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Mr Alphavarg: Kromlek

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Greetings from The Meaner Project! How has the year been treating the band?

mr alphavarg: Namaste Anish and Kaushik! First of all I wanna thank you for taking the time and the interest. Well this year hasn’t been marking a special phase in KromleK’s evolution yet than 2009 did. My return in early 2009 and a lot of great, successful shows made 2009 very special, beside the fact that it was our 5th anniversary. In 2010 we also had some special moment like our first gig ever in Switzerland which was a full success for all of us. But the main mark of this year is still to come: the release of our 2nd full length album called “Finis terræ”.

 For people who haven’t heard about you, Can you tell us in detail what ‘Kromlek’ is all about? The concept of the band and ideologies.

mr alphavarg: The current concept of the forthcoming album can be understood as URBAN PAGAN METAL, but to put it in a nutshell KromleK is about individualism. It all started in 2004 with a common passion for metal music in general and a special focus on pagan metal which has always been one of my favorite subgenres. The very core is still and will always be paganism but we differ ourselves from any scene dogma. Our ideology is the CHANGE, but without banning our roots.


 How would you best describe your sound in terms of a genre?

mr alphavarg: That’s not easy because of the vast diversity but I have a try: We combine the bombast of symphonic metal with the catchy melodies of pagan metal, spice it all up with electronic elements the like of sounds you find in industrial metal and graft it with atmospheric, progressive Melodic Black Metal.  

How important are lyrics in your song-making process or approach to song-making? How does the band relate Man’s modern existence with universal pagan aspects in its lyrics?

mr alphavarg: Interesting question and definitely not easy to answer briefly. The lyrics are indeed as important as the music itself. Even though the lyrical concept is of little interest in a live performance, it is even more important for the album concept.
You mentioned the songwriting-process. Well, to insure that the lyrics fit perfectly to the song I always start writing the lyrics when the song is completed musically.
The last part of your question describes exactly the very core of what we call “Urban Pagan”. It is a simple fact that most of us are born and raised – and thus formed and influenced – in an urban situation. Everywhere around the most of us realize the outcome of modern society called “civilization”. I mean the quintessence of today’s problem is that the more human beings live together in confined space the lonelier is the individual. My aim is not to protect the nature, because nature has always been able to protect herself. This one lesson everybody has to learn: Life will prevail, man will not. Man is not able to destroy neither the planet nor life itself… and if it takes thousands of billions of years until the first flower will grow again, okay, so it will take that time! I want to awake the consciousness that Kali Yuga is already there.
I also use the term universal paganism because the truth is not owned only by Norse tribes or Hindus or Celts. The truth is universal and that is why I use different mythologies, philosophies and cryptic images.

Give us an insight into how you create your music.

mr alphavarg: Well, there’s our congenial duo consisting of NhéVanN [solo guitars] and HrísDólgr [keys]. These two guys are responsible for every KromleK track ever. It’s difficult for me to explain because I’m not directly involved in the composing process but mostly it works like one of them brings on a new melody or riff an during rehearsals they cultivate a complete song. That process can last for months as happened right now for the forthcoming album.

Tell us in detail, about the evolution of your music from the release of your debut E.p KVELDRIÐUR right through your new album. Any changes in styles and moods?

mr alphavarg: EVOLUTION is indeed the perfect word. That is exactly how I see it and want it to be seen. There are so many bands out there covering themselves from output to output. That was never my intention nor of the other members in KromleK. As mentioned above, the concept of KromleK is expansion and change. With KVELDRIÐUR we released a very catchy, merry and “party-compatible” output. The Humppa-tracks dominated the playlist which was exactly what we wanted at that time: creating a trollish atmosphere like the early Finntroll tracks.
Then, two years later in 2007 came our first album called “Strange rumours… distant tremors” on which one can obviously hear the difference: Our strong wish has ever been to break out of that image given by others namely KromleK’s a mere Finntroll-clone and party band. But don’t misunderstand me here, our development from folky Humppa to serious, epic Pagan Metal was not forced by ourselves because of the mentioned image, it was a natural evolution. Both of the composers always write the songs they want to and not they have to in order to keep an image.
Right now “Finis terræ” is on the way and I got to state that this album will prove the potential and variety KromleK is able to. There are so many different styles included that one can really say this album is universal. Of course there will be songs on it fans would describe as “typical KromleK” compared to “Sr…dt” but I can assure everyone that  there will be a whole bunch of surprises nobody can and would have expected.

Tell us more about your new album. What do you hope to achieve with its release? What is the approach that you’ve put into this album?

mr alphavarg: As already mentioned above the most obvious fact is the diversity in styles. Our “hope” is that this output reaches more listeners; it is not only a tool to satisfy fans but to open up our music for other people who are probably not into pagan metal. But I think I’m already answering the question below so let’s leave this issue for some general details. “Finis terræ” will include an introduction and 13 tiles with the following names:
I Creation's crowning glory
II Angrlióð
III Nekropolis’ Fall
IV the Cocoon
V Mantikor
VI Manjushri aus mir
VII Bastion
VIII Moritvrvs immortalis
IX Ad rvbiconem
X Urban WarTune
XI yet unnamed instrumental track
XII Metropolitan Roots 
XIII Finis terroris 
There will also be some very special guests on some of the tracks. So stay tuned, it will be worth it!
 Do you think there’s a considerable market worldwide for the kind of music that you guys make?

mr alphavarg: As I said that is our “hope”. But I’m definitely convinced that it is possible. The potential is given and the only thing missing is someone who’s able to spread it as wide as we would like it to.

