Ragnarok

Interview partners: Jontho (drums) and HansFyrste (vocals)
questions by: Twilightheart
time: May 24, 2008 (face to face)

Jontho before the gig at Storm of destruction festival, May 24, 2008:

 

This interview took place before RAGNAROK's gig at the "Storm of destruction" festival in Germany. Jontho and the band's new vocalist HansFyrste agreed to answer my questions. Bear in mind that when recording this, HansFyrste was about to perform his very first live gig with Ragnarok the same night, and it was not announced yet, that he is a permanent band member. The upcoming gig was supposed to cause the final decision about his position in the band. Right now, when publishing this interview, the final decision has been made. He is now the new permanent vocalist for Ragnarok. 

Twi > I guess it is possible that today is a good day, as a new era of Ragnarok is about to start. Why did you not come up with anything new in the past years? Some fans already thought the band has completely split up.

Jontho > This was to not get all the questions. When one guy left the band, I didnít want to answer any interviews. 
I was ready to get the band together and then come back as a whole unit, and then answer interviews and go forward.

Twi > And why did you start through exactly NOW? Because ďNordic StormĒ (festival organizer) asked you to play at ďStorm of destructionĒ festival this weekend, or why?

Jontho > No. We were supposed to get some tours in April through Metallysee. But the company went down. We were supposed to do three tours. And then I got the spirit back, got the people together, but then all the gigs were cancelled. This was the only gig left. So I thought this was the right moment to gather the guys from the band and then do a hell of a gig tonight. And then we wanna go on a tour with Urgehal in November and will have a new album next year. Because next year is also our 15 years anniversary. 

Twi > Okay, I heared that HansFyrste here will become a permanent member of the band only if he delivers a good gig tonight. 

Jontho > This is the last proof for him. He has proofed a lot already during the rehearsals. And I am very happy with him. Heís doing a great job. But I havenít seen him on stage yet. So tonight there are going to be the last proofments to show that he is the right one for the band. 

Twi > Okay, but you rehearsed with him a few times, so it should go well today. 

Jontho > Yeah, we rehearsed a few times and he is just getting better and better with each rehearsal. Today itís just to see him releasing his true demons on stage, and if thatís right, then itís him and then weíre going to fuck you, all over Europe. 

Twi (to HansFyrste) > Do you fear you could fail today? I mean, remember the past: Jontho has fired one guitarist after one gig because he wasnít good enough.

HansFyrste > No. Not really. I am certain about myself, and I believe you have to be, to be in a good band. But of course I feel pressure because Ragnarok has been one of my definitive favourite bands for many many years. So I wouldnít say I fear failing in any way, but I have huge amounts of respect and a big amount of pride to do it. So I just hope to do the best job I can do, for myself and the band and then of course for the fans, because they havenít seen Ragnarok live for many years. 

Jontho > And that is also what I am looking for: when Iím hiring people for the band, they have to be dedicated. And he is. So I think tonight we will proof a whole new era for  Ragnarok to begin and to be fucking great. 

Twi > Will you perform any new song tonight maybe? Or only old songs?

Jontho >  Only old songs. So in a way we continue where we ended. Now we are going to promote the songs here tonight, so we will do a lot from ďBlackdoor miracleĒ, the last album, and some of the other albums, just to put a statement that we are back.
Weíre going to create new songs now in the summer. And on a tour we will hopefully have one or two new songs. 

Twi > How did you choose the songs for tonight? Did you choose the ones you like best? Or the ones HansFyrste can sing best? Or just the favourites of the fans, or how?

Jontho > No. Itís an extreme package that we are going to deliver tonight. Itís the most intense songs, the most difficult songs. I think thatís the best way to proof the band. And the guitarist and the bassist are also new in the band. Then I will see their skills. I also think those are the best songs we have, the songs that fit best in an extreme way. Itís going to be very intense.

Twi > Where did you find all the new musicians? Or where do you know each other from?

