– Hello, lots of thanks for answering our interview. How is everything going into the WATAIN’s camp right now?
It has been a very turbulent and interesting year so far, filled with many important events and undertakings… We begun the recording of The Wild Hunt on the 3rd of January, and since then the wheel of fire has been ever spinning, faster and faster… We are currently preparing for the upcoming US tour which will start in on the 8th of October in New York.
– You recently released «The Wild Hunt», your newest album. Starting to dig into it, first of all I would like you to tell us what does the cover artwork represent personally to you, as it’s a vanitas full of symbolism and details.
It is meant to represent some of the most important things that we have acquired during these past 15 years that we have been on the hunt, since the birth of Watain. They are not necessarily meant to be looked upon as objects but rather as symbols for certain experiences, enigmas and wonders that we have encountered along our journey. So it is certainly a cover that is heavily based on symbolism, yes.
– The title can also hold different meanings, as it can also be kind of autobiographic for WATAIN I guess but, does it hold any link to the ancient European myth of The Wild Hunt?
The pagan myth sometimes referred to as the Wild Hunt does not have much to do with the title of our album, no. There are certain aspects of that particular myth that might bear certain resemblance to the vision I have of our Wild Hunt, but then again there are other myths that are way closer to what we had in mind when we settled for this title. The Wild Hunt to us is our holy journey, a violent and fiery pilgrimage through the wilderness of the Other Side.
– Musically I could say «The Wild Hunt» is a progressive album, not in sound terms, but on it’s nature, as it shows the band progressing and going further. This tends to be connected to a certain spiritual progression. Is this the case of «The Wild Hunt»?
Watain is dependant on spiritual progression. It is a path, not a place. So yes, the progressive nature of the album relates very well to our own transcendental journey into the unknown.
– Songwriting is brilliant, maybe more well-cared, but overall I consider this album to have a certain Rock mindset, there are even nuances at the PINK FLOYD’s style. Is «The Wild Hunt» somehow built upon a rockier basis?
The musical nature of the album is not determined by some intentional leaning towards a certain music style. The musical nature of the album is a consequence of the energies that have been most predominant in our spiritual lives during the writing of the material. «They rode on», to take an example, is based upon energies that are of very desolate and melancholic nature. This is why it sounds the way it does. Outlaw is based upon other topics, it is meant to evoke fiery, free-burning emotions of violent liberation, and hence it sounds quite different. But it is never a matter of «let’s write a song that sound like pink floyd». That would be a far too shallow approach towards something as profound as a Watain song.
– In fact I have always compared WATAIN to VON, not because of the music itself, but the ability both bands have to create a mantra with some tracks and make the listener to lose all notion of time. I personally think this album is the height of that. Is this something you want to obtain with yur music?
I am very delighted to hear that. The dissolution of space and time, the collapse of order and reason, that is what I have always wanted to to accomplish with music. Because it is in these mental states of twilight that interesting things take place… This is where the veils are as most thin, and the beyond is able to seep through.
– «The Wild Hunt» is purely WATAIN; lyrics, spirit, music but, for what I’ve read a lot of people has seen it as a drastical change, and some persons don’t seem to be really open-minded or to be able to take some time to dwell into this opus. A clear example of this is «They Rode On», the song everyone has focused its attention on. In fact this is your first ballad so, how did this tune born? Was it easy to write it? There are even some female vocals so, who’s the singer?
They rode on was born after a long period of touring and also drastic change, giving birth to a very heavy and inspiring set of emotions that for a long time were very central in the band. A song is never «easy to write», it is always a struggle, but it came about quite naturally to put it like that. The female vocalist in the end is Anna Norberg, a fantastic singer who I am sure people will hear more about in the future. I am actually involved in putting out her first solo 7″ together with the Åhman brothers from In Solitude.
– Most people have compared this song to DISSECTION or BATHORY, but I personally found a lot of different nuances even fron non-Metal subgenres. Anyway, did any band actually inspired this song? As it seems more spiritualy driven.
No it was never a matter of drawing direct inspiration from any specific band or style of music. Like I was explaining earlier, the musical nature of a song is a consequence of the energies that the song is built on, and not the other way around. But I suppose my great admiration of bands like Fields of the Nephilim, Nick Cave, Swans and so on did have a certain impact on how the song came out in the end.