 How does Kromlek’s music incorporate languages like Sanskrit, German, Swedish and Latin? Tell us more about your personal interest in Buddhism and Hinduism. How did it all start?

mr alphavarg: For me this has been natural since I wrote my very first text. I think that has to do with my personal credo that everything should be as authentic as possible. And it underlines the universality. So when I’m dealing with lyrics about Kali Yuga it is just natural for me to use Sanskrit, the same with lyrics about crossing the Rubicon – it feels just right to include Latin verses. Swedish seems to be a relic from the very beginnings of KromleK. My first two texts ever written for this band [Han som rider & Träskens näve] were in Swedish and I kept that until today just because I like writing lyrics in that language. German is my mother tongue and I simply love experimenting with the harsh spelling. Sometimes German supports the “impact” much better than English.
Haha, well, mr alphavarg’s interest in Buddhism and Hinduism finally caused the split with KromleK in 2008. There are two different aspects I think. The one is what I’m interested in and what I like to deal with in my lyrical concept such as for example Norse, Greek and Roman mythology, urban aspects, social tensions and so on. The second aspect is what I personally and individually believe in. And that is a complex mesomerism of Buddhism and Hinduism that – of course – influences my lyrical concept as well. But this second aspect is just mr alphavarg, not KromleK. Through the “negotiations” about my return we all agreed that I can use these influences in the future, too, but not only them. In 2008 I tried to reform the whole band into a cult-like ethno metal band with only Hindu and Buddhist influences. That did not work because I ignored the wishes of the other band mates. In the final analysis it’s all about compromises.
It’s very difficult to name a special date or “beginning point” for my interest in far eastern teachings. At the age of 14 I started dealing with Norse mythology seriously. Some years after, maybe at the age of 17 I also cultivated a spiritual interest in Buddhism and Hinduism because I have always been in search for the universal truth, the core that is identical in every religion, philosophy or whatever. And through my research about similarities in Buddhism I found myself within these teachings. That’s how it developed. KromleK is in constant evolution but mr alphavarg as well. That’s a sad issue to talk about because there’s surprisingly and upsettingly a lot of ignorance and intolerance within the “pagan” scene. Some so-called hardliners are trying to establish dogmas for the behavior inside that strange microcosm. Sad and funny alike. They’ll have to face a lot of reincarnations! ;-)

In countries like India, Piracy and downloading becomes imperative owing to the fact that a lot of music is unavailable in music-stores. What are your thoughts on that? What are your views on Piracy?

mr alphavarg: Piracy in general is bad for musicians, especially for the smaller ones like ourselves. If somebody downloads a new Metallica output illegally it’s a sad thing but it won’t be their economical ruin. But the smaller bands are in need of every sold record. Of course one can argue that the selling of merchandise is more important for bands than the record itself but in my humble opinion this is still about music, right?! I know that a lot of people get to know KromleK because of illegal downloads [especially in Russia]. It’s good for us to become more known to people all around the world but if that ruins our “band economy” how could we be able to present another album without the money needed?

Tell us about your influences. Musical and otherwise.

mr alphavarg: Musical influences: the only constant band we all are still fascinated of is Windir. Every band member has another very individual music taste. Inside and outside metal music. Other influences: I can only talk about my personal influences for my lyrics. There we got the ones mentioned in question 9) and furthermore things like the Renaissance, Plato’s philosophy, Machiavelli’s writings, psychology, different aspects of science like metaphysics etc. society models, society’s outsiders, history and of course everyday life. 

Do you guys have any added Visual effects to your live set?

mr alphavarg: From 2005 to 2007 we used Viking-like costumes with furs, tunics and red/black warpaint. I wore a leather helmet and used an axe in order to underline my words. In 2007 I got my hair cut and we left out any paint. Just black shirts for keeping the unity. Then in 2008 I tried to force the band into that cult-like appearance with black/red/golden tilakas like the ones Sadhus use in India. I wore a black suit, a mala and wrote “Kali Yuga” in Sanskrit in my belly. But the audience never understood anything about it. Since 2009 we’re trying to develop an “urban” metal style but the search hasn’t ended yet. In one show in 2007 NhéVanN and Forað spitted fire but this was for a DVD shot. Nowadays I use a sickle… sometimes… ;-)

 Any Indian bands you might have heard of?

mr alphavarg: Oh I think that nobody else in KromleK knows any band from India. I know Demonic Resurrection. I like their keys but the thrash parts are not my taste. I really like Rudra [okay they are not Indian but Malaysian] but I appreciate their style called Vedic metal.

Any last words for your fans in India?

mr alphavarg: Namaste friends, fans and followers! We hope your interest will grow and we will convince you with the forthcoming album!
It would be great to present it to you live, so if any organizer needs a unique style-hydra just book us! I’m looking forward to a cultural exchange! ;-)

The Meaner Project is:Barua, Anish Bhattacharjee



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