The Gauntlet: Why after nine years start Trelldom back up?
Gaahl: I didn't restart it. It has been active the whole time. It is just that the results haven't been seen by the public.
The Gauntlet: When you say it has been active, do you mean with other band members involvement?
Gaahl: Yes. We were recording. We started the recording of this album in 2001. We started with the drums and some of the vocals. Then we had problems with the hard disk breaking and we had to re-do all of the guitars. We continued to develop the music though. For us, the best result was actually this happening. The band has been active all of this time though. My schedule with Gorgoroth and my time in prison has made it difficult to find time for the studio that I needed. We had to arrange the studio time with the rest of the members who also have other projects. That has been a major problem. But we finally finished it.
The Gauntlet: Is Trelldom a side-project?
Gaahl: No, people assume it is a side project as Gorgoroth has much more visual works to it and is for the world. I will not put Trelldom to rest ever.
The Gauntlet: Did the guitar parts change drastically since you had to re-record them?
Gaahl: Yeah. The original guitar sound has many fill-ins. The guitarist came in and added things that probably otherwise would have been left out.
The Gauntlet: Is Trelldom your band where everyone looks to you for direction?
Gaahl: Everyone collaborates basically. The rough structures on most of the songs were written by both me and the bass player. The guitarist has added his world into the songs also. We work very closely with dialogue. At first we work separately from each other and they we bring our thoughts together and debate our ideas. I am in a way the conductor. I have the lyrical aspects to it and the symbolic aspects. The song writing is done in a threesome basically.
The Gauntlet: When were you hoping to get this album released by and will future albums take as long?
Gaahl: The last time I went into prison I was supposed to start the mixing. I didn't finish though. The first thing I did when I got out though was complete the album. What the future brings, we never know. I don't plan on spending this much time between the releases. We are already in progress with the upcoming one. We aren't in the studio, but we are working on it.
The Gauntlet: Some of the songs on 'Til Minne' were written in the early 90's when black metal was at it's infancy.
Gaahl: Yeah, two of the songs are that old. One of them has not been done any differently since it was originally conceived. Symbolically I wanted to project myself as if I was still 17 or 18 years old since the song deals with different spectrums of the memory. The oldest song though has basically been reshaped but it still has the original structure. It has new elements that allow it to flow better into the rest of the album. The song is 'From This Past.' 'Vinternatt' is the one that is the way I did it when I made it. It was sung live to maintain the way I was as a youngster. It is a strange thing to do after so many years of writing it but I am pleased with the result.
The Gauntlet: Why did these two songs surface on this album instead of on previous releases?
Gaahl: Because they deal with this particular subject. I have already planned nine albums to be put into this concept. The first 3 are done and I have 6 to come. They deal with the aspect of the soul and the spirit or what we use the soul for today that is divided into 9 different daily spoken words in the Norse or Shamanistic cultures. Every album represents the different parts. The main structure of all the albums is ready. I will add things as they deal with growth though. There is a lot to come. The time issue is not an issue as I will not force time.
The Gauntlet: Did you set out from the start to release these 9 themed albums?
Gaahl: Not at the original start. The first album does deal with the topic though. But after I recorded the demo tape, I saw things more clearly. I had to get the thought out first. I needed more levels as the topics are too big to explain through one song.
The Gauntlet: The songs are primarily in Norwegian
Gaahl: Yes, some of the songs are in old Norse.
The Gauntlet: The later Gorgoroth albums are in English.
Gaahl: Yes, the later albums are mainly English. I have chosen to write more in English for Gorgoroth due to it being something I speak out directly to the world. The songs are directed outwards while Trelldom is spoken inwards. If the lyrics in Trelldom require it, I might sing in English to get the distance. But it would have to be something for the world and not just my country. I can also do songs in German or other languages I speak.
The Gauntlet: What are some of the principles of the Norse Shamanists?
Gaahl: It is a really, really big topic. Shamanism in general is just related to any nature or culture. You will probably find a bigger connection to the Native Americans than to the Christian values, Roman values or Muslim values. The values would be completely different. It is derived from living with nature and not from repressing it. It doesn't put only humans into focus. I know it is difficult for our world to understand. Humans put themselves at the center of everything and want to control everything in the world. That is something we are against. It also deals with the Odinistic. It isn't the Viking culture as people have put it into, but it is before the Viking age. It is what the Vikings wanted to protect in a way. But when you go to a war things are affected in a way. The winner puts things into his agenda. History is written by the victors.
