Gaahl Interview: Part I - III
by ©Scarlet Metal and
On May 11th 2007, I had the great opportunity of
interviewing Gaahl of Gorgoroth.
Norse shaman and the most mysteriously intriguing and fascinating
black metal scene I've ever had the honor of speaking with.
This interview was transcribed
from our phone conversation.
Bands: Gorgoroth, Trelldom,
Gaahlskagg and contributes to several other co-members projects such
as Wardruna. http://www.myspace.com/gaahlofficial
Scarlet: Recently I read that
some unusual instruments were used on Trelldom.
Can you tell me about them? was a sekkepipe (Norwegian
Gaahl: We used the hardingfele which is a traditional Norwegian
"fiddle" but we didn't use a sekkepipe.
Scarlet: 'Til Minne', the latest release of Trelldom seems to deal
with interdimensional existence and possibly traveling back and
forth in both time and lives?
Gaahl: Yes, that's true.
Scarlet: Would you say that you perceive time differently than the
average person? as in a non linear way?
Gaahl: Yes, it's hard to explain..but I never let the clock decide
anything for me. I believe that one inherits memory..it is like a
Scarlet: It has been said by many (including some who spent time
with you while working on the recent Peter Beste film) that you have
a very high level of intuition.Others claim that they have witnessed
both psychic and telepathic abilities. How do you get the psychic
Gaahl: This is very difficult to describe but the information comes
through a portal that I always keep open. The voices of my ancestors
are something I hear all the time. I'm a practicing shaman but in a
very personal environment.
Scarlet: Do you believe you were born with these special abilities ?
Gaahl: Yes, I believe that I "inherited" these abilities..one of my
brothers also has it as does my grandmother. Most Norwegians had
these natural abilities but many lost them and were cut off from
them after Christianity was established here.
Scarlet: Would you say that your upbringing was terribly "Christian"
in any way?
Gaahl: No, I was given a lot of freedom and was allowed to be
myself. I've always been sort of a loner even though I have four
siblings.I'm more connected to the forest than to others and I've
always been treated with great respect by my family.
Scarlet: Have you ever been able to "telepathically" make someone do
something? Meaning in the case of the people who attempted to attack
you in the past?
Gaahl: Yes, I have had to do this with people who have entered my
home and attempted to physically attack me with the intent to kill
me..as in one particular case five years ago which wasn't accurately
told by the media. These attackers still claim to experience having
ongoing psychic disturbances and "psychic attacks".
I know that every time they close their eyes, they will see me.
Scarlet: It is rumored that you have been accused of being in more
than one place at the same time.
Can you describe one of these
Gaahl: Hehe, yes. I was actually convicted for beating up two
different guys, thirty meters away from each other at exactly the
Scarlet: People with your kind of abilities and spirituality often
have a non human entity or entities around them...Is that what it
Gaahl: Yes, I have non human "protectors" around me..only I have
been told that it is more like a horde of them.
Part II: Gaahl Interview ©Scarlet Metal Reviews
Scarlet: In the scene of the Peter Beste film in which you are
taking the guys up the hill (to the “special place”) it was
painfully obvious that they were exhausted about halfway into the
hike. Their breathing became very labored, they were lumbering along
while you seemed to almost effortlessly glide.
This was especially
obvious in Rob, VBS producer.Are you aware that you seem to glide
at a different rate or frequency than most? You all
appear to be close in age, so it wasn’t an age factor? Was the
altitude possibly a factor in their being more exhausted than you?
Peter Beste film info:
Gaahl: Yes, I’m aware of this but most say that they see me
“hovering” as opposed to “gliding”.
As far as age being a factor,
I’m not aware of anything significant there. No, I don’t believe
was a factor in Rob's exhaustion (the location was not especially high altitude)..it was something more from an unconscious level that he
needed to process. He became aware of this later.
Scarlet: You mentioned a "waterfall" in the film, is that where you
trying to take them? Is that what was beyond the hill?
Gaahl: Yes, I had planned on taking them there but due to Rob's
difficulties we had to turn back. Most do not make it to the
waterfall on the first try. There is a "guardian" of this path of
challenge who sometimes brings in a fog. Normally I make the journey
in a half hour but that day it took four hours due to many factors.
