Hail the mighty riflemen of Heathenism! Lets start with the latest activities of the band, including the responses / feedbacks to your latest opus namely “Semigalls’ Warchant”, how are the comments so far to this great collector’s item?
Hello to you! Thanks for the interest to do interview with us. Right now SKYFORGER is quite busy, we are preparing for European tour, which will start after two weeks in 2 march 2006. We are doing 10 gigs with Swedish Viking Metal band Manegarn and Dutch True Metal warriors Goddess Of Desire. This tour will cover mostly Germany; also touch Holland, Belgium and Slovenia. I hope that tour will go well and we will be glad to meet our fans again in the face. Later we play at Ragnarok festival in Germany, Kaltenbach Open Air and some more festivals will be added soon. Music wise we just finished two new folk music songs for upcoming release of our folk album on VIC Records – it’s label from Holland. Also we permanently work on new metal songs, so far we have music for five songs already written. Response to re-release of “Semigalls’ Warchant” on Folter Records has been great, all reviews what I have seen on the web or printed magazines, they have average ratings from 7 to 9 out of 10. So, it think, this is very cool feedback and people like the music. I would definitely not expect it when we started to make this idea happen.
How came to release the demo of the band again? You know, many big bands do this nowadays for more financial success, yet I believe SKYFORGER has something more to explain here about it?
For those who don’t know what is behind this re-release, I will shortly explain the whole idea. In beginning of 1997 we recorded our only demo, which consists of 7 songs and we published by ourselves on tape format. Some copies were sold to foreign customers, some copies were sent to shop for possible record deal and finally some were sold at gigs and shops here in Latvia. In total maybe there was some 500 copies made. Later we got record deal and followed next albums on CD. So our fan-base grew up slowly and naturally later they wanted to hear demo as well, so we got many requests for it on email and postal address. I did help in various ways, I did send copies on CDR or dubbed on tapes, but of course, it was not solution. Last year we had the 10-year anniversary since we started SKYFORGER, so we agreed with label that we re-release demo album again, and to make it more interesting we especially wrote and added conceptual four-song EP about ancient sea riders Kurshi. So, now it’s available again on CD/LP, plus we also did 16-page booklet with some photos from old days. I don’t know can be this calculated as financial matter, but our main wish was to give fans opportunity to hear music of the demo album again. So don’t be lazybones and check it out.
You are exclusively using Latvian lyrics in your songs. How it come? I believe that there is an ideological reason behind this noble attitude? Moreover, it would be funny for a band like you if you were writing all lyrics in English when talking about nationalism… I must congratulate you because of this true attitude. On the other hand don’t you think that it is funny to see die-hard nationalist bands from France singing in German (I don’t want to give a name here now, though I know bands like this Weird thing, indeed.
There are few reasons for that we are using our own Latvian language. In very beginning back in 1995-1997 year we still had that English touch inside, so there are few songs in demo also in English language. I have nothing against this language and this is only way how we can communicate with our foreign fans. But soon after demo I did understood that for me it’s more natural that I express my thoughts in Latvian language; then I can write the best lyrics I just can. Mostly they are meant for Latvian public. But for the rest of world we decided to make very good translations. So far it works very well. I can confess that I like to drink beer and I would not be able to remember all lyrics in English before gigs. Sometimes I even forget Latvian lyrics haha. And very surely I am not super strong in English as poet, so I just skipped this idea. And you are right; it would be looking also stupid, if I would sing our national songs in English.
SKYFORGER has a very interesting mix of Pagan Metal, traditional Metal and Folk, which makes the band sound pretty unique. How did you find this style, how did it evolve? From which steps you rise when arriving at the peak of this unique mixture?
I can’t really explain it. From demo times we had more links to Black Metal sound, but after first album “Kauja Pie Saules”, we decided that we have to reduce the presence of Black Metal elements. As basically all band is Heavy Metal long time fans, it somehow turned out that we did add more of those. It’s just our inner band combination probably, our guitar playing style which is mix of many styles. When somebody asks me what style music we play, I cannot give any clear answer, it is just Pagan Metal. Sometimes you are in mood when you want to make some grim music, sometimes we make something more jolly, and that’s the reason why we have components of almost all Metal styles present. In “Thunderforge” album we had even some Doom Metal elements, but for next album I am sure there will be some Thrash Metal feelings. Right now we listen much to old Thrash Metal bands from 80-ies and it gives some reflection to that what you do in rehearsals. One thing is sure – I always have wanted to find own Metal style and I like bands when I can say from first intros or vocals – this is that band! Today there are too many exactly the same sounding bands that just don’t care about own originality.
