Arckanum – Chaos Warrior

arckanum_headerFor 20 prolific years, Arckanum has been a life consuming force of expression, spiritual exploration, and unique black metal supremacy for its soul creator, Shamaatae. The stripped to the charred core of this musical project has always possessed a creative voice that has stood out as something unique in the black metal world due to Shamaatae’s skillful union of black, punk and experimental elements. After falling into a brief sleep after 3 highly regarded albums for Necropolis Records due to business conflicts with that label, Arckanum returned to making potent and revitalized sounding albums that continued to build upon an already faithful fan base. I consider every album in this projects catalog to be something special, but with Fenris Kindir, a level of intensity and stylistic flair has been crossed which elevated the charisma and magical atmosphere plied by the hands of Shamaatae.

Having interviewed him so many years ago for Worm Gear #5, and being utterly inspired by the conviction and songwriting fire to be witnessed on Fenris Kindir, we sent out a slew of questions to Shamaatae to bring you all up to speed on what sort of torment the years have brought him in his pursuit for musical destruction and complete absorption into the anti-cosmic continuum. -Marty

Worm Gear: Greetings Shamaatae! Arckanum has been a mainstay in your life since 1992. Your dedication to this artistic vision and your own identifiable style for over 2 decades is commendable You have seen the black metal scene change with the rise and fall in popularity, creativity, and extremity. How do you feel that Arckanum fits within this now vast genre of music? Do you still feel like you are a part of this “scene” or does the isolative sound of Arckanum very much reflect the similar life repelling feelings within yourself?

Shamaatae: I can’t say that Arckanum has been involved in the scene since the 90’s, hence I might not be a part of it. I am not a black metal dude abusing alcohol and drugs, fucking groupies and hating on the internet (I live in the middle of the woods without phone and internet); I take my existence seriously as a Chaos-Warrior, not as a human but as a spiritual being. I live for mighty Loki’s purpose, I live for Angrboða’s law of lawlessness – I live to free my anti-cosmic spirit and worship the acosmic Chaos. The involvement in the black metal scene is not what is important to me and Arckanum, obviously people like my creations anyway.

WG: In the past you have stated that you suffered an incredible amount of difficulty, loss, and dishonesty at the hands of Necropolis Records, so much so that you considered stopping music all together. What was the deciding factor to push on with Arckanum? Are you glad you did?

S: True, but after telling the little c**t Paul Thind to fuck off I felt better. I don’t think I’m capable of quitting Arckanum, I got too much inside that needs to break out (it might be my autistic traits).

WG: With all you have learned in the past with dealing with untrustworthy individuals, how do you approach your working relationship with new labels? What sort of advice would you offer for newer bands starting out, eager to sign any contract just to get their music out there? Are labels even that necessary anymore these days with the rise of the Internet?

S: Well, I have switched labels quite a bit, that says something about me being a bit pickier. All labels seem awesome in the beginning, but it all comes to when they are supposed to pay up, then you discover the true nature of their honesty. Good for me Seasons of Mist is an awesome label. Debemur Morti Productions is also a very good label; highly recommended.
My advice would be to research the labels, ask people who been in contact with them. Don’t just set with the first one which is contacting you, many will just give you a shit deal and feed you left-overs. Make sure to understand the contracts; they DON’T have to be complex. Best is to live close to them so that you can visit them and kick their asses if they screw you over!
No, labels might not be the best thing for you. The best thing, of course, would be to keep outsiders’ greedy fingers out of your business, but it is a little more complex than that. It all depends on what you want to do with your band. To do all the promotion, tours, pressing CDs/LPs, shirts, etc., yourself is fucking hard. Do you have the budget? Do you have the contacts? Internet is only a part of what needs to be done. Try it and see for yourself. My spontaneous thought is: when are you going to have time to rehearse?