– Anyway the thing that really caught my attention out of it are its lyrics, really personal. It seems like you have never opened like this before. Moreover I think lyrics on this track explain a little bit the new angles on the album and, personally, songs like this make me see clearer you manage to connect with the listener on a more magickal context rather than strictly musical…
Good. As a lyricist I always find it to be a painful yet inspiring challenge to be as personal as possible, without becoming too mundane or human in my expression.
– I have even read on certain reviews or messageboards you have sould out. Personally «The Wild Hunt» makes me feel the opposite, as with a more risky and diverse record you show even more than ever you just do what you feel without worrying about what people could expect from you, and in the conext of your music I think thtat’s a primal part of the underground. Does it make any sense to you some people may won’t consider you an underground band anymore just because good sales or the certain success you’ve got throughout the last years?
Depending on what definition one has of an «underground band» I can be quite understanding when someone does not want to label us as one. To me the term «underground» has different qualities than what it has to those that define it after sales, media coverage and so forth. In my world bands like Venom and Bathory were underground bands as well, although they sold ten times more records than we did, and played for double the crowds. But anyway, I am neither provoked nor surprised if people think that we are not an underground band. It’s a matter of definition after all. To say that we have sold out, however, is something I have a very hard time to relate to. I think people sometimes mix up the terms «progression» and «selling out». And sure, people are not generally known for possessing great intellects or even being particularly intelligent in the first place. But still, how one could call an album like Wild Hunt a «sell out» is beyond my comprehension. To «sell out» is to adapt your art in order to gain a larger audience, to get more money. I dare anyone of these worms to actually listen to the album, read the lyrics, and then come up and say that to us face to face. Bones have been broken for less provocations than that, i may add.
– Going back to the album, besides female vocals there are some other new elements, as clean vocals by yourself and Spanish guitars. How did both things arise?
The ideas we had for some of the songs required them, as simple as that.
– I personally feel the whole album is like a cycle, starting with «Night Vision», a song that anticipates you what’s to come, and then closing with «Holocaust Dawn», which I think sums up quite good the whole opus. Considering this, could you say this album, or each new album you release, it’s like an era or a world on its own?
It is indeed a world on it’s own, the Wild Hunt. But it is also a part of something greater, the whole organic abomination of a body that is Watain. But yea, each of our albums can be seen as monuments risen at a specific moment in time, honouring the energies and Godforms that then were the most active and dominant in Watain.
– I could say, in some ways, «The Wild Hunt» is a retrospective opus, as it contians elements you’ve used on different albums but showing where your past has led to you, where you are right now. Maybe this had something to do with the huge diversity on the album? You also recorded it at different studios, so maybe that also affected this versatility?
The diversity of the album has a lot to do with the retrospective nature of the Wild Hunt as a concept, yes. We wanted to shine a light on different important ingredients and experiences that had been integral during the past 15 years during which Watain had existed, and this also makes for a quite dynamic and many-natured approach. The different studios we used to record were a mundane reflection of that, in a way.
– All this about «The Wild Hunt» being said; how could you describe it in just 3 words?
Black Metal Magic
– A couple of months ago you teamed up with Decibel to release a cover for GG ALLIN’s «Fuck Off, we Murder», recorded during the recording sessions for «The Wild Hunt». It could be surprising to a few so, why did you decide to play this cover? Anyway I think, not musically, but GG ALLIN had a quite fitting attitude/spirit for Black Metal. In terms of attitude, has he been influential for WATAIN?
The GG cover is a tribute to one of the greatest rock n roll rebels that have ever lived, and to everyone else who have chosen to raise their middle finger towards the world and ventured out on his or her own burning oath towards freedom.
– And finally, what are your near-future plans now that the album is already out?
We are going to head out on The Wild Hunt world tour which will start in US in October and go on for about a year, as it looks now. We also have a few other quite spicy aces up our sleeves which will be revealed when the time is right…
– That’s all, thank you once more for answering our questions. If you want to add some final words; feel free to do it.
Hail to our loyal followers and supporters, see you soon along the winding road! Sudden and swift shall the Darkness descend… HAIL SATAN!