A weird question: which SKYFORGER song do you like most and which one least and why? Usually bands are not eager to answer such kind questions but I still want to insist…
Mostly I like all songs because they are somehow dear to me, but yes, there are some faves as well. Maybe I like more ‘Death Island’ from “Latvian Riflemen” album, ‘Kurshi’ from “Kauja Pie Saules”, ‘The Shortest Night Of The Year’ from “Thunderforge” and many more. Today I don’t like that much very furious songs we have made, maybe ‘The March of 1916’ can be for an example.
A second question that may sound hard to answer too, I really wonder the name of the band which you find disgusting? Can you give a name? The band, which you can give your all to not to listen even one song?
Not exactly the name, but I would never listen to this Nu Metal shit; this is something what is not of my interest for sure. I don’t follow that scene, so I can say only the most well known ones – Shitting Park, Pimp Biscuit etc. I just hate when they are prized as big Metal bands, when obviously they are not even close to Metal.
SKYFORGER used to employ ancient Pagan and Latvian symbols, which had been also used by Nazi’s… Some idiots were blaming you for being a Nazi supporter (those who watch a lot of Hollywood Nazi Movies) because of this. Are you still getting confronted with these accusations? Those morons even may not know that Swastika is an ancient Indian symbol…everybody blames everyone, to make a blabbermouth…
Yes, I am a bit tired to explain almost in every interview that we are no NS band and never were. To cut this crap short, I can only repeat once again – SKYFORGER have nothing in common with any National Socialistic ideas, movements, left or right wing parties or generally anything what is connected with politics. I never go to vote, I have never been in any party, and I don’t like to watch anything of those political games, because they are just all the same everywhere. I can say that by pure logic, how I and other band members can become Nazi supporters, if they killed one of my grandfathers? I have such situation in family and almost everyone in Latvia has such examples, when they lost some of grandfathers in WW2. SKYFORGER is purely Heavy Metal band that sing about deep antiquity and historical matters and I ‘d like it always to be like that. I can say that we have some problems mostly in Germany, where they think that we sing about Hitler or something similar, but we always try to explain it and mostly people later don’t worry about that. When we choose the band logo, I would never think that we would have problems with that. Just like 50 star flag is USA symbol, firecross is our national symbol, and it seemed right to include it in our band concept. For the first time I can say that right now we seriously think to change logo and I think that with next album we will change it for sake of peace. That’s because I am dead tired of various problems with distribution and we also are not allowed to play many festivals, just because they see swastika in our logo and always think that we are some kind of Nazis. This is not truth and I hope that situation would change for better, if we make some corrections. Just today I got email from label that concert promoters cannot use our printed tour posters in Hamburg where we play soon and they can be beaten up. And there are risk that concert can be cancelled at all. Somewhere again are lists of t-shirts who can’t get inside venues, our band also is on the list. So I think how poor shirt can cause any problems? After my mind if some fucker has drunken too much, he can make problems even with Che Gevara’s shirt. This is a just idiotic problem, made out of nothing. But I think, we have already recommended our name and big magazines like Legacy or Rock Hard surely would not make interviews with Nazi band, right? So things are not so bad actually.
What can you say about the situation of the Latvian underground? Are there some new-coming great black metal or Pagan-folk metal bands that deserve attention?
Not really. We still are only band of this kind. But our country is very small one, so that’s probably a reason. Latvian underground is active, but mostly there are new death metal bands appearing. There are some good Pagan Metal bands from another Baltic countries, like Obtest, Zalvarinis, Metsatoll etc.
Once I heard that you are into computer games as well. What kind of games you prefer? For example, have you played Medal of Honour or Call of Duty? Being a FPS maniac, can you recommend something for me?
Yea – I love games but I am into RPG ones and I don’t like FPS and strategy too much. I played Medal of Honour and Call of Duty of course but I prefer role-playing games. My favorites are: Gothic I & II, Seadogs, Morrowind, Baldurs Gate I & II, NWN and World of Warcraft – I love this one, but its a online game. And finally my all time favorite is Blade of Darkness (It’s slasher) – I do recommend it to all who like sword fighting and medieval / fantasy mood – it’s old game now, but there’s no better still, believe me. I am big game maniac now haha.
Anyway, returning to the SKYFORGER, I know you closely interested in historical aspects of the World War I and World War II.? What was the situation in Latvia in the times of war?
