Q: The current political climate is pushing a dualistic thought-pattern onto all aspects of culture: the good, old “with us or against us”. Social justice is slowly choking what remains of freedom of expression, and everyone on all levels prostitutes their own creative integrity for the sake of being approved, compromises their views and statements in exchange. Do you see anything positive for the health of this counterculture? How can this climate be used to fuel the furnace?
A: There can be no doubt that indeed we live in that final culmination of bringing the cycles full circle, in one devastating rite of passage that was prophesied by literally any religious creed since the days of yore. In the Völuspa we can read about the brothers fighting eachother and defiling their kinship; in a sword age, a wolf age, when no man will have mercy on another. That’s exactly what happens right here and now, in the midst of our (Western) society. The political, cultural and other division runs so deep and tears families and friends apart, with no chance of healing and coming together anymore. Everyone is compelled to take a side and once he does, there is no way back other than by surrendering in disgrace and dishonour. Truth be told, I was never too fond of the fence sitters in Black Metal or elsewhere, but now the witchhunt driven by guilt of association has escalated even further and doesn’t allow for people to be bipartisan anymore. This does have an impact on Black Metal, in the way that this genre and scene becomes increasingly politicized even though the majority of bands wanted to transcend their mundanity and not be compelled to put up a black square on social media in a – more often than not hypocritical – attempt at virtue signaling. It’s a grand irony that this situation was widely caused by the same people who said Black Metal was politicized by the “far right” activists in this scene, and that they wanted to do something about it. Now the leftist activists keep pushing their political agenda on Black Metal and since this is so alien to everything Black Metal is supposed to be about, it’s no doubt causing a major backlash at some not so distant point in future. Hence the Leftists will eventually accomplish what the “Nazis” in this scene couldn’t do (and never bothered to do, come to think of it): Making Black Metal not only receptive to, and supportive of, far right politics, but hostile to leftist ideology too. From my point of view, the ongoing conflict in Black Metal, about “hatespeech” and “wrongthink” according to leftist doctrine, ought to be aggravated until we reach the tipping point and the scene starts pushing back against the leftist infiltration. It’ll be a positive side-effect that all the sheep in wolves’ clothing, of which we have many in Black Metal, will be forced to show their true colours at long last.
Q: To a vast majority, Black Metal is nothing but escapism. A patch on their “battlevest” to further decorate oneself through the works and efforts of others. There is nothing wrong with some entertainment in life, but for a counterculture it is not acceptable. It takes away all the vitality an organic culture has, opening the doors for stagnation and domestication, and thus Death. On the other hand, you have been involved since the early days, since a time in which it was all more radical and intollerant. How has your vision changed during this time? With age often comes a calmer mindset, for better or for worse, yet what potential do you still see in this form of art?
A: Well, coming of age translates to life experience and the intimate knowledge of your fellow humans, and both will neutralize if not cauterize any and all idealistic and romantic notions you once have cherished. Once upon a time, I was fully convinced that Black Metal-legions could (and would!) wage a war against christianity, by fire and sword, reclaiming the once heathen land and liberating our nations from the alien yoke. Years later I have still believed that Black Metal could align with similar youth- and counter cultures for the sake of forming one radical movement opposed to the modern world. Now I am much older and I don’t think that Black Metal, or any other scene for that matter, can have any profound impact on the world in the sense of altering reality. However, what Black Metal can very well accomplish – and I believe in that much now as before! – is altering the perception that people have on reality. To make them see what they didn’t see before, to give them a new sense of being, and to help them find a new relation to the world they live in. You could compare this to the spiritual awakening known from esoteric lore, the Epiphany that also was so aptly described by Vikernes in his lyrics to “Inn I Slottet Far Droemmen (In The Castle Of The Dream)”
Out from the mist
Out from darkness
Out from the big shadows of the mountain
The castle of the dream…
So ends the ride
That lasted a lifetime
For the master goes (in the castle of the dream)
Yes, Black Metal is about escapism first and foremost but we, who influence this genre, must make this escapism come full fircle until the listener arrives where he started but now he’s in a different reality, because on his journey he has turned into a dreamer of the day: “All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.” (T.E. Lawrence) And thus it will not be Black Metal, but those who find epiphany in this genre who can have an impact on this world, who can tear our reality asunder and beckon forth that other world, that alternate reality, this music was and is all about.
