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Necrofier’s Bakka Larson: “Religious fanatics are only getting louder since they think they are being oppressed…”

Interview with Bakka Larson from Necrofier
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 16 December 2021, 11:01 PM

Something's got to give, and if a journey has to end, in order to start a new one, so be it, it will happen. The story of the Texas based, Necrofier, is based on a desire to put freshly written work to action, to be properly presented to those that wish to listen. Coming from a fairly religious area in the US, it was bound that the band’s Black Metal repertoire would be extreme, and decisive. With the release of their debut album, “Prophecies of Eternal Darkness”, through Season Of Mist. Steinmetal had to learn from the experience by speaking with the band’s vocalist, Bakka Larson.

Hello Bakka, it is a fine pleasure to have you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine, how are things going on your side of the world?

Things seem to have gone mostly back to normal, so hopefully they stay that way.

I heard that things started to hit up in the US with this Omicron variant, showing up on American soil. Is there a state of urgency over that or people are simply focused on getting the booster shot?

We live in Texas so there haven't been restrictions here for quite some time. I don’t see them putting anything in place going forward, a lot of people have got the booster but I think most people just don’t care about any of it anymore.

Talking about the damned virus, these last several months in the US showed promise of how to live alongside this nuisance, in particular with the return of culture and live music. Do you think that it is headed in a positive direction? Is there a distinct chance that when push comes to shove, the country will go into lockdown once again?

Shows are happening all the time this fall. Some bands are requiring vax or negative tests and even masks, but I would say a majority of them don’t have any restrictions. There are points that you would think almost everything is normal again at least show wise. I do believe everything is headed in a positive direction, tons of bands from overseas have toured here this fall and I don’t see that stopping. As far as shutdowns go, I can’t see it happening or anyone adhering to it epically in Texas

Prior to the pandemic, actually two years before its emergence, you started Necrofier with Oceans of Slumber’s skinman, Dobber Beverly. It seems that you were already ready in a way to take on this project and lead it forward. Looking back, was starting Necrofier a means to an end for you in order to kick in additional motivation or simply because pieces came together once Beverly made the opportunity?

My old band, Venomous Maximus had to come to an end and I had been working on writing black metal songs for a little while but didn’t know where I was going with it band wise. I honestly didn’t know if it would ever happen. Dobber was looking to do a black metal band and the stars aligned and Necrofier was born. I was definitely ready to lead something looking back, Dobber also brought in a higher level of playing so I had to step up my game too.

What interested me about this union between you too, as I read the dossier, is that he actually wanted to do a Traditional Heavy Metal kind of project, and he ended up with you, cornering Black Metal driven music. Since you already had material ready, did he just jump in for the ride or were there deliberations?

The intent from the beginning was to go in a traditional 90s black metal style in the vein of Dissection/Dawn etc. We were both on the same page so it started going full steam ahead rather quickly. Also I listen to a lot of heavy metal so that has worked its way into our style.

For the release of your debut album, “Prophecies of Eternal Darkness”, you signed with the European eclectic Metal label of Season Of Mist. How did this dangerous meeting between the band and the label come to be? What are the goals that you set for yourself with this signing with such an important label?

Over the years Dobber and I have interacted with people there and since they were our first choice as a label we reached out to them. It was received well by them and we are very thrilled to be working with them. We wanted a label that understood what we were doing and knew how to help us present it to the world. Hopefully this also opens us in a direction where we can go to Europe in the future.

While listening to “Prophecies of Eternal Darkness”, my mind was racing about the notion that it was more than just Black Metal, along with various attributes, which we will cover later. Especially since you come from the area of Texas, and there is a tide that isn’t too pro religion, so to speak, I can call it personal. Therefore I ask, in your view, what is the essence of the record? How does it measure up to your personal beliefs and your relation with your surroundings?

We tried to sneak many different aspects into the record so it wasn’t just a black metal record. It's hot & humid where we live and I think that goes into the over feel of the record and even things like the guitar tone. Something like how the Northern European bands had a colder feel to them because of where they are from compared to a band like Rotting Christ coming to southern Europe and having a bigger warmer feel to it. As far as beliefs, on Plague Requiem it mocks religion which is very strong here in Texas.

