“Modern Black Metal? No thanks…”
Interview by Jason Guest
Hi Dakkar. Thank you very much for taking time out for this interview and congratulations on A Hatred Manifesto (reviewed here).
Hail Jason! Thanks for your words and thanks to you for the interview.
To begin, can you tell us what you wanted to achieve with the new album?
What is happening right now was my goal with A Hatred Manifesto. I wanted to go a little further with this album and I’m very happy with all that has been generated with the release. After Diabolus Incarnatus, I had the necessity of going a step ahead, and Folter Records gave me this chance.
It’s been two years since Diabolus Incarnatus. Does A Hatred Manifesto mark a progression since that album?
Absolutely! A Hatred Manifesto has the experience of my previous works, regarding composition and recording, so this is a most elaborate album in all aspects. It’s evolution but remaining in the same rotten, old school Black Metal sound. I wanted an album with good sound, listenable, but dirty enough and not modern at all.
What are the lyrical themes on the album? And where does inspiration come from?
The inspiration comes from everywhere, but mainly from Black Metal itself. The lyrics are about my visions of metal, my life, my feelings towards society, against religions; about the will of power that lies inside an individual to become his own god.
The album features a cover of Urgehal’s ‘Nyx’. Why this band and why this track in particular?
After I knew about Trondr Nefas death, I decided to do a cover from Beastcraft or Urgehal, as my tribute to his work; with plans of finding some label that could be looking for covers to do a tribute album or so… but never find any; and once I got the deal with Folter Records, I decided to include this song on the album. ‘Nyx’ is a strong song, is a masterpiece and I like it a lot.
Why did you choose to work with Folter Records? And how has the experience been compared to the other labels you’ve worked with?
First I contacted Joerg, from Folter Records, in order to let him know about my wish to participate at Under the Black Sun festival. After some conversations, I sent to him a couple of tracks of A Hatred Manifesto, already in process of recording, asking if he would like to release it, and he agreed. Working with Folter Records is like the next level. The labels I have worked with before has been serious and honest, and done a great work, no doubt of that; but now with Folter Records all have become more intense. The logistic support on the release is bigger; I get reviews, interviews, a complete promotion work. Folter Records is a very well rooted label with a huge experience and great values. I am very happy and satisfied with their work.
Is there a philosophy or ideology that underpins the music of Narbeleth?
Narbeleth’s music is supported by an ideological background, and these ideas are expressed in the lyrics, which I talked about before. I live on Metal, and Black Metal particularly, that’s my fuel, and that’s the lens through which I see the life. Narbeleth is about anti-commercialism, about being honest with the principles of Black Metal, about doing what I love and in the way I want to do it.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of working alone for Narbeleth?
Advantages? All… I compose all by myself, and I work in Narbeleth when I feel inspired, I have no rush, I do it when I feel is the right moment to do it and I don’t depend on others, and I do what I want, what I feel is right. The disadvantage? Well, live shows… As is not a regular band I must call my friends, search for a place to rehearse and all this stuffs, but now is more complicated, these friends, and live musicians on NARBELETH have left Cuba one by one.
Are there any non-musical influences for Narbeleth (art, literature, etc.)?
Well, there is a bit of Nietzsche influence in lyrics, conceptually speaking, but no others… the name Narbeleth is from Tolkien literature, it means disappearance of the sun, but there are no other influences from this writer work on Narbeleth so far.
Narbeleth is very much in the old school style of black metal. What is it about this style that you find inspiring?
The atmosphere you can create doing Black Metal has no equal on earth, and I am in love with it! Is the best way to express certain feelings in a very powerful way.
Do you see any limitations in working in this style?
Not at all. I make Black Metal because is exactly what I want to do, and innovating is not my goal, so I do Black Metal in the raw, orthodox way.
What do you think of the more modern black metal styles?
Let’s be clear that there are some bands that have done interesting things in Black Metal, good things, but one must be careful when including elements in a style, because the result can be awful. There are bands that try to innovate in order to be more commercial, and these are the worse. Modern Black Metal? No thanks…
From what I’ve read in other interviews, your music has been finding audiences the world over and feedback has been very positive. Are there any places that your music has reached that have been a surprise?
Yes! Thanks to Folter Records, my music have reached a lot of ears around the world. I saw a comment in Narbeleth’s Facebook page from a follower from Canada, he posted a comment with a picture of the album Diabolus Incarnatus over his keyboard. I got very very surprised with this, and that’s something very comforting form me. I have received a great feedback from followers in other countries, and that’s very pleasant, to know that my music has reached the correct persons, who understand and share my message.
How important has social networking been in spreading your music?
So far the only official page for Narbeleth is on Facebook. There are people that refuse to use this, saying that is not the real underground, but I think that the real underground is in your intentions, in your actions, and not in the tools you use, and Facebook is that, a tool to reach the individuals into this art, and until now, has worked very well. Of course, it’s not the only way. I do trades, I read fanzines, and I have snail mail contact with a lot of people around the world.
Has living in Cuba had any effect on your music?
If you mean the weather and so… no, absolutely not, although I would prefer living in a place with a lower temperature and humidity. I do not want to get frozen, but not to melt down as we almost do here! The principal effect of living in Cuba is the lack of resources, in all aspects.
How is the Cuban black metal scene? And are there any bands that you recommend we should check out?
The Cuban Black Metal scene is almost does not exist, talking about bands, because audience is big. I can recommend UNLIGHT DOMAIN, BLACKULT, and ANCESTOR, this last one where I used to play years ago, now they are living in USA.
Do you have any plans for live shows in 2014?
Playing at Under the Black Sun festival next July, and maybe when I return, play in Cuba some shows.
Where do you see Narbeleth heading in the future?
I would like to return and play in Europe more times. Once I come back from UTBS I will begin to compose for the next album. That’s the future for Narbeleth, still doing music, uncompromising Black Metal.
Is there anywhere that followers of Narbeleth can still get your earlier releases?
Of course! For the tape releases contact Intifernal Records (Bolivia) and Serpent’s Eye Records (Netherlands), and for the CD releases, Le Crepuscule du Soir Prods. And Metal Venom Promotions, both from France.
Thanks again for taking time out for this interview. Do you have any closing words for our readers?
Thanks to you for the interview and the support. Thanks to all Narbeleth’s followers around the world, see you all at mighty Under the Black Sun next July in the woods outside Berlin! HAIL!