Q: “The mind is endless. You put me in a dark solitary cell, and to you that’s the end, to me it’s the beginning, it’s the universe in there, there’s a world in there, and I’m free” said once some lunatic with the name of Charles Manson. As someone who spent years of his life inside of a prison cell, can you relate to these words? What insight did enduring adversities for the sake of what you believed in bring to you?
A: Yes, of course. Out of my 12 years behind bars, I have spent one year in solitary confinement (in the USA). No window and daylight, either. Also no TV or radio, so in this condition of sensory deprivation all what was left to me were books, letters, and my own mind. I have said it before, but the prison is on equal terms with a monastery when it comes to daily routines and exercises, the lack of distraction and the opportunity of contemplation. I have been quite productive with writing essays, letters and interviews while I was in solitary confinement. It is there, when you are alone with yourself, that you can fully comprehend Schopenhauer’s dictum of “Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung”. The world around us is not pre-determined, static, and unchangeable. It is not a reality of its own accord but it is created by a force of will in every second, over and over again. To everyone, reality is a biochemical processing of information received through your senses first and foremost. That we see the world around us the way we do, it’s all a matter of our brain translating sensory information to images, sounds, and smells. Since our senses are genetically restricted, we can’t see the world like, say, an animal would do. However, there is also a considerable variety in the way different humans see the world. This also concerns the notion of empirical truth, because unlike animals the humans have a vision and a concept of the world they live in. Every organized religion or political movement attempts no less but the manifestation of a new world for a new man, because they know that it is perfectly possible to alter reality by a collective force of will, and thus, to manifest a new truth everyone must believe in if he lives in this brave new world. George Orwell has perfectly described this scenario in “1984”: To say that something is not real and can’t exist, “it presupposed that somewhere or other, outside oneself, there was a ‘real’ world where ‘real’ things happened. But how could there be such a world? What knowledge have we of anything, save through our own minds? All happenings are in the mind. Whatever happens in all minds, truly happens.”
Q: Whether we like it or not, in this day and age, identity is fluid. That is, our personalities are no longer identified through a single element. Whereas before a sort of coherence existed, when we had a limited amount of resources, were not as connected as today, and often moved no further than 50 kilometers away in our lives, today it can be said that we are a puzzle, made up of many different pieces that exist together and form our identity. Thanks to consumerism, it is easy to dress in a certain way, listen to different kinds of music as if it were merely fast food trash, having things come and go and not holding onto something that transcends the individual. This is a shift in consciousness, and, as it happens with all changes, many are scared, and seek answer in an idolization of a brighter past that they have never seen with their own eyes in the first place. Your political ideas are well known; does nostalgia play any role in them? Or are you more oriented towards the future? Is modernity to be discarded a priori, or do you see anything worthy of being preserved?