Jontho > I am also in a biker club, and once when we were out visiting another club in the area that Brigge the guitarist lives, I met him at a bar the same night. He said that he liked the band and he wanted to try it out, because I was looking for a guitarist, and he had heard about that. I do never plan anything serious when I hear such stuff from people I donít know so I told him to call me when he was sober. I didnít talk to him for about 3 or 4 months after that, and suddenly one day he called me up and asked me if we need a new guitarist. And, yeah: ďLetís try it!Ē And that was fucking two years ago, I think. So it took almost 2 years before I found the right men for the band. 

Twi > What about the bassist?

Jontho > He lived together with the guitarist in the same apartment. We had tried another bassist in Bergen together with another guitarist. But we had to travel too far to Bergen to rehearse, so I wanted to try another bassist who lived closer.
The guitarist also went to school with this guy here, HansFyrste, and since Brigge already had told me that he was a promising vocalist I invited him to try it out together with the whole band a week or two later. 

Twi (to HansFyrste) > I guess the readers want to know a bit more about your musical background. All I know is that you play in a band called ďSvarttjernĒ. So, do you want to tell a bit about yourself? Whatís your musical background etc.

HansFyrste > Well, I am younger than the other guys, much younger. I was doing music for many years, as a kid with the guitar like probably everybody in the music scene. And I have played Black Metal for maybe 5 or 6 years, in different bands, without any chance to get interest from others because I come from a place where Metal doesnít exist. So itís been really independent selfgoing bands, which also has made me get a special feeling about the music, very independent within the Black Metal and the force and the connection I get with myself. And now of course I also play in a band called Svarttjern which existed since 2003. And I got a lot of experience from that. And thatís the main Black Metal band that Iíve been doing and growing into. And thatís about it. And now I met up with Ragnarok. Letís see what happens. 

HansFyrste live at Storm of destruction festival:

Twi > If you stay with Ragnarok now, will you have time to continue with Svarttjern? 

HansFyrste > Music is pure passion. Iíll put everything in my life in order to do the most I can in music. So of course I will work with both bands as much as possible. As I said, Metal is the passion and I donít care about all the other forces around in life, because I want to live, not only exist, and thatís through music.

Twi > On older Ragnarok albums often the vocalists wrote the lyrics. Will it be the same with the new album, will HansFyrste write the lyrics?

Jontho > I always thought that the vocalist should do the lyrics. And he is going to do the lyrics, but I also have some ideas, that I will put on paper. On the last album a friend of mine, Espen Dyngen, helped out writing some lyrics, because he understands the ideology that Ragnarok stands for. And HÝst never had the time to write a lot of lyrics since he had too much to do with Taake. But on the next album HansFyrste will write the lyrics.

Twi > So you know his style of writing? What if he writes something thatís not cool enough?

Jontho > Then I say ďNoĒ! I am going to have influences on the lyrics. They are going to fit the philosophy of the band. If itís not extreme enough, I will show him some lines. It is very important that the lyrics are also mature, not like the lyrics we wrote on the first album, like only ďkilling all the ChristiansĒ and stuff like that, but it is much deeper now. Weíll see. I am looking forward to see his lyrics and what he can do with the band, form the band. 

Twi > When you chose HansFyrste, did it also have an influence on your decision that he is so young and fresh to the scene in a way, not like HÝst who has a lot of experience but not enough time?

Jontho > Yes. And also because he has been a fan of the band for many years. And the same is with the other guys in the band. They are really dedicated and they want this. And I always looked at Ragnarok as MY band. So I am the only original member left, so now I can choose and finally go the direction I want. So itís great that they are not involved in too many bands. Because then the focus is on other things all the time, like with HÝst the focus was more on Taake from time to time. And I want that Ragnarok gets all the focus or it will not grow the way I want it to grow. 

