Hvile I Kaos in 2017 is easily the strongest it’s ever been. I brought it back from an extended haitus with two EPs, Beholden: Thy Olde Birch Gibbet and the Cellistic Black Metal Tyranny split with Angmar. Now with a fresh live lineup and several live rituals under our belt, we’re ready to confront the world with Agios O Fotiá.
2.Recently you have released a new album, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording and also how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?
In the past everything on recording was pretty scripted and through-composed. Always extremely symmetrical in the way the phrases were divided. The new material has a much more organic flow to it. The writing process allows for more spontaneity, and just some generally weirder sounds. Also, the incorporation of acoustic guitar and bass as a rhythm section is still a fairly recent development. The early EPs from 2013/2014 didn’t have that.
3.You label your music as 'cellistic black metal', can you tell us a little bit more about this term?
In essence, Cellistic Black Metal is a descriptor for Black Metal with the cello as its primary foundational instrument. Of course this does not mean other instruments can’t be used. I’ve taken to recording acoustic guitar and bass for rhythmic support on the more recent releases, and live Hvile I Kaos also features violin playing the lead melodies. But the cello is always the foundation.
4.So far your music has been instrumental and avoids the traditional instruments found in black metal, can you tell us a little bit more about taking this musical direction?
I feel like a true musician shouldn’t need to use lyrics as a crutch to communicate a message. Of course this doesn’t discount the value of great lyrics or libretto applied to music. But the music itself be able to stand on its own as a communicative tool.
5.On the albums you record everything by yourself, would you be open to working with a full band on the recordings?
Not at the moment. At this point I’ve kind of just embraced how much of a control freak I am when it comes to my own music. When I’ve been in other bands I’d show up with a song I’d written more or less complete, and then it would get altered by the rest of the band and I’d get pretty bent out of shape over that. I always have something super specific in mind when I write something of my own. I don’t like that being fucked with. I’m just an asshole like that.
Of course, when it comes to the full band I’ve assembled for Hvile I Kaos, their own creativity is expressed on the live front. There are some long sections of improvisation in a few of the pieces we perform, and if a member has an idea for how to do something differently live, I’m by no means opposed to that. I’m of the mindset that the live experience is fundamentally different from the studio recording. That should be exploited to its fullest extent.
6.What are some of the best shows that the live line up has played and also how would you describe your stage performance?
Our live performances are rituals in a very real sense. We play around an evocation triangle with lit candles, and transfer our energy towards the triangle via the music, and then out towards the audience. When performed correctly, a gateway is opened.
Every live ritual we’ve done has been special in its own right. So far my favorite of 2017 would be our date at the Regal Inn in Lakewood with Valkyrium. The energy there was really special.
7.Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?
We do have some live rituals lined up for 2018, which will stay undisclosed for the time being. Touring will come when it makes sense for us.
8.On the first ep you had done a 'Dissection' cover, what was the decision behind doing your own version of one of their songs?
Jon Nodtveidt and Dissection were a primary influence of mine to form Hvile I Kaos. The band name actually translates directly to “Rest in Chaos”, a term often used in reference to Jon. It seemed only fitting to acknowledge that influence on the eponymous debut EP.
9.You have also been a part of splits with 'Northsong' and 'Angmar', what are your thoughts on the other bands that had participated on the recordings?
Both of those artists are two extremely valued colleagues of mine. Northsong was one of the first projects I ever got in touch with during the earliest days of my involvement in the scene. I always thought Cortland’s music had a really special atmosphere. Before that split came out I actually appeared as a session musician on Northsong’s “The Final Journey” album.
Angmar is the only other project in existence (to my knowledge at least) to ascribes to the term Cellistic Black Metal. Cameron’s take on the genre, and how to use the cello in a Black Metal context, is pretty distinct from my own, which I appreciate. He and I have exchanged a lot of ideas on music and other matters over the years.
10.The new album was released on 'Deathwave Nexion', a label that also releases occult books, can you tell us a little bit more about this label?
The working relationship between Hvile I Kaos and Deathwave Nexion has been fantastic. Both are comprised entirely of individuals who prize integrity over commercial appeal. They exclusively sign artists and writers whose work pertains to the more abstract truths that dwell beneath the surface. I’m glad to work with people whose goals are complimentary to my own.
11.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of black metal and other forms of underground music?
Hard to say. A lot of people don’t really know what to make of a project like Hvile I Kaos. I’m always happy and grateful for those who are able to really get into it. Or at least appreciate it on an aesthetic level.
12.Where do you see yourself heading into as a musician in the future?
Hopefully doing things I’m not capable of delivering at this point in my life. I’m constantly trying to push myself and put myself in environments that challenge me, both in terms of playing and composition. I still kind of feel like I’m just scratching the surface.
13.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your newer music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
I didn’t make any deliberate effort to mimic any existing artist or style on Agios O Fotiá. I focused primarily on the spiritual significance of everything I was writing and kind of just let the music happen.
That said, classic Melodic Black Metal has always been a staple of the Hvile I Kaos sound. Dissection, Vinterland, Sacramentum, stuff like that. Also occult rock like The Devil’s Blood, In Solitude, Jess and the Ancient Ones. My latest obsession might just be the new Grave Pleasures album, that’s got a fantastic groove to it. Within the last year or two I’ve gotten super into the whole Orthodox Black Metal thing. Deathspell Omega, VI, Acherontas, Amestigon, etc.
As far as string playing and writing influences are concerned, obviously Apocalyptica opened the door for me to use the cello the way I do. I go back to that influence a lot. I enjoy the work of cellists like Zoe Keating, Matthew Schoening, and Maya Beiser who use the instrument in genre-bending ways. A lot of people tell me my music has a folky vibe to it. I really can’t claim any authentic folk influence in the way I write. However, I do enjoy the work of fiddlers and folk artists like Annbjorg Lien, Frigg, and Alasdair Fraser/Natalie Haas quite a bit. Maybe that’s rubbed off on me, who knows.
14.How would you describe your views on Occultism and The Left Hand Path?
The Left Hand Path certainly is not for everyone. It’s something that by default mandates confronting and embracing everything we’ve ever been conditioned to fear by civilization at large. Having the blinders ripped off can be quite traumatic. However, for those select few suited for it, the road less traveled by can be the most rewarding continuous experience imaginable. And the most punishing.
Concerning occultism, well, there’s a lot of bullshit out there. Finding the gold nuggets often requires panning through the muck. My own personal litmus test for whether or not I consider legitimate a system of occult thought and practice is twofold. Primarily, I seek tools to empower the individual rather than fear-riddled mechanisms of superstation and subjugation. Within that framework, I generally look for patterns, overlapping archetypes and concepts that compliment one another. Connecting the dots to help me reach my goals.
15.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
The greatest and clearest facilitator of evolution is suffering. Rise up and Become.