The more I get into this blog thing, the more I see elements falling in their own places, cycles going on and on, feelings and moments repeating themselves. Another example of this phenomenon is this Hypothermia interview. Here in Finland the nature is balancing on the edge of winter and spring, and all these alternately crisp and misty days have forced me to take walks in forests and listening to the bands like Drudkh, Walknut, Austere and some other epic but still bitter sounding bands. Also Hypothermia has sneaked its way to my playlists, and so it’s refreshing to take another look on this old interview – and see what words I used to start this actual interview! A cycle is turning again…
However, my most enthusiastic Hypothermia mania has withered away – the band had its moments but generally the band’s material wasn’t so memorable after all. Kim Carlsson was at his best when he was walking on the thin line between hypnotic repetition and improvised solutions – Gråtoner (2008) is a fine example of this.
The latest offering from Hypothermia lair seems to be Skogens Hjärta album, which everyone can download with “pay-as-you-will” principle from the band’s homepage. I haven’t done that yet, but if this winter continues, maybe I will. Also other creations are waiting us in the cold horizon, according to Carlsson:
– Hypothermia has been experiencing some re-arrangements of members as well as locations for recordings over the past years and we’re becoming stronger for every year, just as our dedication and spiritual devotion. As with any art there are periods every year that are concentrated on channeling the essence that lives as Hypothermia, especially every winter during the last five years has become more intense in every sense: every year greets me as the devil’s cold whispers runs through me, his voice grows stronger and louder for every year and season that passes. Something which will show this materialized is the next album which will require a minimum of two discs… so you could definitely say that we embark on this channeling with full power now. It feels extraordinary and overwhelming.
The spring is coming, again. Let’s still spend a moment or two with the last breaths of winter, feel its relieving caress of oblivion, which separates yourself from your body. This is a point where your cut flesh doesn’t bleed anymore, it’s too cold for pain, too cold for blood, too cold even for dying. This is a state of mind where Hypothermia is wandering. Mainman Kim gave us some answers and memories under the frost in the Autumn of 2006.
So, the winter is coming, the temperatures are getting lower and snow is covering the surface of the land there in Sweden, too. How do these changes affect you? Do you sense any changes in your state of mind, inspiration etc.?
– Winter has always been a change for the better. This is the only time of the year when I actually feel that I breathe and on the behalf of inspiration, there is no better time. I always have a continuous flow of inspiration but it is in winter that it is most flawless and of higher quality. I find myself being more calm and focused.
Well, Hypothermia as a band name and as a band is quite over-whelming and has a sense of finality to it. How was all this coldness and freezing rage born in the first place?
– I suppose it came with birth. I have always had a deep connection to coldness.
Since Hypothermia is, for the most part, your own creation, I have to ask if Hypothermia reflects yourself as a whole, or does it represent just one side of you? Usually people say that their music reflects their feelings, but I guess you can go even deeper with your music, creating a whole picture of your inner self.
– Hypothermia is both a reflection of me as a whole and a representation of different moods and emotions. It is limitless. This will become more present with a couple of songs I’ve worked on the last year which should be recorded and eventually released during 2007.
Have you ever thought of making Hypothermia a “real” band with full line-up, or is it even impossible to find kindred spirits?
– I personally don’t like the idea of a “real” band. I know people who share some of my views but even if I would have use for a larger line-up than myself and a drummer it would only be for the purpose of a performance. But for me to keep Hypothermia and my creativity without limitation I must remain the sole-creator. But an example of a more “full” line-up is the current I’m rehearsing with at the moment for future acoustic performances with a drummer and second guitarist.
Let’s analyse this “one man band” scheme more. When I find out that a band is build around one person, I get the sense of this band and its music being more like a personal calling and ceremony than with regular bands, who hang out in the rehearsal room, share some beer and create music (and share visions and opinions etc.) together. Your thoughts on this?
– In a way, I have both. Since I create all my music and its main foundations alone then when a session for rehearsal or recording is scheduled it becomes more of a “band” experience out of it.
I have been spinning your albums a lot lately, and although the music of Hypothermia is usually described as monotonous and being based on repetition, you can also find many other shades in there – from atmospheric flowing to pure northern rage. In addition to monotonous and purely cold feeling, you have evidently other goals when it comes to creating music?
