Horna Interview answered by Shatraug, July 31st, 1998

Horna are a band that play black metal with a true atmosphere and in the old glorious pure way!!. They are fast, dark, obscure and brutal!, the way black metal should be, read on as Shatraug tells us how he achieves his atmospheres and discusses his favorite porn acts, read on…



Tidings Shatraug, how are things in the world of Horna today? Have any of the members been in bands in the past or have side projects? What did Horna release before signing with Solistitium? What does Horna mean? 

Greetings, Dale. It’s been pretty busy for the last days and it happens to be that this is the fourth interview that I am answering in a row today. We had no bands before Horna was put together, but our vocalist Nazgul is a member of Pest which actually is his main band Horna being priority two. I myself have a side project called Mirkhall which is a bit more mid-paced than Horna and slightly more melodic with some folkish touches here and there, but Horna is definitely my top priority and all other activities remain under less dedication. Our former guitarist Moredhel had something going on but as said, he is no longer part of the band so it doesn’t have a thing to do with the question. The name Horna is Finnish, if you didn’t guess, and means “hell” or “the abyss” so all guesses based on words horn and horny were a bit on the right direction, after all hell is a place for all christian horrors. Our ideology is not based on (the) bible though, even if I’m sure none of you made the error of thinking so…Before signing with Solistitium we released only one demo entitled “Varjoissa” quickly taking distance from it’s immatureness towards such grim appearance as on “Hiidentorni” one can experience. 

What led up to you getting signed to Solistitium, did you send them a tape or did they contact you?  What kind of deal is it, how many albums? Were your recording and art budgets for your debut album and MCD satisfactory? 

It was as simple as sending a tape to Carsten and him contacting us with a good proposal. The deal itself is only for each album itself, lasting as long as we feel capable of doing things together, meaning that we could take off right now or release our next ten albums on Solistitium. There are no obligations and no necessaries for us to fulfill. Our budgets have been growing all the time along with our needs so yes, with are satisfied with finances so far. Due to some things about the contract I’m not saying any details about it. I’m sure you understand why (I do -Dale). 

What is life like in Finland? What kind of child were you and what was the first album you ever really got into? What is the scene like in your area, how are the turn-outs at shows & what Finnish bands are you friends with? There are a lot of summer festivals and shows there, will Horna attend any of these? 

Life here, I suppose, is rather usual and normal to any European country with welfare and decent economy. Easy to be and easy to survive (Does not sound like North America, it is uneasy to be… -Dale). I’ve always had quite a great imagination and I was told as a child I was fast in places, very much alive so to speak. The first album I really got into must have been Iron Maiden’s “Powerslave” back in ’83 and after that it has simply been a metal addiction so far. It’s a safe drug, no chance for overdose and never too many different branches…The scene in our area is a small circle of friends as there aren’t many bands around Lappeenranta, but considering (the) whole Finland we have quite many allies yes a couple worth our support. Let’s just mention …And Ocean, Behexen, and Warloghe for example. The last time we played live was on the New Year’s Eve in Helsinki and there the audience was okay, but we haven’t been asking any chances to go out on stage this year at all just because Moredhel left the band taking away the possibility of a live appearance. We have now secured ourselves some session help for any forthcoming shows and wait to kick off on stage is quite restless. I could say we enjoy playing live which is good considering promotion and fans. We are very interested in coming to play over there as well! 

Horna’s music for me creates a very brutal, oppressive & sinister atmosphere, how do you achieve this or does it come out of you naturally? Do you have to be in a certain mood (i.e.- depressed, angry ect..) or place (day/night/storms outside ect..) to write your material? Did you find it hard to keep the cryptic atmosphere’s in your music during the recording sessions in the studio? 

I was bored with all the bands using synth, female signing and shit like acoustics and made the decision to go the other way (Hails to you Shatraug for that great decision, it surely led to this interview! -Dale) it has been much more natural for me, yes, but I guess it doesn’t take any special mood or place to compose a song for Horna. I believe one must have a passion for the art itself and thus draw the passionate picture from one’s mind and soul into the music. I guess I’m not such a happy person inside, but Horna definitely “sings” in a language that only I can comprehend to it’s full extent. If it sinks deeper than skin with a fan of our music or others as well I’m happy about it, but our music it mostly done for myself for myself, just as any honest artist expresses his needs and desires. The atmosphere in our music is easy to maintain as I’m the only one to decide and I can always find the most suitable clothing to a child of mine. I’m very determined and hard to bargain with, no compromise during the recordings have been done. It’s my way or (the) highway… 

Describe a Horna live show does it include smoke, spikes, props ect…? Do you like playing live? What has been your favorite or least favorite live show thus far? What are some bands you have played and shared the stage with? 

