Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Primitive Graven Image Interview

1. Can you tell us a little bit about the band for those that have never heard of you before?
We are a black metal band from Chesham, near London, UK. The band started out as a project involving me (Ljosalfur) and my brother, frontman and guitarist, Dokkalfur. Our first demo and debut album was released this way. We then recruited two more members so that we could put a live show together. We have been working on our second album for the best part of 2 years now (!) and it'll finally be released in April here in Europe, and in May in the US.

2. What is going on with the band nowadays?
Right now we are getting ready for the release of our second album, 'Celebrating Impending Chaos'. We've been sending copies out to the press and getting a few gigs sorted out.
Vordhr: We're really looking forward to playing the Enblackened festival at the Underworld in May. We're playing with Abgott and its an all black event that should be killer. We are going to slay in the name of primitive raw black metal!

3. How would you describe your musical sound?
Ljosalfur: We started off as pretty traditional black metal with a bit of a thrash influence. With the new album, we have brought in other influences including death metal, prog and a bit of industrial noisyness. Riffs are very important to us. We try to focus on creating great riffs and these normally form the basis of our songs.
Vordhr: We sound like the thundering chaos that will rip this society apart and tear down the true evils of this world - censorship and oppression and the raping of our planet. It is the sound of govenrnments, religions and oppressive regimes dying and praise once again for forests and the natural beauty that has been all but forgotten.

4. What is the meaning behind the bands name?
Ljosalfur: Our name is stolen from a Nile lyric. Apart from just sounding great it deals with worship and what human's worship. Before Christianity, before any organised religion, people worshipped primitive graven images. We are coming from somewhere primal, untouched and pure.

5. What are some of the best shows that you have played so far and how would you describe your stage performance?
Ljosalfur: We played Bloodstock Open Air festival last year which was great and also Winterfest in Cork, Ireland. We try to inject a lot of energy into our performance. We use the paint and 'image' so that we can be more theatrical and get into the themes and feelings more. I like the idea of creating a character on stage. Having the image also makes us all look like a band rather than 4 guys playing instruments, I like that.

6. Are there any plans for a U.S tour?
Ljosalfur: We have no plans at the moment. We would love to do it though. Hopefully in the future it will become a possibility!
Vordhr: its too much of a costly and tricky thing to organise on our part. As soon as we find a promoter that is able to do it I think we're all game though. As this is our second album now perhaps it is time to start looking for this to happen.

7. Out off all the bands that you have played with so far, which one did you enjoy the most?
There were a lot of great bands at Bloodstock. Carcass!!

8. What are some bands that you would like to tour or do shows with not you have not had the oppurtunity to do yet?
Ljosalfur: It would be great to tour with some of the more established black metal acts. I'd personally love to play with Anaal Nathrakh. They are my favourite band from the UK at the moment.

9. How would you describe your musical progress over the years and what direction do you see the band heading into on future releases?
Ljosalfur: As I mentioned before, when my brother and I started out, we were going for the traditional black metal thing. This new album is quite different. It retains that 'feeling' but includes a lot more influences and experimentation. We focussed on getting some good production going on this time around too. Russ Russell mixed and mastered the album and it sounds great. For the future I'm sure we'll continue in a similar direction. Saying that, we love the 'traditional' thing and there is talk of doing something even more raw and primitive. Exciting times!
Vordhr: We kind of work off the energy we all create as a whole. The production is important only in as far as getting the songs accross and as long as we can retain the feeling of what we're doing I'd be very happy to keep raw and primitive. It is however good to experiment. I think we will just have to see where we end up as we did with this album.

10. How would you describe the lyrical content of the music?
Ljosalfur: Our lyrics deal with a few things. We try to conjure up atmospheric images. Of black skies, of nature, of the horrors of war and decay. The lyrics are also about humanity and the horrendous things that go on on this earth because of humanity. On the other hand we write about how humans have a kind of infinite potential. We examine the clashes between these two ideas. How do we break free from 'humanity' and find some kind of ultimate truth? If there is such a thing. Oh... and forests.
Vordhr: We do like forests they're very symbolic of being away from the hells that humanity has imposed on this planet. They are also very powerful and spiritual things in their own right I feel.

