Interview with BEKMØRK
Tell us about your latest release: the main concept; what fans should expect; what were/are your goals with it:
We wanted to create something new, which sounds like it was created in early 90s Norway, at the height of the second wave of black metal. While the developments and evolution of black metal have produced great results, we think there remains a place for the old sounds. While we are fundamentally black metal, some people who have heard it have noticed elements of doom metal in places as well. So maybe this is our unique spin on the second wave black metal, but we embrace this. At the end of the day, it all comes from Black Sabbath, so we would be reflecting the influence of our influence. Really though, the idea is to create new songs, which can exist sonically along side an early Darkthrone or Mayhem track.
Did you have a specific sound in mind when you formed the band, or did that grow and evolve as you played together?
Although Bekmørk are new to the black metal scene it is our goal to deliver a sound reminiscent of second wave black metal, as was produced in Norway and Scandinavia during the early to mid 1990s. Bekmørk is making music in the spirit of Norwegian black metal, which is to say utilizing the style, concepts and inspiration which originated from Bergen and Oslo, back in the formative days of the genre. During that time period following the the primordial stages of black metal from the continent, such as Venom and Celtic Frost, and into that period which really codified and grew the genre in Scandanavia with bands such as Darkthrone, Mayhem, and Emperor.
How does your writing process normally work out?
It was truly a collaborative process between the two members of the band. Most of the songs were worked out through jam sessions with a focus on song arrangement. Once we were ready to record Beserker handled the drums, Naberius the vocals, and all guitars were split between the two of us. All the while we were working on lyrics. The theme was to invoke in the listener images of frozen landscapes and cold, harsh environments. I think one of the strengths of those early Norwegian bands, is how their music made the listener feel transported to the arctic circle, a place of vast stillness and death. Lyrically, sonically, aesthetically and atmospherically, the album was influenced by my time in Norway, although not entirely by any stretch. We were trying to capture the sound from a frigid place. But that frozen place can be Norway, or Antarctica, or Canada. We are playing in the spirit of Norway, but that spirit need not be specific to Norway. It can be found anywhere that is icy and dark. I do not recall any disagreement at any stage of the process, as our vision for the final project was so similar. It is important to note, neither of us are trained sound engineers, however we felt this was beneficial as it was our aim to emulate the rawness of early black metal. We didn’t want it to be too polished. We even considered not mastering the tracks, but in the end, utilized a basic on-line mastering service, with the idea doing so would prevent our tracks from sounding too buried if they found airplay or ended up on a compilation.
What are your ambitions and how far do you want to push your band?
“Incantations of the Frigid North” was conceived as a studio album. The two of us played all the instruments, which would of course be impossible in a live setting. If we were to present this album as a live show, we would have to recruit additional musicians. There are currently no immediate plans to expand this to a live project, but it is possible. Our main objective was to add a new sound, with old elements, to the vast tapestry of black metal. We hope it finds an audience.
What are your influences/musical references and the impact those same influences had in your sound?
There are three albums which I would consider to be the primary influence for Bekmørk. These are Darkthrone “A Blaze in the Northern Sky”, Mayhem “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanus” and Emperor “In the Nightside Eclipse”. These are, of course, the seminal albums in the genre, but this was the idea, to source from the classics. We also listen to Immortal, Dimmu Borgir, Watain, Children of Bodom, Behemoth, Inquisition and Gorgoroth. I especially like the Abbath solo album released last year. We love all metal though, not just black metal, so our interests and influences exist beyond the subgenre as well. There isn’t a single ideological view for Bekmørk, as is common in black metal, but rather a cacophony of different ideas all directed into a specific musical style.
What’s next for you?
We have been approached about participating in a compilation album, as well as working with Russian black metal band Wintaar on a split. We are hoping to get back into the studio in 2019, so as to have some new material for this split.