Faustcoven (Norway) 17/01/2011
Faustcoven is one of those very few bands who keep the flame of the great Norwegian scene lit. With a sound coming out of the roots of metal, mostly very slow Doom melodies, and lyrics full of horror stories they nail you throughout all the album that you listen to. In the following you will find all the information about Faustcoven by the mouth of their creator Gunnar Hansen. Lets meet them...
1. Give me some information about Faustcoven. What personal need pushed you to create the band?
Gunnar Hansen: I started Faustcoven in 2002 as a vehicle for my ideas about how to combine Black and Doom metal in a way that I hadn’t heard before, but thought could work very well. Black Sabbath and Candlemass meeting Venom, Hellhammer and Bathory. These ideas had been maturing over a few years while I was in another band. With Faustcoven I wanted to strip down the music to a much more straightforward and direct approach. Heavy iconic riffs and the feeling of doom and damnation in triumph over all. The Black Metal scene at the time had very little to offer I felt, and the development that had happened from the mid 90’s had almost entirely been for the worse, so I wanted to go in the opposite direction, not just go back to the early 90’s style, but even further back to the 80’s and even 70’s. Not much has changed since that time, I still find inspiration in much of the same, and have kept to the same vision over the years.
2. Can you describe your music? What inspires you to compose music and write lyrics?
Gunnar Hansen: Old school metal with heavy inspiration from 80’s Black and Doom metal and myself desperately wanting to be Tony Iommi on the guitar. Riff after riff. Hellhammer and Bathory meet Black Sabbath (I compare style not quality, haha). I find inspiration in good old fashion metal of all kinds, Black Sabbath in particular, Bathory, Venom vintage horror movies, horror literature, iconic guitars, old dusty books and all the things that haunt my imagination. Many times I come up with a concept and a title of a song before writing any riffs, and the concept alone can give me a creative kick on the guitar too. Sitting down with my guitars at the right time and just playing without any goal or meaning can sometimes provide a lot of inspiration if the right feeling is there. It is a complex thing.
3. I find your influences in the 80s and mostly in the 70s doom. What kind of music do you listen to? Are there any BLACK METAL bands that you respect for their music and/or attitude?
Gunnar Hansen: I listen to a lot of different types of metal actually. Some Black, some Doom, some straight up Heavy and some Death Metal. I listen to quite a few artists outside metal too of course like Tom Waits and Dead Can Dance, a shitload of 60-70’s rock and quite a bit of classical music, but that is not really important or relevant for what Faustcoven is about. I respect Venom, Hellhammer, Bathory, Mercyful Fate, Darkthrone, all the classics for what their music was and the attitude and atmosphere they projected. Of newer bands I enjoy Necros Christos, Teitanblood, Negative Plane and a few others. Bands that have kept the riffs and the atmosphere from the older days, built on them and taken it a step further. And I do not necessarily mean become more extreme by taking it further. Negative Plane for instance I feel is a natural evolution on the branch of the Black Metal tree spawned by Mercyful Fate, and extended by bands such as Master’s Hammer and Mortuary Drape. What these bands are thinking outside of music is not very important to me, although I’m sure I could agree or identify with many parts of their philosophy. However I don’t look to other musicians for guidance on how to live or what to think.
4. Your country has a long delivery in BLACK METAL but nowadays there are very few hordes devoted to the true BLACK METAL spirit. What do you think about BLACK METAL scene of Norway? Is there any underground horde you want to suggest me?
Gunnar Hansen: Well, I have to say that as of 2010 I think there is some hope again. The newest Furze, Reaper Subconcious Guide is fantastic. Even if you didn’t like Furze on the earlier releases I’d still suggest you listen to this one. Black Sabbath meets Hellhammer meets a completely demented mind. Black Magic released a demo so good that it for me was the highlight of 2010, and on top of that I just got the newest Mare EP, Spheres of Death, which is very good release in the old Norwegian style with tons of atmosphere and the best that I have heard so far from the Nidaros scene. So all in all I think that we are better off now in 2010 than we were in 2000. From the well known bands I think that Darkthrone is still kicking ass, and that Circle the Wagons was the best album they have done in the new style, and Mayhems latest even if not completely new anymore was an extremely interesting, dark and twisted album. By far the best they have done alongside De Mysteriis.
