questions by: Victoria
time: July 31, 2009
This interview was meant to be held at Ragnarök festival in Germany in spring 2009. Unfortunately, the circumstances didn't allow it to take place. But Eviga immediately agreed on doing it by e-mail later on. Here is the outcome for you:
Victoria: So, lately you completed your return to the metal arena, so to speak! With once again, a ‘plugged’ tour. Was it nerve wracking for you to return to this style of playing?
Eviga: “It was a challenge, but there’s a passion for this kind of expression within ourselves, thus, it wasn’t ‘nerve wracking’ literally.”
Victoria: Overall, would you say the tour was a success? I have heard very positive accounts.
Eviga: “It was a memorable success both artistically and on a human level. The audience was enthusiastic and the whole tour was built on friendship and mutual appreciation among the bands involved.”
Victoria: You are planning another European tour this autumn so it seems like you’re re-entering the live arena with vigour, even if those dates are once again only in Germany and Austria? Are you still planning on visiting the US?
Eviga: “We really intend to visit the US in the nearer future, yes. Actually, it seems that there are a lot of people over there who appreciate what we are doing, so we truly hope to visit the US quite soon.
Victoria: Your guests on the next tour will be Ahab, who as a funeral doom band are quite different from the other acts you’ve performed with on tour during the past few years such as Neun Welten. Was this your decision? Are they indicative of the more overtly metal style you’re showing these days?
Eviga: “We simply consider Ahab to be a very talented band and, yes, it was our decision to have them with us on this very tour. Consequently this tour will be a varied one.”
Victoria: You have been performing quite a bit of older material on the past tour/recent festivals. I am sure you and your life have changed quite a bit since the days you have written these songs. Do you find that you are the same person who has written the songs on ‘Her Von’, ‘Bitter ist…’ etc? If not, do you find that you can still identify with certain of these songs?
Eviga: “Our expression is timeless for it relies on authentic existential emotions and thoughts and – in spite of the fact that I hardly would be able to record any of our former albums again today the way they have been recorded back then – I can relate to the inner core of every song we’ve ever done, yet.”
Victoria: Since Dornenreich's music is so personal and intense: How does this affect the way you approach playing these songs live?
Eviga: “The authentic and unconditional fundament of our artistic expression makes us perform in a very natural and intense way. The strong emotions within our expression take us with them – and that’s a sincere and good thing, I think.”
Victoria: Very excitingly, this summer will see the release of your DVD featuring clips of the band right back to the year 2000. Personally I can’t wait to see the recording of what is one of my very favourite Dornenreich albums, ‘Her Von Welken Nächten’. Dusting this material off from the archives and preparing the DVD must have been quite a nostalgic experience for you?...
Eviga: “It was, doubtlessly. So many things have changed since we recorded this album nine years ago. Therefore the process of diving into this material again was both - painful and cathartic.”
Victoria: We are not seeing a great deal of metal bands emerging from a country as relatively small as Austria but that number does appear to be increasing. Along with more well known bands such as Summoning, Abigor and Golden Dawn, are there any who you think deserve more exposure?
Eviga: “Honestly, I’m not that familiar with the current Austrian metal-scene. We played with Mely and Mondstille and I think highly of these bands, which rely on talented and dedicated people. However, I’m sure that there are many other remarkable Austrian bands out there, which I don’t know.”
Victoria: Are you not tempted to play an Austrian festival such as Northern Lights, whose nature setting would have been quite conducive to an acoustic set?
Eviga: “We heard a lot about the atmospheric location of the Northern-Lights-Festival and many people told us that this very location would be perfect for a Dornenreich-concert, so, I hope that we’ll play there one day.”
Victoria: This interview was actually meant to take place at a metal festival. Surrounded by noise and litter and people attempting their own version of transcendentalism through, in many cases, alcohol... it seems in conflict with the philosophy behind your music. Don't you ever feel frustrated playing in these circumstances?
Eviga: “Sure – but still: this is the world we are living in – and we have to face this fundament whether we want to or not. Actually, I think very highly of our supporters, who seem to be people that know and feel a deep connection with the archaic and universal depth that we try to explore and honour via our artistic expression.”
Victoria: The violin is a trademark of Dornenreich. Are you never interested on interesting other classical instruments, such as cello, into your music? Or do you prefer to keep the sparse sound requiring only three musicians on stage?
Eviga: “On two of our albums we had session-cello-players as guests and I truly adore the qualities of many acoustic instruments.”
Victoria: Apparently you will make another acoustic album at some point in your career. When can we expect to hear this?
Eviga: “It will take its time and due to the fact that we plan to present “Flammentriebe” live extensively I dare to foretell that this second acoustic album will be recorded in 2012 approximately.”
Victoria: The artwork for your albums is quite revealing of the content. What can we expect from the artwork for ‘Flammentriebe’, and will your father or Lukasz be involved again?
