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Gaahl Interview: Part I - III
by ©Scarlet Metal and www.whoresofchaos.com

On May 11th 2007, I had the great opportunity of interviewing Gaahl of Gorgoroth.
Vocalist, lyricist, Norse shaman and the most mysteriously intriguing and fascinating member
of Norway's black metal scene I've ever had the honor of speaking with.
This interview was transcribed from our phone conversation.

Bands: Gorgoroth, Trelldom, Sigfader, 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 bagpipe) used?

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 rebirth.

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 information?

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 incidents?

Gaahl: Hehe, yes. I was actually convicted for beating up two different guys, thirty meters away from each other at exactly the same time.

Scarlet: People with your kind of abilities and spirituality often have a non human entity or entities around them...Is that what it was?

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 and vibrate
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: www.myspace.com/blackmetal666

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 altitude
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 were
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 year?

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)

Interview with 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 experience
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 'blood memory'.
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 well?

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) roots.
People seem to often confuse my beliefs with "Naziism" which is completely erroneous.

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 unconscious.
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 future?

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?

Gaahl: 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 memory..
sometimes severely.

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 scenes..during rehearsals?

Gaahl: Well, hehe..there's usually alot of chaos but we always manage to force it into creation.

Scarlet: The 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? Kvitrafn: www.myspace.com/wardruna

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?
Peter Beste: http://www.myspace.com/blackmetal666

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 previously learned.

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?

Gaahl: 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