Sweden’s suicide squadron SHINING are currently in the studio, recording their fourth full length album "SHINING IV – The Eerie Cold", which will once again be released through Avantgarde Music in the not too distant future. We hadn’t featured this impressive unity yet, but most recently discovered a highly interesting conversation with the band’s mainman Kvarforth in the latest issue of IMHOTEP MAGAZINE, which was simply too good to let go and hard to top in its overall contents anyway. So, instead of doing an interview on our own, we simply secured the rights for it (thanx Roy!) in order to let all you VOICES readers also find out more about this uncompromising act…
Could you explain to us the concept behind your suicidal thoughts? Personally I don’t see the strength in committing suicide, as to me it sounds weaker to solve the possible problem(s) by ending a life than fighting for what one think is right
“If people enjoy life and cannot to any extent whatsoever suffer, they should die quickly, if it is the other way around then it is more than pleasant to see them suffer severely walking around day by day. The suicide-ridden concept is merely used because it is an easily understandable concept for the listener as they are most likely not schooled within the depths of my inner believes and it is always best to keep things simple as people wouldn’t grasp otherwise. I want to let all that is of a negative origin to be glorified to the maximum through the musical and lyrical channels of the band, there are absolutely no limitations within Shining when it comes to that.”
I’m sure a lot of people would laugh at your suicidal and hateful concept, and they’ll say that one day you’ll grow up. Well, if your music is a reflection of your thought I don’t doubt your seriousness. But, just of the interest I’d like you to convince me, besides the musical approach, that your concept is your true concept! I sense the feeling that you don’t really care about other people’s opinion(s), but I’d still like you to somehow convince me
“If you are referring to other lowlifes within the scene I could do nothing but stand as a question-mark. As when it comes to teenagers standing, looking grim in the forest with spikes and bullets claiming to worship his Majesty, flushing valuable time down the toilet by trying to find the most ‘cool’ black metal merchandise all day long, now that is laughable! We’ll all mature with the years though I know who I am at this stage thus, I have not to prove myself for anyone else merely to achieve clarification. I reflect different personal moods and atmospheres when creating music and lyrics, obviously. But as said before, Shining are the glorification of the absolute misery, manipulating our audience in a way as it seems. Which from scratch also was its purpose.”
In my opinion a person is at any given time a product of his/hers heritage from birth, as well as all happenings throughout life until this given time. So, there must be some events stronger than others, which have made you the person you are. Could you give me at least two examples (or something like this) of how you ended up this hateful? A natural question must be; have you had a, from society’s point of view, a bad youth or childhood?
“Of course there are some events in my life filling up my engine with gasoline, I became seeking extreme ideals because of myself being quite maladjusted, not to such an extent that I had no friends in school or anything like that. I remember that my despise was shown at a quite early stage, killing animals and even cutting other children. Not cutting, but I remember one time in school, 2nd grade or something when I slit open the hand of one of my classmates with a saw when we were attending to carpeting-class. It was a thrilling experience, I felt truly clean but at the same time I was really afraid of what was to come, parents getting mad and I even believed I was going to jail because I had the intention to end his life. Children’s way of thinking can be truly interesting indeed. However, many things like that followed and later on I grew into what I am today. People did never really hurt me to be honest, it is just a feeling I have inside, a very intense hatred towards all life. My father was a very rich man in my early years, being one of those ‘big-time’ criminals you know, though this was nothing I found out until when I was 12-13 or something, my mother has always treated me good, too good perhaps. No, my attitude towards man and life in general has nothing to do with my family nor my circle of friends I had in the past. I really cannot tell where it all comes from…”
On the other hand, we have love (or twisted hate, or was it the other way around?). Love is a strong emotion, they say. And you always tend to hurt most those you love the most. To you, where’s the connection between love and hate? And, though I sense the answer, what do you consider the strongest emotion of the two mentioned?
“I believe both love and hate are extremely strong emotions, and love always evolve into hatred at some stage of life thus I would consider love to be the strongest. I myself, as well as all others who live the way I do, must have love present in life, otherwise death is way too close, and one would never be able to function in either society nor in mind. One good example is that I have a girlfriend, a person who I really hate but still find comfort in some twisted way together with. How strange it might seem she has stayed with me for three years now, even though I treat her like garbage, if she only knew what she have given life to from time to time… Understand though that I do not claim to support love in any sense, It is an overall positive feeling I wish none to experience…”
Before we move closer into the music, there’s still one major subject which needs to be opinionated. First off, what is your first few comments on Christianity, or Christendom if you will?
