– Hi Ash, thanks for answering to our questions. I won’t start with an introduction of NARGAROTH but, why was the band project? What did you want to get with it?
Today is the 02.06.2011 – Every time I answer this kind of question, I get aware how long I already make music or – and that’s the point – how old I am already. Music in general was always an influence in my life. As kid I had many piano lessons in a music school and melodies always affected me in my younger ages. In 1989, with the downfall of my former socialist country, I got an old bass guitar and I started to practice. In 1991 I’d my first band with my friend R.S. called OKKULTIS. As I in 1992 got to know Charoon we three re-grouped and changed the name into EXHUMINENZ. We recorded our first demo, but remained a young guys Black/Death Metal band without remarkable efforts. After R.S.’ suicide in 1995 I roamed alone for me. I worked since a longer time parallel on other musically things which got the name NARGAROTH. My influence was my possession of the idea to create something musically, which could be considered as an instrument to start a dialog with my inner self, because I was a strange young person driven by desires I couldn’t understand well in these times. And that’s NARGAROTH until now. A constructive, developed way to communicate with myself and a musical way of self reflection and self awareness.
NARGAROTH exists now a lot of years. And with the years passing, I changed. And with me, the musician behind NARGAROTH, also the topics and the meaning of NARGAROTH changed. In the beginning I was driven by more juvenile thoughts and topics which found place within the lyrics and the presentation of NARGAROTH. But after my rejection of the Black Metal scene in 2000/2001, my lyrics became more self-reflective, analytic. And along my psychology profession and my education to psychoanalyst and the five-year-psychoanalyze I made on my own, NARGAROTH became the instrument to communicate with myself. Others, the listener, are just visitors of this communication and the self-reflective dialogs. And those who find themselves within my lyrics are those, who can be labeled as my followers worldwide. NARGAROTH shares passion. No matter what kind of.
– Getting into your latest “Spectral Visions of Mental Wafare”, you started creating it (if I’m not wrong) while you were with “Jahreszeiten”. Why did you wait these years to release it? Or wasn’t back then ready yet?
During the recording of the “Jahreszeiten” (Seasons) album, I borrowed a synthesizer to work on the spheres in the beginning of the song “Herbst” (autumn) – and yes, it took a bit time to finish it and I didn’t want to release two albums short in order. I think two years between album releases are appropriated!
Well, I had now this synthesizer and, as always, it distracted my attention to finish the “Jahreszeiten” album and I started to explore the possibilities of the synth. Well, I had always a weakness for synthetic atmospherical sounds. I like since my early lifetimes the experimental works of the 70`s in this musical fraction and I always were into keyboard works in early Black Metal albums, which you can find in almost 80% of the demos and releases before 1996.
– How has been its feedback? As it sounds quite far from any previous release. It seems like you don’t have any limits, but many BM listeners do…
The reactions are as always and as to be expected for a NARGAROTH album. For some it was one of the best, refreshing and most creative Black Metal albums. For others it was the worst crap. Both assessments suit me.
I do not see it as so much different to my previous works. It’s only the fact of the domination of ambient songs on it. But had before ambient songs on my albums.
I’d never set me borders! Social life itself limits many intentions. You are only honest when you consider all your human facets in your music. And the unique Black Metal gives us the opportunity to express all facets of human feelings. Hate, Love, Fear and Pain. Everything’s is able to be expressed through this art! And so I do. And I always did!
– In the other hand, do you care about critics? It seems you have always been loved or hated, does this benefit you?
I am not free of emotions, but mainly I don’t care. I prefer extremes towards me instead of indifference. Hate needs much energy, so I am quite honored when all these shit-birds gossip about me. And as I said before, both assessments suit me.
– As always, this album is different still being NARGAROTH. Is this an important part of your artistically evolution/development?
Of course it sounds different. Every NARGAROTH album sounds different. I don’t repeat myself boringly like the commercial faggots! I cannot and will not create alike albums.. All the emotions expressed in an album are then completed! New or different emotions mean new and different expressions! New experiences, thoughts, pains and pleasures cannot always be the same, that old ways and means were expressed. I’m not just some kind of guy that makes a bit of “music”, like the most in this art form creating only empty shells of a song. This art is my possibility to live, yes, to live on, and the spirit and robe of my expression changes with me in the manner it stands in front of you. Alone this, so small as it might seem, differentiates me from the scum and their pitiful attempts to judge or set me in a certain direction. Nargaroth won’t get better or worse, only different!
– You have always had some ambient parts, but in this album they have a more important role. What do you want to reflect with this sound?
As I already wrote in the booklet of the album, synthetic sound spheres like the ones on this album, have from its early beginnings been elements of Black Metal in service of the sacral and transcendent. As the antipodes of the rather mundanely oriented guitars they – not only in the spiritually-mystical sense of an absolute reality – complete the sound picture which makes Black Metal unique among the musical genres.
– Also the atmospheres seem to be an important part of the album, and I also think they give a quite introspective feeling to it. What do they express?