WG: “Shamaatae” has been an interesting figure with this band, once shrouded in mystery and hidden behind the now infamous mask. As the project has forged on over the years, what does Shamaatae mean to you? Do you still feel the connection to it that you once did? If you see it as a part of your inner self or personality, how has it developed or diminished over the years? Do you ever see a time where you no longer need the mask, or is it engrained into the mythos/essence of Arckanum at this point?

shamaatae 3S: The mask is a ritual mask which is a part of my shape-shift workings. It brings out a certain side of me which makes my essence evoke familiar atmospheres, things I need to create. The mask is just a physical item, but the feeling it evokes makes it magical to me. As I grow the mask grows with me in the sense that I behold it from different perspectives from time to time. I would say our relationship is organic.

WG: As a fan and follower of your work since Fran Marder, I have always appreciated Arckanum’s unique take on black metal which is something that you have maintained and built upon the entire length of your musical catalog. What do you attribute this inspiration to? Who were the bands that sent you down this path and what do you think you have done to make the music truly your own?

S: First of my occult interest have had a huge impact on my creations, without it I would probably not even have started Arckanum. And I have always listened to obscure black metal, I always thought that when bands got a record deal and was sent to a good studio their sound was destroyed by cleanness and fat bass. Take Marduk and Unanimated for example, their sound and feeling were fucking awesome on their demos, but when they recorded their first album it sounded like shit to me; overproduced. Even my debut album suffered from this, my demo Trulen had the most awesome sound, by me, then I got to go to Abyss studio and record Fran Marder and my sound was ruined. I realized this though and got my shit together on Kostogher.
I used to listen to Necromantia’s demos, a lot of early Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian, Polish and Greek black metal demos, as I thought they were the only ones understanding the black metal sound. Of course there are exceptions, many bands all over released some grim demos, I’m just speaking in general here. I believe my fondness for demos and vinyl 7”´s formed my simple productions.

WG: On the first 3 Arckanum albums, Pan was the driving force of your lyrics which you sung in ancient Swedish. This was very unique for the time and in regards to typical black metal themes. How do the ideas of Pan worship and Anti-Cosmic Satanism intersect/relate to each other? Do you feel that you said all you wanted to in your anthems to Pan? Were you afraid that you were painting yourself into a corner with the subject matter?

S: Well, everybody who is interested in reading about this should read my book Panparadox. It is impossible to explain this complex matter here. Put simply, I evolved in my religious journey and found multiple paths to gnosis. I did not want to stagnate so I pushed on and explored other aspects of the abyss. Pan is important, but the journey doesn’t stop there.

WG: Your latest album, Fenris Kindir, strikes me as possessing a vibrant fire and intensity that begs for repeated Arckanum-Fenris Kindir-cover-small-version--900x900px-72dpi-RGBlistens. The albums leading up to this release had it as well, but the material and the production feels far more aggressive, almost loosely punk based at times, giving it an urgent push and more of a destructive quality. How do you feel this material sits within your body of work? Did you achieve the atmosphere and desired force on this album? It just feels like you hit a creative peak this time around that you have been reaching towards for several years…

S: I think I found a good style that fits my writing of music on this album. This album is so aggressive and more powerful because it is about mighty Fenrir.

WG: Another aspect of Arckanum that has evolved over the years, is the ambient/experimental tracks that lurk between the metal songs on your albums. They have always been a nice contrast, but I found the ritualistic elements on Fenris Kindr to be quite chilling or creepy this time around. Are you feeling more focused or comfortable working within this style? What feelings or visions do you hope to unlock with their inclusion?

S: During time you get better at creating atmospheres, and I feel I’ve found a good way to create the atmospheres that I fantasize about. On Fenris Kindir I wanted the feeling of war and rebellion.

WG: Fenris Kindr, like a lot of your albums, has a concept behind it, or a tale to tell. Could you share what went into the lyrics this time around?

