I don't think that Ukrainian act Nokturnal Mortum needs to be presented to someone from our readers. However, still have to say a few words in the foreword. First, I want to thank band's leader Varggoth and bass-guitarist Vrolok for agreeing to answer my questions. And, although this process lasted for a long time (because of band's employment), the result turned out exhaustive. Moreover, considering the fact that Nokturnal Mortum rarely gives interviews and very selectively. Secondly, I asked a few questions about the ideology of the band, which has long been a subject of controversy and disagreement. Get ready for the answers that may surprise you a lot. Well, and third, it was just nice to talk with two abovementioned persons, which proved their intelligent and pleasant personalities in conversation.
Greetings! First, I want to say that I feel honor to talk with you in this interview. Now many people hate you, tell the things that never been with you, or vice versa – fanatically devoted. But for me the contribution of Norturnal Mortum to the emergence of Black Metal movement in Ukraine and the world is more important. Everything else is not so. Trite, but I still want to know a little bit about those things which happened with Norturnal Mortum over the past 5-6 years. Long enough, but you didn't have this information on the official website, and my knowledge of the activities of the band since 2001 are also somewhat superficial. Spill the light, please.
Vrolok: Hello! I will begin immediately from the fact that there is no Norturnal Mortum's official internet site. There are only remnants of the once-existing and obsolete. And all rumors, conjectures will soon be dispelled when our new site will be online. It will set out in detail everything that has occurred over the past few years, and before that time, to all the thirst for any information I propose to draw attention to a few interviews in recent periodicals.
Okay. Already some online sources have information that soon your new album "The Voice Of Steel" will see the light. Is that so? If that true, tell more about.
Vrolok: Yes, the album should be released, but the date is early to say – a lot must be done to make it completed. The stuff on it will be almost like late Norturnal Mortum, but there is definitely new ideas which will give the music a bit of freshness. I think everybody has been accustomed to the fact that the band has something new on each album, and the new one won't be the exception and may even surpass all previous by newness. This is a new test for all devoted listeners.
As far as I know, now the band rarely plays live. Why? How many gigs you have played in the past two years, where and what are your impressions?
Vrolok: We play rarely, once a year in our hometown at the Kolovorot Festival, and if it turns out in other cities of our country, last year we have been in Zaporizhye, a few years ago was a mini tour in Ukraine with the bands Khors and Tessaract. Several times we went abroad, played in Moldova, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Belarus, Lithuania, as well as in Poland and Germany. Gigs were good everywhere, though of course there are some problems happen. Because we carry a lot of equipment needed on stage, we take our technical staff, so Norturnal Mortum concerts are expensive and not every organizer from our country takes this work. But we believe that if a person listens to our music while sitting at home, then coming to our gig he should at least hear the same and even more. Therefore, we are doing everything we can to ensure that all will be at the highest level.
I agree with you. Without looking back to the previous question, I want to ask you about the annual Kolovorot Festival organized by you where, of course, you play always. What are the aims of the event, what are the requirements in the selection of the bands?
Vrolok: Data of the fest is chosen as close as possible to the date of the Winter Solstice, and, indeed, the name speaks for itself. This very ancient tradition revived by us in the modern world. This is not just a gig – this is a meeting of the people spiritually close each to other. All suggestions about the participation in the festival are considered, and there are no specific requirements in the bands selection, the main challenge – is to be in conformity with the spirit of the moment.
Although I don't often visit a big concerts in Kiev , where the well-known foreign play, but you or Varggoth I see almost always – whether this is W.A.S.P. or Obituary. As I understand, you try not to miss such a big shows? Why? Your impressions of some of the bands.
Vrolok: I visit the concerts of my favorite bands only. I want to see my childhood idols, I think it's the dream for everyone who loves the music, and it must be realized sooner or later. Very different impressions, mostly positive, because the bands on the gigs which I visit are the professionals with many years' experience.
Could you as the old residents and one of the founders of the Ukrainian Black Metal scene tell your opinion about extreme Metal scene in Ukraine and in Kharkiv in particular? As well as about Black Metal scene.
Vrolok: At the moment I almost have no interest to the present situation of our extreme scene. There are a lot of bands in our city as well as in the country and very difficult to keep the eye on them, and not necessary. I think that the strongest will not be negligible.
Well, basically, I understand your attitude. Let's turn specifically to Norturnal Mortum. In 2001 only Varggot and Saturious remain and they record the song "As Steel Eagle Into The Golden Svarga" which marks the transition from the more orthodox fast Black Metal to Dark Pagan. What is the cause of such big rethinking and changes?
Vrolok: I don't see anything surprising here, at that time have been a changes in the band's line-up, and therefore the music have been changed. Everything tend to change sooner or later and it happened with us at one time in music and the band's life, the main thing is that we keep afloat, and the music has become even more monumental. I think, there is wisdom came to music, mixed with the old melody and aggression. This is a result of our experiences then.
But, it's known that some former members of Norturnal Mortum left the band because of very dishonourable relations to it. How close you all together at this moment, not only musically?
Vrolok: The current line-up of the band is more professional then the previous one. Musically we understand each other so, that we can work together. And in human relations we have gone through a lot to live together, for example, a good test provide our tours with a gigs.
How hard was it to find any of these musicians and complete almost anew band? For example, Odalv never played in any of the known bands before you ( if to not take in Svyatogor attention).