This album deals with the hard and sometimes bloody emotional fights, the Faustian struggles and mental antagonism of contradictory strivings of the human nature at the crossroads of madness, when, like rusty cancer, the insight of eternal circles of repeatedly failing to achieve better fates, which we believed we had to pursue during hard times, is eating through our souls’ labyrinths. The particular songs deal with the desperate attempts to close oneself to ones own truths and contradictions and with mental meanders veiling the self-reflexive quest for the causes of our genesis. Those take shape as perpetual ponderings, life-draining resignation, depression, and self-mutilating deeds, and their disdainful laughter sneaks into our dreams even in tranquil times, and as ancient phantoms they haunt us through the labyrinths of our souls, where some of us remain missing forever. Thus, I commit the single songs to the willing but also the unwilling listeners and to their own inner fights (with them), and, recurring to the album’s subject, I conclude with the words of Peter Lorres: “Can I help it? Have I not this curse inside me? The fire. The voice. The agony.”
– The ambient songs create an interesting contrast with the guitar tracks. Did you want to get, in any way, that the album got exciting contrasts and a bigger impact?
No, it’s the concept of the duality between sacral and profane parts in our life. Just as I described it towards Synthesizer and guitars in Black Metal and what they represent.
– Due to these new elements, or the refreshing way of melting together elements you have already used in the past, I wonder if there are any bands that have influenced you.
I would say influenced, but I have a passion for old, hand played syntactical spheres of old releases. As it suits me and let me feel something – it is an expression of my admiration towards such arts.
– How important is for NARGAROTH expressing emotions within your music? How could you say you achieve it?
Its NARGAROTH destiny! Every single album represents the being and the creature of NARGAROTH and so of me. I just let my emotions, my attitude and my imaginations rule the way of my work. I do what I want! That’s all! And the backgrounds are my emotions. I am a man and I feel. I have emotions that lead me through life. And to get a conversation about those feelings I use the art and the music. And of course my development as man and the solutions and thoughts about my life, I transform into imagined pictures which lead to words, I write down mainly and preferred as poems. This should be normal for every musician.
– Because of this I would like to know how was the creation for the album; the artwork, composition, lyrics… As I believe everything works as one.
It’s all woven into each other to be a visual & acoustical artwork
– Since some years ago you’re using the nickname “Ash”, why did you decide to change it and what does it mean? Also what does it mean in your life.
Ash is my name. Everybody in the last 20 years calls me with this spell. It’s more my personality now than everything else. I’m also still Kanwulf. “He” still is somewhere within me. He is/was my anger, my stubbornness, my ignorance, my lies, my hate, my vanity; – he was my truth in the times from 1996 until 2001 and being him kept me alive in these sick, insane times. But every lord must pass one day. I did many things in my life that I relate with this name that I choose to let him sleep. I did it via my “Semper Fidelis” album and the song “I got my dead man sleep”. Now it’s me, Ash, taking over.
– Did that have something to do with those years where you left the “scene”? And talking about this, how did those years benefit or changed you and why did you decide to do so?
The name Kanwulf for me is connected with many things that I see much different today. It was always me – no doubt. But in 2001 I left the scene. I moved into a little hutch in the forest that belongs to my parent’s farm. I had no electricity (just a generator), a water pump, a garden to grow some food, a shotgun to hunt and a dog. I didn’t need more. I had to re-think many things and face some of my failures. I also started an education to psychoanalyst. That meant that during this long education I had to make a psychoanalytic therapy on my own. And so I did for 5 long years. And I was a kind of … another after that. That therapy was the second best thing I did in my life. Without it I’d be probably dead or in jail. And whenever I got confronted with things I did “as Kanwulf” I felt that this person wasn’t me anymore. And I got the feeling to carry that name on is wrong, although Kanwulf is still a part of me! Since the beginning of the 90’s everybody in my closer surrounding called me Ash. But as it is in life – hard decisions are hard to make and pushed off too long and too far.
Finally as I was in Viet Nam I could do my choice and make peace with me and that shadow Kanwulf. As I lived among a mountain tribe and then in the jungle of Viet Nam, sleeping in a hammock, eating frogs and crabs, dealing at night with my own fears and shadows of my past, my lies and failures I had a lot of time for self-reflection. And after I got stung by a scorpion I got a heavy fever and hallucinations and I came close to my inner core. I was totally alone in the middle of nowhere of the Vietnamese jungle close to the Laotian border. During the day I laid myself into a runlet, to keep my fever down, but at night surrounded by creeping darkness and whispering jungle, I faced my own horror. I don’t wanna get too deep into these private things now, but many decisions were born then. I decided to finish all albums I started under “Kanwulf” and then let him rest. I finished the “Semper Fidelis” album and could face my new works as the man that I am now, but “Kanwulf” sleeping deep inside of me. So, some of the elements that you find on that album “Jahreszeiten” and my decision to name me from now on “Ash” were born in this time of isolation in the jungle of Viet Nam.
– I read at your website you have an European tour planned for this year, could you tell us a bit about it? Dates,etc. For all those people who would like to see NARGAROTH on stage.
The tour already happened in April 2011
– And finally, what are your near-future plans?
Buy myself a Chevrolet Suburban. I know it wasn’t you questions intention, but…
– That’s all, thanks once more for your time. If you want to add some final words, last lines are yours.
Maybe not all share my considerations, views and ideas of Black Metal. And because of that, some people seem to place themselves among my so-called “enemies”. But we all summon the same cult, the same madness, the same insanity – Black Metal. And that makes us undeniable to brothers, in blood or hatred.