A: There is no way back; there never was for anyone, at any time. What’s gone is gone. I sympathize with the notion of returning to a status quo ante, of people turning the back on the (post)modern world in an attempt to live like their distant forebears, all over again. But it’s a fancy in the best case or a fake in the worst case. In Black Metal we have one prominent “drop out” who says he lives with his big family out there in the French woodland, but he is far from truly living off the grid and the farther he moves into rural isolation the more intimate becomes his attachment to social media. Western people in our day and age have no idea of the hardships and challenges, yes, the grinding suffering that comes by living – with a family, at that! – under medieval or even more ancient conditions. They have a thoroughly romanticized notion of the rural life, now more so than ever. Back in the early 20th century, when most of the European population lived in the countryside and only then started to move to the cities with their urban lifestyle, the movement of völkisch settlers trekking to the vast Eastern stretches, in the pursuit of a way of life built on the two pillars of blood and soil, could rely on age-old trades and crafts passed on to them through the generations, but now that too is lost to most of us and we have nothing left but a longing for anti-modern life that manifests on the images we collect on Pinterest and display on Instagram. Truth be told, I have no problem with modernity per se. I have a problem with decadence and degeneration, but none of that was caused by electricity, motorization, urbanization. On a macro-level it happens because mankind lives through historic cycles of birth and decline, on a micro-level it happens because people are dumb by default and they rather succumb to fallacies instead of struggling for epiphanies. They want to indulge in their petty consumerism when this is offered to them, and they are happy with the “bread and circuses” and become unhappy when it’s taken away from them. Anyway, what I can relate to is the reactionary modernity (or Archeo-Futurism, as it is also called) one can find in the Third Reich, for instance. There they wished to reconcile the past with the future, for creating a synergy that is enlightening the present. This was a place where people solemnly celebrated ancient solstice ceremonies while overhead their ballistic missiles thundered into the stratosphere. There is no future without a past, but we always find ourselves standing at the threshold between that what once was and that what has yet to be. Never will we return to where we came from, never can we make that one giant leap into the unknown. It is the discomfort of living in the trivial present rather than in a nostalgic past or utopian future that is aching quite a few people, me too.
Q: Some time ago I saw on the Internet that you held a lecture about an obscure character in the history of the Occident and the Orient, between the two world conflicts: Baron Von Ungern-Sternberg. Could you please give a brief introduction here for those interested to study a little more in-depth this character? What originally drew you towards his personality?
A: Baron Roman von Ungern-Sternberg (1886 – 1921) might be the one historical figure I feel the most sympathy for. I cannot exactly say when and where I heard, or rather, read about him for the first time. But it is likely to have been 20 years ago, while I was in solitary confinement and spent days, weeks, and months with reading books. As you say, he remains to be a very obscure character up to this day, and he is usually referred to as “Mad” or “Bloody” Baron for the excessive war crimes he is said to have perpetrated during the civil war in post-Czarist Russia. There is so much more to him than just villainy and evil, though. In a way, he is the perfect icon for Black Metal: He was a religious fanatic, a seeker of arcane and occult knowledge, and a fierce warrior against the modern world. He was crowned a king in life and became a Godhead in death. You may read my extensive lecture about the Baron on my personal blog when it’s back online someday.
Q: Here in Europe with the advent of Christianity, we have gradually lost each and every one of the various declensions through which the Indo-European Tradition manifested. Some try to replace this spiritual void by looking East-wards, to lands that were once settled by tribes similar to Europe’s ones, as Savitri Devi did, for instance. Are you interested in systems such as Zoroatrism, Hinduism of Vedic India, or even Buddhism for that matter – which for its origins may as well be included here? Do you see them as plants stemming from a common root, which might as well be imported in this soil?
A: I am not religious in a strict sense, i.e. I do not take any religious scriptures literally. I am a secular heathen, and I don’t believe in metaphysical God(s). However, neither did the very first disciples of Buddhism and Hinduism! Both religions (which share a common root, actually) were obscured by superstition during the centuries, but in this regard, they are no different than Christianity or Islam. As soon as a religion starts to become a political tool for indoctrinating entire populations and govern them according to articles of faith, the numinous essence known to only the true initiates is lost and replaced by the petty piety of the illiterate peons. That’s why organized religion, no matter in the East or in the West, is actually decaying. This is going on for millennia and it was only hastened by the advent of “enlightenment” (i.e. secularism) in Europe, creating the spiritual void as you noticed. Some have attempted filling this void with beliefs and practices linked to Eastern religions, but it doesn’t work, and the spiritual hotchpotch known as “New Age” bears witness to that failure. If something is already dying or dead, you can’t bring it back to life by infusing more of the ptomaine. Genuine spirituality doesn’t require religious doctrine. Any ritual meant to unlock arcane and occult knowledge is no means unto itself, it is just a helpful tool that can guide you along your path and makes you focus on what really matters: And that is the numinous essence within yourself, the divine spark that resides within each human being. You surely have noticed by now that I deem Gnosticism the one and only true religion linking the East with the West. At the core of any religious creed (except for the primal animism that existed prior to written language, of course) known to us, there was (still is) Gnosticism. That’s not a religion for the masses, but for the few initiates who can master the subsequent steps of individual transmutation. It was partially or entirely obscured by superstition and ignorance in the course of history when religious doctrine was employed to instill fear and obedience among “true believers”.