It’s hard to describe from my point of view, but we try to keep it energetic, raw and brutal just like on the albums, always with a similar approach. We do have the show elements of black metal present, but the intention is to become something more little by little. It takes a lot of experience first, but we do like to play live so that is positive I believe, thinking of our aims with performing. We’ve played with bands like Vornat, Barathrum, Wizzard, Babylon Whores, Children Of Bodom, and Him for example. The best/worst show I’ve been to or we’ve done?(both -Dale) I’ll put on both then. The worst gig we ever did was in Saarijarvi with a maximum of nine people watching, and tens waiting outside to kick our asses (say what! Why!? -Dale). We had to leave the place with a fucking police escort! Then again, the best show we did was in our hometown, totally giving them everything…The best show I seen was Emperor live in Helsinki, but I am sure that when I see King Diamond that experience will never be forgotten or be possible to match. The worst gigs I have been to were some local bands, but I was aiming more to get drunk than to follow what they did on stage… 

What age and year did you get into metal? What were some of the first ‘zines/bands & labels you wrote to or ordered stuff from? What age/year did you get into the underground?  How does the band promote themselves, do you spread a lot of flyers or do you leave it up to the record company? Have you done many interviews? 

The year was ’83 on the first touch (me too! -Dale), but it was never too much but a child’s hobby back then. I got seriously involved (with the underground) around ’93 when I ordered some stuff like Emperor’s “As The Shadow’s Rise” 7” from the band themselves and some albums from Osmose and shit like that. I’ve never been into ‘zines too much, but some of the first ones I got were Nordic Vision and Ornament. Most of the ‘zines I’ve got have come as a free example with our interview…Most of our own promotion has been through gigs, other shows and interviews and we leave all serious work for the label since it is their job to take care of it. I’ve always been lazy with promoting our band properly. As for the underground, I’ve only formed decent contacts after our debut was released, mostly with the “aid” of the word CD, if you know what I mean. Bands and persons nowadays don’t really bother too much unless you’ve done something else than a demo it seems. It shows anyway, even I support only friends with a great band and nothing more. Those friends with shitty bands have no “free” help from me to spread their works. 

What is in the future plans for Horna? A tour perhaps? Is there much new material completed and is it still in the same vein as the previous stuff? Any plans set up for recording the second LP?  

In fact, we’ve already recorded our second full-length entitled “Haudankylmyyden Maille” . At the moment two artists are working on some paintings based on our ideas and the whole package should be available in December or early next year (1999). We are hoping to get on the road to do some gigs here and there but nothing has been secured as of yet. There are always some plans and talking, but that just ain’t enough…Musically the 2nd LP is still in the same veins as before, but this time taking our musical expression totally back to the beginning of (the) ‘90’s when real black metal was still the only way (preach on brother! -Dale). 

What do you know about my native country of Canada? What do you think of the Canadian scene past and present? Do many people from here in Canada write you? 

To be honest I really don’t know much. The only band I recall is Blasphemy (really? -Dale) and I don’t get news from your area at all. In fact, your interview was the first contact from Canada ever to emerge in our mailbox, You could perhaps say that this interview is exclusively first in Canada or something… 

How does the writing process go? Does everyone contribute to the writing and arranging or does one person do most of it? How often do you rehearse? How long does the average Horna track take to complete? 

The songs form in either sudden inspiration or a long period of small ideas. In any case there are a bunch of lines that I just put together most fitting way I can manage and it’s not too unusual for me to build up the same song piece for a dozen times at least to get that special Horna-touch to it. Anyway, I have been the only one writing music so far and I do hope to get a change in that once we get a new guitarist fitted in. I’ve also been the only one writing lyrics in Finnish as Nazgul did a lyric for the MCD in English and since that we returned back to Finnish again. As far as rehearsing goes, it’s not much. We haven’t had a single rehearsal during ’98 all in all and it’s already August tomorrow. We take time for rehearsal when we have shows ahead or when there is something to be recorded, otherwise it’s not too necessary. We play some shit from time to time just to keep the touch alive, loosing it could take too much time getting it back. 

What do you do in your spare time away from the band? Do members hang out with each other outside of band activities? What are some of your fave novels, movies and ‘zines? What sort of music have you been listening to lately? What are the band members ages? 

