Interview with Naglfar

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Interview with Andreas Nilsson (Guitars)

Interview by Demitri Levantis

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We caught up with Andreas of Sweden’s Naglfar to chat about their new album “Cerecloth” and what the band has in store for the future.

Hi and thank you so much for your time. Let’s start with Cerecloth, where does the title come from?

I’m not sure where I first saw the word, but the idea to use it as a future title came when I was writing lyrics for the song “Pale horse” on our album “Téras”. Cerecloth is something that was used to wrap dead bodies before burial. We originally planned another title for the album, but as the album came into being we realized that it didn’t fit the sound anymore and thus “Cerecloth” was decided upon.

You say in your press release it contains “the usual death and destruction,” could you elaborate on that description for anyone who is new to Naglfar’s music?

Naglfar plays extreme music with a lot of harmonies going on, and with a focus on the demise of man.

How would you say it differs from your other albums?

I wouldn’t. We do our thing and don’t focus on trying to find new paths, but rather refine what we do. If this leads us into new directions then that is cool, but our focus is to write what we ourselves enjoy listening to. We even made sure to make a nod towards our past with some of the material on this album.

Did you employ any new instruments or experimental moves on this album?

Not that I can recall, no. What was new to us was how we organized the writing process.

What are your personal favourite tracks from the album, as in the ones you enjoyed writing and recording most?

I look forward to playing songs like “Cerecloth” and “Vortex of Negativity” live. They are pretty simple and straightforward, but they stir up a certain state of mind for me. My favourite track would be “Last Breath of Yggdrasil” as I wrote and arranged all the music and lyrics on that one, and thus it has a special meaning to me.

Do you have a particular routine for writing and recording a new album?

In the past, we always used to meet up at Marcus place to write and record in his studio. However, after the release of “Téras” in 2012, we discovered that it was getting more and more difficult to find time for everyone to meet up. This is one of the reasons why it took us 8 years to finalize this new album. Life was coming in between for most of us in a way it didn’t use to. So, in the end, I set up a small home studio so that we could write on our separate ways and send samples between us for evaluation. In the end, we tend to wind up at Marcus place for the final touches anyway, but it has sped up the process.

How would you describe Naglfar’s music to anyone who has never heard it before?

Relentless Swedish Death/Black metal.

Who are the biggest influences on Naglfar, not just bands but any art, film, or cultural things?

I think you will get a different answer depending on who you ask in the band. When we started out my personal main influences were At the Gates, Unanimated and Eucharist. These days it can be a movie I watch or a book I read, but mostly it is the lack of faith in humanity that sparks a need to create.

How do you balance being in a band with your normal life, do you guys all have day jobs or is Naglfar all you do now?

We decided around 2007 that Naglfar shouldn’t be something we live off. Not everyone was ready to travel and play as much as was needed at the time. Usually, everyone has day jobs, but of course, this was the year that I was supposed to focus on music. That went well.

In the 28 years you’ve been making music, how would you say the black metal scene has developed for you?

There seem to be more rituals rather than live shows these days.

How do you view the Swedish black metal scene today, compared to how it was when you began?

I’d say it is alive and well. The bands that are around from when we started still delivers, and even though I am not as involved as I used to and get most of my new discoveries sent o me by friends, I think that bands like Voodus, Mephorash, Murg, Svartkonst and so on are really good.

What made you decide to start the band in the first place, was it a particular band you saw live or a particular record/tape you heard?

I think it was Morbid Angels “Altar of Madness” that ruined me.

What do you enjoy most about touring?

The best thing is to be able to go on stage every night and perform your music, and to meet up with the people that support what you do. The rest of it is mostly just travelling and waiting around.

Is there a particular band you like to tour with?

I like to think that we have gotten along with most bands that we have toured with. The guys in Dark Funeral and Finntroll were exceptionally easy to get along with on a bus though, as well as the Anomalie and Schammasch guys on the tour we did recently.

Do you have a favourite festival or country you love to play?

It is always cool to go to Japan, but I can’t say that I have a favourite country or festival. That differs from time to time. We still have a lot of countries left to visit.

When you’re on tour and have a day off, what do you like to do for fun?

I try to get some rest and make sure that my equipment is taken care of. After that, I like to try to see the local sceneries, but it usually ends up with me and Marcus trying to find places that sell and/or serve craft beer.

Have you any performances on the horizon now given the current situation?

We still have a couple of shows booked by the end of this year that hasn’t been postponed. But at this point, I’m not holding my breath for anything. I think 2021 will be the year for live performances. But hopefully, I’m wrong.

Are there any bands you are listening to now whom you’d recommend to everyone?

I’m changing the playlists a lot at the moment, but bands that get more playtime than others right now are Sinmara, Misþyrming, Possession, Blood incantation, Perdition Temple and Spectral Voice.

What non-metal genres do you like listening to the most?

It’s mostly metal, but some low key singer/songwriter stuff, or Americana/folk with a less than the optimistic view. Stuff suitable for pre-coffee mornings.

What advice would you give to any fans who want to start their own band?

If you do it, then make sure your hearts are into it.

Are you guys involved in any other bands and do they have new material coming out?

Marcus has an EP out with his band Trinitas, and are currently finishing up the long-awaited album of Ancient Wisdom. He and Kris are also scheduling some shows with Bewitched. I play in a band called Malakhim, and we are in the studio finishing our debut album that will be out on Iron Bonehead in the near future. I also have a third project, called Occasum, where I do everything on my own, in order to get my Death metal fix sorted. There is a digital EP out now that can be found on Bandcamp and Youtube.

And finally, to round this off, what do you enjoy most about being a musician?

The creation process. To sit down with the guitar and see where it takes you.

Thank you so much for joining us and we wish you all the best with the new album and everything else you have planned; all the best for the future.

Cerecloth is out now on Century Media Records.

1. Cerecloth
2. Horns
3. Like Poison for the Soul
4. Vortex of Negativity
5. Cry of the Serafim
6. The Dagger in Creation
7. A Sanguine Tide Unleashed
8. Necronaut
9. Last Breath of Yggdrasil

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