S: “This album is a dedication to the flaming giant-wolf, son of Loki; created from the Chaos-fires of Múspellsheimr. It is a tribute to the wrathful giant-wolf, son of Angrboða, found in the Ironwood where he is breeding hordes of giant monstrous wolves with Angrboða. His victorious name is Fenrir, also called Tungls Tjúgari! Hail Fenrir!
The sounds and music on this album are my auditory vision of the march of Fenrir convoyed with his hordes of giant wolves from the depths of the underworld to face Ragna Rök with warlike glory – deformed giant-wolves swarming in thousands.
The Old Norse saga Völuspá (40-41) says: “In the east of the Ironwood (Járnviðr) she the Old One (Angrboða) sat and there bore Fenrir’s Kin (Fenris kindir). One of which became the most worthy of them all, the One taking down the sun/moon with a two-pronged pitchfork (tungls tjúgari), in a troll’s shape. He fills his belly with the corpses of dead men and defiles the houses of gods with blood. The sun’s beams blacken during summers and the weather grows stormy.” The later saga Gylfaginning (51) reveals Fenrir’s flaming Múspell-descent during Ragna Rök: “Fenrir shall advance with gaping mouth, and his lower jaw shall be against the earth, but the upper against heaven, he would gape yet more if there were room for it; fires blaze from his eyes and nostrils… The Sons of Múspell shall go forth to that field which is called Vígríðr, thither shall come Fenrir also…”
This is my tribute to the wrathful, harsh and untamed anti-nature of Fenrir’s mighty essence! The anti-cosmic enemy of the worlds!
Heill Tungls Tjúgari! Heilir Fenris Synir!”

WG: Do you need a creative spark found in your research to drive the musical content on your albums when it comes time to create? How closely are the 2 sides of creating an Arckanum album related/important to each other?

S: Yes, I would say that my studies, my religion and my music go hand in hand. Without my religious path Arckanum would be a waste of time, for me.

arckanum-shamaatae-2WG: Having authored books on Chaos-Gnosticism, Anti-Cosmic Satanism, and Old Norse religion, you have dedicated a great deal of your time and spiritual quest on the darker, more destructive side of religion, enough so to have the knowledge to teach others of your findings and beliefs. What was it about these teachings that inspired you to delve deeper into the concepts and ways of spiritual enlightenment?

S: The possibility to be spiritually freed from the mundane shackles. The flames of Surtr have always been calling for me, and I do my best to reach out to embrace this calling.

WG: How have these beliefs changed since you have become a father, if at all? Is there anything that you have discovered spiritually that you hope to share with your child, or even shield them from when they have reached a point in their development where religion could be a factor?

S: The only thing that has change from my normal practice is time. It is a bit harder nowadays to stay up all night and sleep in. My son has autism and his routine is to wake up at 06:30 every day to watch Star Wars, he doesn’t care if I need to sleep in.

WG: You have stated in the past that ritual is important to finding your center when it comes time to create. Has your ritualistic practices changed over the years as you have come to know and become influenced by a wider scope of religions? Do they still play an important role in your life?

S: I evolve every week as a person, spirit and as a practitioner of Thursatru. My ritualistic workings are developing with me of course: stagnation and ignorance are Yahweh’s way to keep us blind and imprisoned!

WG: Knowing that you started off primarily as a drummer, you have become a multi-instrumentalist as well. Was this out of necessity? Is percussion still your calling/comfortable instrument, or do you prefer others when it comes to the songwriting process? What do you feel you’re most effective with in expressing yourself?

S: I still consider myself a drummer. It was a necessity for me to learn to play guitar etc., I don’t really practice my instruments, and I only play when I’m in the studio. My pen is my sword 😉
WG: Does the music of Arckanum fulfill you as an artist? I know you have been in other bands over the years, but does this musical entity give you enough so that you really aren’t as interested working with other artists?

S: Yes, Arckanum is enough for me. What satisfies my artistic side the most is my writing.

WG: Thank you Shamaatae for again taking the time to enter the halls of Worm Gear! Your last appearance was in our 5th issue of the print zine, in 1997. We’re honored to obtain an even deeper glimpse into your world! Time certainly flies! The final words are yours…

S: Thank you for your support! Hail Fenrir! Hail Ragna Rök!

shamaatae pic 1


~ by martyworm on June 5, 2013.

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