Q: I saw an interesting flyer circulating, announcing new releases under the Darker than Black banner, with the clear writing of “Bronze Reconquista”, for releases of Maquahuitl and a compilation LP. An interesting link, though most likely not coincidental, that can be found throughout the West, the Orient and pre-Columbian America was the cult of the Sun, and we know that the Aztecs ackowledged this too through the symbol of the Swastika. Are you interested in studying the history of other nations and races as well?
A: You surely know the theory of all the Sunworship-cults, that can be found in Europe, North Africa, and Central as well as South America, originating in the mythical island of Atlantis. When Atlantis was hit by a cataclysm that destroyed its sophisticated civilization, survivors went across the ocean to the West and to the East, taking their religious symbols and practices with them. Hence, you have pyramids, for instance, in Egypt as well as Central America. In my opinion, it comes as no surprise that the worship of the sun is universal to all human culture in history. The sun and the seasons are of utmost importance to life on earth; there would be neither fauna nor flora, including human species, without any of it. Hence the sun is the primal icon of life itself; and how the sun vanishes beyond the horizon at dusk just to emerge again at dawn could only be understood as life prevailing and returning no matter how dark the night. Even more so in the Northern hemisphere, where the sun will slowly fade during the year, with winter solstice marking the shortest day, just to regain strength in the Spring when new life flourishes and blossoms. Sol Invictus! Yes indeed, I am interested in other civilizations and cultures, their history and destiny, because I believe in certain principles being universal to men and it is of interest to me how these principles have manifested in places beyond Europe. For instance, the code of honor that always revolves around the ideals of loyalty and fidelity. To be loyal to someone or something, against all odds, is universally deemed a noble and sacred act. Especially if you are loyal unto death and willingly sacrifice your life for this oath of allegiance. In Germany, we know this concept as “Nibelungentreue”. The Nibelungen are known from the Siegfried saga; Siegfried the dragonslayer, who was murdered by Hagen von Tronje in an act of loyalty to his king. The widow of Siegfried, Kriemhild, re-marries to Attila, King of the Huns, and she invites her siblings to the court of Attila. There they get attacked by the Huns and killed one by one, in an act of vengeance for the death of Siegfried. The image of the Nibelungen trapped in the burning guest hall, rallying around their king, and fighting until each one has fallen, is just as powerful as the image of King Leonidas and his 300 Spartan warriors making their stand against the Persians invading Hellas. Similar stories are known from other cultures too, the Japanese with their Samurai code of honor come to mind instantly. It’s perfectly possible to find such similarities if you don’t stay ignorant of other cultures, and that’s a common ground where we and other races can meet in mutual respect and affirmation.
Q: On a platform we both frequent, The Black Vault, my eye caught an interesting segment on a thread, where you wrote “[…] I am someone who judges these fateful 12 years not by what happened, […], I can see a vision so bold and bright that it amounts to no less but the advent of Homo Galacticus”. What’s your view of Homo Galacticus? In these troubled times, do you follow the philosophy that that which is falling, ought to be pushed, even if it drags us along with it? How do you cultivate within yourself the qualities for the advent of a new man – and are these qualities inborn, in your opinion?
