Primordial

Interview partners: Alan (A.A. Nemtheanga)/ vocals, and Mick (M. O'Floinn)/ guitars
questions by: Twilightheart
time of publishing: January 2010

Alan and Mick backstage at the "Backstage" venue in Munich, during the "Heidenfest" tour, Nov. 2008:

This interview was recorded during the last Heathen Fest Tour in Germany. Unfortunately the recordings were unusable, as there were a lot of background noises (esp. voices from other people). Anyway I thought it is a pity not to use these recordings, as the questions and answers are timeless. A bit late I hit upon the idea to have the background noises removed by the guys from the Helion Studios in Munich, who indeed took care of it. Thanks in particular to Christoph who did this in his sparetime, free of charge. 
Those who attended the event in Munich will remember that the gigs started only after midnight, as the Bavarian gouvernment had forced a ban on this event due to the All Saints Day, a regional holiday. So whatís talked about in the first part of the interview refers to those restrictions.

Twi > Have you ever experienced something like this before, starting a gig at midnight because of reasons like this?

Alan > Not for reasons like this. We played a couple of gigs that didnít start before 5 in the morning, but that was years and years ago in Spain and Portugal and so.

Twi > When did you hear about that this would happen today?

Alan > There was a rumour about 3 or 4 in the afternoon, I donít know really, but at 3 or 4 we knew for sure.

Twi > Did you or the organizer think about cancelling the whole thing?

Alan > No no. They couldnít cancel a sold out show if thereís a way to play it. Too much money involved. You still have to pay the bands and all sorts of stuff, you have to pay the bus and so on. 

Twi > Do you know who exactly complained or what exactly happened?

Alan > I think it was the local regional gouvernment or something , who has decided to be more strict with enforcing this catholic All Souls Day or whatever it is. 

Twi > In Munich a soccer game takes place today without restrictions. So this is just because pagan bands are playing. 

Alan > I know they closed a night club last night at midmight. There was a Hip Hop DJ playing. They shut everything down and made everyone leave. So I think somebody somewhere is on a bit of a crusade, you know. 

Twi > I just thought it might upset you that the catholics donít let others celebrate their holidays. Yesterday for instance was a Celtic holiday. So maybe the people here just want to celebrate that today.

Alan > Itís just typical for our modern societey. Bavaria seems to become more and more strict. Maybe half or most of the people out there waiting for the gig probably donít vote and probably arenít really interested in politics. As long as they are not interested in things like that, then probably things like that are going to continue to happen, because the religious right gets stronger and stronger. 

Twi > Will the gig today be shorter than usual because of all this? 

Alan > Yes, 15 minutes shorter. 

Mick > We have to take two songs off. 

Twi > You donít need to promote the latest album anymore, I guess. It probably sells very well. Anyway you are on tour. Are you trying to be one of the bands now that get a living out of the touring?

Alan > No no. We donít tour all the time. I mean, if you look at a band like Rotting Christ, they played 180 shows or something for the last album. We do about 40, maybe. We canít really play that much anymore. Maybe if we were 20 or 21 we could. 

Twi > In your albums you often state that most societies are rotten and people have no values and no honour anymore. What do you think is the source or reason for all this? 

Alan > Itís a combination of things. Itís supposed a wholesale embrace of western capitalism  as opposed to any form of spirituality, the death of community. And the embrace of greed and pure capitalism by the west I suppose is the reason why. At least in western society virtues like banality and mediocrity are held up as models for your life. 

Mick > There are so many reasons, you know. It has to do with the media, changes within the working class people, money and so on. There are so many reasons why society has changed. 

Twi > I believe it also has to do with computerization. People rather sit in front of the computer instead of really meeting up with people. 

Alan > Absolutely. Itís called community. Community is not the same as it used to be. I remember we had more community when we were poor. 

Twi > Do you think it can be ever achieved that the world is more like you wish it to be? 

Alan > No, probably not. I believe realistically we are beyond some sort of turning point. Since gouvernments and political parties basically handed over their power to corporatism and to big business, I donít think that your vote makes that much difference any more. I donít think that gouvernments really have the power to change things, even if they had the political will to change. So my world is pretty dark, itís quite pessimistic. There are still good people trying to do good things, but I just canít help feeling that itís just a drop in the ocean sometimes. 

Twi > But then you could as well give up fighting. But I donít think you would or should. 

Alan > No no. It can be a case of: you may know you have lost the war, but you may be able to win a battle. 

