TOTENGEFLÜSTER have that symphonic black metal sound that when done right is simply irresistible. Anders Ekdahl ©2013
How often do you get compared to Dimmu Borgir and how tiresome is it?
Narbengrund: To be honest: very often and yes sometimes it’s a bit tiresome but on the other hand Dimmu Borgir was one of our main influences, the early works of this band are legendary and they were groundbreaking, so it is also an honor to be compared with them. Apart from bands as Emperor, Limbonic Art or Cradle of Filth they were responsible that symphonic black metal reached a level like this. We all adore the symphonies Dimmu Borgir created in their past and especially Totleben, our guitarist, keyboarder and artwork artist, is a huge admirer of their music. So it’s no wonder if Totengeflüster sounds a bit like Dimmu Borgir. We do use the same elements, namely black metal and classical music and we use cinematic effects to create a creepy atmosphere, so if these 3 components are adequate to sound like Dimmu Borgir, then yes, we do sound like them. I personally think that there are plenty of differences, but as long we’re not getting compared with some shitty bands, it’s not that bad.
I remember a time when keyboards in metal was sin punishable by death. Nowadays we hear majestic arrangements in what is supposed to be an extreme form of metal. What place does keyboard and synths have in black metal?
Narbengrund: Totleben and my humble self, view Black Metal as a form of art and art is something that could be expressed in many different ways, of course you can use keys and synths that bad, that they destroy the essence of a black metal song and of course, symphonic black metal bands are highly endangered to get caught in this trap. The art is, to use the keys in a favorable way, if you do so, a song can be keenly improved by the use of a keyboard. The line between trash and a masterpiece can be thin, but it’s our duty as musicians to recognize where the right level is reached. We set great value upon atmosphere, which is a necessary attribute for the kind of Black Metal we use to create. “Vom Seelensterben” is lyrically considered as a horror story and films use orchestration to create a convenient atmosphere and so are we. It’s all about expressing feelings like despair or hatred which that are deeply enrooted in our pitch black hearts.
Your CD looks really amazing. How much time and effort has gone into it?
Narbengrund: It took about two years to complete the artwork, but it has to be added, that Totleben did it alongside many many other artwork projects for different other bands (also for bands like Necronomicon or Imperium Dekadenz) and only during the evening hours or at the weekend because he’s got a “socially appreciated” job too.
How does the band name fit in the concept of it all?
Narbengrund: “Totengeflüster” is german and could be translated into “whisper of the dead”. But the dead shouldn’t be simply seen as cadavers or skeletons of the deceased but as apparently dead thoughts and emotions, hiding in the depths of our souls. Most of us killed great parts of their identity to be conforming to the “social demands”, but some of us, may realize the essence which slumbers in all of us…
You also did a special edition of it too. Is it necessary to offer the fans something a bit extra to get them interested? What was the reason behind doing it this way?
Narbengrund: Totengeflüster shouldn’t be seen as a band containing three members, it should be seen as an organism and Totengeflüster wishes to express itself in different art disciplines. Since Totengeflüster is a coherent artistic synthesis the artbook was the perfect way to express and acknowledge this sinister mosaic. We truly appreciate true art and despise worthless, faceless and blunted music, so it may be no surprise that we are enemies of music downloads, because we don’t think that you can capture the whole charm, the soul of a true artwork in such a derogative, degenerated format…
When you release an album on your own, what are the biggest problems you encounter?
Narbengrund: Doing something on our own is not a curse, it is a blessing. We see how our spawn grows, we feel everything happening to it as if it happened to us and last but not least we aren’t marionettes of any label. Of course there are some difficulties as well, just look at all the promotional stuff etc., so we would appreciate to have at least a distribution for our art, cause there are so many people out there that don’t even heard anything about us… Anyway… we have close contact to our “disciples” and this is something that shouldn’t be underestimated
How much time do you spend on the band both physically but also mentally each day?
Narbengrund: Well, Totleben, our main songwriter spends at least 3 hours per day, when he’s also working in his main job. If it comes to weekends he sacrifices 6 or sometimes even 12!!! Hours per day! I guess he’s a kind of workaholic… But each second he spends was worth the trouble.
Schattendorn regurarly practices his drumming skills; I think two hours, three or four times per week. When it comes to me, my sacrificed time differs from day to day. There are some days which are as good as exclusively filled with Totengeflüster (for example while writing new lyrics), but also days where I don’t spend time at all for the band. It’s not always that easy to reconcile work, band and private live and to be honest each one of them goes short…
Is it worth all the time and effort in the end? What do you want with the band? What is the purpose of playing in a band?
Totengeflüster is a very hungry scion and it’s favorite food is time… It’s hard to say if all the time, all the effort will pay off, but we want to create something special, something with a right to exist and if you like it or not, this costs an huge amount of time. We want our scion to be acknowledged and appreciated, we do love our child, with all its mistakes and we do want it’s best! We want to care about him, even if he’s not longer under our wings…
What do we want with the band? The purpose of playing? Well, beside the fact that this is a formidable way to express ourselves and we simple love giving birth to this dark kind of art, we would like to enchant, to hex our listeners with our symphonies but we also like to open their eyes, we want them to see the world as it is, we want to give them an understanding of our “truth”. The sickness spread far too wide, it’s high time for us to wake up. Totengeflüster needs to be heard, Totengeflüster needs to be understood!
Is TOTENGEFLÜSTER a live band? How do you take your sound to a stage without loosing any of the grandeur?
Narbengrund: Totengeflüster could be a “live band” but currently our line-up is simply not completed. We do have plans but we don’t have the urgent need to get as soon as possible on stage. As I said before, Totengeflüster operates as an artistic synthesis and it’s important for us, to capture the “grandeur” of our art and transport it into a suitable vesture. Be sure we won’t let you wait that long…
What do you have planned for the future?
Narbengrund: Well, our current plans could be summarize into evolving and creating our art. Totengeflüster is finally alive after all these years and Totengeflüster is like cancer – it will grow…
I like to thank you in the name of Totengeflüster for your attention and the opportunity of having this interview…