Having made their incendiary and cermonial debut performance at Bergen’s one-off Blekkmetal festival last November, Gaahl’s Wyrd – the new band fronted by former Gorgoroth and God Seed vocalist Gaahl – have have both announced a new and very intimate show in Bergen’s infamous Garage venue on May 6, and released professionally shot footage from Blekkmetal, exclusively through Metal Hammer.
Featuring guest appearances from ex-Warduna colleagues Einar Selvik and Lindy-Fay Hella – alongside Gaahl’s longterm Trelldom colleague Stian Kårstad, Krakow’s Frode Kilvik, Borknagar and Leprous drummer Baard Kolstad and Sahg guitarist Ole Hermann Walaunet, who along with Baard, also permormed with God Seed – Gaahls Wyrd’s live debut was a journey through the singer’s musical history. The three songs he’s revealing today, shot by Canadian filmmaker David Hall. comprise two Trelldom tracks, Aldrande Tre and Steg, and the standout track from God Seed’s I Begin album, Litr.
Below, along with the three blistering and delirium-inducing live tracks, we talk to Gaahl about his rebirth after the trials – both literal and spiritual – with Gorogoroth and God Seed, what to expect from the show in May, the multiple paths open to Gaahls Wyrd and more.
You’ve chosen to release two Trelldom songs and one from God Seed from the live show at Blekkmetal. Why these ones in particular?
“We had a lot to choose from, and since the Trelldom songs had never been played live before, I thought it would be decent to give people something that they hadn’t heard before. I really like that performance from everyone on stage. There’s something happening at least, hah!”
Do you think that was down to the circumstance of the festival, the people you have around you, the feeling the feeling you have as a new band?
“Personally, I was exhausted that day, which you could probably hear. I can hear it, and because of the opening of my art exhibit at the festival as well. So when I had dinner earlier that evening I had no voice left at all. I had to stay away for about one and half hours and returned and did the show, and luckily we executed it rather well, but of course it’s not the ideal warm-up, especially for a show that lasts for one hour and 45 minutes.”
This was your first gig as Gaahls Wyrd. How representative was it of where the band are going to go, because obviously no one’s heard any new material yet.
“Yeah, at the moment we are working on six songs, and this weekend we will have a work through and bang our heads together and see what direction they are heading into, but so far Stian has been the one presenting the most material. Of course my relationship with him has been going on since the mid-90s. I think he joined Trelldom in ’98 so I’ve been working with him for many years. But the idea is that everyone is supposed to be included in the creative element of the band. It’s not meant to be a duo concept as it was with God Seed, so everyone will have their say in what we present.”
Is that a deliberate break from the way you’ve worked before?
“Yeah, it’s more getting back to the way I used to work in Trelldom, where we created songs in the studio, or just worked on them almost jam-like, where are you let the energies just decide when you go. Of course there are no rules to how we decide to create, it can take any form.”
It sounds like you have to take a step back to take a step forward.
“Yeah, it’s so easy to lose touch with the nerve of music. It needs to. Its way easier just to go and repeat it and repeat it instead of keeping it alive. I’m taking it back to the soil, basically, and letting it grow from there instead of just making it be a repetition. Otherwise, I lose the will to play it.”
The first thing you got coming up is the gig at the Garage on May 6. Will you be playing new songs that night?
“Yes. We’ll see what we present. It will be a longer set then we did at Blekkmetal, and we hope to bring in some newly created elements. And of course there’ll be a couple of guest appearances too, but I can’t confirm them just yet.
“I like to work on a small stage as well. Garage just takes 350 max, so there’s something to work from the soil. For me, I need to verify that my memory of small, intense are more to my liking than the bigger venues. It might be that my memory is fooling me, but I miss this intensity and the close interaction with audiences. But of course it might just be that my mind is playing a prank on me.”
Anyone who’s been to the Hole In The Sky festival or Beyond The Gates knows that the venue has a special vibe.
“Yeah, Garage is one of the places that, when black metal was at its most extreme, it was one of the few places that dared to let us have concerts, so in a way it’s a cradle of live performances for the Norwegian black metal scene. It’s a legendary stage.”
For the God Seed album, it took quite a while for you to find the right voice and record your vocals, but with this, it seems everything seems to be falling into place a lot easier.
“Yes. I’m never in a hurry in that sense, but when you work with the correct people it’s easier to put energy in the correct motion and in the correct direction. I think that’s the main reason it’s something that moves faster. There were so many elements from the start of God Seed, I was already extremely tired of being seen at all, so I basically needed to remove myself from metal for a period. I’m extremely pleased with the outcome of I Begin, but it was difficult to crack the code of it. In a way it’s a positive in the sense of when you have to struggle with what you work with. Lyrically I already had the concept prepared, but it was very difficult to find the energy to finally push it through. None of the songs were coming easily in that sense. It’s not good to say why, but I have my theories on that…”
You seemed very ambivalent about being involved in the metal scene at the time, so what changed in you? You sound a lot more positive about what you’re doing now.
“I think I’m still a bit distanced from metal in general. There’s no correct way of being ‘metal’. In any sense, that’s probably the most ‘metal’ I am. I’m not thinking too much about this aspect of things as metal, but I’ve started approaching it as when I first started with this musical form. What it will turn into I don’t exactly know at this moment but it will but it would not be difficult to link my past and my musical archive to this. But the worst thing one can do is to stagnate, so that’s something we will avoid.”
Does it feel different working with a group of musicians, where it’s not just one person’s music that you’re trying to fit yourself to?
“Yeah, but still it feels very familiar and just the energy, we are probably more extreme in the rehearsal location than we are onstage. The energy between us, it’s very correct, and see how intense all the musicians and the members are in just playing in the rehearsal room, I know it’s the right band and the right members. And when you go onstage, you know everything is up to you, because everyone is doing things correctly. This probably doesn’t sound right and a black metal context but there are only good energies between us. We might end up as a boring band in that sense, but we are enjoying it.”
Visit the Gaahls Wyrd Facebook page here
And visit the Facebook events page for the show on May 6 here!