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Khold's Thomas Berglie: "We like to set a mood. A groovier hypnotic feel. A sinister feeling"

Interview with Thomas Berglie from Khold
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 19 July 2022, 11:03 PM

No funny business here, just plain honesty, as cold as it can possibly be but true to form, without any hints of plastic. The Black Metal entity from Norway, Khold, returns after a period of eight years of silence. Each member consumed by a variety of projects but at the end, finding the path back to the fold. Signing to a new roster, a new home for their prospect, "Svartsyn" is unleashed from the cold right into one's doorstep, ready to be consumed. Steinmetal had yet again the pleasure to talk with Thomas Berglie, also known as Sarke, about the new album, the return to writing with Khold and more…

Hello Thomas, it is a great pleasure of mine to have you again for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine, how have you been doing sir?

I am all good. Many normal days. Works a lot with music as usual.

It has been quite a while since the last time I heard of Khold, a long period of time of eight years to be exact. Were you guys on a hiatus, doing other projects, like your own Sarke has been doing for instance, perhaps lack of motivation or mojo so to speak?

I have done a couple of Sarke albums and Tulus since the last Khold album. Working on yet another Tulus album now. With Khold, all the members have to be in to it and have the time and inspiration for it. Now was the time again to release an album. We have worked on that album a while now. It was important that the album turned out really good after all these years.

In the last 2.5 years we had a global scale pandemic spreading around, it created a form of chaos that the last several generations haven’t experienced, and hopefully the latest will never in the future. On a personal note, how did you perceive what was going on? How did it affect your area?

Not too much actually. Of course boring with all the rules. No travelling and gigs. But my average day was ok. Got the time to make a lot of music.

If there is one thing that this pandemic did is cause a lot of mental instabilities, in particular due to lockdowns. Now, I assume that the Khold camp was working on its new release at that time. Nonetheless, would you say that this pandemic had an effect on the band’s stability, perhaps on your general mental state?

Not in a mental state. It did not affect the music or any inspiration. It was less rehearsals over time. And the recording was a bit delayed since we were recording the album in Sweden. But it all turned out great in the end.

The next step for Khold was to sign with a new label, after your romance with Peaceville Records. You signed with the Dutch Soulseller Records, which already proved itself to be a great home for extreme Metal, on its various kinds. How do you find this signing with Soulseller? What are your expectations as a veteran band, which has seen a lot throughout its career?

Soulseller has asked for Khold in a long time. When we were ready they offer us the best deal. Maybe not commercial wise, but that we had more control and a closer relationship with everything around the release.

Coming up with your new offering, “Svartsyn”, there is the preservation of the old ways, dark, mysterious and in a special way, melancholic. The direct translation of the title is “I’m Black”. In your perspective, what does that mean?

It does not mean that. Svartsyn is a good album title for this release. It fits both the lyrics and the music. It is melancholy, gloomy, pessimistic. Reflects the dark sides of man. It depicts true and untrue stories from old Norwegian times of torment, hunger and death.

Overall, would you say that “Svartsyn”, coming out after years of absence with fresh material, is also a sign of a new form of image for Khold, within the dark realm that it has been dwelling in?

Not so much new image. I think we moved towards the first album again. I think people recognize everything with Khold. Of course with a new wrapping. It's still dark and groovy. Hopefully a bit more of everything.

Other than being melancholic in overall, and dark as it can be, what other aspects of life, or rather connected to your personal beliefs, does “Svartsyn” channel?

There are no personal beliefs. The Svartsyn lyrics are in general dark and evocative. They are often inspired by nature, weighty emotions, darkness, death or history.

When it comes to morality, and I believe that there is one in any form of release, what is for the listener to find within the halls of “Svartsyn”? Would it be shock or amazement, or rather something different entirely?

There are no moral speeches or hidden messages. We write cold, dark music in the spirit of black metal. The lyrics deals with the darker side of life.

 “Svartsyn” reintroduced me to your form of Black Metal, that magical darkened Celtic Frost meets Hellhammer groovy riffs and mid-tempo onslaught. At times, that deadly mid-tempo is even harsher than blast beats, I’d tell you. In your view, is “Svartsyn” the keeper of its own flame or rather a step forward for Khold musically?

We always try to be true to our own style of music within the black metal scene. We try to make everything better each time. For us speed is not important. We like to set a mood. A groovier hypnotic feel. A sinister feeling. In khold it is about the cold mood of the song and not individual skills.

Since I assume that you had a lot of time to work on “Svartsyn”, what makes it unique in regards to your previous album? Were there lessons of the past that were implemented while the songs were written?

The one thing that was good by having a long time between the albums. It was that the new album had to be great. A medium album would not do. Now we worked through the whole album, so we were satisfied with everything.

What can you tell about the songwriting process of “Svartsyn”, if we already raised the subject? What were the prime influences, this time around, that led you through?

We and I have worked on riffs and ideas for this album for several years now. Then we meet and go through the material. What to use or not. Then we work out the basic for the songs. Then we get the lyrics ready for the tracks. Then we meet up all of us and work out a complete song. Then we can maybe do some minor changes in the studio.
Our influences are the style of Khold itself. Just make it better. Of course in the back of the head, bands we have listen to since the early days.

Influences concerned, since Khold has been pretty constant in its direction within Black Metal, after all these years, what makes this magic of the blackened art endless in your view, in light of “Svartsyn”?

There will always be people that seeks something different. Something obscure and dark. People likes also what they know from before. There will always be room for a new Svartsyn album.

I believe that Andy LaRoque made an amazing service for you guys for taking on the entire production and engineering of the album. You were awarded with a form of sound, as if revamping the 80s, yet with a stronger, modern type, backbone. How do you find the sound of Khold in 2022?

We have worked with him before and we knew he could do a great job with this album. We wanted a massive sound and we got it. He was there through the whole recording. We use of course acoustic drums. No triggers. Guitar and bass amps. No copy/paste. We play to get the right feel. We use time to make the songs, but in the studio we work very fast. I think we did the whole recording in 5 days.

A song that really took me on was the 80s driven “Skarpretter”. For some reason I thought to myself that maybe it is a cover because it sounded so familiar. Nevertheless, it is my favorite out of this album, a total old school mayhem, dirty and fierce. What is your viewpoint about this particular song?

I agree. That's a cool track. It's not a cover song. It is a very basic track, so I guess it can remind people of a lot of things. I, myself is very pleased with this track. We did not make this track in a different way than the other tracks. When I do interviews it seems like people have different favorite tracks. That's good for us of course.

I have to admit that “Manngard” had me surprised, going on with frenzy blast beats, like any form of Scandinavian Black Metal, and in good quality nevertheless. This is probably the only song that features such a different form of energy. Was it on purpose, to sort of break the silence or the formulaic mid-tempo sort of songs?

We make different riffs and ideas for new songs. Manngard turned out well. It also makes the album varied. Just like a track like Helligdom av døde. I guess also some like this well-known Norwegian black metal track.

Looking forward into what remains of 2022, what are the plans of the band going forward? Is Khold still considered a live band as well?

Yes, we will start playing this September. Then we will see what's next. I guess is will be some festivals next year.

Thomas, I wish to thank you for your time and effort on this interview. I enjoyed the vibe and of course the music surrounding “Svartsyn”. Its depth is felt. All the best

Thank you for your support.



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