Thursday, February 2, 2012

Interview with Tiwaz of Gvasdnahr

Andrew: What artists/albums most influenced you to create the music of Gvasdnahr?
Tiwaz: When I first started out, I only knew about Mortiis, Burzum, and later Wongraven. I guess all of the Mortiis Era 1 albums were the main influence, even though I don't really think my music sounds much like Mortiis at all. Later on I discovered more bands in the genre. Most of which I discovered on your blog, actually. And I think pretty much every band that I like has been somewhat of an influence, especially on Through Mists and Ruins.

Andrew: What is the inspiration for the concepts of the songs you make?
Tiwaz: Different things. On the first album, a few songs were inspired by Norse mythology, which can be seen on some of the song titles. Some songs were inspired by nature and the cosmos, and Mortiis, as I already mentioned. It's not a very dark album. Skymning EP might be a bit darker, but it was inspired by pretty much the same things.
On Through Mists and Ruins, I drew some inspiration from some newly discovered dungeon synth artist, but most ideas came from my own imagination, moods, and images that I pictured in my mind. Which is fantasy, I guess.

Andrew: On the subject of fantasy, do you have any interests in fantasy outside of this music? Novels? Paintings? RPG games (tabletop or video games)?
Tiwaz: I play Dungeons & Dragons with some friends a couple of times a month, and I've been pretty hooked to The Elder Scrolls V lately. I used to play Warcraft III a lot in the past as well, but I never got into that whole MMORPG thing.
I used to read a lot of H.P. Lovecraft stories online a few years ago, and I still have a pretty deep interest in his Mythos although I currently don't read anything.
Andrew: What do you think of this genre as it is currently? There are obviously not many listeners, but do you think that is changing at all?
Tiwaz: I think most of the best works in the genre was made in the 90's. There are some great releases from the last decade though, but I only know of one or two other bands who's currently active in making music in this genre.
I think it might slowly be growing in popularity, thanks to the Internet. Be it for better or worse.

Andrew: Where would you like to see the genre go in the next five or ten years? And where would you hope to see Gvasdnahr in that context?
Tiwaz: It's my wish that it would remain somewhat shrouded in mystery, and I think it will. It may have crawled out of the shadows just a bit lately thanks to the internet, but I think it still mostly only attracts the rare type of people who's got the right mindset and who will come to understand the music and it's meanings, and I wish it would keep doing so. When I start thinking about it, I think this kind of music simply can't become hugely popular. Because I don't think most "regular" people can find any attractiveness in it.
It's hard to tell where Gvasdnahr will be at that time really. I hope some more people will come to enjoy my music of course. More Gvasdnahr will surely come, but I don't know when, or what it will sound like at this point. Probably colder and darker, as it seems to be heading that way.

Andrew: I think I quite agree with you, that this kind of music needs a certain amount of obscurity for the atmosphere to be effective. More on the topic of your own music, how do you feel about your past three releases individually, "Gvasdnahr," "Skymning EP," and your recent one, "Through Mists and Ruins?"
Tiwaz: I think "Gvasdnahr" is a pretty light album, and I don't think it's very exhausting or difficult to listen to. I hadn't found my style yet when I made the songs for it, so It's a bit experimental and the songs are pretty varying in tone and style. I think Skymning EP is darker, but still has a similar tone as on Gvasdnahr. Some time after the release of Skymning EP, my Roland D-5, which I had used for both releases started to break down and became more or less unusable. I didn't feel like spending money on a new synthesizer or keyboard, so I started looking for some other ways of making music. I eventually tried out working with some VST software synths, and that's what I used when I composed the songs for Through Mists and Ruins. Even though it's not recorded with a keyboard, I think it's probably the best Gvasdnahr album so far. It's got a few parts with some "heroic" orchestral like sound, but it's also darker and colder than the previous releases, which is something I like a lot.

Andrew: How do you feel about politics in dungeon synth? Specifically I'm thinking of the "aryan" ideas that a lot of the Eastern bands seem to have, but I'm also curious whether you think there's a place for politics at all in this kind of music?
Tiwaz: I've never been one to meddle in politics, and I certainly wouldn't involve it in my music. I think there are better ways to express ones political views (of any sort) than to do it through music, and especially through this genre. Perhaps it fits in some other genres, but I personally don't think it should have anything to do with dungeon synth.

Andrew: How about religion and spirituality? You said there was an inspiration from Norse mythology in your first couple releases, do you have personal spiritual thoughts or practices in regard to these pagan things? Do you have any strong feelings about occultism, Satanism, or Christianity?

Tiwaz: I'm not religious, and I'm certainly not very spiritual either. But I'm very interested in Asatru and other pagan religions, and I have great respect for it. However, my interest in paganism is not limited to just European paganism. I have great respect for Native American traditions as well for example, and the Ancient Egyptian religion is fascinating. I enjoy Native American traditional music a lot, and I can even enjoy some traditional oriental music as well from time to time. I have a little bit of interest in pretty much all ancient religions and civilizations that predates christianity.
I don't really have any thoughts about occultism. It might be interesting to read up on some of it some time, but I wouldn't go any further than that.
Like many others, when I first got into black metal, I was also pretty into all that Satanist business even though I didn't know anything about it. I grew tired of it pretty quickly though and realized that I did it only because the sudden exposure from black metal with all its satanic imagery, macabre song and album titles and raw music had made Satanism seem like some really fascinating think to me at the time.
While I still may dislike christianity, I have no problem with christians as long as they don't preach in public and tries to shove their belief down anyones throat.

Andrew: What are your feelings about black metal in relation to this style of music? Do you think it has too much influence, or perhaps provides a sort of isolated "sanctuary" for dungeon synth?
Tiwaz: I've always felt that dungeon synth has a connection to black metal for sure. The second wave especially. Seeing as all of the first dungeon synth artists I heard either were, or had been black metal musicians.
I kind of think of dungeon synth as a lone, ancient castle, hidden in a dark desolate corner in the shadow of black metal. Only a few knows it's there. And out of those few who dares to enter, only a few is capable of finding it's treasure.

Andrew: That seems a very nice note to end on. I thank you very much for the interview. Do you have any final words?
Tiwaz: I think that's all from me, for now. Thanks."

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