Eviga: “My father is collecting ideas for a visual presentation of “Flammentriebe” yet, but I also appreciate Lukasz’s talent very, very much, so I think that Lukasz will be involved in one way or another, too. We’ll see. The actual elaboration won’t happen soon, thus things and plans could change.”
Victoria: Why the evolution in sound throughout your career.. is it a reflection of anything personal, or rather just external musical experimentation for you? For example, you have mentioned in the past that your forthcoming album, ‘Flammentriebe', should be somewhat of a return to your more aggressive and more traditional ‘Black Metal’ roots. Do you feel there are things you wish to express which cannot be expressed through Dornenreich’s acoustic sound? Or is this purely a musical challenge you wish to embark on?
Eviga: “Via Dornenreich I explore life. Naturally this expression relies on my individual perception, but I intend to get it across as universal as possible. Therefore my lyrics are based on nature-metaphors and – let’s call it – elemental vocabulary. The outer appearance – that is – the instrumentation of Dornenreich changes and is rich in nuances as life itself is. However, I perceive a constant core of passion and yearning within all our albums. Indeed, Dornenreich is what I’m aiming at artistically – and it approaches everything my depth craves for. Nevertheless I loved to be a part of Angizia as well and I am a big, big fan of radio-plays and spoken language, which might become more obvious in the future …”
Victoria: After 14 years, quite amazingly Dornenreich has nearly the same line-up currently as when it first began! It seems that Gilvan has properly rejoined the band now and played on the upcoming Flammentriebe, but why has his participation in the band been only sporadic up to this point? He was your booking agent and manager, performed with you sometimes in 2006 and 2007 but only now does he appear to be a fulltime member again?
Eviga: “Since 2005 Gilvan is back – and I am very glad that he is with us again. We had to go through difficult years and we had to walk down different roads from 2001 to 2005, but now – after having experienced a lot – we are bigger friends and work together more efficiently than ever before.”
Victoria: Although I believe it was actually Thomas ‘Valnes’ who started Dornenreich, it is clearly yourself who has taken creative direction of Dornenreich and moulded it into its current incarnation. Does Dornenreich now feel like your own personal project or is it still strange for you sometimes to be working on something which someone else initially started?
Eviga: “In spite of the fact that there is a biography out there stating that Valnes started the band the actual birth of Dornenreich was in 1996 when I met Valnes. Actually, it was me who wrote this very biography in order to establish Dornenreich’s birth back in 1995. Until 1996 not a single song has been composed, so …”
Victoria: Don’t you find it strange or difficult to express yourself so freely? Baring yourself and your emotions in your music and interviews… Don’t you ever feel too exposed, or more sensitive to any criticisms of your work because of this?
Eviga: “It’s natural to me – however, I am quite a contradictory being, shy and introverted on the hand and bursting with expression on the other hand. I think I am in the search of balance and that’s the driving force within Dornenreich. My existential burden turns out as Dornenreich’s basic gift.”
Victoria: Though Inve has been playing with Dornenreich for many years now, since ‘Her Von Welken Nächten’, it is only recently that his role in the band has become prominent: Has his role become more prominent as the need for violin instrumentation in the songs has grown, or has the role of the violin in the songs become much more prominent as Inve has become a more integral part of the band and you two have developed a good creative/performance dynamic?
Eviga: “After he had played session violin on “Her von welken Nächten” we lost contact for six years. When Prophecy asked me to perform live during the label-anniversary back in 2006 I contacted Inve and right after the first rehearsal we knew that we had to do far more together than just this one concert. During the last three years Inve grew into Dornenreich artistically more and more – and I am simply glad that he is a part of Dornenreich now. We truly complement each other.”
Victoria: You have stated in a recent interview that you still consider ‘In Luft Geritzt’ to be Black Metal despite it being a fully acoustic album. Do you ever see yourself writing/playing music which you would not classify as ‘Black Metal’? Are there ideals/aesthetics which you identify with Black Metal which you do not see yourself giving up on?
Eviga: “The individual, mysterious and both uplifting and “nature-diving” expression of bands like Ulver, Kvist and Gehenna is what I am referring to when talking about Black Metal. But – to be perfectly honest – I am tired of explaining my personal approach of Black Metal. Dornenreich communicates it. It’s all about multi-dimensional and seemingly contradictory passion that celebrates the mysteries and cycles of existence.”
Victoria: Do you have any personal ambitions which you wish to achieve in your future, in or out of Dornenreich? Do you think you will ever feel fulfilled?
Eviga: “13 years ago I headed out to a journey that made me perceive and understand life profoundly. I learned and experienced so much via Dornenreich. By and by I understand why I will never feel fulfilled – and that it is good that way.”
Victoria: Finally, can you ever imagine ending Dornenreich? It is clearly intertwined with your own personality so do you intend to continue it indefinitely?
Eviga: “As long as passion and vision live within me I will continue the journey. But I am just a human being facing the vastness of life. All I can say is that I am thankful and willing.”
Eviga live with Dornenreich, Oct.2008:
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