Dødheimsgard: “A Umbra Omega” – Interview with Vicotnik

First of all welcome, thanks for the interview and my compliments for the new album. I know this question might sound predictable, but we had to wait eight years to listen to a new DHG album. What happened in this long period?

Hey. Thank you for the compliments. Well, eight years is not easy to justify. I guess we are another breed when it comes to band. A band where careers always has taken the back-seat to being inspired and feeling that you are rendering some piece of music that means something pertaining to your own discography. It is nary impossible to touch on everything that happened during those years, and it also easy to assume that not every issue is relevant either. 

Line up issues has always been a part of dhg´s problematic history, and probably always will be. Finding right personalities, with the right skill-set and long-run dedication is a difficult task. We been sneaking around the shadows for 20 plus years now, so unpredictable things will happen. 

This time around, I also spent a long time figuring out the right recipe. When I started out making tunes for this album, the were reminiscent its predecessor. So it was a steep road, getting the songs from familiar and into unfamiliar territory. In addition, a few years went into focusing on other projects. If you add all these components together, years suddenly go down the drain faster than you can imagine.  

Aldrahn is now back in the band. Would you like to tell us something his decision to return in DHG? Would you also introduce the new members l.e. Maloy on bass and Thunberg on guitar?

Aldrahn return was due to right timing. Kvohst left the band to focus on his own bands and projects, so the vocal-spot was very much vacant. So when Aldrahn proposed the idea, I could either go with the guy that sang on all but one of our records, bring in yet another new guy, or do it myself. So in terms of the history of the band, this choice was really a no brainer. We spent some time figuring out if it was practically viable for him to return, and then just ran with it. Thunberg, I met through a mutual friend of ours. He struck me as a very good guitarist, a hungry individual and a person that was generally eager to learn. In 2009 a young guy approached me and wondered if I had some spare time to make effects for his album. As I commenced producing stuff for this band, I got to know L.E Måløy as a very talented guy that had a great ear for composition, arrangements and production. A very versatile musician. 

I really think “A Umbra Omega” is a real next step in DHG sound, which never has been the same. More psychedelic/ambient passages, less electronics, a lot of variety and atmosphere. The vocals are hallucinating and the instrument seems to play in harmonic anarchy. Do you agree? Would you like to add something more?

Well, that is certainly one definition that can be applied to the album. However, I think a lot of different people experience this album in a lot of different ways. I guess the moody ambience, the general variation, the mysterious lyrics all open up for a multitude of interpretations. But I do think your statement was pretty accurate yes, and no, I have nothing more to add. 

It seems “A Umbra Omega” is a sort of “blackened jazz” album. I say that because it seems you left space even for improvisation. Is this opinion correct?

Structurally, the album is thoroughly planned out, but within those structures, there was room for improvisation. I never had any intention to make a “blackened Jazz” album, I just went for a specific mood that I wanted to evoke. I wanted to make myself and others feel the way I felt when I started listening to this form of music in the first place. Of course, this album is very different in form than those pioneering records, but in my humble opinion, it has the same spirit. Another commonality between “A Umbra” and early black metal albums, is that freshness factor. When I picked up my first Mayhem, Darkthrone, Burzum, Thorns, Necromantia, Masters Hammer, Root tapes and records, they all felt genuinely original. These records were an extention of the people that authored them. 

How would you introduce the new album in your own words?

I won´t. It is all there. For good or worse, the album speaks for itself.

“A Umbra Omega” contains few and very long tracks. Is this another element of changing or just everything came out naturally during its compositions?

Like I brushed upon earlier, the original tracks for this album was very different than those of eventually came into tuition. One of the main differences was the structure. I was to a certain extent happy with the older songs as well, I just didn’t feel that they transcended into that deep black hole enough. It was quite strange in trying to reach abstract thoughts and emotions behind a perception of inner reality, but then present it through verses and choruses. It felt forced and restrained. So eventually, it became obvious to me that i had to flip the formula, for the concepts and the presentation to correlate. With said, this does not mean that I will never make more traditional structures in the future.  

What are you talking about in the lyrics? Are you following a concept?

The lyrics deals with very specific scenarios, but instead of revealing these scenarios, they are abstracted beyond recognition. Instead, we have left the reader/listener with the thought and emotions pertaining to these situations. 

The lyrics also present a transformation brought through scraping the bottom of the blackest pit. So in contrast, while the lyrics are quite abstracted, the form of darkness it deals with is actually quite tangible. Conceptually though, it was also important for me to prey on specific emotions, mental pictures, moods etc(both musically and lyrically), so that listener slowly gets dragged into his own inner realm and is forced to approach his own mental processes evoked by the music. So at some point the album is much less about the authors ambition and more about the listeners introspection, which paradoxically, is the authors primary ambition.  

The Cd cover seems to be very symbolic. A sort of black and desert landscape, but at the end, a colored pyramid comes out from the earth. Is there a message behind that? Maybe a sort of positivity at the end of a difficult journey?

That is a good interpretation. Like a transcendence, a becoming. Maybe also something that was always set in that location, but invisible before the trying journey. A distinction between the mundane and the mystical. 

Again, the cover is meant to correlate with the lyrical and musical content. In correlation they mean to be transportation device to a reality that pertains to the most hidden parts of your psyche.   

Are you going to perform live after the release of the album? Maybe could we follow you in same festival during summer?

Yes, festivals, singular shows and some touring are in the works. I cant bother to mention them all. I know, I am a terrible businessman. 

Last but not least, would you like to leave a message to our readers?

Thank you for your time and attention.

andrea.sacchi

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Poser di professione, è in realtà un darkettone che nel tempo libero ascolta black metal, doom e gothic, i generi che recensisce su Metallus. Non essendo molto trve, adora ballare la new wave e andare al mare. Ha un debole per la piadina crudo e squacquerone, è rimasto fermo ai 16-bit e preferisce di gran lunga il vinile al digitale.

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