I only caught a glimpse of MARA’s performance at Gamrocken but I did like what I heard. So much that I wanted to know more. Vindsval was kind enough to answer my questions. Anders Ekdahl ©2019
What kind of vision did you have when you started and how has it changed over the years?
-Hagalaz Battle Helm!
MARA is my personal revolt against society, humanity and this fucking world! I write music to manifest my hatred, this is my tool to generate RAGNARÖK.
MARA forged the black flame 2010 with the demo (Dark powers). I started MARA just because I was fed up of all the music that where created back then. I got a vision to create something with meaning and purpose, that is bigger than our pathetic life. I believed back in 2010 that if I created my vision then I will find like-minded musicians. Many seem to think that it shall be easy to find people in Sweden that want to create Black Metal with an essence and meaning in the music and with heavy influences from the early Black Metal era… then you’re wrong! This people are very few and most of them are from the old school era, another generation than me. That is sadly to say that this is a dying breed and Black metal in general is dying. It is to much wannabe “Black metal“ in the scene and to many people who not seem to take this seriously at all.
As an artist, magician and human being do I look at my creation bloody seriously, I can not go in halfheartedly or joke around about the things I create. Sadly this is something I see all around me every day in the so called scene. Metal-heads and people seem to take Black Metal more as an entertainment to day. I have always seen the genre as something magical and bigger then life, a cult for the true believers. I feel that a lot have changed in today’s society and the so called “Black metal scene”, they do not understand me and I don’t understand them.
The spiritual aesthetic has not changed so much from when I started MARA, I have just fine-tuned it and found myself more through the years. I still focus on hatred, anger, sorrow and the death of man. MARA is a force to connect the primitive side of man/ nature and the old Nordic culture: a way back to chaotic essence of Black Metal!
How important are lyrics to you guys? Do you have any messages that you want to get forward?
-Lyrics, or the word we prefer to use is “Galder” when all the lyrics is written and preformed as old pagan magic on every album. The message are many and is not fair to try to describe in just this text, you will have to take your time and listening to the spells and read the lyrics to find out what it is about.
I love a really cool. What does a really cool album cover have to have for it to be cool with you?
-A cool album cover needs to be personal and to have purpose around the lyrical and musical meaning of the album. But personal do I like hidden messages and strong symbols in the cover.
Does location mean anything today? Does it make it more “true” if you come from a certain place when you play a certain style of music, like for example black metal?
-Location is important for MARA. We celebrate our ancestors and old Scandinavian belief in black magic. I believe that you as a person get shaped around the culture.
For me I have always been fascinated about the supernatural and occult, specially in my heritage from old viking stones, runes and mythology. I can feel it all around me, touch it, see it and visit it.
For people that live in modern monster cities like New york, London they all have lost there way to connect with their past. In a so called civilized world do not the man connect with there primitive spirit when they everyday get bombarded with advertisement. There surroundings is a horde of people and they can only touch concrete. They can’t even see the stars because of all the pollution. In a world like that how can you understand that it exists more then just humanity? I understand that this world leads to stress, this is the human disease.
Black Metal for me is something spiritual and primordial there by it don’t belong in any big cities, it does not belong to the everyday man. It is hard to go deeper into yourself, your inner chaotic flame and your primitive side when you get to drink venom from the so called modern world.
What is it like to be a in a band and to get to spread your words all over the world? What kind of feelings do that bring about?
-Honor that we can spread Nordic culture in the spells of death and destruction!
What kind of feedback have you had on your music, your latest album and in general? How important is feedback?
-Honestly so far just good feedback. I understand that many in the underground scene refer my creation with the so called (old school black metal) and I don’t want it in any other way.
Regarding feedback as an artist I shall say it is important, it brings fuel to the fire of creation it don’t matter if it is good or bad feedback all of it is fuel for create; RAGNARÖK.
Music is something that has a deep spiritual connecting and there is no other art that can awake that primordial flame as good as music. Thereby when I get feedback I know that my magic are working and in that way it is important to get a message out and see that people understand you and can feel your energy in to the music, this is much respected.
How do you know that you have written a “hit” song? Is there a particular feeling you get when you know that this is the one, this is the big “make it song”?
-Regarding the creation in MARA I always create music that I like so every time I’m writing a new spell I go in with the attitude that this is the last creation I will ever do.
And when I can feel that I’m really putting my emotion out in to the song structure, galder and tunes, that is a “make it song”.
When you see people react to the music then you know that you are in this moment putting your enchantment over them and changing somebody’s life, that is for me a “hit song”.
As I am no musician, I will never get to know the difference of analogue and digital. Can you explain the difference to me? what are the pros and cons of analogue V/S digital?
-I will not go in to details regarding analogue and digital in technical terms because it is to much for me to talk about regarding this in an interview.
What I can talk about is how MARA look at the recording process. Old school analogue recording is important for MARA. For every album we have done I have focused to go further and further back to the old school ways of recording and mixing/mastering.
Metal today feels plastic. To much triggers and to much digital recording. Everything is played today directly into the computer without amplifier. It is just the instrument’s pure signal, it is to easy and that is the reason the magic around there recording disappears.
When it comes to create something organic I can only recommend analogue recording. MARA prefer record analogue as far as possible. Example the latest album (Thursian Flame) is a mix of analogue and digital. This is something you can feel and hear in the music, it punches out from the rest of today’s black metal albums. When somebody comes and do it old school, a blast from the past; recreation of the true spirit that will always stand out and be a big “Fuck you!” to the rest of the world and music industry.
What is it like to have people you never met liking your music and digging along to it at gigs?
-Honestly I have not thought about it, so my answer is: It feels strange! I’m the biggest critic regarding my own creation so I still have a problem understand that people like my art.
But then I listening to what many other bands are doing and ask myself how people can like that shit? Then I feel that what I do is still necessary.
At gigs I’m to much in a state of mind that nothing around me is important more then to create the magic/ feeling that where intended when the song where created. In that state of mind I’m ready to create war and force the people to do the same. I would not lie if I say that MARA is a strong force on people and something people talk about after the gigs.
If people comes up after the show and showing there appreciation I will say that it is much repected. I like people that have a strong spirit and courage that can stand up for themselves and let there surrounding know what they think.
If you treat me with respect I will do the same to you!
What does the future hold?
-MARA have worked for more then one year on a new album that will change the world and MARA as a band. We are now signed under the label: Immortal frost productions in Belgium.
Before the release we have only the layout/ art left to do for the album. I can proudly say that this is the strongest album we have done and I have put all my energy and blood in to this creation. In the process I have drained my energy to music and changed me as a person.
I would also say that where much deep-depressing anger in the emotions around the album, I have put that force into this songs in form of tunes and galder. That is a force who will climb over the listener. If this album don’t get the attention it deserves I will ask myself if I still feel that MARA is worth fighting for and create musically with, especially when It comes to a big sacrifice like this album have demanded. Just to let you know I have created with MARA now for 9 years with many sett backs regarding. band members, personal life, money and geographic affiliation- It is now time for a change and I believe that this change will occur on the upcoming album. And until then I say: fuck this world bring me death and destruction of man, give me RAGNARÖK!
This is Vindsval founder of MARA showing my respect to Battle Helm.
Keep the Thursian flame alive!