the comparisons to other bands, we find many Heathen / Pagan / Folk Metal bands close to us. In particular: Primordial, Nokturnal Mortum, Drudkh, Темнозорь, Agalloch, Negură Bunget, Absurd etc.
Your last album was a split with Євген Ветрук (Yevhen Vetruk) last year. What are you plans in the future for releasing more works?
This year we’re planning to release the second full-length album “From Heart Of Mine I Fill The Chalice” (we’ve already sent all materials to our releasing label), and also two splits. The poem of T. H. Shevchenko “Ivan Pidkova” was used for lyrics for the split with Hetman. And this release is timed to coincide with 200th anniversary of the birth of the great poet. Gjallarhorn compositions, connected with battle themes, including two cover versions, will be released on split with Myrkvids Draumar.
How would you describe past live performances?
The presentation of the “Legacy” album, which we held with Yevhen Vetruk, was our previous performance. It was open air gig among the picturesque landscapes of Kherson region. You may get acquainted with the photo album in the Gallery of our website.
Which bands influence your music? Are there any particular bands which you would like to tour with, or locations where you would like to perform?
The classical bands of Norwegian Black Metal and Bathory should be mentioned first among the bands, which influenced us. I think, many things, which were stated in Varg Vikernes’ article “A Burzum Story: Part VI - The Music” are still important for us. The ideas of Richard Wagner, that the art must broach the perennial questions and problems, which significance never lose its topicality, regardless of place or epoch, influenced me personally. And also I admit the influence of the Indo-European epos and Ukrainian epic tradition. It would be nice to play with many bands, which I mentioned in the question about our music style. I’ll mention a few more here: Enslaved, Cruachan, Небокрай, Dordeduh, Mael Mordha, Myrkvids Draumar. We don’t have gigs often, but definitely we prefer such thematic festivals as Kilkim Žaibu.
What do you expect to accomplish with your involvement in the Heathen Circle, and why would you recommend for others with similar interests to join it?
We consider the organization of such kind plays an important role in the union of different groups of people with certain common interests. The Pagan Front was such kind of organization in my personal process of development. Getting acquainted with works of the bands participants, I could be sure the ideas, disclosed in their works, are the part of their life, not just words. As I may see now, the activity of The Pagan Front got much lower... I want to say, Heathen Circle has all the chances to unite and gather the associates. But one must set and keep the high hurdle to get this. For example, the strict selection of the bands is absolutely right decision. If you consider the activity of Gjallarhorn doesn’t suit the ideas of Heathen Circle, we will leave the organization. But we demand the same: clear attitude, activity, loyalty to the chosen path. And first of all, we would like the Heathen Circle official website to function. Everyone would be able to find all the needed information here, because now it’s hard even for me to mention all the participants of the organization for sure. And if Heathen Circle goes that way, there will be no need to recommend others to join the organization. People will come to you themselves.
In light of the current events in your country of origin, Ukraine, would the occurrence have an effect on the music? What is your stance on the riots and massive bloodshed?
Many things have changed since I got the questions, so I’ll try to describe the situation in general terms. Undoubtedly, we support the ideas of Ukrainian Revolution. The necessity of removing of the criminal regime was obvious. It was highly noticeable, how the government, having focused on its wealth only, ignored the people these days. The last straw was the command to use the firing arm against demonstrators... Ukrainian people have made their choice and reached the aim. But scarcely having got breath and bemoaned the fallen ones, had they found the occupation of Crimean peninsula by Russian forces... The lie being spread all around by the Russian politics and news media among its citizens and globally is horrifying. I want to accent: there is no national or language discrimination in Ukraine either. That’s absurd. I live in Russian language region and I can confirm this. There are no chaos and anarchy in Kiev (and there were not). I was at the Maidan Nezalezhnosti in early February this year and I can confirm this (if you need more information, you may contact Eugene from Chur, who took part in revolutionary events in Kiev. The mythic “fascists” is another story: naturally, Ukrainian nationalists actively participated in revolution. But when someone tries to compare them with Nazis of WWII, it means they don’t have any idea of contemporary Ukrainian nationalism. These are the ideas of free, independent and prosperous Ukraine as opposed to post-Soviet standstill and deadlock. The situation is stringent now. Especially in our region, that borders with Crimean peninsula. But I think we should always remember these words: “The Sleep is the Death, the Fight is the Life”, and we should look into the future with courage. As for the effect of current events on our music: I’d say it naturally influences us, leaves its imprint. We’ve chosen our way long ago, and we’re sure now it’s even more relevant than before.
Thank you for the interview. Do you have any closing statements?
Thank you for interesting and topical questions! We would like to wish all the readers not to lose the connection with their Roots and Nature. And for the organisation and issue we’d like to wish the activity and rigidity. As for the situation in Ukraine – never surrender! The Truth is on our side, the Honour and the Conscience are shoulder to shoulder to it!