The situation of Latvia was always very horrible. Exactly in our territory happened all major battles and our small nation of course could not stand neutral or fight back big aggressors. Russia and Germany both ruled this land for 700 years while native people had only one dream – to form the independent country. By very severe fights by Latvian Riflemen against German troops it become a reality in 1918. Latvia before was territory of Czarist Russia, so they fought as part of their army. But their goal was only one, to shake off any yokes. Later we had 20 years of peace and it was best time ever. Later in 1940 year Russians occupied Latvia again and Germans took over whole territory in 1941. Then Russians came back in 1944 and both of Germans and Red Army took native guys of any age into their legions, just to make their live forces bigger and produce war for longer time. Many become deserters and hid in vast forests and fought again oppression. A historical fact is that Latvian legion which fought against Russian forces in region called Kurland Pot, defended it even in May of 1945, when German capital Berlin was already taken by Red Army. Thus many innocent people (in total about 200 000) could run away to Europe or USA in a bid to escape from communistic terror, which followed after they got back Latvian territory. Otherwise all independently thinking people, or anyone who was before in some organizations that stood against communistic system were tortured and killed or sent to Siberia by livestock trains. From each ten returned only one, the others died from frost, hunger, and impossibly hard work. War by wood brothers against occupation lasted until late 1960-ies, but they were also doomed, no allies came to help. History of Latvia is not an easy one; almost half of nation was killed, become exiled or went foreign refugee path during two these wars and their consequences. Finally after long Soviet years during the national revolutions Latvia finally became free again in 1991. Basically Latvians were on verge of being completely exterminated. That’s why we are proud for own country and its heroes.
Talking about the wars, what is your utopia for the World War III? What kind of war may take place? (If it will, that is)Hmm, maybe Western world fights against Islamic countries? I am not big supporter of USA anyway, but watching events that take place nowadays, I can say that those Islamic people are not normal also. Some fun pictures offended them, but in the same time they openly are delighted for 11 September, just for example. My point of view is that all root of evil is their religion.
Actually some says, it would be meaningless to say that it is impossible for any different colored race to develop exact talents or skills or qualities, I mean I wouldn’t reject anyone just because of his/her skin color or racial belonging, nevertheless; this does not necessarily mean that I believe in Judeo-Christian tradition called “equality”, which enables racial integration in today’s Europe. So, what can you say about all this?
I agree to your opinion that there is no need to believe in any “equality” which is fed to us by all major media channels. Let’s just say that some nations are much more meant for some certain things than another nations. I have total respect for any kind of metalheads and it doesn’t matter to me are they black, white or yellow. Most important thing is that we can communicate and we have similar views. But if they have completely another values and goals than I have, so then I am not interested in such people. I have my own vision about today’s Europe, which is not very flattering to European Union system, where everyone can live where they want.
What can you say about the current situation of the EU? Some new countries like Bulgaria, Romania try to join (or being tried to be joined) in EU, what can you say about this? Does this community symbol of Europe?
This system will make much trouble, because I reckon that this immigration politics are stupid. Many people from poor countries try to escape to more wealthy places, where later when they are already big number, start to make riots and ask for some special attitude against them. Examples are on the hand – car burnings in France, Islamic terror acts in London, etc. Just few days ago I read that England will open gates for 1 million Nigerian young people and they will be allowed to freely travel inside UK without visas. Tell me what the hell they are lost in Europe? London is already looking like Deli. I firmly believe that this stupid and wrongfully given green light to this immigration will choke Europe one day, and it will come sooner than you expect. I say it because those people just seek for economical asylum, and they are not here to give anything, but only to use you. People from Africa and various Asian countries don’t belong to European traditions and culture and they should not be allowed here. They already have showed that they don’t have any respect to long established values like will to work, freedom of speech, honour to women etc. They will never understand history of the land where are live, they are too stupid for it. Only things they bring in is increasing of criminal situation, tension between nations and strange culture, which Europeans yet try to understand. In the same time they would openly spit on all your values. I guess here is something wrong. Immigrants by definition can’t be patriots because they have left own land just to pursuit own material interests, so why welcome them?
What do you think about the term “Fanaticism” in arts? Can “fanaticism” be a fuel for the creativity of an artist? And therefore, are there any seeds of “fanaticism” in the construction of the SKYFORGER?
Not at all, we are not any kind of fanatics. We are normal people, which are just interested in historical stuffs, own culture and Metal music, that’s all. It can be called some kind of positive fanaticism, perhaps. This is what interests us and what makes life more interesting.
Meantime, what are your opinions on free music opportunities that can be easily gained by means of Internet? Are you for or against to this Mp3 thing? Do you think it is true to gain free music joy throughout the Internet shit?
It has some positive sides and also much of negative. I also have some Mp3 files and it helps me to know more music than before. If people don’t forget later to buy also some original CD, then it is acceptable. But otherwise free music kills whole music business and mainly suffers small bands. Definitely it has changed all proportions in this industry, and it’s yet hard to say where it will lead us. I support true values – CD and LP formats where people buy end product and thus support the artists and labels to survive financially. Without true Underground fans who support metal scene, we all would be in deep shit.
Thanks for your time on the Frost Magazine. I hope you enjoyed the questions; last words of wisdom are yours! For the joy of Ancestors! Hope to join you in the battlefield!
Thank you too! I hope that my answers seemed interesting enough for somebody. I wish to all fans good luck on your path and stay true to the true values – freedom, patriotism and self-belief! Nothing is forgotten, nothing will be forgotten! Peter-Skyforger
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