People who eventually make it to the waterfall describe the rewards
as "great"..even a partial completion of the path has substantial
benefits and rewards as in the case of Rob.
Scarlet: It is known that the ancient Norse were not overly into
keeping written records. Does this have anything to do with any of
the bands you’re involved in not having printed lyrics?
Gaahl: Yes, because part of the full essence and consciousness of
the words are lost when they are written. If you retain the sound
and tone of the words within your memory then you will always
confront it and communicate with it. The words are maintained in the
memory or ‘minne’ of the listener as opposed to only being read from
printed text on paper ..in this way it becomes part of the blood,
heart and soul. Memory is part of the Norse soul and we have nine
different words for it in the old Norse language. Minne is something
complex that needs to be fed, strengthened and carried with us.
Scarlet: Do you think it’s better for all serious seekers to attempt
to learn and speak the Norwegian and/or old Norse words? thereby
translating it themselves?
Gaahl: Yes, it’s very important that they learn and listen to it
performed in the language that it was created in. In Sigfader I use
the old poetic Edda set to a very Nordic melody which Skagg has put
a vibrant pulse into..so I stay true to the text/lyrics but the
original rhythm gets changed a bit. We will probably use Völuspá
(The Prophecy of the Seeress), Hávamál (The Ballad of the High One),
Vafþrúðnismál (The Ballad of Vafthrúdnir), Grímnismál (The Ballad of
Grímnir). The late Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson, the founder of the
Íslenska Ásatrúarfélagið (Icelandic Fellowship of The Æsir Faith)
recorded some of these in a very traditional way. I also use parts
of old Norse poetry in the third song ‘Fra Mitt Gamle’ of Til Minne
(on the latest Trelldom release) www.myspace.com/trelldomband
Scarlet: Would you say that Trelldom is spiritual in a Norse way?
Gaahl: In a way, however I would say Trelldom deals with things more
personal to me. To further clarify I would say with Gorgoroth I
communicate 'outward' and with Trelldom I communicate 'inward'.
Scarlet: Is a 'Sigfader' release something that we can expect this
Gaahl: Hopefully yes. I'm trying to organize it now..however we will
prepare ourselves through ritual before we work on any music for
Sigfader.(Sigfader is another name for Odin)
Gaahl: Part III
©Scarlet Metal Reviews
Scarlet: You have always spoken out against the damage
Christianity has done to the spirit and strength of the Norwegian people
(and all people in general).
Do you believe that they will ever be able to recover from this?
Gaahl: I believe very strongly in the Norwegian
people's inherent ability to connect with their 'blood memory' through
which recovery is possible. Most of the damage can be reversed by
connecting with the forces of nature, spirits and beings of the forest.
These together with natural surroundings act as a catalyst to arouse their
'blood memory' which then enables them to access or reconnect through
their 'blood memory'and the memory of
ancestors, ancestral power and origin.
Scarlet: In the
Peter Beste film there are video clips of live Gorgoroth performances. It
was very obvious to me that your 'live' music raised a very primal and
powerful energy in those rooms which seemed to bring
most of the audience into an ecstatic altered state.
Do you believe that black metal can also be used to induce or
the "blood memory"?
Gaahl: Definitely yes, black metal is another
extremely powerful way of connecting. Music touches spirit and opens the
deep recesses of the unconscious through which we are able to enter into
alternate dimensions. While in these states, it is possible to detach from
the confines of our materialist society/environment and experience our
For some, black metal is a great wake-up call.
Scarlet: Another point Peter
Beste makes in his film is that Norwegian black metal is often wrongly
thought to have a connection
to "Naziism" which it does not. He goes on to explain that Norwegian
black metal is often
confused with NSBM.
After thorough research, I have to say that I agree with him.
In previous interviews you have stated
that you would like to see
all traces of Semitic religious influence removed from Norway.
Is it only the Semitic
religions/religious influence you would like to
see removed or are you referring to all of the Semitic people as
Gaahl: The Semitic religions and their influence.