– It is a bit hard to explain in a language that isn’t my mother language; my lyrics are usually somewhat clear about the matter, on and off. It is generally about creating an awareness of negativity and its continuous presence and power to create and affect. My affection towards repetition is simply because of the emotional and meditative state that I put myself in when I perform my creations. It is something that I don’t mind sharing.
I’d like to pick up some certain things from your discography. The first thing is the last track on your Rakbladsvalsen album, which reminds me of Forgotten Woods’ mellow moments and even some melancholic rock music. That song creates a nice contrast with the opening track which is a lengthy opus of cold Black Metal. What is the story behind that fourth track and what feelings did spin in your head when writing the song?
– Originally, I always write my songs without distortion. This one in particular is simply some ideas from the whole recording put into a song when we rehearsed it. I wrote all music for the album during a few days in December 2005 with the obsession of cold as inspiration of the music along with the weekend that the lyric this conception album is about. The clean and clear smell of cold air in autumn and winter colliding with dirt, rust and bloody smell of a slaughterhouse.
Another quite different and almost cheerful song is Att Älskas… (nomen est omen, heh?) from the upcoming split with Woods Of Infinity (which was never released, though… But you can find the song from the Internet wonderland -ed. ). Is it really “happiness” that those melodies create or just an illusion or some kind of twisted mutation of positive feelings?
– This song in particular is one of my most genuine reflections of negativity. Displaying the negative in positive and positive in negative, which in conclusion is a theme of the lyric. So your observation is quite accurate.
How about WOI as a band then, what’s your opinion about their perverse and absurd music and ideology?
– It is a bit hard to explain properly, I must admit. Their art makes me feel a brotherlike connection which puts me in admiration and respect. For them, Scandinavian nature and the nature of man itself and the true nature of Negativity in its endless shapes.
The song Melankoli from the split with Aska stands out because of its vocals, they make a connection to the band mentioned above, WOI and their insane atmosphere. Well, you can deliver your feelings through the instruments, but the singing is in my opinion the strongest and purest form of self-expression. In what kind of moods you “sing” your songs? Are the any peculiar states of mind, moments etc.?
– Agreed, sometimes there is a need, or perhaps – an urge. To bring in someone from the “outside” even though in this case it was on a very personal level with both collaborators which let the song grow and mature for over a year to turn into the beauty it became. To be able to use my throat I can put myself in different moods depending on what result I’m after. It can take a certain period of time to reach a desired/needed hysteria obtained through focusing or self-abuse or sometimes both combined.
Let’s get back to that monotonous feeling, which is the main source and character in your music at the end of the day. Do those repetitive riffs take you somewhere, to some sort of trance, or what does charm you in those 20+ minute songs?
– The coldness of winter is always inside my mind. Which is what I reach into and it holds me there in a firm grip. The sensation is very hard to describe, it becomes undetectable for the mind to grasp if it is my thoughts and emotions or my veins that are opened/widened. It gives me a further and deeper reflection of the general misery and negativity and turns it into something stronger and as an important part in my existence as breathing. So yes, a sort of trance is an appropriate way to describe it.
Although ever since the days of Burzum Black Metal has included feelings of depression and trance-like atmospheres, the tag “suicidal Black Metal” didn’t emerge until this century, and I guess many would call your music “suicidal”. Of course the genres are always artificial and sometimes totally useless, but I’ll ask it anyway: what’s your opinion about suicidal black metal as a genre and as a phenomenon?
– It is just one of many weak points in the general individual’s mind, to always make definitions. To organize everything into its specific little place. But there couldn’t be a more inappropriate definition when it is completely in the eyes of the observer. Which usually is wrong. I wouldn’t call my music “suicidal” and I don’t even like referring to it as “Black Metal”, it is just simplifications. My overall feeling towards this must be disgust. From most Black Metal that I ever hear is from people that do not seem to have taken their time to evolve together with negativity and let it enhance their minds, writings and actions. Just being temporary inspired or charmed by its surface.
If we take a look at Black Metal in general, we can find that the picture has always been very wide and shattered – for example Hypothermia is miles away from Blasphemy both musically and ideologically. But still, is there any common ground despite all this dispersion?