Twi > In the past, when one member after another had to leave the band, did you ever think about doing the vocals yourself to finally get exactly what you want?

Jontho > Yeah. I have been thinking about it. But I also really want to do the drums. I am in a way the front guy in the band, but Iím sitting in the back. So sometimes it has been very difficult because I want to express a lot in front of the stage. And therefore I tell the other guys in the band what Iím thinking and what I want to see on stage. So far I think the new guys have understood that. And then itís a closer co-operation and we are doing the best together. Too many bands are split a lot, with their own meanings and their own way to go all the time, but I want Ragnarok to be ONE BIG FORCE. 

Twi > Would you call yourself a perfectionist?

Jontho > Yes.

Twi > In the past, why did you not try out the previous band members long enough before telling them ďYou are the new guitaristĒ or whatever. Why always hire, try and fire? 

Jontho > Iím not sure. Itís because I want to find out everything about a guy. Not only if he can do the songs. If the guy is a good friend of mine, I have tried them longer to find out if he fits the band. But we also have examples, like when we played in Berlin many years ago: There we tried a new guitarist and a new vocalist. And the guitarist forgot all the songs on stage. He was playing for about 60 seconds, and then when I played the drums he was sitting beside me. I was asking ďWhat the fuck are you doing there?Ē Ė ďOh, I forgot all the songs.Ē Ė ďAlrightĒ.  Five minutes later he was in the audience, headbanging. And later that day he told me: ďJontho, I hope you donít fire me.Ē When we came home we told him: ďFuck off!Ē

Twi (to HansFyrste) > The next question is not 100% serious or important. But anyway: I heared you collect dead animals. Are these filled with wood wool or anything, or is it real dead natural bodies? 

HansFyrste > Yes, I collect dead animals. I donít fill them or anything. I collect them and put them in the freezer and have them there.

Twi > Does it give you anything?

HansFyrste > Yes, I donít know what, but it gives me something, thatís why I am doing it. 

Twi > Have you brought some as stage decoration for today?

HansFyrste > Not for today. Too warm and too far away!

Twi > In any older interview you said that you came to Black Metal via Satanism. For most people itís the opposite. Some bands awoke a lot of interest for Satanism through their music and motivated people/fans to study the subject? Is it a good thing? 

Jontho > One fact is that you have music, and you have ideology. Thatís two different things. Because you have regular people in the world who are Satanists and donít listen to Black Metal at all. They donít connect it. So if a band starts a Black Metal band and donít have a clue what Satanism or occultism or the dark side is, I think they could just fuck off. Because itís very important, when you start a music style called Black Metal, it has to have the essence of Satanism and the destructive forces of humanity. Thatís very important. I have a lot more respect for bands who know that. If you ask some sort of guys that are running around here, drunk, they will not have a fucking clue at all.
Satanism is one thing, Black Magic is another thing. I have been a lot into that many years ago. But Iím also a musician, so I connected this and it became what it is.

Twi > You once said in an older interview about the cover artwork for ďDiabolical ageĒ that it is a vision about the future when Christianity is defeated. For real lifeÖ do you think Christianity CAN ever be defeated? I think itís much too strong to be defeated. 

Jontho > Of course it will never be defeated. But itís on its way, because people step away from the religions. But now we have of course many other religions. At that time we talked a lot about Christianity. And that became smaller. First of all in Norway. People went out of the church and just fucked it. 

Twi > Even if all religion should be erased one day, do you really think people can live without the illusion of a God or an afterlife?

Jontho > No. It would be like this: If all the religion has dissapeared from the earth, it would take about 100 years without religion before the mankind would manage to live without it. The reason is that every people who knows what religion is have to die out and a new generation have to be born again without knowing what religion is before mankind would be without it.  Religion have brainwashed mankind for so many years about a lot of crazy things. Religion is also created because people are afraid to die.  And they need to have something to hold on, have false expectations about life and death. One theory is, this is hell and when you die it is paradise because it will be over and you donít have the stress, stupid weak people and all other shit that is on the globe no moreÖ I think it is the final total darkness after death. YOU ARE THEN DEAD!!!!