(i.e.: three main Semitic religions being Christianity, Judaism and
Islam). However, I believe that it would be both empowering and in the
best interests of
the Semitic peoples to return to their original (pagan religion)
People seem to often confuse my
beliefs with "Naziism" which is
Scarlet: With all of the
various death threats you've received over the years and continue to
receive, are you ever concerned about your life
being cut short one day?
Gaahl: The memory of
my original beginning (when I first came into being) is still within
me..so I never feel pressured by the "time" most in this world live by.
Death and dying is not something I fear because physical death
is not an end to me.
Scarlet: Back to
the Peter Beste film again. Rob seemed to do most of the complaining
in the film, yet ironically in the end he was the one extolling most of
the praise of your special abilities. In the film he was very obviously
impressed and claimed that remarkably (after only 24 hours after their
arrival) you were able to peer into their souls, make highly accurate
assessments and then suggestions of changes they needed to
make. Would you like to anything else about this?
Gaahl: Rob was very grateful and thankful to me in the
end of the film. By forcing himself beyond what he believed to be his
limits, he was ableto recognize those limits as self-imposed which later
led to his breaking
down barriers within himself allowing him to connect with his
I believe that it took some
courage on his part to allow those scenes to
remain in the film.
Scarlet: With being in several
bands it’s obviously not be possible for you to be a full-time shaman
right now but would you ever consider doing this
kind of work with small groups of sincere people sometime in the
Gaahl: Over the years I have
done this same kind of thing for many many people who have wandered into
my periphery. It is not my way to plan these
kinds of things nor would I ever encourage “followers”.
Scarlet: Do you believe that drugs and/or alcohol can
be useful in tapping
into one’s ‘blood memory’ and other states of consciousness?
Moderate amounts of alcohol can sometimes be useful in exploring other
aspects of the self if the person is able to stay in control of the
alcohol without allowing the alcohol to control them. I’m totally against
the use of
drugs..they are useless for this purpose and most of them damage the
Scarlet: I’ve noticed in a few
interview video clips and in the film that you drink wine.
Do you ever drink hard liquor or moonshine?
Gaahl: Yes, I drink wine but never moonshine. Some
forms of hard liquor
work like a poison on the mind and body.
Scarlet: The three main
members of Gorgoroth being Infernus, King and yourself all seem to be
"alpha males". Do these three strong wills ever clash behind the
hehe..there's usually alot of chaos but we always
manage to force it into creation.
hypnotic sounds and ancient atmosphere of Wardruna perfectly compliment
the scenes of the fjords, the forest and Espedal (your land). Are you part
of the "constellation" involved in this project?
Gaahl: Yes, I have been
involved in this project of Kvitrafn's and will probably participate even
more in the future. We use
very old acoustic instruments..nothing is electric or modern.
Scarlet: Peter did an excellent job of capturing some
previously unseen facets of your personality and I would imagine that alot
of fans are anxious to see this film in dvd format. It was
fascinating to see someone like yourself living on
ancient land by an ancient code of ethics.
Have you heard anything
regarding the response to the film yet?
Gaahl: I did speak with Peter
and he told me that the response
has been really good so far.
Scarlet: I have a feeling that
the effects of this film are going to be far reaching in a positive
way..way beyond what Peter, Rob or
Ivar can imagine at this time. Ivar was also interesting to observe.
Did he have anything
to say at the end?
Gaahl: Yes, he thanked me
and said that never in his 30 years did he think his view of the world
would be changed in such a way that it would cause him to reevaluate
everything he had
Scarlet: Your deep connection and bond with your
land..in your case the land your family/ancestors have been living on
forcenturies was also brilliantly communicated in the film.
Is it difficult to leave the natural beauty of Espedal
when you go on tour?
Most Norwegians have this very same connection to the forest and their
land. I would say that I like to travel but what I really really like is
to come home.
Scarlet: My next question is for the
many young aspiring metal musicians out there who will undoubtedly hold
onto your every word of advice. Is there anything you would like
to say to them?
Gaahl: I send these
words out to all creative people, not just the musicians. To create
something original you must first communicate with the child and the
unconscious within yourselves.The creativity must come from
within...listen carefully to what your own heart is telling you
and never follow the path of another.
photo by ©Peter Beste