Interview with Arak Draconiiz
Why did you start working again with Isvind after an interim of nearly six years? Who are the current members and what can we expect from the band – both in musical and conceptual departments – with this new return?
I think it’s, actually, more of a question of why we quit than why we started up again. A lot has happened with both the scene and, apparently, also the music since then. Back then, Black Metal was on the brink of really being recognised by the press and so on, which took away some of the initial excitement for me, I think. Anyway, we had been given the chance to release an album with our stuff as well as going on a tour and I was happy with that. Also, the circumstances just didn’t fit for a period of 3-4 years, as we lived far from each other, but we’ve always been determined to start-up again. Now it’s the perfect time, as we’re totally underground, unknown and unaffected of what’s been going on (at least I have no idea).
Goblin has made most of the new material and I’m contributing with a couple of tracks. It’s all totally got the Isvind sound, although it’s somewhat better, technically, as Goblin is a good guitar player. Conceptually, we’re moving towards a fucking aggressive attitude with capital A: cold, grim, traditional, primitive Black Fucking-Christ-Raping Necro Metal! Anti-Christian, the kick ass drummer of Black Comedy and, previously, also Tsjuder, will play drums for us on the album and live. Goblin plays guitar and I might do the bass on the album.
In the beginning you were called Icewind. Did you change it due to Behram’s exit? What does it mean to you?
You’re right, Behram’s departure was part of the reason of why we changed the name. Also, Isvind sounds hell of a lot colder than Icewind and it’s more aesthetically correct. Also, I’m sure Norwegians invented ice, as it’s so damn cold here you wouldn’t believe it. The Isvind, obviously, comes from the north and it penetrates your flesh like a cold knife, blowing straight through marrow and bone (a real bitch); extremely inspirational, I think!
How did you and Goblin first meet? Do you share common viewpoints – not only in Music but regarding other issues? How would you define yourself and what are your standpoints on religion and society?
We’re from the same area and have been attending the same schools, been into the same music and, basically, we’re just good friends. As for society, we agree on a lot, such as what’s cool and what’s not. I really think neither of us could care less about anything, but I should, of course, only speak for myself.
I try not to follow any “isms” or organised religions, because it is bound to make me exclude something which might be interesting or worthwhile for a while. Society can be viewed on so many ways and whatever I say now is probably not what I would say tomorrow. I’ve always been interested in common denominators or patterns across any religion, philosophy, culture, science and so on – present or historic. I think European occultism, in many ways, defines the borders of our possible knowledge.
Norwegian Black Metal has taken a vast leap from the trademark sound of early. How do you look upon its development and do you foresee a new method emerging from this hybrid of ingredients?
I really haven’t listened to it that much, but Mayhem, in particular, knows how to kick ass, I think. It’s as if the attitude is more musical than conceptual, nowadays, which is good in some ways. I think the energy has soared, as it works better live and it really hits you on your chest. Of course there will evolve a new way of playing out from this or that – that’s what these bands and others are working on.
As I implied before, I think it’s a shame what happened to Black Metal – even though it had to happen – but I wouldn’t call the music these bands are currently playing Black Metal – at least not in the pure form. While it has gained a lot, musically, it has lost something intangible on the way (it might be because they are totally professional or something). The next “stylistic quantum jump” may come from anywhere, however.
Water, in its various forms, has always worked as an amplifier of changes imposed on the climate system, as it acts both as the Earth’s central heating system as well as its refrigerator, and the manner on which the processes will evolve in a changing climate is as important a question as it’s difficult. Since Isvind provided such a descriptive album title to its debut, how would you perceive the interactions between climate and the hydrologic cycle in the past, present and future?
Man, this question is way too extensive to be answered, but I’ll try to air some thoughts. “Dark waters” symbolise blood. When the dark waters “stir” it means you are frightened or aroused in some way. Water is, of course, fundamental to life on Earth and blood is fundamental to the body, so I guess I’ll have to follow you on this one; however, the issue of global warming is way beyond my comprehension. The climate on Earth has been a lot warmer than it is today, and I think much of the debate is fuelled by some poorly concealed political agendas. I’m now thinking about man-made carbon dioxide emissions and the means by which some people wish to reduce these emissions and the consequences this would have on our way of life. Trees are obviously reducing CO2 levels, but they are essential in the creation of rain. Deforestation is therefore a bigger problem than global warming, in my opinion. It’s a sign of decadence when people cut down their trees without providing for new ones, as it turns the land into a desert hence stopping the cycle of water from salt to fresh, which is essential to us. In Sumer, by the way, the ancient gods – and, especially, Tiamat – were considered to be salt water, while the elder gods – and Enki – would represent the fresh. In that respect, the prophecies of Abdul Alhazred leave us little hope for the future (“when the ancients once again shall rule” and so on). If the world is to become a desert in the future, and the only water is salt water, this might be fulfilled that way; not that it bothers me, in particularly, but there’s a lot of stuff going on in the sea as well.
A waveform can be composed of multiple fundamental frequencies, which ultimately attains the same period as a waveform. As the Technical Research in Acoustic Neural Consciousness Enhancement can provide altered states of mind, can you enlighten me in relation to a number of your out-of-body experiences in tie with your indulgence in astral projection?
This is a good one! Those enhancements were not only acoustically driven, I can tell you that much. When I look back, I see the red thread but, as to why, I have no idea. The concept of repetition and the effect it can have on consciousness is quite fascinating to me. Reaching states of mind through, for instance, acoustic repetition works like meditation, where the same pattern, eventually, unfolds seemingly endless possibilities of variation. This can be transposed to the infinite number of ways you can view reality. A cliché is that there are as many ways of conceiving reality as there are people on Earth (I’d include animals as well). This opens for the programming of consciousness of sorts, which can be very helpful in a number of ways. Anyway, while in a meditated state, it’s like the dimensions of time and space get supplemented with a fifth and sixth, and connections which were not visible before suddenly tie things together in a whole new way. The linear way of thinking and conceiving is replaced with something non-Euclidean, it seems, and events separated in time and space connect and make sense – opposed to what I’m making now, right? And I find a balance by being all alone doing nothing in particular, just processing and arranging.
Black Metal is perceived as sinister and hasty music that employs disharmonious growth to convey its themes that are mostly related to Satanism, nihilism, misanthropy and an outcast victorious declaration of the individual, hence forging a strong affecting and nearly prosaic approach. What does it mean to you?
It changes from each time I listen to it. Some days it’s the best party music, like an adrenaline rush, other times it gives me feelings of misanthropy and hate, and other times it might feed a temporary depression or whatever, but always in a way which leaves me happy or something (hard to explain).
Besides Music, what are your personal interests, in general?
I’m just trying to focus on things I like; I don’t believe in ends justifying the means, even though I’m currently trying to get a formal degree, which might not be exactly my core interest. These days I read Wilhelm Reich and find it kind of cool, as a continuation of all the stuff I’ve been reading since I was a kid. Apart from reading and studying, I usually hang out with friends, doing nothing.
What is Isvind planning for the future?
We’ll release a CD with the best tracks from our demos, ranging back to the Icewind stuff, as well as some rehearsal tracks on Millennium Metal pretty soon, as a warm-up to the new album, which will hopefully be out soon. All the tracks are ready, but we haven’t decided on a label yet – we might even do the whole thing ourselves – and we’re also starting to rehearse for a couple of gigs we’re going to do in Norway and Germany this spring.
Thank you for a very interesting interview and for your patience and good luck with your webzine!