5. Are you a Satanist? What does "religion" mean for you?
Gunnar Hansen: I am an unbeliever, an atheist and a skeptic. The word religion to me is means falsehood in any form, whether in the form of a christian, muslim or “Orthodox” Satanist. It means asserting as truth what you cannot possibly know. It means letting wishful thinking override your intellect. It means dedicating your life to a master you cannot ever see, letting others be your master by the virtue of their words of authority, and selling your integrity and life energy for a reward you never can have. Now be aware that I don’t with this intend to criticize the use of satanic symbolism in Black Metal or the connections the genre has to all fantastic dark forces by any means. It is one of the essential things of Black Metal. I think that it is healthy to indulge in fantasies and myth to some extent as long as you are aware that this is what you are doing. It can be very inspirational, helping creative processes and provide rest and recreation for the mind in an otherwise stress-filled, hostile world. It is also a great way to mock religion as such, and show the impotency of their deities. However when you do not know this fantasy for what it is anymore then as all religions it becomes a poison for the mind, chaining you down instead of freeing you. In short I am an enemy of all religion, and reject it in every disgusting form it might take.
6. Are you working on new material this time? How it will sound?
Gunnar Hansen: Yeah, I have the next album written, and even a few riffs and concepts ready for the next album after that again. It will definitely still sound like Faustcoven. Not any big surprises there, but with some advances in the recording and production I hope. A lot of heavy riffs, and tales of horror. In other words once more a trip into the old grave chambers and mausoleums of metal. In tempo it falls somewhere between Halo and Rising overall, and there will be a good variety between the faster and slower stuff. I think it will turn out good, no creative problems at all in creating these songs. At the very least I am sure to like it.
7. Are you satisfied by Barbarian Wrath? What is your opinion about the limited number of every of their release? Do you like this attitude?
Gunnar Hansen: Let clear up one thing. The limitation of their releases is not because of any cult attitude. It is a simple economical considerations. If BW would print 1000 or 1500 copies, they would probably sit on the shelf for 5-10 years instead of 2-3, and tie up so much money that he could not release more than 1 per year at most, and he prints an album again if there is enough demand for it. There’s nothing to like or not like there, it’s just how it has to be done. Apart from that, Barbarian Wrath allow me to do what I want, so I’m 100% in charge of the product artistically, and don’t pressure me to deliver on any schedule or anything. I enjoy the freedom, and it suits my ambition level. I don’t have any large goals with Faustcoven except keep writing music and release the odd album. One could always dream about big budgets, worldwide distribution, heavy promotional activity and so on, but all these things comes with a price. When it comes to music, integrity always trumps financial power and popularity in my book.
8. Do you want to give me your metal top 10?
Gunnar Hansen: That’s never going to be completely accurate, but here are ten all time favorites from the top of my head, only one from each band allowed (or Black Sabbath would have 6), and with a fair mix of genres. Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath Judas Priest – Sad Wings of Destiny Bathory – Bathory Celtic Frost – Morbid Tales Mercyful Fate – Mercyful Fate EP Pentagram – Relentless Candlemass – Epicus Doomicus Metallicus Manilla Road – Crystal Logic Immolation – Close to a World Below Death – Individual Thought Patterns
9. I think you haven't play live in Greece. Do you want to come to Greece for a live show? Have you ever visited Greece? Do you know if you have fans here?
Gunnar Hansen: I’d like to play live in Greece at some time for sure. I’ve only ever been to Greece one time, and I’d very much like to return. The old Greek Black Metal scene is magnificent, so doing a gig there would be very interesting. I do not know if I have any fans in your country. I don’t really keep track of where most Faustcoven listeners come from.
10. Tell me about your near future plans.
Gunnar Hansen: Recording the next album and getting it released. This will start immediately. I have no other short term plans as this will be my focus with Faustcoven for the next months. That’s about it. Thanks for the interview!