The Gauntlet: It sounds more like a lifestyle than a religion?
Gaahl: Definitely. Religion is based on politics and this is not politics. This is based on spirit.
The Gauntlet: With your prison stint, did it change your ways of thinking?
Gaahl: I don't think so. Most of the things I do start out as thoughts in my head. I don't really write things down. I just maintain them in my memory. This way the things become me. If I wrote something down, it would be me getting rid of that thought and me getting away from that way of thinking. I never trust the written word. I would trust it in a musical form or artistic form. Poetry can in a way be accepted, but otherwise I am quite skeptical to the way of the written word.
The Gauntlet: Did you do any writing from prison?
Gaahl: I had so many things going on there. I probably will bring forth things from that time subconsciously at a later date. I need to finish the things I have already set out to do.
The Gauntlet: Is any progress being made with GaahlSkaag?
Gaahl: Yes, we have already recorded the guitars and the drums. The bass and the vocals are still left to do. They are ready to do, it is just a matter of finding the right studio. We cannot finish them in the original studio do to unforeseen circumstances. We should have them done in a couple of days if I find the right person to do that. We are still waiting on that though. But everything is ready.
The Gauntlet: Earlier you stated you would not put Trelldom to rest ever. What about Gorgoroth?
Gaahl: I won't put Trelldom to rest. As for the other bands it might be different. I might lay Gorgoroth down to rest as it isn't dealing with the same topics. Gorgoroth is directed at others. Because of this it is something I can stop. Trelldom is related inwards in a much more direct way and as long as I am hear it will continue. Gorgoroth is directed outward to a Christian world. If the world changes, even though I don't see that happening, but if it does then the war I present with Gorgoroth might not need to continue. When it comes to Sigfader, it is based on old writings so there is a timely element. The lyrics are already written down so nothing new will come from there so that will be the end.
The Gauntlet: Gorgoroth is planning a tour with Belphegor in two weeks. Do you expect problems with South America's largely Roman Catholic population?
Gaahl: We have a lot of dedicated fans there and probably because they are forced upon this false religion. One should never bury what one will do. It is not certain that we will all return to Norway. We hope to return, but it won't necessarily happen that way. I can see it happen that none of us return at all. It is always a danger being in this service.
The Gauntlet: Will you be able to perform the same theatrical stage show you have at some European venues?
Gaahl: The thing is there are so many rules in Europe at the moment. It is not like we can put on the whole show every time. There are lots of things that we cannot or are allowed to do. At some venues it is possible though. We will see what we can do in South America. It depends on how busy things are on the tour. We will have to check with the venues to see what is possible. We will present what we are there to present and that is a Gorgoroth show.
The Gauntlet: Have we reached a critical point yet with the way religion and politics and forced upon the population?
Gaahl: Yeah, well it always goes in circles. It was the same in Rome when they tried to force religion on the civilizations. Things have always re-awoken. A hundred years ago, you can see in art and philosophy in general that there was an awakening in the individual again. This is always happening, but the time has been so long ago and the victors re-write the history and falsify the sources. This is happening all the time. It is important to fight against the pacification of people. It is making them think there is a democracy. People think it is something that is right. People think there is a democracy, but it isn't so as democracy can only function in small groups where every individual has a say. It will never exist in the world today. Everything should be cut into small pieces again.
The Gauntlet: What is the King's status in the band.
Gaahl: He is definitely a member of Gorgoroth. It is more his way of saving his job. It is not the bands idealogy. But for his position outside music, he had to step away. He is with us musically and artistically. He has some problems there.
The Gauntlet: I know you are busy with everything else and this is just for my greed, but is new material being worked on for Gorgoroth?
Gaahl: Yeah, King has worked on a lot as have I. Lyrically I have a lot of them in my mind. We will probably have time in October if nothing goes wrong to actually put the songs together. We have a European tour in November so it is quite a hectic schedule to work around.