GJENDØD - Descending Into Cold Fires
Av J.Nepper(Hellthrasher Records)
I usually write these five-or ten-line introductions to my interviews, but in the case of the foul and wickedly awesome black metal duo named Gjendød I am going to refrain from that and simply let the band and their music do the talking. The only thing you need to do is to read this awful interview and obtain the Gjendød releases immediately afterwards. Let us see what KK (vocals, drums) had to tell us...
For those out there who are not familiar with how Gjendød came about and how it all started, could you briefly outline its history and tell us a bit about the band as well as your releases? Are any of you involved in other bands?
KK: Me (KK) and K figured out it was about time to ejaculate our long dwelling hate late 2015 when we started to compose a demo which we then finished recording the following January. The full-lenght album "Nedstigning" came now, which was recorded between April and late summer last year. Yes, we are involved in some other bands.
What was the motivation and desire behind the launch of Gjendød? Was there a specific purpose behind it all?
KK: Yes, we had thought about this for many years, and the motivation was pure hate. There is too much Christianity within black metal nowadays, just more and more, so we had to do our share of hatred towards lame spirituality and those who are religiously understimulated insense freaks as well. Wake up and do some crime! That means of course that distorted nostalgia was a huge motivation!
While one could argue that your music is rooted in early 90s black metal, I think Gjendød has a sound and an identity of its own. I cannot quite put my finger on what it is that makes your music so special, but perhaps that indefinable quality is what draws one in? It seems to me that making quality black metal with a haunting vibe to it is much more important than being original and innovative when it comes to Gjendød. Am I right or wrong about that assertion?
KK: We make black metal according to how we think it should sound. This style in general has been pretty watered out for a very, very long time, with elements and "original" ideas which has killed the FEELING, long gone. We want to breathe air into the lungs of the animal and kill it again, not without letting it go for a long time bleeding and try its occational jump against its barbwired electric fence.
Speaking of early 90s black metal, how did some of the early Norwegian masterpieces belonging to the aforementioned genre influence and inspire you? Do you somehow pay homage to some of the works that influenced you through your own compositions?
KK: Maybe homage the way as it is in the blood from our younger years, a captured feeling lying inside our heads that can be stretched and elevated the way we feel we want to.
As to the lyrical themes and subjects of Gjendød, I was wondering if you could elaborate a bit on the importance of the lyrics in relation to your music. Do they reflect subjects that you are passionate about yourself? Glancing at the titles makes me think of mythological and historical subjects such as war, death (as well as global death), genetics, and misanthropy. Is there an overall message or theme of sorts to be found in your material or perhaps a philosophy or an ideology of sorts?
KK: Well, that describes the demo-songs pretty well. The "Nedstigning" album is all about going down. That there's still some hope which we are leaving, while we now will walk downwards to different layers. It's not a concept-album, but a beginning of an ending lifecycle. It has just started.
Speaking of those topics and themes and so on, do works of literature inspire you on some level? History books relating to the World Wars perhaps? Works on religion or philosophy maybe?
KK: Nowadays I read only fiction, mainly horror and sci-fi, but that changes into some other stuff when I'm tired of that. I have almost too much in my to-read-pile now. I think it helps to read much in general to get a wider set of ideas. I don't have time to sit down and watch movies or series anymore. I haven't had time for that in a year. The lyrics on the demo (and to a certain degree the full-lenght) are inspired by some non-fiction stuff I read about human breeding experiments and ancient funeral traditions. And as always, death to religion and its defenders.
What does the title of your new album, "Nedstigning", signify and what does it hold and mean to you?
KK: "Nedstigning", as you can hear, musically and lyrically is supposed to be a "descending" where there are still some traces of hope and light, which we're leaving and entering a primitive abyss, literally. First we will drown, or we will manage to catch jormungand, then our forests will bleed.
How did the cassette release of your first demo come about? Did Darker Than Black reach out to you or vice versa? The CD version on Hellthrasher Prod. came later, right?
KK: We put out two songs on the internet. Darker Than Black mailed us after ten minutes (or so) and asked us if we wanted them to release it. Maybe some hours or a couple of days later Hellthrasher contacted us regarding the CD.
As to performing live, I get the impression that it holds no interest to you at all. Personally, I feel that the music of Gjendød ought to be experienced at home or in seclusion. Perhaps you feel that way was well? Did you ever discuss playing live? Any intentions of ever playing one or two shows some time down the road?
KK: Agree, and we never even thought to talk about playing live. I think it is a waste of time/ life.
You have been quite productive considering that Gjendød came into existence in 2015 and now less than two years later you already have a demo and a full-length album out. Are you currently hard at work on new material? Are you constantly coming up with new ideas for songs?
KK: Yes, we will continue releasing very limited demos (maybe EPs/splits, who knows?) until we feel it's time for a new album. But who knows, we might start working on a full-lenght next week. There is a lot of new material recorded and a lot in the process/composed. We have also started to blow dirt off and rearrange some stuff we made but never released 18 years ago.
Do you each contribute material to Gjendød and share the songwriting duties? Do you compose and arrange the tunes separately and then present them to each other or do you meet up and write them together?
KK: Yes, we both make the music, and it is different how we put it together. We have done all that in the second question and more.
The hypnotic and trance-like quality of many of your riffs and melodies is akin to listening to a morose soundtrack or some utterly dark ambient music at times. I am merely refering to the feeling that some of your songs and passages evoke in me and bring to mind. Do those genres, i.e. ambient, dark ambient, drone, movie soundtracks, and so on, inspire you on some level? Do you draw inspiration from a lot of different genres outside of black metal?
KK: I think we might do but as said it's the feeling we try to capture.
There is very little information about Gjendød and its members out there on the web, which I think is great in that the focus then rests solely on the music and your musical expression. Was that the intention from the beginning, to steer clear of all those different social media outlets and forums and whatnot and only focus on the musical core of the band and its inherent values? Many bands and artists spend more time updating their social media profiles than they do writing new material, but it seems to me that you couldnt give a rat's ass about profiling or pushing your bands on a load of different social platforms. Any truth to that? Is the social marketing strategy or lack of it something that you have ever discussed between the two of you? It seems to me that the music of Gjendød does the talking, which is meant as a compliment!
KK: I am pretty done being a social person because everything is a loop, but we have a Facebook page. Otherwise you are more or less right.
As to your band name, is it meant to be interpreted as an emphasis on death in the sense that it roughly translates to "re-death" or is there more to it, some hidden meaning perhaps? I am just curious.
KK: Yes, it's redeath as in the opposite of rebirth, like every time you're reincarnated you're aborted kind of way, but the name is also flowing through the band concept and what we will do to the music in total. Kill it!
Any final insults, threats, or scummy comments to the readers of Eternal Terror Live?
KK: There's a corpse sitting next to you, in the wall.
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