“Christianity is great! Black Metal people are praising positivity by using such statements as that Black Metal should be used in order to destroy that, I mean they feel that Christianity is harming their search for comfortable moments with their sinful vision of the Devil, not allowing them to feel good about themselves. Well, then let me ask you this: Isn’t Black metal about the glorification of evil, in all its forms? If yes, then tell me what is evil about feeling good and positive about your situation?
BM ILLUSION: Christianity, and especially the church does not harm anyone or anything
REALITY: Christianity, in its modern form, is pure primitive evil!”
Everybody knows, or should know at least, how our society has been Christened during the latest thousand years. And, that Christianity has resulted into way more killing than the two World Wars and Stalin’s extermination of enemies summed up. So, shouldn’t we, the metallers of the world, salute Christianity for its history of violence, corruption, torture, murdering, killing, hate, fear? After all, especially black metal is about hate, violence, hate, fear
“Precisely what I tried to explain above! Christianity and other organized religions for that matter are more or less of evil standards. But Black Metal is just a way to escape what frightens, just sitting at home reading fucking underground zines and pretending to be extreme individuals, just plain fucking rubbish. But then on the other hand, that’s what we are here for… Some practical guidance… Not that I have any interest whatsoever in blessing the scene or something, just opening our followers eyes and give birth to psychopaths and rapists!”
In Sweden, and Norway for that matter, Christianity poisons the human minds from kindergarten till you start working. You have Christendom in school. You have this confirmation-thing. The society, as we know it, is raised with Christian values during the last thousand years. So, in a way I feel the black metal attack on Christianity is an attack on Society. Do you see my point? However, the question which I must raise is; Can the extreme metal performers gain any kind of respect from a society which is fought against by the same persons?
“I know that you are more or less fed with Christian moral in Norway, though its more on the contrary here in Sweden, I mean, the first things you are thought when attending to class (1st grade), is that its best to use condoms when performing intercourse etc. etc. Perversion reigns supreme here in Sweden, which is great! Confirmation is just a way to get some extra cash from your parents and even there we have proof of how corrupted the will of Christ has been formed during the past decade or so… Black Metal is nothing that the Christians fear, why? Well, the answer it is rather obvious isn’t it? Fucking kids running around on the streets claiming to worship the Devil with their dreadful spikes and bullet-belts, fucking stupid! If the extreme metal performers are able to gain respect from this corrupted world, yes of course, it’s only a matter of mass-manipulation, not that any Black Metal person that I know about have the same charisma as for example A. Hitler had, though, it is for sure a possibility but if people are intelligent enough, well… that’s another story…”
Not to be very political, but still, how can we fight (and even win!) this fight against Christianity/society? And, what’s the alternative to the society as we know it?
“You just sit in front of your computers all day long surfing the net telling everyone how hilariously evil you are on different message boards so none of your pitiful dreams will ever be achieved. You may burn some churches and upset your parents but that’s it. As mentioned before, I do not oppose Christ, I obey the will of the Devil. Our present society is great, though it could be even greater, we just have to give more attention to real negativity instead of crying out how much you hate things in stupid fucking "poetical" discussions. We have hetro/homo sexual abuse, incest, paedophilia and other sexually related realities, drugs, war, murder and corruption etc. And you complain?”
Shining is described as ‘Suicide Metal’. And frankly I have seldom been as depressed as when I listen to the music you’ve created. I am mostly this happy ‘normal’ person with a positive attitude. But, not when I listen to Shining. So, what is your aim(s) with Shining?
“It is great that you feel like that when listening to our works, so do it more often then! Some Yankees may have labelled us as Suicide Metal, whatever you said, I don’t give a fuck. I do not even consider Shining to be that much metal anyway, more black n’roll actually even though it does not matter, people may label us as what the fuck they way, I couldn’t care less… I guess you should have understood our aim by now…”
Do you really believe music, Shining’s or other bands’, could be the driving force behind someone’s suicide? Or, can we never consider music to be more than the trigger? My point is, if you think music can drive someone to commit suicide I need an explanation for such a point of view?
