By: Lord Randall
Lord Randall: Just after Animatronic (The Kovenant), you knocked out 2 Troll albums in as many years. Do you see yourself as a sort of Gemini creature, where The Kovenant is the more cerebral, contemplative side, and Troll is the more primal, heathen…visceral?
Nagash: [Laughter] That’s an accurate way to describe me if there is one at all. The last 2 Troll albums were created and recorded on the same day. They were meant to be more experimental/conceptual, but Neo-Satanic Supremacy is more true to the foundation and heart of the band.Troll has always been my darker and more brutal side of creating, even more than Dimmu Borgir. I have released other projects that most people don’t know are featuring Nagash/Lex Icon, and most likely will never realize that I’m involved with [Laughs]. I do there things just to explore different sides of myself in a musical context. The Kovenant I think speaks for itself. Where Lex would be Lucifer, Nagash would surely be the Devil.
Lord Randall: Was having longtime collaborator and fellow bandmate in The Kovenant Psy Coma not have a part in this album an intentional decision to avoid having Troll seen as simply a side-project band?
Nagash: Not really. There simply was no reason or time for it. Since Troll now has a full line up where everyone is a part of the songwriting and creative process, there was no need to bring in more people. This of course doesn’t mean he won’t participate in some way in the future, but it was important for me that Troll 2010 be seen as a proper band, so it might have been done unconsciously with intention.
Lord Randall: The Kovenant’s long-awaited Aria Galactica should be around sometime this year as well, and what with The Kovenant being booked at Inferno Festival and (I’m sure) more festivals in 2010, is Troll more something to get the raw BM sound out of your system, or do you see it as a fully functioning entity independent of your other pursuits?
Nagash: As far as I know we are only scheduled to perform at the Norwegian Inferno Festival in April. Before we’ll prepare for the release of Aria Galactica as soon as we have it completed. Troll is now a major part in my life as well as The Kovenant. For sure it’s the outlet for my more raw black metal side. I can’t let it go, and not from lack of trying either [Laughter]!
Lord Randall: Troll’s lyrical content has morphed considerably over time, from spewing anti-Christian propaganda on the demo (Trollstorms Over Nudingjuv) and Drep De Kristne, with the re-addition of Fafnir – now known as S. M. Twice – to the ranks on The Last Predators, the lyrics took a more futuristic, experimental tone. This continued through 2001′s Universal, and now it seems we’re back to the beginning again. Had you kept your hand in the poetic side of Troll over time, would the lyrics have gone in the way they did for TLP and Universal?
Nagash: No they most likely wouldn’t have been so different. But that was the reason for the recording of TLP and Universal. To experiment and to just record whatever ideas I had at that very moment in the studio. The foundation for Troll has always been a Satanic one.
Lord Randall: Given your long history in the metal community, after the extended wait between albums, how was contact with Napalm initiated? Did they actually contact you first?
Nagash: Originally the new album was supposed to be released on Head Not Found / VME here in Norway. They were responsible for the previous albums as well, but after some problems the company had we decided to try finding a different label. I think someone in Relapse Records told someone in Napalm Records that Troll was on the lookout for our new album. Napalm jumped on the chance and we liked the idea, as they have a good track record. And what soldier doesn’t like the smell of napalm in the morning?!
Lord Randall: Having begun Troll at age 14 in 1992, how was the black metal scene in Norway then compared to today? Has black metal become, in essence, a fashion statement of the majority instead of the flag of misanthropic hate of the minority? Of course the true will overcome or go underground to rise with a new battle plan, but I’m sure you get the gist of my question.
Nagash: One of the reasons I decided to pull back from the slimelight some years ago is exactly this. Like punk once did, Black Metal will go through the same phase, where new generations will come along and make it into something Black Metal for certain isn’t… fake. “It’s all about the music” they will scream, but still fail to see the reason for the existence of this kind of music. BM has gone through an explosion towards fame where things are awkward and out of place, but it will stabilize when the true heart of the genre is realized by its followers. Let the plastic masses move on to the next “fad”.
Lord Randall: Have you found yourself bemused by how many BM bands today incorporate things Troll were doing half your life ago, only to have clueless journalists call these new acts “groundbreaking”?
Nagash: It speaks more about the journalists, who’s view I don’t care about anyway. Whatever people read, they also sadly believe without question.
Lord Randall: A few years back you stopped contributing to your online blog because too many people were telling you how your music “should” be done. In all honesty, hasn’t every musician had to deal with that, even back to Beethoven and Grieg? I do, though, appreciate your decision to in so many words shut up and let the music say what you want it to, not getting involved in silly Blabbermouth disagreements with kids in their parents’ basements.
Nagash: Norwegian Black Metal is not Hollywood, and I am not interested in other people’s opinions on how my music should sound or not. The main reason for closing it was because I don’t care to argue about meaningless teenage bullshit that has no relevance to life anyway. It became more like a horrible MTV sketch with Carson Daly or some crap like that. [It was] People arguing about hairstyles, makeup, age, weight and height etc. I had to close it or my brain would have exploded from too much gagging listening to that kind Hello Kitty mentality.
Lord Randall: Now that you’ve a full lineup and a new album, can we expect Troll live rituals this year?
Nagash: For certain. It is our goal to spread the darkness as far as possible, and as fast as possible. And hopefully seeing as Napalm Records is also in the States, I get to return to the Land of the Freaks and Home of Depraved and preach some more.