Twi > When looking at the young people coming to your gigs, celebrating pagan music, one might think, something is going forward.

Alan > Yeah sure, I think that there is an undercurrent of positivity at least in the people that are into music like this that is opposed to stuff about zombies or drinking beer or something. But I think the sad thing is that maybe not all the people know what this is about, I donít know if there is really a sort of social, political motivation behind coming to see the Heathen Fest. I think that for some people it is, maybe thatís what weíre doing here. 

Twi > Are you the same pessimistic about the future like Alan?

Mick > In some ways, yes. I mean nothing is ever entirely without hope. Primordial is not negative. Itís not pessimistic in a negative way. Itís has a dark view, but itís not entirely without hope. 

Twi > Is it just my impression that people showed much more interest in your music after the last 2 albums?

Alan > It has a lot to do with the label. 

Twi > Will there be a re-release of the old albums? 

Alan > Yes. In the future. The whole back catalogue. 

Twi > I believe there is a huge demand by the fans?

Alan > Some people out there were just 4 or 5 years old when we made the first album, so they didnít really have the chance to hear it. So maybe a lot of people know only songs from the last 2 albums. 

Mick > And weíre going to do some bonus material on the re-releases, maybe some  DVD stuff from the shows or things like that. 

Twi > You played the Heathen Crusade Festival in the United States some years ago. How did the American fans receive you?

Alan > They werenít quite sure what to do with us. There were mainly people with for instance ďDragonforceĒ shirts. But it was good. The fans were enthusiastic. 

Twi > Do you see any reactions actually, when you are on stage? I mean, do you look into the fansí faces?

Alan > Absolutely, yes. I can see people who are emotionally moved by the meaning of the songs. 

Twi > Have you seen someone cry?

Mick > Iíve seen lots of people.

Alan > Yes, people do. Thatís the point of our art. This is art, not entertainment. Thatís the difference, the dividing line. 

Twi > What did you feel when you saw one of those fans crying?

Alan > If you see the fan engaged in the music and emotionally moved, thatís what the song is for. Itís good. 

Twi > Some Irish bands like Clannad for instance sing in that beautiful language, Gaelic. Have you done a song in Gaelic? I donít remember at the moment?

Alan > One song on the first album is in that language.

Twi > Why is there not more in that language? I mean, it sounds beautiful.

Alan > All I really wanted to say in Irish is in that song, you know. There might be one on the next album. I think we once already tried to do some Gaelic lyrics again, but it didnít really work. 

Twi > You also use short versions of your names in the web (like Mick Flynn instead of M. OíFloinn). Why not use the beautiful whole real name?

Alan > We do it in the albums. 

Mick > I think itís just a Black Metal thing. Itís more impersonal in the web, kind of tradition.

Twi > The images in the booklet of ďTo the nameless deadĒ (showing for instance people hanging or dead in battlefields), where do you have them from? Are those real photos? 

Alan > I got them all. It are all real photos. Those are photos I found in the internet or from old books and stuff. Like the people hanging are from the Hungarian revolution in the 1950ies, and the people being shot thatís from Mexico, for instance. Nothing is where you think it is from. Thereís a few Irish stuff, but basically it is done on purpose and I wanted to make a really big step away from the typical Celtic artwork and pagan hoky poky foky things, I just wanted to make something really brutal. Because thatís what the lyrics are about.

Twi > Did you get any reactions concerning these photos?

Alan > Some people were a bit surprised. The whole concept of the album was about empire building and nation building, mainly in the 19th century and early 20th century, the movements of states. I was sick of the whole thing with muscle bended warriors with a sword and such thingsÖ fuck you to the whole thingÖ sometimes people say ďYouíre singing about Celtic mythologyĒ and I say ďNo, weíre not. Maybe 1 or 2 songs.Ē  I say, itís about real history, modern history thatís still moving. There is everything from South American politics to Middle-Eastern politics and Irish politics in the 19th and 20th century, lots of different things. Itís not set to be 3500 years ago. And thatís what I wanted to reflect in the booklet. 

Mick > Universal themes.

Twi > In booklets or interviews you often state that you will never compromise, without further explanations. Were there people who tried to influence you concerning your music?

Alan > Itís true. We will always write like on the very first day, and never listen to anybody trying to tell ďOh you should sound darker or you should do this or you should do thatĒ. We never compromise and never compromised about any of our vision about how the band and the music should be like. 

 

Primordial live:

 

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