Interview to "Aryan Music" magazine — January 2010
Privit Gjallarhorn. Thanks, that you take your time to answering my questions. At first, please tell us something about the history of your band.
I, Onswar, and the former drummer Helg formed Gjallarhorn in the beginning of 2004. After that the line-up changed quite often and became constant only in 2008 after Helg left the band. Unfortunately, concert activity halted after his leaving, and all the things turned to better only lately. You may acquaint with our history in detail on our official web-site.
I've read at Ukrainian webpage, that you search your bandmembers by advertisement in some newspapers. It's an unusual way to start a black metal band. Does many musicians call you, cause of the advertisement? And is it to hard to find some musicians in the Ukraine just by asking some friends or at some talks at concerts?
In fact, we found only Nameless such way (he was the only one who called us). It was idea of our former guitarist to make the advertisement. And the rest of the band didn't even know anything about it till the very call of Nameless. It is very hard to find good musicians, who would be a good people at the same time, in our city and in Ukraine at all (and it's hard to do anywhere, I think). By the way, not many people are interested in Black Metal lately.
Last year, Vacula Productions released your debut album "Awakening". At this CD, you presented only three songs, and an intro and outro. Why do you record a CD, if you have only three new songs? I really like the songs, but its' a little bit strange, to release a fullalbum with three songs.
And I recently listened to full-length album consisted of two songs without any intro and outro, well, it's not strange (that's by the by). Actually, there were more songs, and not all of them should be called as new ones (for example, "Winternight" was utterly complete in 2006 already). We decided to record all Helg's songs that were completed at that moment during the preparation of cover for Satyricon tribute. Helg's leaving signed the end of a certain period in history of Gjallarhorn, and the album was called to do the same in musical plan. There is one more song, recorded at the same session, as "Awakening". But it was decided not to include it in the album, because it was too different in lyrics. Perhaps, it will be released in future, but it wouldn't be in full-length album.
At the middle of the song "Winternight" you have a slowly acoustic part, which impressed me much. Can you please tell us, why do you choose such a big difference into this song? What do you want to express by using this calm sound?
Acoustic parts are inalienable and quite weighty side in compositions of Gjallarhorn. Although I must admit that it wasn't illustrated entirely in our released works. "Winternight" is whole reflection of art of Gjallarhorn until 2008 for us. It characterizes this period both spiritually and musically. Undoubtedly, this song is very important for us.
The Intro and Outro of this "Awakening" album contents of very silent piano tunes, with some ambient parts. Do you think, that this will be a good way to start a black metal album? In my opinion, many black metal bands use ambient tunes, because the structure is very easy and you don't have to think much about the sound. It's music for easy people, not very difficult. But I like your ambient / acoustic songs. It's more than the ping-ping sound, its offers a deepness, which goes in the same way, like the black metal songs of your album...
In fact, "Awakening" begins of metal-track "On Steps To The Hall Of The Dead", Intro and Outro frame the heart of album of the same name, that consists of two parts: Winternight and Winterdemons. In the beginning we planed to create a trilogy framed in one album, but the third part was decided to leave for the next album because of cardinal changes in musical components. As a whole, we consider ambient or instrumental introduction in black metal album as good enough. Besides, there are many confirmations of that.
2008 Yar Productions released the EP "Land Of Forgotten". Why do change now to Vacula Productions? Does it make you a better offer, or does it make better promotion than Yar Productions? Are you satisfied with the work of Andriy?
Yar Productions offered us to release "Land Of Forgotten" and we agreed. In future we wanted to collaborate with Ukrainian label and connected Vacula Productions with this proposition, and so we had their consent. We are quite satisfied with this collaboration at this moment.
At the internet I've found an old logo of your band. Is it right, that you've changed your logo? And if yes, please tell us the reason of this changing? Who was the designer of the actually Gjallarhorn logo?
Currently Gjallarhorn has two official logotypes. The first one was created by me and it decorated the cover of our Demo "Ancient Times". Also you can find it on "Awakening" inlay (under the CD). In future we decided the band needs more classical logotype. Helg started working on it. Exactly that logo placed on covers of all our official releases. "Old logo", that you mentioned, is nothing but sketch. It appeared in Internet thanked one person, which was connected with band in the past, and, of course, without our permission.
You are Ukrainian band, which has a Nordic bandname and which sings about Nordic gods. Why do you so interested in the Nordic gods? I think, you have such a great Slavonic mythology, so why do you don't sing about the Slavonic gods? Are you proud of your Slavonic heritage? And do you see some similarities in both mythologies?
At the first stage of developing we (in particular me) were under huge influence of Scandinavian mythology, that reflected in our name and in lyrics of many songs. Wonderful example is the song "On Steps To The Hall Of The Dead", rich in kennings, that is, however, the last work directly connected with Scandinavian mythology at the moment. In the course of time we realized, that there are so many bands singing of Gods of Scandinavian Pantheon all around the world, and still much less attention paid to Slavonic mythology. We perceive any true manifestation of culture, laid by the man of Nordic race (and our Indo-European culture is the part of it), as invaluable treasure. And listening to the voice of blood, we decide to strengthen the trunk of Slavonic tradition, for if we don"t — than who will do?
The countrymans from Kroda often use some old instruments, like pipes to underline the folk character of the lyrics. But the guys from Nokturnal Mortum go more the hard way, true Black Metal. I think, that you are something between these two bands. Very hard and raw Black Metal, and (cause of the Intro and Outro) with some calm parts. So what are your musically models? And what do you think, how does Gjallarhorn sounds in ten years?
Thanks a lot for such appreciation, though we would hardly compare our art with these bands. We try to create unique music, partly based on achievement of our forerunners. As you have noticed, we do prefer interaction of hard fragments with melodic passages. And composers of Gjallarhorn always worked such way. Ten years... I think, we should ask ourselves the question: what will happen with Our World during this time? All became worse the last 65 years. Perhaps, 10 years can change nothing cardinally. But for the next 65 years, I'm afraid, We wouldn't get along. A certain culture goes on to exist until its creators exist. And then there will be just resounding of it. And I think the conclusions must be drawn here.
At the end of this interview, please tell us something about the future of Gjallarhorn. Are you working at some new material?
We are finishing the work on the new album now. A few parts of guitar and vocal left to record, and then we will start mastering. Besides, the work on concert program, that consists of the most recent compositions made later than material to the next album, goes on. I'd like to admit, that the most of lyrics written in Ukrainian language now in contradistinction to the previous works. And highly probable we will go on this way in future.
So, I hope you like the few questions. Now, you can end this interview with your own words.
Many thanks to Aryan Music for interesting questions! We would like to state following: the time for idleness is over (and the white man hardly could have such time). If someone wants to make a contribution to the revival of Nordic idea, then it must be done now, for it would be late. Absolutely everyone can make contribution within one's powers. To live in behests of the Ancestors means very much, if you understand what does it really mean.