Interview mit Nagash von Troll

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TROLL have kept their fans waiting thirteen years for a new album. Mastermind Nagash explains why „Trolldom“ sounds more like the Norwegians‘ early work again, what he thinks about cover songs and what to expect from the reunion of THE KOVENANT.

Ten years have passed since your last album „Neo-Satanic Supremacy“ and the EP „Tilbake Til Trollberg“. What has happened in the meantime? Has the band been on ice, or have you continued to make music in the quiet closet and simply not released anything?
I have been active the whole time. I’ve just chosen to step away from the public eye. Also started a record company together with fellow bandmember Sturt, called Polypus Records. I have however decided to leave the company recently to focus more on my bands and projects. Even ressurected The Kovenant again.

This calls for an enquiry: THE KOVENANT are active again?
Well, as many have noticed by now, the secret is out. The Kovenant has been resurrected – including the original members from „Nexus Polaris“, with the exception of Psy Coma. He won’t be joining us unfortunately to start with, as he is dealing with some personal issues. But hopefully he will join at a later time. He will be temporarily replaced by Knut from Arcturus on guitar. So it will be me on vocals and bass, Astennu and Knut on guitars. Sverd on keyboards, Sarah on female vocals, and Hellhammer og drums.

What can we expect from Reuinon in the foreseeable future?
To start with we will be doing some live shows at the end if the year and more next year. We’ll be playing the Nexus Polaris album, and some from the other albums as well. New material is also in the works, but first things first. We haven’t played together in over 20 years, so we’re taking things as they come.

That sounds exciting! But back to TROLL: What was the impetus to release this EP after all – and why „just“ an EP?
I had written nearly two full-lenght albums in the meantime, but I wasn’t satisfied with the result. These were mostly written together with the guys from the „Neo-Satanic Supremacy“ era. And after some members leaving, and others being fired, I felt the need for a fresh start. The only song to survive from the purge was The Beast. And I wanted to release something to test the waters, so to speak. And how people would react to more material, since it had been such a long time since the last album.

On the EP you cover Emperor with „Towards The Pantheon“ – how did it come about that you chose this song?
We were asked if we wanted to be part of a tribute album to Emperor, and couldn’t pass up the chance. We originally wanted to do other songs, but they were all taken by other bands on the tribute by the time we were ready to record. There are so many great Emperor songs to chose from though. It was also the ex-keyboarder Exilis favorite track from them. So he got to decide that one.

How do you feel about cover versions in general, as a fan of the band being covered, but also as a fan of the band doing the cover – and ultimately perhaps even as the composer of a song that is being covered?
The way I see it there are two types of coververions that can be done that I like. Either a interpretation of the song where you do something very different, and make it sound like it is a song that your band could have come up with. Or you do a „live“ version, where you pretty much stick close to the original. I think we landed on something inbetween. I like doing coversongs. But I prefer to do them different from the original. I also enjoy listening to bands doing covers of my own songs, and there have become many of them over the years. Some are terrible, haha, but fortunately the majority of them are pretty decent and some even good. Being covered makes you feel like you’ve made an impact with your art.

The songs on the EP were all recorded and mixed in different studios. How did this unusual procedure come about?
I think it came from the fact we weren’t recording them all at the same time. It’s basically just a compilation of floating tracks that needed to be brought home to the band’s own releases. The new „Trolldom“ album has also been recorded over several years, and have ended up being done in the same way. It also helps to bring down the cost of things.

Metal-Archives says that the songs were recorded between 2014 and 2022. Is that correct? So were some of the songs written before the EP was released? What criteria did you use to select the songs for the EP?
Yes that is correct. It has been a long procedure to get this album done, but I was never in any rush to complete it. And as I said there have been a couple of other albums that have been thrown into the garbage along the way, and I’ve started from the beginning again. With „Trolldom“ I wanted to get back to the true origin of TROLL, and write music closer to what the basic idea was supposed to be. It is closer to the first releases than anything else TROLL has done in the last years. The EP was originally meant to be just a single song „The Beast“, to showcase the new material. A little teaser. But I wanted there to be more tracks included, and ended on it being an EP. The „Trolldom“ material was being written and then re-written a couple of times since the release of „Neo-Satanic Supremacy“. But the majority was written after the EP was released.

The album was then completely mixed and mastered by Alboin from Eïs. From a German point of view, it’s not without irony that a German is creating the „true sound“ of true Norwegian black metal for a Norwegian black metal legend. How did you find him and why was he the perfect choice for this task?
We met Alboin at one of the TROLL concerts we had some years ago, and had some talks about him doing mixing and editing in his own stufio „Nightside Audio“. He also showed us one of his bands, Plutonyan, and eventually the release Doxa, and we liked the work he had done on it. So when we had finished the new album, we got back in touch with him and asked him if he would mix the „Trolldom“ album. He did a fantastic job with it I have to say. Truely captured the essence of authentic Norwegian Black Metal.

The album does indeed sound very different from your last one – also musically. How do you feel about „Neo-Satanic Supremacy“ today?
Neo-Satanic Supremacy was basically the first time a TROLL album was co-written together with a full band. It was also the first time I allowed more people to inject their own ideas and material. I was pleased with the outcome of it, and enjoyed recording it in Abyss Studios in Sweden with Peter Tägtgrens brother Tommy, as the engineer. But it did sound a little different yes. It was more like a „love letter“ to the Black Metal of the mid-90s. „Trolldom“ is much closer to the original idea of TROLL than anything I’ve done since „Drep De Kristne“.

The band has also changed a lot since then, you’re now playing drums again after Telal left, and Exilis is no longer there on keyboards. What influence did this reorganisation of the band have on the album and the band as a whole?
Well there was some material written when they were still onboard. But I felt it wasn’t very true to the foundation of the band still. So when Exilis left and Telal was fired I didn’t want to get new people involved again. And felt I could do it better myself as well. To me „Trolldom“ sounds much more true to the origin of the band than ever before. Probably since I decided to do the drums and keyboards myself again, this would obviously have a big difference on the outcome. I also feel that Tlaloc and Sturt understand better what TROLL is about, more than the other former members.

Will TROLL be seen live at some point – and if so, do you already have a band line-up in mind?
We definately want to do some shows, if not a tour, with the new material. We also have musicians that will join on these shows when the time comes. So that won’t be an issue. The problem is the lack of time on my part mostly. But there will be shows. Even if only a select exclusive few to start with.

And will we have to wait another ten years for new music, or will you be more active again and stay that way?
Hopefully won’t have to wait that long for more material. We’ve already written some new songs already. And I am hoping there will be time and possibility to record and release it this year.

Thanks for your answers – a quick brainstorming session to finish:
Great place to do concerts in Europe. Great beers. Had some amazing times with many of the bands I’ve been in over the years. I also speak German.
Dimmu Borgir: Good times, great guys. We made history. And they went on to become the worlds biggest black metal band. I miss the early days for nostalgic reasons. Had some of my best band experiences with them.
Artificial Intelligence: Awesome idea. But probably the greatest threat to humanity since nuclear weapons. In the wrong hands (which it already is in) could possibly lead to the death of billions. Or even human extinction.
Satan: Not what everyone thinks. Satan to me is more an idea of self-fulfilment than an entity of evil. True nature of life in the universe. Misunderstood. Misinterpreted. Misused.
TROLL in ten years: Still rocking it.


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