“Because Shining are for real, that is what differs us from most other bands out there. Kids who get into Black Metal are mostly doing that because they are either considered as outsiders in their classes or suffering from family problems or likewise. Then they find out about Black Metal and do understand that all you have to do is buying a leather-jacket and drawing the right logos on it and all of a sudden you have 10.000 new ‘cool’ friends and you can finally feel that you belong somewhere, it is the same with all sub-culture. Then, it is not too hard to grasp the fact that there are quite weak-minded people we’re dealing with here, and who are more proper to misuse than those??? They obey my words and I take advantage of that, simple… History tells of murder and suicide because of music Black Sabbath for example provided mother earth in the seventies, not that such a band would have the same impact these days, but it is as said, history DOES repeat itself, Shining will make sure it does!”
We have learned the story of Shining as a story of changing members, with you as the founder and remaining member. In what way have all these changes affected Shining’s music? To me it seems and feels that you are Shining, thus nothing really changes?
“Correct, all other members, both of past and present are to be considered as tools that I use in order to strengthen the sinister, to put it simple. You know I am not capable of playing the drums (at least not like Hellhammer does), nor do I posses the same skills as Phil A. Cirone does while handling his bass. To be honest with you, Phil A. Cirone is a musical genius, his talent frightens me at times. I am not a musician compared with them, even though I am the one responsible for all music.”
Your music is what I’d say simple. The same rhythm often continues for minute after minute. This creates a hypnotic effect, and reminds me structure-wise of good old Burzum. It’s like I’m musically bored the first two minutes of a song and then the sub-consciousness begins to search for something else, and the hypnotic effect strikes. What kind of feedback have you got in general? Do you feel people understand your music?
“It wasn’t an aim in the beginning, achieving this hypnotic effect though it has proven that this particular mood of Shining really benefits the cause, putting the listener into a cold void of negativity. I wouldn’t say though that the structures of Shining are that simple really… To a certain extent people understand Shining, but it is my goal to fully open their eyes for the horrid realms of my creation, soon my friend. The general feed-back we’ve received concerning all our three albums is that we took off where Burzum lost track, and in many ways they may be right, musically that is.”
Another very interesting aspect with Shining is the acoustic sections in your music. They give me the time to breathe. Like in the incredibly depressive track “Död” from “Livets Ändhållsplats”, the section in the middle of the track. I manage to breathe, but at the same time it’s a different kind of darkness compared to the rest of the track. When you develop a track, do you consciously incorporate these acoustic sections, or is it more like you instinctively feel they have to be there to…, well, not exactly lighten up, but to make a difference?
“I have always been very fond of the atmosphere a lonely nylon-stringed guitar can create, however, I never think it over when writing my music, it all just comes out naturally. And something which is quite strange is that the acoustic passages are almost gone with the new album, which is bad I think. However, when I come to think of it the material for Shining IV includes way more acoustic guitars than what we used on the second album, so it all makes some sense after all…”
I don’t know how personal your creations are, but do the making of your songs need a special atmosphere inside yourself? When you wrote, let’s say the track “Svart”, what kind of mood did you have at the time? And, why did you allow the bass-lines to be so prominent in the track, those lines after 5.02 minutes out in the track? They create a strange atmosphere together with the sad guitar
“Of course a certain atmosphere is needed when creating music, but when it comes to “Svart”, and all other tracks/lyrics which I wrote for the second album except for “Död”, I was in an very particular state of mind sitting down on my bed writing constantly for more than 50 hours straight, without food, without water, without any human fulfilment of needs etc. That could also be the reason for this second album being very special, as it really was written during a quite fragile, horrid moment of my life. I have always been very fond of bass, the instrument, the atmosphere, thus I wanted to have it more prominent than with the guitar, both because of the heavy and dark mood it creates and somehow distancing ourselves from all other crap-productions out there…”
The third Shining album was released recently. To me it’s a natural continuation of the former album, though the sound is better. I feel "Livets Ändhållsplats" is more instant compared to "Angst", as the latter is more structured. Which is better is hard to say. How do you yourself regard the two albums, their differences and similarities?
”Both albums are great, however, “Livets Ändhållplats” is one of those albums which will remain spinning in the listeners wheel for years while “Angst” is more or less just an great album. “Angst” is way above all other Black Metal releases which have infected the past years, with exception for the new Carpathian Forest album perhaps, but “Livets Ändhållplats” is, not just for me, but for our followers Shining’s “Pure Holocaust”, Shining’s “Filosofem”, you know…”
Your vocals are clear in the sense that it’s rather easy to follow the lyrics and in my opinion, dress the music very well. When you enter the studio to do the vocals, do you search for a special state of mind, or is it simply a matter of screaming without any special effort? In the title track for the new album “Självdestruktivitetens Emissaire” there is this two minutes acoustic part where your vocals are insanely done. While the music is pretty neutral, your vocals in here are desperate, they hurt
“I can assure you they were painful for me as well… I never record any vocals without either being extremely pissed off or in the mood of dying (which ain’t too hard to achieve really…). If I cannot achieve any of these states of mind I merely beat myself up or hurt me in different odd methods and vocals are ready to be done.”