No doubt that you are a strong follower of the Scandinavian scene of Black Metal, nevertheless, I sense that “Prophecies of Eternal Darkness” shows a little more than that. Even though there is roughness and less atmosphere, there are a few examples of Traditional Metal melodies and riffs, which in my view, implemented a little spice to the material. What is your take on that? Is the record a higher stage of development for the band?

Black Metal & Heavy Metal are my two favorite types of metal. The band will always be based in the black metal world but going forward I am sure some more heavy metal will sneak into the riffs and songs. I’ve always loved bands like Rotting Christ & I think they play the line between the two perfectly.

Speaking of which, there is a mention in the dossier about the fusion of Black Metal with American Gothic, along with the Southern feel. Please elaborate on your version of American Gothic, and of course how do your Southern roots come to pass on the record?

Our love of all things dark and being from Texas comes through subconsciously on our art and music. It's our history and our surroundings, so it bleeds into our work. It's more of a state of mind that affects us.

I believe that one of the toughest aspects of the record is the cohesion between lyrics and music. Since “Prophecies of Eternal Darkness” also has a supernatural, or maybe cosmic, kind of feel, how were you able to sustain this solid connection between the two elements of melodic extreme music alongside the lyrical end?

I always go into the occult or esoteric direction when it comes to lyrics but I have to feel the song out with the lyrical content and vibe so I know it will work for it. The music has to make me feel the wayof  the lyrics and vice versa. I have started with different topics many times and gone in a different direction because I didn’t feel the song matched the content. It's important to me that they intertwine.

As a songwriter, along with your experience from other bands, what kind of new possibilities did “Prophecies of Eternal Darkness” open for you, whether in terms of learning something new from the songwriting process, or perhaps new ideas for future songs for other bands of yours?

Especially vocally it has opened the door for me to try different things to use to carve my own style going forward. I am always looking for new things to try. Music wise it showed me a new world of things on how to think about placement and sonically where everything fits. I guess you can say it opened possibilities of all kinds going forward.

One of the album’s deepest songs, which also shares diversity in a way, is “Madness Descends”. Its aching melodic vibe, mid tempo, deceive riffs and finishing energetic touch, display that band’s great qualities in full. Would you say that this song has an impact on the entire record effort? How do you find it personally?

I love this song because it shows a more traditional heavy metal vibe that we do and also goes to a chaotic blasting ending. The diversity of the song also fits in perfectly with the other songs on the record.

“Betrayal Of The Queen” shows a Doom kind of direction to your music, really coming strong with a brand of atmospheric heaviness that is mighty while each word of the lyrics is emphasized properly. What can you tell about this song’s development and its sense? What makes it special in your eyes?

The song musically stands out with the strong doom vibe because we don’t really touch on it in the rest of the record. It really gave me open room to do something different with the vocals. The song is about a Balinese demon queen that was betrayed for using black magic and the lyrics are her cries of betrayal. For me it's very special because I have been to Bali a couple of times and this is where I drew the inspiration for it. It takes me back there in my mind when I first heard it, and I can see the statues of her in the graveyards.

“Plague Requiem” is quite disturbing, showing the ugly, perhaps true, side of the gospel preachers, those that never stop, when it comes to haunt their followers, being at times corrupt. Is this something that you fear, a future that people would actually succumb to their truth?

Too many people follow it strongly currently but I feel it's only getting worse. Religious fanatics are only getting louder since they think they are being oppressed. It's all nonsense and they want to run around calling everyone else sheep.

As the music enters throughout the mentioned track, the mixture of recordings is massive, the screaming of tortured souls along with sorrowful music has an impact. Is this the shock element that you wished to convey out there?

Absolutely!!! Nothing can save you……

How does it look to you in regards to the live possibilities for Necrofier? Is there a plan for 2022 on the horizon?

We have some festivals confirmed and hope to tour a little in the states. With the pandemic it doesn’t look like we will be able to get to Europe until 2023 but its my goal to take the band over there. My family immigrated from Norway many generations ago and I want to go back to the homeland and play a style of music that was created there!

Bakka, many thanks for your time and effort on this interview. You released a debut that is strong and shares a lot of qualities of Black Metal that are hard not to enjoy. All the best, cheers

Thank you


 



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