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Sarke's Thomas Berglie: "I guess this is not for everybody. I also said it when we recorded the album. Some people will get their coffee stuck in their throat listening to this…"

Interview with Thomas Berglie from Sarke
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 26 December 2019, 8:33 PM

It has been known that artists throughout the years were pinned with being gamblers, thus meaning, doing something that is uncanny or unexpected when compared to previous, sometimes classic level, efforts. On the other hand, one might call it an evolution, or honestly an artist's will to take a dive into foreign waters. The Norwegian Sarke have always tried to surprise, creating something that would resonate a special offering. With the release of “Gastwerso”, Steinmetal had a chat with Thomas Berglie, also commonly known as Sarke, about the new album, musical development, inside the album's philosophy, and more…

Greetings Thomas, it is a true honor having you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine, how is everything on your end sir?

Hi, thanks. Everything is ok over here.

I guess it was the right time for me to fully embrace a Sarke release, not merely listening to single tracks, and I am glad that it was with your new album, “Gastwerso”. It has been a decade since your debut album, do you feel that Sarke came across a long way, yet with much more to achieve artistically? Have you ever imagined that this band would last through the years?

It was supposed to be just one album. I would not think it would be that many releases. But it’s a good thing. It's great to work with the people I do and also on this kind of music. We do whatever we want in terms of music style and sounds. I guess we are really challenging some metal people out there. I feel we do explore different kind of music within the metal genre.

I tried looking up the meaning of “Gastwerso”, yet my efforts failed me and I am still puzzled. What is the meaning of this title and how did you find yourself connected to it?

I understand it's not easy to find the meaning. Gastwerso means ghost war. I have use language that was used a 1000 years ago in Europe.  Its merged with Gast and werso.

“Gastwerso” displays all-around blackened echoes, with various scenes that I could imagine only exist in horror movies, yet not the gruesome ones such as B-Movies. What is the leading philosophy that guides the album through? Would you say that you implemented personal matters within the lines of the songs?

It has to be a bit personal when you write the songs and the lyrics. Sarke is also some kind of personal band for me. Sarke started off as a solo project, so I could get my personal music, my inspiration, my view on music. To combine the darker and more beautiful (in a sinister way) sides of music. Also to add the lyrics with the darker side of the human mind and Norwegian inhospitable nature.

If there is an advantage that has been playing out well for Sarke, it is the band’s constant will to revolutionize its musical direction, finding additional angles to experiment and become part of. Would you say that “Gastwerso” is to be considered as a giant step in the band’s musical perception?

We have taken a bigger step this time in the musical direction, we have always have that on each album, but this time as you say even more. I guess this is not for everybody. I also said it when we recorded the album. Some people will get their coffee stuck in their throat listening to this. So far is has been a lot of good words on the new album. I guess people who take their time listen to it appreciate the variety of what we have done.

Would you say that in the direction that you appear to be heading, which has various engagements with 70s Progressive Rock and Hard Rock, being yet another kind of Opeth is undeniable? Were there thoughts of actually going backwards to the old Norwegian frost of the 90s?

Yes, I did. But this time I wanted to explore even more. But next time we maybe go back to more primitive direct black metal. Maybe even more than before.

Do you believe that your producer, Lars Erik Westby, had a substantial influence on the release, other than sound, in comparison to your previous works? What is your appreciation of his work on “Gastwerso”?

Lars Erik has a huge saying how everything turns out in– the end. He works a lot of sounds and what to add along with us. But all songs are almost done before we enter the studio. But we do change some parts and work with it as we work in the studio. He is also our guy from the outside that can point on things we may not have thought about. A second ear. So he is important for the overall Sarke sound and music.

How would you describe the songwriting process on this album? Is it to be rendered as a joint effort by the entire band or it is up to only yourself and Ted to write songs?

It's mostly me that make all the music, then we meet up and work on the songs to make it all go together with the whole band. And there is always a lot of changes and the Steinar do his things and changes on the guitar. All solos and guitar adds is his work, I make the basic riffs structure. Keyboardwise Anders is making that himself, I say I have thought about something here and there and what kind of sounds and ideas I have. He does his things and that’s great stuff. That is also why I use him.

What is your general approach towards writing a song? How are your able to connect your vision of the music along with overall theme that drives the album forward?

Almost all songs are made on guitar, so it's to get a good riff idea and to make something that makes you get a feeling of something. I have pictures in my head that a want to add music to. I often used painting to get inspiration. The albums are connected in the way it’s the same minds that have made all the albums.

Which musical elements were better enhanced for “Gastwerso”?

Don’t know about better. I guess I used more time on this album. But is the same approach as before.

One of the interesting tracks, which I found to be highly dramatic, is “Mausoleum”. First of all, it has that fine groove and an aura that made think of the Fall season, yet the atmosphere is abrupt by a horrific scene. How do you perceive this song? What makes is special?

I agree with you. It's an interesting track. This is actually the track I was most unsure of. Many people point out this track, so I guess it worked out well. This is one of Lars Erik's favorite tracks. It has some prog elements, 70s vibe, keyboards are an important specter in this track. A quite dramatic and emotional song. As I said earlier, I try to make music that make to think and get pictures in your head. Music is emotion and feelings.

Another song that is completely different than the previous, is the Pink Floydian “The Endless Wait”. I was rather surprised by the level of soothiness, like an intermission right in the middle. No doubt that it is one of the album’s beautiful outputs. When you listen to this song time and time again, on what does it make you think? What inspired you to write it in the first place?

We have on each album has soft parts, but this time we did a whole track. I wanted to do something different. I also knew there would be both negative and positive response on this track. This track is about a person's mind of the endless dark universe and I thought this kind of track would be good.

Did you have a chance to play some of the tracks live prior to the album’s release? If so, what were the reactions to it? Was it well received by your loyal, since day one, fans?

No, we have not done any of these tracks live.

Which of the album’s songs do you believe that had Sarke find its way to getting close to perfection according to your vision? Which track means to you the most and why?

The songs are so different, so I cannot say this is the perfect Sarke track. I like all songs. I think they all stand out on their own as strong tracks. If I most pick one now, I would say "Cribs Hand".

With an achievement of creating your own kind of niche within Black Metal, determine to reshape old visions, what challenges are left in front of Sarke? Where do you wish to see yourselves next? What is to be expected in the coming years?

We will keep doing our own thing without thinking what is popular. I will try to do something new again, so it will be interesting for us also.

What are your plans to support the new album? Where can people find you next year?

No big plans yet. Let's see what our management and record label get offered. Our band members are quite busy, so let see what we can do.

Thomas, many thanks for this interview, I know that your time is precious and I appreciate it. From my end, you made quite a step with “Gastwerso” and there is no reason why it shouldn’t be properly supported by your followers. Cheers.

Thank you for the interest in the band. We do appreciate all the fans that take their time with our music. Thank you.



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