A: Yes of course, I believe in the Homo Galacticus being the next step in human evolution. It’s not necessarily a step to be taken, though. Contrary to popular belief, evolution is not some inevitable process that will play out in a predetermined manner, i.e. man was not destined to leave the cave and reach up to the stars. He has all the potential to ascend and transcend, but it might not be up to him whether this will happen or not. Often, man is sliding back on the slippery slope of decadence, degeneration, and decay. It requires a triumph of the will to push man further up on his evolutionary path. Man needs a bold and bright vision that will tempt him to move on and keep going, despite any obstacles and setbacks. Such was the “Zeitgeist” in the 1930’s Germany, where they were the first to invent and develop the rocket propulsion required to escape gravity. They were the first to put man up in the highest sky and it was their technology and expertise that helped the Americans to go further and put man on the Moon. As Homo Galacticus, man would not only venture out into the outer space. He would expand his mind too, by witnessing and studying phenomena that don’t exist on earth. If we stay confined to earth, the – as much as we yet know – only habitable planet in the universe known to us, our species will not survive much longer. In the short term, the overpopulation will deplete our natural resources and make many places on earth unfit for human survival. In the long term, earth itself will not last forever but be vaporized by the dying sun long before the collapse of our solar system. If we don’t become Homo Galacticus, we become extinct. I do agree with the basic hypothesis of accelerationism, that we ought rather to have a horrible end vs. endless horror, but I am not fully convinced that we should be pushing that what is falling if we have no means on how to survive such downfall. There needs to be a backup infrastructure that we can rely on if we want our failing society to collapse and be replaced by something new. Do we have this infrastructure in place, I wonder? With this I do surely not think of social media accounts or chat groups on the internet. We need to have places that provide shelter, and which relate to each other independently of anything the powers-that-be provide or control. We are still a far way off having any of that because the people in our ranks who dream of a system crash wouldn’t even know what to do after zero hour. Much of this talk in the movement amounts to nothing but escapism; it’s always easier to talk the talk than to walk the walk, obviously.
Q: As someone who has spent a lot of time in his life fighting and resisting against the system, how do you view the concept of Kampf, the idea that all nations are and will forever be at odds with each other? Life is war, but war has many different meanings after all. Do you agree with the philosophy of “Might is Right”?
A: Well, life is struggle from the start. Nobody can be that ignorant to not notice how every living creature – except for humans, but I’ll come to that point in my answer – has to fight for its life and can never take it for granted to be and to stay alive. Why, because death is certain, and life is not. During evolution, the human species have managed to escape from the ceaseless meatgrinder of eat or be eaten. Hence, we are now able to foster and to nurture life that could not stay alive on its own. We have declared human life to be sacrosanct at all costs, but we remain intrinsically linked to the laws of nature that do not deem all life equally worth living. Our elders have once said that man is a wolf to his fellow man, and right they were. Since we are no longer at the immediate risk to starve or be eaten by predators, but struggle remains to be our impetus, we have started to compete with one another. Competition has many faces, but war between nations is no doubt the most existential form we know. I do not think that war between nations is inevitable, but competition will surely exist for as long as there are different nations and cultures on earth. The notion of world peace, preferably under one world government, could only be realized by global totalitarianism or if we ascend to the stars and colonize other planets, each one becoming a nation unto itself. Yes, I do agree with “Might is Right” because I deem struggle the original state of all life and to erase this struggle among men would effectively be neutering the human species. All religion, philosophy or ideology that heralds a brave new world where we live in everlasting peace and harmony is committing a crime against humanity, because we are descendants of Cain and the voice of our brethren’s blood keeps calling to us from the ground. We have murdered each other over and over again; such is our nature and will forever define who we are.
Q: This may seem obvious, but what is your view of race and its necessity for developing again another form of high-culture? How do you view, for example, the Evolian notion of spiritual race opposed to a purely biological conception of it? Biological conceptions of race are fairly recent, relatively speaking – while it is of course true that a sense of belonging to a clan or a tribe has been a constant in history, all over the world. The age of nationalisms tried to build on that, too, to unify kingdoms at war with other kingdoms on a national scale.
A: The fiercest enemies of mine are my own racial kinsmen, who attempt to get in my way and to disturb my circles time and again. I do believe in race, the biological as well as the cultural definition, but I do not subscribe to White Supremacy because this notion often runs afoul of my reality of life and the world. I would strongly disagree that the skin color could determine if you are a more or a less valuable member of the human species. However, I also disagree with the “all humans are equal”-tenet espoused by Western “democracy”, because they clearly are not. Instead of collectivist concepts of race and nation, I’d rather espouse the individual esteem of anyone belonging to one particular race or the other. There are Non-Whites upholding the same virtues and values I share and then there are Whites who don’t, because they have no honor whatsoever. I refuse to be committed to someone for no reason other than a presumed racial solidarity. Be that as it may, if there’s ever going to be a race war I know which side I am fighting on, as a matter of course. That is the difference to the race traitor who hates his own kin so much he wants it to be eradicated, for good.
