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Interviews Dark Funeral

Interview with Lord Ahriman (Guitar)

Interview conducted by Barbara Williams (Crowley)

Date online: July 16, 2003

Hailz! How is everyone?

We're doing pretty fine. Thank you. We're currently busy rehearsing and preparing our new guitarist for his live debut with us at Wacken on Aug 2.

You have a great website. It was a pleasure to go through it. I was also pleasantly surprised to see that you have a German option. Why did you choose this particular language?

Thanx. When we released our latest album "Diabolis Interium", Robert Pöpperl/Rock Hard (Germany) offered us his help to re-write our biography. And since he's German, it was quite obvious that he, besides the English version, would also make a German translation.

Dark Funeral has been around since 1993 and has really made a name for itself. To what do you contribute your success?

It's a combination of several things, I believe. Complete dedication, a strong will, extremely hard work, good timing and some luck, to mention some of it. And the fans who have supported and believed in us, and our musical works throughout the years, have meant a great deal, too, of course.

Do you feel that Black Metal bands have it more difficult to gain recognition compared to those who play other types of metal?

Yes. However, in most of the cases I really don't give a damn, but there are moments when it really pisses me off. For example when someone doesn't realise that a BM band/musician can be as serious and professional of a musician as [those who] play any other form of metal.

Just read that you'll be playing at Wacken Open Air 2003. I can imagine that you are excited, but what are you looking forward to the most?

Yeah! We are totally looking forward to play W.A. Besides going out there on stage again and meeting all the fans, there are also several bands that I'm looking forward to seeing, like Slayer, Malevolent Creation, Nile, Rotting Christ and Vader. I'm not only a musician, you know. I'm also a huge fan of other extreme metal bands (sometimes people forget about this.)

How about your South American tour? Are you still planning on doing it?

Of course! We're currently waiting to get the final dates confirmed, but the tour will happen for sure. We begin the tour in Brazil on September 4th, I believe. Thereafter, we will go on to Colombia, Chile, Venezuela and Ecuador. Later on, we will head over and tour Mexico as well.

You have done a lot of shows over the years. Are there any particular memories from touring you would like to mention?

It's too much to mention. Even though it sometimes can be a real pain in the ass to tour, we all love being on the road, seeing other cultures, metal communities and meeting other metal maniacs all over the world. When you have toured as much as we have, it becomes a lifestyle. Something you both hate and love it yet can't live without it, if you know what I mean!?

Which songs do you most like playing live?

There are several of our songs that I enjoy playing live, but if I have to pick just one that would be "The Arrival Of Satanís Empire."

What was your first concert you ever attended?

Unfortunately, I grew up in the very northern part of Sweden, in a pretty small town called Lulea. And there were hardly ever any bands that came to play live there. And if and/or when a band came, it was never a heavy metal band that came. I'm not exactly sure when I went to my very first gig, but it must have been sometime in the late 70th or early 80's. And I believe it was with either Europe or Sky High (Swedish bands) who I know come to play Lulea. I've never been into any of those bands, but in such a small town it was obviously a big "happening" when they came, so I went to check it out. Later, when I got a bit older and was able to travel on my own, I began to visit "real" metal shows in Stockholm (just for your notice, it's approximately 1000 km from Lulea to Stockholm). And when I turned 18 (1990), I decided to move to Stockholm where the Metal scene was heavily alive and pounding.

How is Dark Funeral connected with the person you are? Is your band image a reflection of you or completely separate?

The band is indeed a reflection of my/our inner selves. The music I write is various and personal emotions that I basically transform into music. I've never been much of a talker, so I rather express myself through music and art.

Have you gotten any gifts from fans? Which would you say would be the coolest or weirdest?

Yes. I'm fortunate to have some truly dedicated friends/fans who have given me some gifts throughout the years. The two best gifts I have been given so far is an original painting made by the serial killer John Wayne Gacy (Thanx Shane!). And a Devil mask of wood that originally comes from an ancient Satanic cult that used to operate deep in the Mexican jungle. I haven't really got any weird gifts, so far. Most of the stuff fans have given me has been really cool, I think.

You have been signed by several labels. Had been fairly easy for you or was it difficult to get what you were looking for?

Well, we're basically still stuck to the very first record deal we signed with the band. We have, however, been able to ink several license deals throughout the years. And those deals have come about when various labels around the world have contacted either us directly or our label with a request to license our musical work(s) in their respectively territory. When these deals have been made, we have had some insight and say about how they should be set up. Anyway, when we signed our first record deal we were, like any other new band, just happy to be able to release an album. And at that time we basically had no experience and knowledge about the music/record business at all. So we basically just signed up without understanding the contract as a whole. But throughout the years, we have learned a lot, sometimes the hard way. So if and/or when we eventually sign a new record deal, we know what to ask for, [we know] all the traps, and we will obviously raise our demands.

