Sunday, February 22nd. Cernunnos Pagan Fest is happening right now in Paris. We leave Cerevisia’s show to go meet the Danish horde so rare in France : Svartsot are expecting us for a memorable interview full of joy and good mood!
OK, lets begin, we are Valkyries Webzine and you are Svartsot ! Is it the first time you play in France ?
It is !
Really ? How do you find Paris ?
We haven’t seen much of it so far.
You said it’s the first time you play here, but why not before ?
That is an answer ! How do you feel here ? Do you have any other gigs planned ?
Not yet, but we’ll try hard to come back to Paris.
It has been kind of our release weekend. We had a great great show in Denmark last Friday, there was a huge crowd, the show was really great and the audience crazy. It’s the first opportunity we are offered to come play in France. We had many from Germany for instance, but it’s a new playground, that’s exciting !
He slapped me !
What’s going on ?
You wanna say something to us ?
What are you saying now ?
He slapped me in the face… for no reason !
[solemn tone] We are a very serious band !
Of course ! You have a Facebook page… which is really fun to follow, where do all these ideas come from ?
It’s mainly me [James Atkin]. I made an announcement when we had our very first gig on our FB page so as to get started with something. Something about beer, or something stupid like that… With time we stayed with this kind of posts, being more and more absurd, we couldn’t stop anymore. The release of our album was delayed for a year or near that, it’s been a year we recorded it at least, so we tried to keep people interested.
That’s definitely one of the best FB pages to follow.
Thank you. I drive myself crazy trying to think of interesting things. I wake up in the middle of the night, and think of something stupid like killing giant worms or things like that…
Our most popular post, even more than the release of new album or new video clip, new song ; is a post with us dressed up as Santa.
Amlost nobody here have seen you live yet. What can people expect from tonight performance ? Anything special ?
We are gonna play new songs, that have been played very few times before. One of the songs was played a few times in Denmark, but we’ll vary new songs. We can’t wait !
Hopefully, lot of fun from the audience too… We do folk metal, so it has to move !
It will ! People here are… motivated !
I think so too !
They are wearing costules like us !
Lets go on : Maledictus Eris was released 2011, and new album is out now. What happened in between ?
New album took a long time to be written. It is much more complex than previous ones so we took our time to compose it…
You don’t agree ?
Yes I do ! I just said something different to another interview a few days ago… It was also delayed last year for some reasons we could not control. It was delayed for 6 months.
The writing process never stopped since Maledictus Eris. We really wanted to take the time to make a great whole : half of the songs are very meaningful and we took the time to discuss the lyrics. There’s a lot of folklore… On the first albums you could say very quickly by listening the beginning of it if you liked a song or not ; whereas on this album most of the songs evolve, there are very few repetitins in the riffs, so the songs begins, and then it evolves. The songs were composed to fit the lyrics, the story, so when the story turns darker and more horrible, so does the music. If you understand Danish, you can guess what the music will become through listening to the lyrics.
Talking of lyrics, we got a question about it. Of course we don’t understand the lyrics, can you briefly explain to us what’s the album about ?
The album has a stroyline : a Danish celebration for Midsummer (Summer solstice or St John’s Eve). Today we mainly celebrate Midsummer on June 23rd (originally it is on the 21st), with a party called Sankthansaften, during which people make huge bonfires. It’s an important moment, people go out.
[laughs : John O’Fathaigh from Cruachan comes to our interview]
Everything is true about Facebook…
I said he was a bastard.
There is a lot of well-known folklore about what people used to do at Midsummer festivl, the way people used to gather in sacred places and the were bathing in the water trying to conceive children, and they were drinking the wter. Priest were asking money to people in pagan festivals. The song that was on Youtube : Kilden – I Marker of i Lundei is about the traditionnal story of the origin of the Holy Spring, when a 14 year old virgin girl was brought to the fields by a master (a land owner), he tries to have her but she refuses, and he kills her. This is very tragic the way she dies. But her spirit keeps living, and this is where the magic Spring comes from. It’s a very dark and tough song, it can be heard in the music that becomes darker and darker.
We talked about the concept, the music, and the myrics. What about the artwork ? Where does it come from,, and who drew it ?
It’s a Hungarian guy called Gyula Havancsák who already worked with Destruction and have been designing 3 albums for us now.
He also drew last Arkona album.
Last Arkona album too indeed. Iit wass kind of thhe same idea, so we had similar artworks.
It’s the lake with the girl ?
As we are talking about Arkona… They said they had touring plans with you, can we know more about it ?
No. It’s a secret. We are working with the same people as they do, that’s why.
Maybe some dates in France ?
We hope so ! I don’t know what’s planned for now.
We also wanted to know why you chose to sing in Danish. I recently did an interview with a Spanish band who told me they were singing in English so as to reach more people, do you agree on that ?
This is me who insisted on that we should sing in Danish (James Atkin)
[laught : the dude from Cruachan was stoking the -bald- head of James while he was speaking]
Everything about Svartsot is based of Danish folklore and history. Norwegian black metal bands for instance sing in Norwegian, Rammstein sing in German : why couldn’t we keep our native language ourselves ?
There are many people who don’t listen to metal. Often they are like « oh, I like the music, but not the singing ». People don’t like growl because they can’t understand it when we spend a lot of time writing the lyrics. We had a very funny moment when we were recording our first demo : for one of our first songs, we were writing the lyrics in English, we checked everything about the story was ok, then Cris (guitar player) translated them into Danish as close as possible, keeping the rimes, the meters so as to fit the music. That was a very long process, then we entered the studio, and when Thor started to sing (imitates him) we were like : did you just said about pies ?
[follows a discussion about tourism in Denmark]
We have run out of questions ! Do you have something to say to the readers of Valkyries Webzine ?
Endless fat !
Buy new albul and support our continuous use of liquor !
Thank you very much Svartsot, we are expecting our show !
Balmung, Deathslid, Morrigan.