Q: On the website Mourning the Ancient you mentioned briefly what was it like to grow up in the German Democratic Republic, along with undergoing a bit of communist indoctrination. We are now living in an age where we have found ourselves forced to change our whole lives from one day to another. Would you compare this “shock”, if it could be called like that, to the fall of the iron curtain? This question could naturally take a whole book to articulate naturally, but what was like kind of atmosphere was there when you Germans could go back and integrate with the other Germans?
A: The GDR in which I grew up was a country in decline. The economy was in shambles and everything was slowly but surely falling apart. People grew increasingly disillusioned and disenfranchised with the regime, to which they kept paying lip service but almost no one believed in the propaganda slogans anymore. I remember that each year, on the 1st of May, the school would have to join the official celebrations organized by state and party, and that included marching in our school uniforms, carrying flags and banners, at a street parade that would be passing by a tribune with all the party officials sitting there and watching. When we were still out of sight, we strolled along rather listlessly but as soon as they could see us, we’d put on a show of marching in column and sing some revolutionary song honoring this Day of the Worker but once we were past the tribune, we’d scatter and run off from this May Day March to enjoy our day off school. In hindsight, I’d say the collapse of the GDR didn’t come as a surprise, but we were still shocked of everything happening so fast, within a matter of a few months, and I remember how I went with my siblings and our mother to West Germany in November or December 1989 and how we stared in disbelief at this world that was always right next to us but impossible to reach until this day. It didn’t take long to realize that all that glitters is not gold, though. Turning 45 years old in less than a month, I have come to cherish my childhood memories of the GDR rather fondly. I have had a far better and happier childhood than – from my experience – 90% of the kids born in Germany nowadays will ever know. The entire 1980’ies were one grand and dazzling decade, no matter on which side of the Iron Curtain you were living and growing up, and in terms of personal experience and emotions that what came after couldn’t hold a candle to this era.
Q: To mention again the interview previously released, I can share your fascination with genealogy and local history. I sometimes find myself chit-chatting with older relatives about what life was in old Italy, what hardships did they overcome during the Winters, where does my blood come from. Contemplating similar and shared tracts of appearance, the resonance, and the fact that we are inevitably tied to our lands wherein lie the bones of our past lives, it is an exercise to appreciate a little more one’s “home”. We are, in many ways, the result of the land that shaped us, our regional languages, our ancient churches in ruin, the small villages, the gravel roads in the hills, the trees and soil, and, when we look back into reality, there are the small traces that somehow still survive of a folkish culture and mentality, in a way not too different from that of a being on their deathbed. Was this connection to the nature that surrounded you one element that contributed to your life-long involvement in Black Metal? Is there anything “ancestral”, in this art-form?
A: Yes indeed, what you describe is the notion of blood (= descent) and soil (= origin); two intrinsically linked forces that shape every human being from day one of his birth. You can taint your blood and deny your soil, of course, but no matter how far away from home you stray and with how much effort you disguise as someone you are not, there is no way how you could escape yourself. I do sincerely pity those wretched souls who pretend to be cosmopolitans; if you think you could be at home anywhere, you will end up being nowhere at home. We embrace our blood and soil, and we understand that to have a bright future, you need to carry the flame ignited by our ancestors in days of yore. I am a child of the Green Heart of Germany, of my ancestral homeland Thuringia, and no matter how far away I have travelled I am always returning home and feel at peace among those who share my language, my culture, my history. My grandparents and in particular my father have researched our genealogy as far back as the 17th century, and it is amazing to see how my people have always been here and how their family history is interwoven with the history of this land. Blood and Soil are two main pillars the entire genre of Black Metal is resting upon, knock them over and Black Metal will fall apart.