11. I read on Metal Archives that one of the members plays in a progressive power metal band, are there any other projects besides that one?
Ljosalfur: Rob (Dokkalfur) did some singing for a project called 'Oracles Oath'. I'm not sure what is happening with that these days. We tend to get involved in a few things. Matt, our drummer, is drumming in Empyreal Destroyer.

12. How has the reception been to your music so far from black metal fans worldwide?
Ljosalfur: We've good reactions generally. We are excited to hear what people think of this new one. As far as the first album goes, we are pleased with the reception we have received. We need to spread the word further!
Vordhr: Im always surprised to hear just how far our name has spread, particularly when bands we know and respect mention us. The reception has been pretty cool. Im looking forward to seeing what everyone makes of the new album.

13. I have seen one of your videos where you are playing in a forest, what are some other concepts that you plan on usinfg in future videos?
Ljosalfur: That video is rather unfortunate! We would like to do a video for a new song and make it more professional. We may do a video for the song 'March of the Cattle' which compares humanity to cows. So we want cows and industrial landscapes! I'd like some kind of Pink Floyd - The Wall theme going on. Could be interesting!

14. What role does Paganism or Occultism play in the music?
Ljosalfur: I suppose it depends how you define those things. I would say paganism plays a role in our lyrics, in terms of nature worship and that kind of romanticising of darkness and mystery. We certainly don't label ourselves as Satanic or anything like that. I don't like that label as it is such a specific reaction 'against' Christianity. What I am against does not define who I am. If I hated Star Wars I wouldn't call myself a 'Darth Vadian' ;). I am fully aware that most 'Satanists' use it as a metaphorical, philosophical thing. Fair enough, but it doesn't need to be labelled as Satanism. In my eyes anyway.
Vordhr: I am with Luke on this one having been through that. Its much better to stand for something than against something. I will fight if I am oppressed but things I find distasteful I prefer to ignore. Our lyrics are more about finding what we can do than complaining about what we can't.
15. What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced the band and what are you listening to nowadays?
Ljosalfur: Our music is built on a black metal framework. We are influenced by the Norwegian bands and others. We are also influenced by a lot of Death Metal, especially the more epic stuff. Thrash Metal plays a big part in our sound too.
16. What do you hope to accomplish with the second album once it is relased?
Ljosalfur: We hope to get our name out there into the metal scene. We have some good distribution going on, so hopefully everyone that wants the album will be able to get it. Now we just need to make people aware of it! It would be great to do a tour supporting a bigger band or something like that.

17. Where do you see black metal heading into during this decade?
Ljosalfur: I think the 'traditional' black metal thing will be around for years to come. There are some great bands that have proven they can bring out great new albums whilst sticking to the old style. There will always be an audience for it. At the same time, I don't see anything wrong with some of the so called 'post black metal' stuff. The marriage of black metal and shoegaze is a very good one. The floaty ethereal stuff. Amazing.
Vordhr: I think that the the raw energy is playing a very important part now. People are getting very bored of too many keyboards and frills and stuff and just want some powerful music played with vehemence!

18. How does the United Kingdom react to your musical style?
Ljosalfur: Despite coming from the UK, it's hard to pin down how it has reacted specifically. Because of things like the Internet we haven't needed to focus solely on the UK. Say that, there is a lot of coverage of our new album coming up in the UK metal press. This is very exciting times for us. We are hearing very good things.
Vordhr: Magazines such as Terrorizer and Zero Tolerance have really got behind us on this new release. We're really pleased with the reaction and their support.

19. What are some of your interests outside of music?
Vordhr: We're all very interested in music that takes up a lot of our time to be honest. I also run a studio called the Metal Farm where I live out in the forests in buckinghamshire, I also work on the label side of things and am generally absorbed in musical ventures as much as possible. Then when Im not making music I listen to it. But I do love the farm life right now, keeping chickens and growing food which is far better this way! Its about getting out of mainstream society I guess its always been a dream. Life is better this way and perspectives are very different to city life, I am just enjoying being able to live out here and make metal music right now.

20. Any final words or thoughts?

Thanks a lot for the Interview. Some great questions. Buy Celebrating Impending Chaos! Coming very soon!

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