(Norway-based metal writer Karina Cifuentes returns to us with this interview of frontman Doedsadmiral and guitarist Nord of Nordjevel (“northern devil”), whose self-titled debut album was released at the beginning of this year, and who recently released an amazing video for the song “”Djevelen I Nord”.)
I think Nordjevel is one of the best new bands that we have right now here in Scandinavia. But the fact that the band has a solid sound and a pretty professional image has a lot to do with its experienced musicians, so please tell us about your background and what elements of your other bands you have brought with you to Nordjevel…
Nord: What do you mean by “pretty professional?” Haha. Well, we have been around the block a couple of times, and we had a really strong vision for what Nordjevel would be. It changed a bit along the way, as visions tend to do, but it was only for the better.
My artistic background lies more in the classical heavy metal neo-classical and progressive field. That’s where I found the necessary challenges to develop into a proper musician.
I also spent much of my 20’s studying music in University instead of touring and getting drunk. I guess those are (sadly) quite unique influences to bring into a band in this genre.
How did Nordjevel came to life? And what were your goals with the band?
Doedsadmiral: It came to life in my head. I had a musical, religious, and visual plan. I thought the challenge would be to find top musicians, but it worked out really well. The name I have had in my head several years.
I really like the fact that the music is epic/folk oriented without sacrificing the powerful Black Metal elements. And this sound is something that is tied to the lyrical themes. So I wonder whether you decided you were going for that epic/folk sound at an early stage or whether it developed naturally while jamming and then you looked for a lyrical theme that matched.
Nord: My initial thought was to create “pure” black metal, but I realized pretty quickly that I can’t ignore my natural influences. That’s when I let the melodic, folky, and epic textures shine through. Doedsadmiral had a lot of the lyrics ready as I was writing the music, but I guess we influenced each other back and forth a bit.
The viking/folk genre has a tough/rough side, but not usually dark. In the video you are actually bringing an occult element. As I interpret it, it is kinda a summoning ritual that brings forth a devil that then ends up giving life to the trolls out of the mountain (it is open to different interpretations I guess…)
I think is an interesting feature, and since there has always being a bit of controversy about how viking and folk should be purified from all medieval elements and how it should be purely pre-christian pagan. I have studied the devil as a figure in history and I know there are many ways to interpret it when it first appears. So I wonder how you yourselves interpret the devil and the occult elements in the video that come with it. Have you guys given it thought? Or was it just a purely aesthetic choice, to blacken it all?
Doedsadmiral: My vision for the video, and the idea behind it, is like in the lyrics for this track that the northern devil conquers all, without doubt. It will erase ALL! The visual story is to show our roots, and what Nordjevel is about. Norway, mysticism, folklore….but in the end the Nordjevel kills all, and that the band is what summons this! It is to show there is nothing greater, than the devil.
The plan was always to have it pitch black. But only because we blend it with our country, and the north, mysticism, and folklore does not unblacken it, to me it gets blacker. This is also what a lot of Norwegian Black Metal is lacking. We have such a dark land, history, and folklore. And this is for me Norwegian Black Metal.
Some of you live in Norway, and the drummer is based in Sweden, so how do you manage to jam, rehearse?
Nord: As many of you know, Widigs is also the drummer for Marduk. They are one of the hardest working bands in the genre, so we operate with a live drummer and a studio drummer. Felix (Vredehammer) is our live drummer, and we are very happy about the whole situation. We thought we couldn’t find anyone to match Widigs‘ drumming until Felix showed up. Nordjevel operates quite differently live and in the studio.
I think most bands strive to achieve a unique sound, to be as original as possible. Is it important to you? How does this striving to keep things original influence your choices, both soundwise and when it comes to image?
Nord: When someone TRIES to be as original as impossible, I think they lose the art perspective in the process. For me it was never about being original, rather than expressing certain emotions. I believe if the emotions and the expression come from a real place, good ears will recognize it. People who are unable to really dive into the music won’t be able to pick up that element.
You guys have signed with really good label and have played at Inferno and will play at next year’s Maryland Deathfest. That’s a really good start. For many bands it takes lots of years to get to play at those festivals. What other ambitions do you have for Nordjevel?
Nord: We’re also playing Blastfest next year, and Aalborg Metal Fest in a couple of weeks.
The ambition was always to get this music out on the big stages. We have quite extensive touring plans next year, so I guess the ball is starting to roll. Nordjevel is here to make an impact, and we will.
You recorded the parts for the album in different studios. What are the challenges and advantages of doing it this way?
Nord: I only see advantages in that. Each of the recording members did their own work separately, and we put it together and sent it to Patric at WSL Studio in France. We are all experienced artists, and the process goes a lot smoother by eliminating the whole social aspect of recording.
How do you imagine the future of Black Metal as a genre?
Nord: As any other fashion, it follows the waves. Right now the scene is on the “retro black’n roll” wave. Sometime in the future I guess the keyboards and the romantic aspects will come back into fashion. I think Nordjevel fits somewhere in between the late very early ’90s era and the late ’90s era. For the record we have no intentions of bringing keyboards into Nordjevel, even though the keyboard is a fantastic instrument.
Anything else you would like to add?
Keep up to date with Nordjevel online and catch us on tour next year. Hopefully we will play most of Europe + North and South America, so keep your eyes open. Thanks for your interest!