I see you have gotten some very nice endorsements. Has this made a difference for you when you were first offered these instruments?

Yes, I'm currently endorsed by BC Rich guitars and Seymour Duncan (pic-ups). And their stuff rules! As you all know, music equipment is pretty damn expensive. And even though I do not have full endorsements, it still means a lot to me. Without their endorsements I couldn't afford to buy and play professional equipment as good as I am now fortunately to have.

I have a couple of your albums including the latest one. Will there be a new one coming out soon and, if so, what visions do you have for it?

Cool. Hopefully you like them too.!? Anyway, we plan to record and release a new album sometime during 2004. At the moment I do, however, feel that I don't have enough ideas to share with you and/or to evaluate much further on. It's still a lot of work to be done.

Aside from your albums, you also appear on four tribute albums, several compilation CDS and you have some live albums out. What gives you the drive to accomplish your goals?

There's several things that keep me motivated: my complete dedication towards the underground metal scene; my inner demons; my depressions; my anger; playing guitar, and the music writing in itself, among many other things. However, the live albums you're talking about are bootlegs, so we haven't been involved in the release of any of those.

How do you write your music? Is there a set guideline or do you write what you feel as you go along?

Basically I just follow my inner demons and transform my inner feelings and emotions into music.

Your lyrics and album titles are dark and straight to the point. featured an article about boycotting Christian metal. What are your feelings about that? What does "Metal" actually mean to you?

Call it boycott or whatever you wish, but I'd say it's up to everyone to decide what to buy and/or listen to themselves. If there's something out there that you don't like, don't buy it! It's as simple as that really. To me metal is a form of art and something I've dedicated my life to.

I have also heard some heavy criticism from a metal fan who finds that Black metal is no longer acceptable because the satanic content most albums have. As an atheist he sees this as a form of religion. What's your take on this?

Ha, what a jackass! Duh! It's so simple and pathetic to call for censorship as soon as you do not agree, like or support something. Personally, I've always been against all forms of censorship even though there are many things that I despise beyond sanity and wish would be erased from the surface of the Earth. I do not believe one can censor something completely and that way get rid of "all the problems in the world." No, there are other steps and means than censorship that have to be taken if you really want to get rid of something you don't like and/or support. As I previous said, to me metal/music is a form of art and I think that artistic freedom, all categories, whether you support them all or not, is very important. And by the way, to me Satanism is not a religion, a.k.a. Christianity etc. It's rather the opposite, an anti-religion.

Which bands are on your list of favorites? If I were to look through your CD collection, what would I find?

You would only find Metal! You would find everything from Rainbow & Black Sabbath to Sodom and Krisiun. Basically, metal exclusively! Some of my very fave bands are Ozzy Ozbourne, King Diamond, Krisiun, Acheron, Cannibal Corpse, among many others.

Outside of playing Metal, what kinds of things do you enjoy doing?

My life is pretty much built around the band or music in general. But whenever I manage to take a break from all that, I enjoy watching movies, read books and work with graphic designs.

What kind of books do you read? Any good books or movies you would like to mention?

I prefer books about the occult, black magic and other Satanic related themes, but also true crime stories, and especially those about serial killers. I would recommend any and all movies made by Dario Argento and as far as book go, you should, if you haven't done it already, check out Zodiac, The Ultimate Evil, The Night Stalker, Helter Skelter, The Black Arts, Might Is Right to mention a few titles that came to my mind as we speak.

What holds your band together?

Our mutual interests, the music, and our dedication to what we are doing.

Where do you want to see Dark Funeral within the next two or three years?

Hard to say. We will, however, continue to improve ourselves and our music and basically just follow our inner demons and go with the flow.

Any last words to fans, greetings to friends, or curses to enemies?

Thanx for your support. It is highly appreciated!

Hail Metal. Hail Satan
Lord Ahriman

Other information about Dark Funeral on this site
Review: Diabolis Interium
Review: In The Sign...
Review: The Secrets of the Black Arts
Review: Attera Totus Sanctus
Review: Angelus Exuro Pro Eternus
Review: Nail them to the Cross
Review: We Are the Apocalypse
Review: We Are the Apocalypse
Interview with vocalist Heljarmadr on March 18, 2020 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)

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