Thursday, December 16, 2010

Okkultokrati interview in Ox Fanzine

Okkultokrati were interviewed by Katharina Gille for Ox fanzine via email back in September, and it was just published in their latest issue. For all of you who don't speak German, here is the entire conversation in English in all its unedited glory.

1) Maybe not all the readers know Okkultokrati or the meaning of the name, so what does it mean?

Black Race: Okkultokrati is a band from Norway. We reside in Oslo,
playing dark and heavy punk/hardcore. A translation of the name into English would be "Occultocracy". As in an occult upper class or an occult form of government.

Black Qvisling: the fundamental, ultimate mystery - the only thing you need to know to understand the deepest metaphysical secrets - is this: that for every outside there is an inside and for every inside there is an outside, and although they are different, they go together.

2) Your debut album No Light for Mass is out now. How would you describe the album?

Black Race: The album is harder than our previous stuff, both musically and production wise. Ruben Willem who recorded the album is the best producer around these days, we really enjoy working with him.

Black Qvisling: To sum up the album in one word: illuminating. 9 songs to expand the mind, push your buttons and your pressure points, elevate the soul, snuff out all hope and breathe fire into your personal demons.

3) I read that you call your kind of music True Norwegian Metaphysical Black´n´roll. Can you say something about that? It sounds really pure and raw. Or is it more about the lyrics?

Verminscum: The music is black as in dark, NOT as in black metal. People seem to put a "black metal" label om Okkultokrati at times, but I can't really see why. We're all fans of the Norwegian black metal classics, but we have never claimed or intended to have an element of black metal in our music. I guess you could say though, that we sort of have the same mindset as the pioneering Norwegian black metal bands, and a similar approach to making music. As for the "roll" part, we like to rock. Everyone these days seem to wanna include more and more "extreme" genres in their music, even though they all end up sounding like some shitty generic myspace-core.

Black Qvisling: TNMBNR is more an inside joke. Never mind that tag. A more fitting term would be "end of days motivational soundtrack" or "dream state rock". We like it raw, we don't care if it's pure or real. Those words mean nothing to us.

4) Where did you record No Light for Mass?

Verminscum: In Oslo at Caliban Studios with Ruben Willem doing everything from engineering to mixing to mastering. It's a great studio, the lastest Haust stuff is done there as well.

5) As I can say Okkultokrati get signed pretty fast to the well known Fysisk Format. How come? Because I thought that this is a more hardcore oriented label.

Black Qvisling: About Fysisk Format; they already released Haust, Obliteration, Årabrot and Next Life who are some of our favorite current artists and we gave it the recording and they said "This is the greatest music that has ever existed" and that was that.

6) What can you tell me about your own label called Ormeyngel? Do you have a fixed schedule for the releases?

Black Race: We've had Ormeyngel since we started out the band. The Okkultokrati demo tape was the first r‎elease, the Knarkskog 7" the second. All Okkultokrati releases on Ormeyngel are co-releases with other labels (Lilla Himmel, Fysisk Format, Odio Sonoro), but we do Ormeyngel-only stuff as well. We have some planned releases, so stay tuned for that. It's hard to find quality stuff though, most music in Norway these days disappoint us, unfortunately.

Black Qvisling: Ormeyngel is our own little hellspawned baby and is done by us to release stuff by us and our friends. All people should have their own label, even if only to press 5 copies and document their own output and surroundings. We have stuff planned, but we don't set a date on things. Releases come out when volcanoes aren't erupting and the pressing plant finds it convenient to press some records.

7) Sebastian Rusten has given Okkultokrati a very special visual language. Is he going to join the team for releases on Ormeyngel too?

Black Qvisling: Sebastian Rusten is a mountain of a man and is part of our band in a huge way.

Black Race: We're really happy with having Sebastian do our artwork. Everything he's done is killer, and he's currently working on the new 7" which will look insane! As far as him doing other Ormeyngel stuff, I don't really know. No plans there, but it's obviously a possibility. As of now though, we're kinda happy he's working exclusively for us!

8) You have recorded in a short time your demo tape, 7 " and now released your debut album. Would you say that this is a very creative period, or is it sometimes difficult to produce new songs?

Verminscum: None of us had known each other for that long prior to starting this band, and we created the band when we realized we all had sort of the same perspective on music. So when we all finally got together, I guess years of plans just came to life.

Black Qvisling: We like writing and recording and being prolific. Not everything makes the cut and makes it all the way to be properly recorded, but we do write a lot of songs. Weeding out the unworthy stuff and rearranging it until it becomes good is a grueling process, but ultimately necessary. We have a new EP coming out soon called "Ingen Veit Alt" and we are also writing songs for an upcoming split-release. Writing songs have both been hard and easy. Just like meditating in a room full of noisy children, you have to phase out the static and focus on reaching your power center.

9) You have recorded an EP a long time ago. Are there any differences in your music style? Development?

Black Qvisling: Both yes and no. Small nuances within the grand design, but still a steady course of headbanging, fist-pumping, skullkrushing heavy shit.

Black Race: The The Knarkskog 7" was recorded November 2008, and is more weird and unconventional in my eyes. That whole recording session, the demo and the 7", was all we had produced during our first few months of existence. Also, the sound probably affects the whole record, as it's quite different then what we did for the LP. I've recently fell in love once again with those songs and recordings, they sound really cool.

10) And what about your new bass player. Are there any changes in the music because of him?

Black Qvisling: Le Ghast bring his unique energy, vision and flow. And he always has the best medicine. Greasing our machinery and working his black magic to amplify the sonic wall of death.

Verminscum: We created and recorded the LP and everything before that with our old bass player, but he surely takes our songs to the next level. He's a terrific bass player who knows how to keep it heavy as fuck, and I'm really glad we got around to record a new 7" with him.

