HARM has one of these names that you might have seen around but never really bothered to check out. But that will change now. ©2016 Anders Ekdahl
When you have a re – release to promote, how do you promote it? Is it strange to talk about old recordings and not about what’s new? How do you view that material compared to the more current?
Steffan: Our label Battlegod Productions takes care of all our promotions and distributions worldwide, we work by playing live shows and also doing interviews. It’s easier for our label to promote the Devil album and our entire discography as a whole. Its not strange at all about our older recordings they are an important part of the whole picture. I’m not satisfied with every song, but nevertheless it’s something I feel good about in some ways. If I have to compare the old with the new, I have to say that we are progressing naturally. It’s based on the same drive but it’s more mature and we are more aware on how we want the process to be regarding studio and playing live.
Do you have an aesthetic that you keep true to from recording to recording (i.e. stylistically same art work, lyrical theme etc.)?
Steffan: Yes in some ways. The lyrics are just as important as the music, if not more. I always get personally involved when it comes to Harm. The lyrics are not made up into a fairytale or some political agenda. I like a lot of band’s that create their musical substance that way, but it’s just not the way Harm was meant to be. The artwork has a connection and also the artwork is made with the collaboration of Pär Olofsson. He has done work for numerous band’s like Exodus, Immortal, Antares Predator, Malevolent Creation and so on. Pär is a really great guy to work with, and he has the ability to grasp what I want in a artwork for Harm. This was actually the third time we used him for an artwork. The Face that you see on the “Devil” album is the same character you see on the “Demonic Alliance” album. I wanted the re-release to portrait what it really was, and that was “the beginning”. So where does the beginning start? In your mind before it sets out to do whatever it has to do. So we came up with the idea fusing the character into what are used in psychological assessment of a person based on his/her perception of a inkblot pattern.
How hard is it to come up with lyrics to the songs? When do you know that you have the right lyrics?
Steffan: It’s not an easy task sometimes, because when you write personal lyrics you have to dig deep down into a lot of things you don’t necessarily want to bring back to life. I know I have the right lyric when I’m true to myself. I don’t want to write about something I truly don’t understand. I’m a firm believer in that everybody has to start with themselves to expand out wards.
How hard is it to find the right art work? What are you looking for?
Steffan: There are a lot of extremely talented painter’s/artists out there and to find the right soul for the job is almost impossible. When you have a vision in form of a picture that needs life, you must have someone that understands you. I don’t think I will ever hit spot on, but for now Pär Olofsson are doing a great job for us.
Do you ever feel that you get misinterpreted because of the metal you play?
Steffan: Yea every day, but if you have a individual that has not taken the time to dive into what Harm is about, there is hardly no reason to feel butt hurt about it. Personally I have been a “Satanist” for years in my hometown and I even drank blood from a severed humans head once, do you believe that? There will always be misinterpretations of something that isn’t understood.
Do you feel that you get the recognition you deserve, nationally as well as internationally,
Steffan: I don’t feel we haven’t got what we deserve at all. The response we got nationally has been amazing and I’m very thankful for that. Norway is another ballgame. Norway is a small country and there is just a few magazines that promote the same bands over and over again. It’s all about contacts and those who want to suck a cock and pay for it. We have a few festivals and online magazines that support the underground and I love that kind of enthusiasm.
Is the end of physical close by or is there a future for all formats?
Steffan: I believe it is! Not in a big scale, but together as a whole. Nowadays almost everybody feel the need for instant gratification so it’s a greed and a demand thing. Luckily those who like metal seem to appreciate the physical format and in that sense metal has a brighter future. The most important thing is the artist’s must keep doing their art regardless of anything. So if you are a fan of a band or two try to support them, Im sure theyll appreciate it!
I get the impression that today’s touring scene is most made up of festivals or multiple band line-ups. Is it harder/tougher to tour today?
Steffan: For most bands it’s ridiculously expensive. The model of touring is simple, the big bands use support band’s to finance their tour to a point. We have had a lot of offers to tour but it’s just to expensive. I will never forget when we were on our way to the US for the “Norwegian Invasion Tour” I got stuck at Detroit airport and the police threatened me with jail just because a bar in Las Vegas was taking 7 dollars the night we where supposed to play there. Long story short, we never got to tour the US. This was only a promo tour and there was not a dollar to be made. Either way, I understand that the established band’s need to cut their touring costs and I believe it always has been hard Especially now when some borders are more difficult to cross. So it is what it is for now.
If you were to decide how would the stage show look like?
Steffan: Hmmm…. Maybe two live dragons spitting fire 100 meters into the air while we have Siamese twins and goats dancing around us in tight leather??? It’s always fun watching a good stage show but I’m more into the music side of a live show. If you know your shit and play it like you mean it, that’s all I need.
What does the future hold?
Steffan: A lot I hope! Right now the re-release of “Devil” is being promoted, and early next year we will be releasing our new album. We only have some minor details to do before it’s finished! We cant wait to show the world some Norwegian heavy thrash again. The album will be released by Battlegod Productions and after that we plan to tour Europe! I like to thank Battle Helm for the time they have spent for this interview and for staying true. See you next time around!