Twi > Back to the music! Ragnarok is a legendary live band. You once said you donít look down to your fans as a bunch of assholes, but you party with them.

Jontho > Yeah, and I could say that today also, we respect our fans and no band will be a band without their dedicated fans.

Twi > Tell me about the most memorable show that you have played. Okay, maybe apart from the one with the guitarist who forgot everything?

Jontho > There have been a lot of shows through the years. I remember Inferno festival was pretty good. And also one gig in France with about 1500 people and almost all of them were Ragnarok fans. That was fucking big. Iím not sure. Maybe tonight! 
Itís when weíre touring, we play about 30 shows, and I donít remember the last show. If you are on tour, youíre playing the gig there and you almost donít know where the fuck you are. Since youíre travelling and youíre tired itís hard to remember all the shows. But I think at the end of the last line-up it was very good, because it was very tight and the live shows were as they should be. 

Twi > As you mentioned the last line-up: A few people wanted to give away the tickets of this festival when they heared that HÝst is not coming with you. Do you care? 

Jontho > I donít care at all. Thatís funny. Because a lot of people wouldnít go to our shows or book us because the Essen-stunt HÝst did a while back with Taake. And then there were a lot of fans that said: ďWeíre not going to a Ragnarok show, if HÝst IS singingĒ. And now I hear that a few donít come because he is not singing. They can just fuck off! We are back with new members, and we are going to show them, that HansFyrste is the new singer. HÝst has a lot to do with Taake, and he is close to me as a brother and he did a great job in Ragnarok. But thatís over!

Twi (to HansFyrste) > Your voice is much deeper than for instance HÝstís. Did you have to arrange the songs differently to make it fit your voice?

HansFyrste > Well, I try to sing them as I heared them for many years and as people heared them for many years. Of course they expect a similarity. 

Twi > So with your voice you can achieve this similarity?

HansFyrste > I sing them in my own way because Iím an own individual, but of course I am influenced by the way it has been sung, yes. But for me itís not the most important to make it sound more authentic or similar to the CD, but maybe it will, because it gives me something when I sing it, because it filles me. 

Twi > Did you see any bands here at the festival? 

Jontho > I really liked Koldbrann yesterday. They were really good. And of course Endezzma . It was a little bit strange to see them with a new drummer, because I played drums in Endezzma when they started and I created the drums for most of the songs. But in the other hand the drummer did a great job and the band showed professionalism and a great live show.

Twi > Are you still friends with them?

Jontho > Good friends and united! But it was too far for me to drive the car for 4 hours three times a week to rehearse. I also wanted to start up with Ragnarok again, so I didnít have the time. It was strange, but it was nice to hear the songs when I was in the audience. They have something! They are going to grow pretty fast, I think. 

HansFyrste >Iíve seen many bands, but I donít get the names of them all, but it has been cool to see the Black Metal bands from Germany for instance. And The Stone was cool. Iíve been wanting to see them for some time, but I cannot just check them out live any day. I enjoyed the show, and I also enjoyed getting to know them, especially Glad, great guy. 

Twi > Okay, before we can finish this I wanna check some facts. I saw that the Ragnarok website is down. Will it be up again now that you are back with the band? 

Jontho > Yes. With the same address (www.ragnarokhorde.com). But we have quit corporate with the webmaster that did it. So we will use a new webmaster in Norway now. We did a photo session one week ago. So we will build up the whole homepage as a new page. We are using www.myspace.com/ragnarok until we have fixed the homepage. Visit it for updates, merchandise and music. It will be completely new, with the new band showing the new ERA of RAGNAROKÖ.
HAIL KHAOS!!!!
HAIL SATAN!!!!

Jontho, before the gig at SOD, May 24, 2008:

 

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