11) Are there differences or special features for CD and vinyl edition?

Black Qvisling: just slightly different cover art and the all CDs so far have come with a poster.

12) Do you have plans of touring? Where?

Black Qvisling: We are playing some shows around Norway this fall and planning one in Stockholm, Sweden in January. Beyond that we hope to do a longer tour around Europe sometime during 2011.

Black Race: Of course, we wanna tour now that the LP is out. I wanna go everywhere. Europe, US, Giza, Stonehenge, Easter Islands. It will happen.

13) Some of you play in different bands, for example in Haust. Are these bands equal (or is one band more important than the other one?) or is there sometimes a conflict of interests?

Black Qvisling: So far things have gone very smoothly. Haust have their own rhythm and way of doing things, and so have Hombre Malo and so have Problems. As soon as one band winds down another takes over.

Black Race: Never really a conflict of interest. This summer and fall most of our shows have been with Haust and it feels like the most natural thing to do. We're the Black Hole Crew.

14) The OX Fanzine is mainly a hardcore and punk fanzine. How do you relate to the punk scene and the metal scene for instance?

Verminscum: Oslo is so small, that scenes tend to merge together. Or, at least there are people on both "sides" who merge and meet at the middle, we're one of those people. Obliteration, the best metal band in Norway, is on Fysisk Format as well and we love playing shows and hanging out with them. We also have a close tie with the hardcore scene, bands like Common Cause, Death is Not Glamorous, Problems - and the more punk related scene with bands like Knuste Ruter and SummonThe Crows. We all go to the same shows, play in different bands together, hang out. Sure there are hardcore kids who never go to metal shows/crust punk shows and metal lords who hate hardcore punk, but you'll find narrow minded people everywhere. There's a solid core who get along with each other and make Oslo what it is these days. If people wanna stand on the sideline clinging on to their Youth of Today or Carcass records, I don't care. I don't mean to talk shit on other people, I just think that some people are too loyal to certain bands
or venues. Why the fuck wouldn't you go to a show with bands/type of bands you like just because it's at a specific venue? I feel this is a problem with the hardcore scene here in town, as there's always the same people showing up to every single show, even if the bands playing are of all kinds of genres. Common people think hardcore is elitist and narrow minded, but it's they who won't come on in. They're more than welcome to come to any show.

Black Qvisling: We like punk, we like metal. All metal dudes should start a punk band, and all punkers should start a metal band. It is also important to adapt to your own personal hardcore lifestyle, no matter what path is takes you down. Good or bad.

15) Norway is known for its wide (Black Metal) scene. Do you think you can establish your band for a long time or is it a very hard way to the top? Will you ever go this way or is the Underground the better option?

Black Qvisling: We don't fucking care. I mean who gives a shit? I mean we are already at the top. Selling copies or jerking off into a sock screaming your mother's name, either way is good. We'll do our worst and what happens happens.

Black Race: There will never be new Darkthrone, Mayhem, Burzum or whatever, and most new "successful black metal bands" suck, so I don't really feel we need to challenge their position. I have nothing against bands trying to "reach the top", but Okkultokrati will obviously never be there. You'll need catchy choruses and stupid gimmicks to do that. We're not like that, underground is where we belong. That being said, being a band for a long time certainly doesn't mean you need to "make it big". Our plan is to play hard, fast, and heavy as long as we have something new to bring to the table, and I see no reason why we wouldn't be doing this for a long time.

16) What is your opinion on downloading music? In Germany, there is a debate about the fact that it harms the music industry more and more. What is your opinion about that? Or do you also sell music via internet, so as other bands did it already. Is it a rising problem in Norway, too?

Verminscum: We've got more important problems to deal with in our lives, and I believe others have as well. Lawyers who devote their time to catch kids enjoying music should use their professional skills on other, more concerning matters. Needless to say, we all support independent record stores and spend a lot of our spare money on records, but I don't oppose file sharing/downloading. This debate is growing old, and people can talk for hours about how they discover music through downloading and bla bla bla, and others can talk about how artists and labels should be respected and deserve to get paid. Doesn't take much brains to realize both sides have good arguments, but the fact is; downloading is like graffiti - it will never be stopped. All the bands we're in/have been in have been active in the "age of downloading" so I guess we don't really feel the damage the way that say U2 would, but it obviously doesn't affect small bands like us. Sure, it would be cool to turn back time 25 years and be a band in the mid 80s when you could sell 3000 seven-inches in a week (read the Hüsker Dü chapter in "Our band could be your life", those sales figures for their first releases blew my 21st century digital mind), and you could make good money releasing records, and girls actually liked guys who play in bands, but being in a band in 2010 isn't really that bad. We still sell out our records, and everyone in punk rock know that they have an expensive hobby and are down with that fact. Keep buying records, keep going to shows, keep on checking out music online. And most importantly, go start a band of your own.

Black Qvisling: I dunno. People are always going on about how this is the end of the middlemen and how it allows the artist to get directly out to it's audience, but unfortunately it's all just contributing to elevate the information flow and making it harder to filter through all the crap to get to the good stuff. No band has the time to be their own publicist full time and still be creative. Downloading is great for hobby bands and all things mediocre to spread their fecal matter, but ultimately probably bad for the full time artists. Unless you want to make your rent by making music for laundry detergent- and car commercials or something. Downloading is cool for checking out new stuff but in the end I don't believe anybody has the right to get every piece of music throughout the history free of charge by the click of a button. I don't even know if it makes you a better person or just a douchebag. Sometimes I miss the slow world of no internet and no hassle. I guess nuclear war is the only way we're going back.

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