You have just released a split together with the Norwegian band Kirkebrann. Why this cooperation? Do you know the guys from Kirkebrann or are you just cooperating on the Split?
I was slowly looking after some valuable band for the next split and I was talking to a former friend from the band Svikt who was producing new songs for them. I asked him to ask Kirkebrann if they would be interested in any cooperation and they gladly agreed. Later, we only polished the details of this release.
What do you think of the music of Kirkebrann?
They play Norwegian black metal of the highest level. The new songs on split are really very good, every fan of bands such as Taake or Carpathian Forest will be delighted with their music.
Names like Lars Broddersson and Mauser have contributed to the album. How did you get in touch with them? And what instruments do the play on the tracks?
I met Lars more than 10 years ago, when I took him and the rest of the guys from Marduk on a full-day trip to visit the headquarters of Hitler at Wolfschanze, because as you know, the topics of World War II are of great interest to them. After many years I made contact with him again and luckily he agreed to cooperate. This is one of my favorite drummers. As for Mauser from ex Vader, he is from my city and we have known each other for about 20 years, now he has been living in London for years (like me), he willingly agreed to record in his home studio. He also recorded the bass guitar and, to my positive surprise, he agreed to join Black Altar permanently despite the fact that I know that his friends had previously urged him to various projects and he refused.
And how would you – in your own words – describe your three songs on the Split?
The title song “Deus Inversus” was written by the guitarist and myself. I am very happy with it, both in terms of music and lyrics. On the musical side, because it is quite diverse, it has extremely fast blasts played by Lars Broddesson, as well as slow monumental fragments, a very fast and long solo played by our guitarist Thomas, Latin choirs sung by me, Alexandros from Macabre Omen and singer Lilly Kim. From the lyrical side, this is one of the most occult lyrics I have written. Simply put, ‘Deus Inversus’ means to me that Everything is Everything. God is also the Devil, the Original Consciousness that emerged from Chaos on the basis of adversity. That is why the Devil is God’s second face.
The second song "Ancient Warlust", written by me, is probably the most hit-like song in the Black Altar discography, it should work well at concerts. The third song is an electronic outro composed by a man who has been cooperating for years with this type of intros and samples with the band Hate.
You have chosen to do a videoclip for the song ‘Deus Inversus’. Why did you choose that song for the videoclip?
I had only two songs to choose from, and "Deus Inversus" seemed more interesting to me because of its variety, Latin choirs, different voices, very good solo, percussion blasts, samples etc.
It is your fifth split-release. What makes the Idea of a split so great?
Indeed, I didn't even realize there were so many of them. Next year, there will be another one considering Norwegian Vulture Lord that returns with a great, new line-up. There are several factors why I like splits. The most important is that it is easier to compose and release a split than a full album. You don't have to wait for years to compose an entire album, and you provide them promotion the same way as for a full album. Secondly, you can include a little more experimental music on splits, which differs slightly from that of regular records. Furthermore, thanks to split you can have a wider discography, and the one of Black Altar is not that big. I try to choose bands of high quality with an unmistakable name and those with musicians whom I have known for years and with whom we have a lot of respect towards each other. This how it looked like with Varathron, Thornspawn, Beastcraft or Vesania.
It is more than a decade, since you released a full-length album, ‘Death Fanaticism’. Do you have plans for further full-length releases?
Yes, it's finally time for the next album. We have less than 4 new songs and I think that in a year or so we should have the majority of the album finished.
Are you nervous or are you looking forward to the shows?
Both. There are just 4,5 months left to the fest in Glasgow and we didn’t have even 1 rehearsal yet. On the one hand I really looking forward to play this year but on the other hand maybe it would be better to just postpone everything to the next year and have more time to prepare.
Will there be more shows in the future – and perhaps even a tour on the European continent?
When we start playing, there will be a lot of concerts, there are also plans for a tour, not only in Europe. First, however, we must be prepared well.
After almost 25 years in the music business – is there something, that you are especially proud of in the career of Black Altar?
I am most proud of the fact that the band still exists and that I have the same fire and passion as a quarter of a century ago. I have survived various difficulties, e.g. line-up problems, I have not given up and I have kept on going much longer than I expected compared to when I started the band.
What will the next step be In the career of Black Altar?
The most important step will be playing concerts and preparing for the next album.
Besides from Black Altar you are also the owner of Odium Records. Is it hard – or easy – at the same time to be both the artist and the record company manager?
The only disadvantage of performing both of these functions is less free time and different costs associated with the release and promotion of materials. In addition, there are only advantages. I have control over everything, I can implement all my ideas without asking for permission from any label.
The music industry has changed over the last couple of decades. Is it harder for the record companies today compared to the late 1990’s? And where are the great differences from then to now?
In some aspects it is easier and in some it is more difficult. It is more difficult because, due to youtube, and above all, streaming portals, CD sales have dropped dramatically. Today, everyone can listen to they want on youtube, spotify or bandcamp almost for free. On the other hand, it is much easier to get promotions. Social media are a powerful tool and you can have good promotion around the world for free or very cheap, or hire a promotional agency that will take care of everything. So these are the main differences. I leave out the fact that once there was a completely different atmosphere, letters were written, everything was done by traditional mail and physical formats were used instead of sending someone mp3 files.
Are there any of the releases on Odium Records that you are especially proud of – and why?
In general, I am more or less proud of all my releases. In recent years I was able to publish materials from bands like Varathron, Thornspawn, Beastcraft, and Graveland. This year, Hell Born, a band of co-founder and former members of Behemoth, and the full album of the Norwegian Vulture Lord, who returns in the full, new line-up with a material composed by Nefas. These albums and also the Swedish Mephorash, which is an absolute bestseller, are albums of which I am particularly proud of.