Sometimes bad things happen to good people and, sometimes, good things happen to bad people. A while back Andfari, which is pretty much the Icelandic version of Currentzz, premiered a song with the infamous Swedish band Shining. As was expected one of the comments Andfari received asked why he had not already killed himself. So, two questions were sent to him and the answer to them arrived shortly thereafter, along with a little bit extra. As it happens some questions, intented for the Dutch band Carach Angren, ended up in Niklas Kvarforth’s lap who, being the great man he is, answered them along with the questions intended for him.

Dear Niklas, as we premiered “Vilja & Dröm” at Andfari a reader cried out and asked why you hadn’t already killed yourself. I am sure this is a frequently asked question but perhaps you would not mind indulging us today and answer this question one more time.

I believe the reason why I am being asked this over and over must be because people probably confuse Shining with the work of other, more contemporary and not too bright artists. Back in 1996 when I wanted my art to be labelled as something outside of the, back then, “normal” paradigms of what one considered being Black Metal I coined the term “Suicidal Black Metal”. Unfortunately, people kind of got the wrong idea of what we were aiming at as Shining was never a cry for help. On the contrary. Shining’s main purpose has always been to function as a tool meant to induce suicidal and self-destructive behavior within the listener, hence the term. Whereas the ones who tried following in our footsteps completely misinterpreted the concept (as do so many fans) and ended up creating something based on pure self-loathing and other meaningless crap. Not that it really matters if I continue explaining this or not, as people who live within the borders of this modern society will unfortunately never have the attention-span needed in order to understand or even begin to grasp a concept bigger than whatever favorite celebrities post on twitter. But in the end, I have already won, so therefore the ongoing ignorance and futile attempts to provoke have stopped bothering me. Let those who have eyes, see and those who have ears, hear, and those who have neither, remain dumb.

So, why is Kvarforth still living and breathing? Does life still turn you on? Did it ever? Or is this perhaps just another example of the fixation on degradation that seems to surround Shining?

Will & Dream

photos: ester segarra
photos: ester segarra

And this is where it was supposed to end, however, life is like a box of chocolates…
Where do the inspirations come, both concerning the lyrics as well as the music?

I would like to be able to point out certain elements that are particularly inspiring but, truth be told, I believe everything is somewhat of a source of inspiration. “Thematically” Shining has always been about the glorification of all that is negative and oppressive to man as a whole, which then obviously gets melded until it reaches its climax (i.e. an album). But, all in all, the will to destroy would be the main motivation when writing both music and lyrics. However, every single action, response, or even thought, is what essentially turns into the clay used for the purpose of creating.

Why fairytales of this nature? Did Satan, in the form mostly connected to Black Metal, not appeal to the band? Why ghost stories, the afterlife and the unseen? Stories and themes many consider best left behind when one reaches adulthood.

The Devil is present in all of my work. Just because you yourself are unable to read between the lines, it doesn’t necessarily mean He is absent. Although there are several clear and direct praises on more or less each album Shining has released, but maybe you didn’t notice that before asking the question. Also, I don’t understand where you’re coming from with the term “fairy tales” and I suspect that yet again you have missed the obvious whilst doing your “research”. Or maybe you’re just trying to offend me (which, for the record you aren’t)? The definition of a fairy tale is a story of fantasy and legend and honestly I cannot recall ever writing about goblins and mermaids. Perhaps you’ve been listening to Power Metal bands and you’ve got your bands a bit confused. Anyway, the themes that are woven through my work like a red thread, are usually based on very urbane and contemporary subjects. Although sometimes verging on the abstract, they are nevertheless, real and ever-present. But if your concept of reality lies outside the starkness of everyday life, then please, let me have a taste of what you’re drinking/smoking/injecting.

The lyrics of the band are more like short stories rather than the regular poems that accompany the songs we so much love. Why did you choose that narrative form over the other? Are you more of an admirer of the stories than poems?

I am not really in control of how I write as I, in contrast to most other artists, choose to follow my heart with everything I do rather than making something up for the mere sake of pleasing an audience. Neither would I classify myself as being a poet. However, I have to say something personal to you: If you consider my lyrics to be narratively written stories I feel very sad for you. My suggestion is, pick up a book and try to get past that first page and maybe one day you can also claim to be a man of “deep knowledge” and “divine wisdom”. Thank you for the interview and support!

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