I reached out to Nortfalke from Tarnkappe to see if he would answer some of our staff’s questions. Here we go:
Well the goal is simple and will be always the same for us: ‘creating Black Metal like it used to be in the 90’s’. I’m 34 years old now and really felt the atmosphere back then. Nowadays just a few bands create that feeling and I just wanted to be like one of them with Tarnkappe (and also with my other bands / projects). I’m not a big fan of the modern stuff. Lots of, in my opinion, death metal influences are heard within the genre. A few exceptions are there like Bolzer, which I really like. And my influences for Winterwaker? I wrote and recorded this album 4 years ago, so I don’t actually know anymore. But probably old Helheim, Isvind, Burzum (new and old), Nordvrede, Kaevum, old Enslaved, old Satyricon, old Gorgoroth. I listen to them still frequently.
How did you originally discover and get into black metal? What were your gateway records? Mine were old Sodom and Bathory.
My gateway experience was the “Dunkelheit” video clip on MTV Headbangers Ball. I was totally Type O Negative back then (and still am by the way). Then at the end, the Burzum video came up. I was instantly mesmerized. I bought the Burzum debut after that and second I bought the M.D.S. from Mayhem. Then I was sold. Bathory also came around back then, especially the Blood Fire Death album. Still a masterpiece.
I noticed that you play in many other bands in addition to Tarnkappe: Asregen, Gheestenland, Standvast, Kjeld. How do your various projects differ?
Well, I’m active in lots of bands, but most of them are studio bands. Tarnkappe and Asregen are studio bands. I play all instruments myself and I record them in my home studio. So I’m totally independent by creating those albums, which makes it easy to be creative and productive. The same goes for Standvast, but we also do some live shows with Standvast. For Gheestenland I only play drums nowadays, for the recordings (I did wrote a bunch of songs for the debut album). I’m not playing live anymore, because I’ve got other priorities.
One of them is playing with Kjeld obviously and also Lugubre is back in business. There are even plans to play live with Salacious Gods again. We are still working on a new full length. For short, I’m only rehearsing with Kjeld 2 times a month, Standvast so now and then and Lugubre once a month. The rest is more focused on creating, recording and releasing new material. And to finish this subject, I’m also active in Kaeck and working on my solo project Afvallige (black metal) and Nortfalke (dungeon synth). Actually I’m not that fond of being active in many projects and stuff, I just have lots of inspiration and ideas.
Did you drum on Kaeck’s Stormkult? I noticed the drumming on Winterwaker was very similarly nicely minimalist.
Indeed, I did the drums, bass guitar and synths on that one. I felt it would be cool to create something together with Jan (Sammath) because he is totally dedicated to the scene and a great guy in person.
Do you think common styles and influences unites the current wave of Dutch black metal bands? What do you think is in the immediate future for Dutch black metal? Could it ever become popular like the noisy black ‘n’ roll or war metal crossover beloved by certain websites?
To be honest, I think the Dutch scene is kind over overrated. I can’t judge about my own input in this one of course, so that’s up to others to decide. There are some good bands, but almost none within the style I really like (see first and second question). There are some more modern or trendy bands who are gaining popularity, but I’m not interested in those once obviously. And certain websites? I don’t follow websites in general, I only check out Youtube for new releases and stay updated by visiting sites of my favorite labels. By the way, check out Israthoum, Orewoet, Ode and Cultus for good Dutch black metal.
What do you think of the proposed link between intelligence and profound music beyond entertainment or technicality?
If I do understand the question correctly, I think it’s all about the atmosphere in black metal. It can be technical, like Emperor did with Anthems…. But most bands are being technical just to impress others or something. It has nothing to do with black metal. It has no soul and spirit, so it’s not Black Metal in my opinion.
Does ideology, not just political ideology but mentality and focus on material or spiritual matters, affect the making of art greatly?
Black Metal in my opinion will always be a spiritual matter, otherwise it has noting to do with black metal. The spiritual or ideological elements are creating the atmosphere together with the songwriting. This combination, when executed correctly, makes Black Metal superior above all other genres. I’m against modern society and their politics. Our priority must be restoring contact with nature. This would be my spiritual matter and is of great influence on my creations.
How important is reclusivity/isolation to the making of black metal?
Very important! To convert emotions, atmosphere and inspiration into sound, you really need to isolate from society. You can’t make this connection while being distracted all day long by everyday activities. Most modern black metal fans are making fun of ‘ being in the woods’ and ‘playing black metal in the dark’ etc., but I don’t think it’s a joke at all, it’s a must!
Does black metal present a special opportunity for an individual to transmit a superior and more independent vision, or is it just another form of trendy fashion that expresses aggression?
Both, depends on the bands you listen to. Most trendy fashion bands are only pretending to be aggressive. When I’m listening to Zyklon-B, Niden Div. 178 and Nordvrede for example, it gives me a lot of strength. That’s aggression in music.
Being that the term underground has lost its significance in the face of the changes brought about by the rise of the Internet, what separates the authentic, superior and sinister black metal artist from the mass of those who are simply musicians developing a career in entertainment?
I think ideology, quality riffs and physical releases in the first place. But the production of a release and the atmosphere within the sound itself says enough about what is true and what is not.
Does communication over the Internet and mass production both trivialize and rest perceived value from dark works of art that touch and go deeper than mere music?
Depends of the use of internet. I think mass production does.
Is there a greater burden on the audience today to discern what is good from what is bad beyond advertisement, hype and restricted availability?
I don’t think so. It’s very easy to check out new bands on the internet. I’ve discovered several new bands via Youtube myself. Actually you don’t need advertisements and reviews anymore, because of this. If people think something is good or is bad, it’s very personal. And hypes and hipster will always be part of this unfortunately. Just discovered “Sanningsbringare” for example, a great song in a compilation record.
Does black metal have a future, and what does it resemble? Will we be a niche?
Depends on how you will define ‘having a future’. If there are only a few persons playing cold riffs in a rehearsal room in 2050, it still has a future right? Lots of people are still playing folk music, which are ancient songs mostly. There are so many good albums that have been made in the past 30 years. When the music is good enough, it will stand the test of time. And if it dies, it dies, like everything ends. No problem with that either.
Did black metal influence the cultural changes we see in the current decade?
No way, it’s too small to be of great influence on cultural changes. Maybe if you combine it with other extreme underground music styles. But some sort of researcher has to check this out. There are far more bigger issues within society like overpopulation, integration, epidemics and nature disasters. Black Metal and its effect on cultural changes is vanishingly small. The subjects I’ve mentioned before though are changing cultures.
What emotion or insight is the essence of black metal?
Hatred, strength, ideology, spiritual depth, autonomy and Nature.
Thanks Nortfalke! Good luck with Tarnkappe and your other projects!