Since leaving the confines of Tromsø prison in early 2009, Varg Vikernes has marked his return to the music world with three fine albums. The extreme split opinion on Vikernes will always exist because of history and ideology. But that doesn’t make his musical ambition and ideology any less fascinating. The release of latest album ‘Umskiptar’ this year has marked new thematic and musical territory for Burzum. Inspired by the poetry of the ‘Völuspá’, Vikernes constructed a more “atmospheric” record in ‘Umskiptar’. SoundShock’s Calum Robson explores Vikernes’ perspective on human nature, philosophy, capitalism, civilisation and death.
Photo: © M.C.
Why did you feel inspired to use the words of ‘Völuspá’ for ‘Umskiptar’?
Varg Vikernes: Well, I think it was more an intellectual choice, that I took whilst working on the translation of “Sorcery and Religion in Ancient Scandinavia”. The poem has been interpreted by many before me, and I thought it would be good to show my interpretation to the world not only through the book (mentioned above) but also through Burzum.
‘Völuspá’ sees the völva prophesize the final battle of Ragnarök – the destruction of the gods that sees a new, beautiful world born from the chaos. What is your interpretation of what happens? Do you believe something similar to it will have a great significance in the grand scheme of things on this planet in the future? Or is it merely a story that you can take knowledge from?
This is the common interpretation, yes, but as shown in my book this interpretation is hardly correct, or at least there is an esoteric meaning to the poem as well. The Voluspå quite obviously, when seen from a circular Pagan perspective (as opposed to the linear perspective of the Christians who have interpreted it before), is a description of the annual metamorphoses of nature. It describes how Autumn is the beginning of the death of the sympathetic deities, and that Winter (when most of them die) follows Autumn, until the deities are reborn again in the Spring. They live and thrive throughout the Summer, until they die again. This process repeats itself year after year, and has always done so.
Nature will be fine no matter what happens in the future. It will go through some metamorphoses, but that is only natural. Mankind on the other hand might face serious problems…
‘Umskiptar’ is not a political album, and simply describes the annual metamorphoses of nature from the perspective of our forefathers: in their language and using their words. I might be political, but ‘Umskiptar’ is not.
Musically, you’ve said there’s an increased emphasis on the atmosphere on ‘Umskiptar’. Why is it the case on this album? Why does the added atmosphere suit the concepts on ‘Umskiptar’?
It happened naturally as I this time used Voluspå, a poem written in Old Norwegian, a language so much more poetic, beautiful and powerful than the modern Norwegian language. This created a very special atmosphere, and lifted the whole production, so to speak, to another level. It became a voice of our forefathers, rather than just me singing.
The vocal patterns on ‘Galgviðr’ and ‘Valgaldr’are quite dissimilar to what we’ve heard in the past from you. What made you want to have that melodious yet lower manner of vocalising for these songs?
Oh, you know, I let the music take me where it wants, and not the other way around. If this is how my music turns out, then it is meant to sound that way. I sing according to how the music wants me to sing, so to speak.
How do you see ‘Umskiptar’ in the bigger picture of Burzum’s whole discography? How would you sum it up in regards to the others?
It is slower than the others, save perhaps ‘Filosofem’, and personally very honest and revealing. This is the true Burzum. The true Varg unveiled. The two first albums were the angry and rebellious me, ‘HLTO’ and ‘Filosofem’ the melancholic me on the verge of giving up all hope, the ambient prison albums were me wandering about in an ancient
Scandinavian fog, ‘Belus’ and ‘Fallen’ me returning to life, and finally ‘Umskiptar’ my Summer; my life. So perhaps I will return to anger and revolt, as is professed by Voluspå…. the eternal return. The circle of life.
You’ve made it clear in previous interviews that you prefer to limit your interaction with most human beings. Would you describe yourself as a misanthropist?
Not really; I only despise the sub-human and human nature, not the super-human nature. Note also that this is not a purely racial issue. I do not see all my racial brethren as super-humans because of their race alone. There is more to man than just race. You need a super-human mind as well, and so few have such a mind today – because they have from birth been broken down by the dying so-called civilisation we live in. They never stood any chance to become any better than the mediocre masses holding them down. Even a giant can be held down by millions of deceitful and coward humans.
In the age of rabid capitalism and greed, humans have arguably lost touch with nature and have become numbed in their senses to the land, people and a more natural lifestyle. Would you agree? And if so, what actions have to be taken to return to this enlightened time?
Well, I think domestication is the right term to use here. They have been, just like sheep and cows, become domesticated creatures. They have lost their healthy, natural and necessary instincts, and just like sheep and cows they walk into their own doom without offering any resistance.
However, I am not sure if this is a bad thing. I mean; the best amongst us have not been domesticated and never will be either. The best still resist the madness of our world; the mongrelisation, the deconstruction of all values and moral, the destruction of the environment and so forth. So they will survive as intact human beings (and will not go down like domesticated cattle), and why should we care if the masses walk into their own doom? They deserve this! Nothing could be better, and this should be seen as a positive effect of micro evolution; we rid our species of the bad genes, the effete, the worthless.