Vrolok: It was a normal process of recruiting musicians, all of them from Norturnal Mortum's circle of communication, and it was not like we saw each other at the first time. The main thing is that it was mutual desire to work together, all those who doubted something, sooner or later descended from a path. There was natural selection; we filtered unwanted personalities at once.
Varggoth, you are the boss of the label Oriana Music, which continues to produce CD releases not only of Norturnal Mortum, but also the other interesting bands. Could you tell a little bit about the purposes of the label, history, prospects and ideology? Sorry for perhaps trivial questions, but their cause is absence of Oriana's site.
Varggoth: Yes, the things with a site move hard. But www.oriana-music.com is almost up and running, so I hope that this is the last interview in which I answer to such questions. The history of the label is such. Oriana Music started its activities in 1996 and originally the company intended for publication the creativity of 3 Ukrainian bands: Norturnal Mortum, Astrofaes and Lucifugum, and the projects of those bands' members. Now the main band on Oriana Music is Norturnal Mortum. At the same time started sub-label Kolovorot Production which released the bands whose views and ideas are consistent with our own. Under the name of Kolovorot Production were issued tape releases of following bands: Graveland, Dark Fury / Thor's Hammer, Venedae, Dub Buk, Runes of Dianceht, Fiendish Nymph and some others. At this moment the activity of Kolovorot Production is ceased. New sub-label Slavonic Metal was founded in 2000. It have been issued on tapes some albums of Hate Forest and Drudkh. CD editions of Oriana Music are the previously unrealized Norturnal Mortum albums and reissue of the albums released before. Also under the brand name Oriana was released two albums of Khors – the band of ex-bassist of Astrofaes and a new album of old Ukrainian band Reusmarkt. As for the future – first of all, the release of the new Norturnal Mortum album as soon as it will be recorded, as well as possible release of all albums of Mistigo Varggoth Darkestra. Regarding the ideology – it's hard to describe. One I can say – it's very difficult to please me to be published by Oriana Music. Style is certainly not important. Rather, the thing in the man himself. And in the future is a new album of Norturnal Mortum.
Thanks for the exhaustive answer. I think many people long ago became a matter of concern to which ideology Norturnal Mortum belongs. Some considered you as NSBM, others as the pagans, someone even as the skins, or more. I would like to know your thoughts regarding this, anyway.
Vrolok: Many different cliché put on Norturnal Mortum and we are hard to assess ourselves, let the others do. But I can say one thing! The band is above all kinds of cliché and formulations, Norturnal Mortum is a mirror – each of our listeners sees in the stuff created by a band that wants to see and feel for himself. The stuff is the only stimulating factor for the development of feelings and emotions, pledged by ourselves, but it's a personal matter through what prism to pass this. This is one of the intended use of music – to provide spiritual food for a person, regardless of his political and religious judgments. This is one of the intended use of music in the culture of mankind.
Why Norturnal Mortum devotes considerable attention on the themes of World War II and the heroes of Ukrainian rebel movement at that time? After all, Ukraine has many heroes who lived long before those controversial events.
Vrolok: This war will not give a time to rest for many generations for a long time. It ended 62 years ago and those events still under the thinking, and more and more facts open and many historians, thinkers working on its legacy. It affected us through our parents from grandparents went through it. The war was not only territorial and ideological, but also mysterious, knowingly it still attracts a very young generations. We try to give our assessment of that time and to express it with our songs. Our history is very rich with characters and historical events associated with them. But World War II is close to us in time. Through it we connect our very distant past, in its live images not only the soldiers come to life but also Cossacks and ancient knights. In this war revived the ancient blood spirit, the spirit of warrior-hero. It showed at different times in our world and very important for humankind, without its cultivation man dies spiritually and physically (allegation that we are paying a lot of attention to these topics is a little wrong, because we have only two songs, one of the which is devoted to the World War II, and the second – to the heroes of the Ukrainian anticommunist movement).
By the way, I know that you communicate with Polish bands alot. Why Poles and what Norturnal Mortum has close with them?
Vrolok: We have no priority in communication and communicate with many around the world who are not indifferent to the band's creativity. Poland is our neighbour, to go there is not too difficult and it's much in common between us and the people with whom we are familiar there.
My collection has very interesting split of Infernal War and Warhead – the project involving you and the demons of Infernal War. Excellent stuff! Varggoth, can you tell something how this happened?
Varggoth: As I understand the question concerns Warhead. As already mentioned a long-standing friendship connects me with the Polish scene, so the originating in projects such as Warhead is not unusual. True, my merit is little – I participated only as a session vocalist. We recorded several albums. It was an interesting experiment for me, because with the music and the ideology it's "slightly" different from Norturnal Mortum. But this stage has already passed, at least no new album is planned in the near future.
Is it true that you have your own studio? Do you record there? If that information is true, whom you record there also and what equipment it has?
Vrolok: Yes, there is a studio, it's very expensive in equipment – all band's funds invested in it and not only. We made the studio to record Norturnal Mortum and perhaps even someone. But studio isn't ready to work in a commercial way, and we don't want this, yet it only to forge Norturnal Mortum.
OK, I think the interview went quite informative. I would like to hear from you some words in conclusion. Thank you.
Varggoth: In conclusion usually say thanks to the magazine and wishes to readers... So thank you for your patience, and the best wishes to your readers.
Copyrights by Alex Clotowski & Kirkill. All shits reserved (c) 2005