Do you think consciously about how your vocals shall fit to your lyrics, or vice versa?
“Arrangements, they are all thought-through before even entering the studio. However, I do not focus on trying to get my vocals better and better in the studio either as I want to do them all in one-take. The more natural they turn out, the more painful and horrible in the final mix. Lyrics are portraying the fanaticism I have inside and music… well, reflecting the outcome. It’s really hard to describe really but I can assure you that it isn’t off pleasant.”
Shining, if we think of both the music and the lyrics, seem to be a salutation to the hopelessness in life, to self-destruction, to suicidal happiness. When you receive comments on your music which only concentrates directly on the music, do you then feel you have missed your ambition? The reason I ask this is because I feel Shining are a whole band with a message compared to numerous bands who basically try to impress with their technicality, without much success as there’s no whole to their music
“As said many times before: Shining are the glorification of all that is negative, no matter if its evil would affect me or not, it does not matter, as there must be no limitations whatsoever! Take a walk down the street, look at some junkie begging for cash in order to buy today’s fix, that is Shining in a fucking nutshell, examples are endless. You see it everyday, on your TV, in your local stores – everywhere! Shining are merely a tool to enlighten about these great sources of evil and instruct on how to make things even worse. Of course, 99% of all idiots reviewing or even discussing my music will only focus on what they hear, but believe me, there are others out there searching for the depth, which is not too hard finding in Shining. For me, my will to reach inhumane levels comes first in hand, music second. If bands want to impress their girlfriends and such stupid things, then OK, I do not give a fuck, even though I cannot really say that it does not bother me, but people have and will always bother me, for fucks sake, I am bothered by the fact that I myself am human!”
“Submit To Self-destruction” is probably Shining’s most technical song, in the sense a Shining song could ever be technical. Don’t you ever feel the need to ‘show off’? Which also makes me ask what kind of music do you listen to besides Shining?
“Ironically, “Submit To Self-destruction” along with “Endless Solitude” were the first tracks I wrote. “Endless Solitude” was however re-recorded under a different moniker for Shining I and I just felt that I had to do the same with “Submit To Self-destruction”. Though, I added quite a few blues-passages as well on this re-recording, something which made the track a thousand times better actually, or well, at least in my opinion. I don’t listen to much Black Metal at all really, the only bands who have managed to remain with their albums in my collection are Arcturus, Bethlehem, Burzum, Carpathain Forest, old Darkthrone, Kvist, Ved Buens Ende, and at a latter stage Craft, Ondskapt, Funeral Dirge, Silencer, Krohm, Bloodline and Leviathan. Mostly I listen to stuff like Coldplay, Kent, Raison D’etre and different soundtracks. Fuck, I hate telling people what music I ‘enjoy’, but now I did, shame on me! Show Off? Not really…”
One strange aspect with “Angst” is the fifth track, “Till Minne Av Daghen”. It moves me back in time, do the dark ages. I only see dead people after a party, all dressed up in their baroque clothes. Why do you allow another person’s creation into Shining? I mean, this track doesn’t fit at all while at the same time it does something for the whole of the album. It makes a difference I’d say
“When Tusk left the band (right after I fired Wedebrand), I once again got in good contact with his younger brother, more known as Phil A. Cirone. I asked him to help me out with Shining which he of course did, then he started playing all these strange circus-songs for me and I just told him that he had to write such a thing for Shining as I knew it would fuck up the atmosphere of the album quite much, thus we did it. Though, I am quite certain such tracks won’t be used in the future as the new material simply wouldn’t do it with such a sub-track. I am however eternally in dept to Phil A. Cirone for this contribution.”
I believe we have made clear what Shining is about, and I could of course go on by asking questions about this, that, Hellhammer, Selbsmord and such, but I choose to end it here in the traditional manner. When will you commit suicide?
“Why should I commit suicide? It would be a terrible loss if the emissary chooses to end his life when deeds are undone. Many tasks are yet to come, and they must be fulfilled before I can concentrate on my own will… It is tempting but an impossible task…”