What do you believe the consequence of capitalism will eventually be? Do you think there will be a definitive apocalyptic moment?
Well, capitalism is not the only problem here. Capitalism is just one of the tools used by Jews in their attempt to achieve world domination. Socialism, feminism, liberalism, all forms of Judeo-Christianity (including Islam), modern psychology, the banking system, and so forth, are all just tools invented by Jews to destroy us enough for them to be able to enslave us under their Zionist rule.
I know it might be a fraud, but you should really read ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’. If you do and look at what is happening and what has already happened in our world you will understand just what they are trying to do and how they do it.
No, I do not think there will be a definite apocalyptic moment. Just about all nations and all individuals in all nations today owe the Jewish-owned banks money, which they have been allowed to print and loan to us for interests, and the Jewish Rothschild family alone owns more then 50% of all wealth in Europe. The problem (to them mainly) is that they just don’t know when to stop, because their greed is their main driving force in life, and they will keep stealing from us until we have nothing left. When we have nothing left we will (finally) revolt, and we will see another massive pogrom, and the “poor” Jews will be persecuted again, as they have so many times in the past as well, for the same reasons, and they will be forced to flee our countries (of course with all the gold they can carry) and find a new host to feed on.
Only when this parasite has been banished from our realms, and only when we have banished all its influence too (!), will Europe (as a biological term) be free again and be able to build healthy societies again. And we must make sure the parasite will never be able to return with its poison.
Away from the modern world, do you have the perfect way of life/idea of the ideal civilisation in your head? If so, what does the basis of this lifestyle/society encompass?
There is no ideal civilisation, because civilisation per se is a problem. We used to be free human beings, but only when we lived nomadic lives as hunter-gatherers – and we did for 500,000 years in Europe! (See this for evidence; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FO1CwnIsC00 or this http://www.atala.fr). We lost our healthy lifestyle and our freedom with the introduction of agriculture. With agriculture came malnutrition, famine, tyranny, slavery, war, et cetera, and of course civilisation. We should, although I know this is impossible today, return to our nomadic lifestyle and live like truly free hunter-gatherers again. Maybe we will be able to do this when the “cattle”, the domesticated masses, jumps willingly into the abyss, because school and TV tells them to.
Nowadays, when you’re not recording music, reading or writing – what activities interest you?
Right now I have time for nothing else, and I think perhaps that this is a bit irrelevant. I am a very boring person privately.
If we’re looking at people past and present – are there any philosophers, writers or figures in history you are inspired by or can relate to?
Yes! I am very much inspired and impressed by the Italian Baron Julius Evola, as well as the anthropologist Sir James G. Frazer, and his fantastic ‘The Golden Bough’. This book was one of only two books out there (known to me) which actually proved to be helpful when I wrote my own ‘Sorcery and religion in Ancient Scandinavia’. He introduced me to the myth of eternal return, and without his work I would not have been able to unveil and write about our ancient calendar the way I did in my book, or find the purpose and meaning of the Pagan high festivals, the runes, the fairy tales, traditional songs or indeed Voluspå. His book deals with a different subject (which I too touch in the beginning of my book), but was the one of two sources I listed in my book as being valuable. They were those who made me discover all the rest. The bone fragments that I could assemble and put some meat and skin on, so to speak.
People by now know your opinions on race. Is it possible for a non-European person to enjoy or understand Burzum?
You would have to ask them that question.
Have you ever had any experiences that you would call ‘spiritual’?
Well, I surely have had experiences that others would call spiritual, but I am not inclined to call anything in this world spiritual – or super-natural. (Not that I never do, but….)
Looking back, various Norse Pagan beliefs have contained different ideas on what happens after death. What do you believe exists after death?
The “Pagan beliefs” we see today are not really different Pagan beliefs containing different ideas on what happened after death, but rather modern more or less erroneous interpretations regarding this. I am pretty sure the ancient Europeans had a common idea regarding this, as what we can see everywhere in the pre-Christian Europe is a belief in reincarnation. This is the Pagan circular view. Everything returns after death; each and every season returns, the night and day always return, the Sun and the Moon always returns, all the growths in nature returns, and so forth, so why should mankind be any different? We are a part of nature too!
As for my personal beliefs…. I don’t believe in anything and I know nothing. So… What I think I know can in fact be clever illusions created by my own brain to enable me to survive. The metaphysical vertigo we suffer from today is not dangerous because we think we can fall, but because we think we might jump one day.
What plans do you have for the rest of the year?
Do you have anything that you would prefer to add to this interview?
If you have an interest in knowing more about Burzum you can find reliable and truthful news and information about Burzum on www.burzum.org.
Interview by Calum Robson.