– Perhaps. But I wouldn’t be the right person to make any connections. I cannot say if they make their music for others or themselves. But if it would be the latter, then that would be it.
One thing which is usually mentioned when talking about Black Metal is the presence of Satan. Like in the case of Forgotten Woods – a band close to your style – the word ‘Satan’ isn’t included in the vocabulary of Hypothermia. Rune from FW said that Satan has gone through inflation, and there is no use to repeat it in FW’s lyrics, although it’s present as an idea, standing for individuality. What’s your reason for the “absence” of Satan?
– It is certainly a short, exact and correct notification. Satan is mentioned in just a small quantity of lyrics, one being featured on the split with Dimhymn. Much is about practical things as sense and logic. Positive and negative. Anything can evolve and be evolved through negativity which to me is equality to Satan. Since in the end, it is upon the individual to choose its master. If it shall strike him down or rise him up. Using the actual words Negativity or Satan would usually lack of purpose in Hypothermia. When it is an essence always present in my audial and lyrics works. I wouldn’t want to simplify or narrow down anything that I do just for the purpose to get more people to connect with it. Those who search for its presence will find it.
And now that we are deep in this context, let’s spew out the big question: what does Black Metal give to you?
I have repeated words like ‘cold’ and ‘depression’ when talking about your music, and those same words can be connected to Hypothermia’s lyrics and ideology. You have stated openly that your lyrics deal with self-mutilation and bloodletting. Although we are now walking on very personal ground, could you shed some light on the motives concerning these topics? I guess you bleed for yourself, not for “Him”?
– Sometimes shedding blood can be needed to get closer to a certain state of mind. A deeper awareness of negativity concerning both the mental and physical. An additional and sometimes shallow reason would be the glorious feeling of when the skin splits open. That is one reason which by itself is enough for the self-mutilation. Consequences is also something of interest in this matter, the aching burning sensation the days afterwards while being surrounded by nature, where each step puts you deeper into its coldness and each step is painful. It’s simply wonderful.
Usually in Black Metal the hate and disgust is thrown towards the world around you, but I sense that there is a feeling of self-hate and self-contempt in Hypothermia. Am I on the right tracks? Do you position yourself above everything else, or just isolate yourself from the others?
– It is hard to neglect a certain degree of self-contempt. Which as I see it is needed to be truthful towards myself and others. Since it is closely related to contempt in general which certainly is hard to avoid. But something as deep as hatred shouldn’t be thrown around too easily. If not given hatred its needed respect it would strike us and not others down.
Besides hate, the world of death is another carrying force in Black Metal. What’s your relation to death? Is it always present in your life and thoughts, do you fear it or are you curious to find out what’s there (or is there anything)?
– I see no reason for any fear or curiosity. Its presence is everywhere so it is not like it is something that can be avoided. But I cannot deny a certain interest and affection towards it. Isolation will bring me to a final insight one day and I’m fine with that. Nothing that I currently could go more in depth about.
You have mentioned that many recordings of Hypothermia take place outside of society, in the houses at the countryside or in the woods. How big of an effect this kind of environment has on you and your creative force? I can imagine that it’s very interesting and shattering to create music like this almost alone, released from the “modern” world…
– It is a must. When we have our sessions the isolation from the rest of the world is necessary. To acquire the needed stillness/calm, to be able to focus. The beautiful desolate surroundings have their purpose as well.
On the other hand, you have many social connections: you run a label called Insikt and Hypothermia has also made one live gig. Do you see a contradiction between being social, having relationships and meeting new people when your music gives out a totally different picture? Is there any discrepancy?
– Unfortunately, to achieve certain goals one has to contradict them to in the end be able to achieve them. If it wasn’t for the support of some dedicated individuals I wouldn’t be able to do what I do today. The contradiction will be erased partially by time but so far it cannot be avoided. It also puts several things in perspective and enhances them further. Which in the beginning lead me into the coldness and isolation. But in the end it all has its common reason, to fuel the cold flame of Hypothermia.
So, this moment of social contact has reached its end. Any last words?
– Respect the silence and submit to it.