-Interview- Minneriket (6/27/21)

Minneriket talks about their sound development, the current Black Metal scene and much more.


From: Norway
Sounds like: Romantic Black Metal

1. How did you get started with music and how did you develop your sound? Who thought of the name “Minneriket" and is there any meaning behind it?

I've been working on music for as long as I can remember. From starting out with dark ambient and dungeon synth to playing in local punk bands as a kid. Working on the fringes was always my thing. After that I've participated in several others successfull musical projects, and keep both Blodsgard and Æra alive while mainly focusing on Minneriket. Minneriket was more of an expressionistic endavour, combinding all sides of me into one unique constellation. The name means "The realm of memories", and was originally the title of a book I published years ago consisting of my own translation of the old Norse poem "Voluspå" into modern Norwegian with commentary and photos/art. I had to venture far into myself while working on that project, seeing myths and meanings in a new light. Focusing on the old, on archetypes, on universal emotions. That was the spiritual roots for Minneriket, which I'm working on expanding with music. Finding something outside of yourself, but still deep inside. Nostalgic modernity.

2. What do you want people to take away from your music?

I work with feelings, and I work with darkness. The inherent darkness. I've had several campaigns where all profits from merch and music has been donated in entirety to organizations working with self-harm and suicide among youths. With Æra we gave all profits to the battle against Covid in Chile. Even though my music is shrouded in darkness and melancholy, what lies at the bottom is the hope for a better world. It's a sanctuary, where noone is alone with their feelings. If someone is able to just say to them selves "this is okay", "I can be myself" or "I'm not alone" when relating to my music, then that's the biggest victory I can achieve.

3. How would you describe your sound to the average listener?

Always evolving. I'm rooted in the Norwegian black metal scene of course, but I'm also the antithesis. For this single and the upcoming album I'm combining all sorts of elements into something really unique. It's BM, it's goth, it's classical, it's ambient... There's punk riffs, south American drums, icy tremolo picking, operatic vocals. And 100% Minneriket. Romantic Black Metal is shaping up to be a force to be reckoned with.

4. Who are three bands you’d like to tour with?

Minneriket won't tour. Unless I get Burzum and Darkthrone as opening acts...

5. How has Covid affected what you do as a band?

Not at all, really. Minneriket isn't a touring band, so I've been working the same way as always. Actually, I've gotten a lot more time to work as the world stood still. It's been a good time for creative work with some time to breathe and just exist. I'm made for solitude and the so-called lockdown, have been practicing for this for a long time. It might be provocative to say, and I have all the respect in the world for both the virus, the losses and the financial and emotional repercussions, but for me it's been pretty sweet to be able to work in peace.

With that being said, there have been massive setbacks during the work due to the pandemic situation though. I've been collaborating with a lot of different people from all over the world, and we've been delayed due to everything from covid to wildfires, insurgents and riots, lockdown, and of course all the mental and personal issues coming from all of this. People have experienced tremendous problems and rough situations, and we've brought it all into this album. There's something about carrying the worlds problems on your back which speaks to me. Heavy wears the crown, and all that.

6. What’s your take on the current state of Black Metal?

Black Metal has become a parody of itself. There's a blueprint on how to sound, what to say, what to mean and how to dress. It's conformistic, uniform and without creativity. Some exceptions exist of course, but in general it's becoming pretty pathetic. Where's the spirit? The war? People have been barking at the church door so much it's become an Internet meme. Corpse paint is kitch. As I continue working with music rooted in this genre I am filled with hatred and disgust for what shallow monster it has become. I get that kids are looking for an identity, but if your identity is found in the patches surrounded by studs on your jacket, then Black Metal is not for you. Get an education, pick up an instrument, do something with your life - don't just write about 90s albums on your fucking blog. It's a hype, a trope, a cliché. And I only want truth, honesty and art.

7. What’s the current music scene like there in Norway?

There's some interesting stuff happening in the hip hop and punk rock scenes. The noise scene is pretty well evolved. But like most of the rest of the world, live music have been pretty much non-existent for the last 18 months. I hear more people have been working on their albums these last two years, so I hope there's more good results coming out of this than just Minneriket.

8. What’s your take on the royalties that streaming services pay out to artists?

Haha! Well, I wouldn't be working in this genre if I was into it for the money. I'm an artist, not a craftsman. I always like to divide music into two different scenes: art and craft. The artist is the painter working on the Sixteenth chapel. The craftsman is the painter working on painting your kitchen wall. The latter group cares about royalties, the first group cares about recognition for their greatness. I take my recognition in terms of how I've moved fans, not in what Spotify pays every 3 months.

9. What’s next for Minneriket?

The full album of this new style of Minneriket is hopefully releasing later 2021. It's a diverse and complex album wandering down some new paths while shining bright with darkness.I'm showing of the black in different colours.