Most of the time we have is spare time since the band takes very little of our hours these days. Apart from music it’s all much like a living with some interests now and then, but nothing special. Nazgul is currently in the military and Gorthaur attends to some job so we hardly spend time together hanging out except on some weekend getting drunk together. I’m still unemployed and I’d need a job to get the fucking money for better living but there just ain’t too many places to work available. Most of the literature I read is limited in the occult or fantasy novels, still when one counts all printed matter I read the paper every day just to check the funny comic strips…Hmm…I tend to watch horror and action overall on videos, but all porn with anal sex and lustuous girls is nice to have in the closet (I hear that! -Dale). You get to shake a bit of the pressure off once in a while. The latest album I bought was a King Diamond bootleg, and that type of metal is always near my heart (mine as well -Dale). Our ages are 20-19-21, you can guess which one I am… 

Are you happy with your debut album and MCD? Are you satisfied with how the recordings of each turned out? Anything you would change? Will you use the same studio in the future? How have press and the average listeners reactions been so far? 

Yes, we are satisfied with both releases even if there will always be something to do better I guess. To go on some details, the first album could have had a better sound and much less mistakes and the MCD may have been better concerning the covers, especially the lyrics pages. I can’t really explain about the studio since it’s just fantastic, easy to work in and you get very well along with the guys there, and we’ve always got the exact sound we have wanted to have. Anything that could need a change is in your choices, but one can’t be too experienced in the beginning. You always need to start off some place…But yes, we’re going to use the same studio next time as well. We are so familiar with their equipment and personnel that it’s almost fun to record an album there, and their getting better and better stuff all the time. So far I haven’t seen any bad reviews of our albums nor heard anyone telling me that we sucked (they do in the new Grimoire mag but they hate black metal, so they are of no consequence to the bm scene -Dale), but people seldom come to tell the band how little they like the music, now do they?. I’ve heard from our label that we got extremely good and negative feedback on the debut, but for the MCD I know we’ve got only good critics so far. It kind of shows in the amount of the interviews lately sine there’s been a total of 14 of them during July only. It helps to get established and that is something any band will need. 

What do your lyrics deal with? Could you pick a couple songs and tell us what they speak about? Do you see the lyrics as a important part of the music? Are the new lyrics in a similar vein? 

Our (or my) lyrics have always been about blasphemy, death, darkness and strong antichristian ideology. I’d say they are in no way poetic within these three first releases, but definitely straight and threatening like the music on these albums is as well. Hell, here we go then. “Orkkivuorlta” is in all it’s simplicity a tale about the orcish horde attacking christians from their ancient mountains. A sort of war cry. “Sword Of Darkness” is, despite the title, a tale about broken harmony and total vanishing of mercy through our forthcoming triumph. I haven’t understood everything from this lyric myself either, but I hope it will open to me in the next journey on the mushroom current (‘magic shrooms’ ah yes -Dale). “White Aura Buried In Ashes” is simple, heaven’s damnation and rape. Yes, lyrics are a part of the music and if you intend to perform music then the use of lyrics should be taken seriously as the music itself. To be black metal, lyrics must deal on satanic subjects one way or another (I agree, there is a black metal sound, but real black metal through and through is satanic in nature -Dale). Within the 2nd LP our lyrics have reached the same sinister and grim approach as the music, and I think we’ll calm it down in the future to have a more poetic and obscure sense in them, to make our listeners think about the lyrical content a bit more. Still, they are going to be in Finnish so the same gleam can never exist in the translations. 

You play what I like to call musically pure black metal music. Which does not rely on keyboards, female vocals, violins, piano ect…to create an atmosphere that is often very false sounding. Do you agree with my opinions and what do you think of black metal bands that use these symphonic sounds? Do you think it is to cover up their lack of skill in bringing the atmosphere out of traditional instruments? 

On some bands symphonic approach works and some it does not. To me it’s BLACK METAL so it’s natural to compose music based on guitars instead of relying on keyboards or other non-metallic instruments. I have nothing against using them at all, but to me music has to stand without the covering (exactly! -Dale). Most of the bands today seem to have forgotten such a fact and taking Cradle Of Filth as an example, their guitar lines are shit, just shitty as they can be. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they can’t play, but it sure makes them look like they didn’t!. I couldn’t create music based on keyboards and then believe in myself after that. It’s just an addition to spice up the atmosphere, to give a special touch on some notes and not a blanket to throw over the work just make it sound commercial. Most of the “keyboard” bands tend to have way too nice melodies anyway (true -Dale). 

Hails and thank you my metal brother for the interview and your time!. Last comments and merchandise available from the band? 

Time is always worth spending if there is a reason worthy of spending a few moments, thanks for the great interview and let’s hope we can launch our own Canadian Assault tour one day! (That would be utterly amazing!! -Dale). You can all write us and ask for any merchandise, it’s too fastly changing stock so no need to mention any here. An IRC is appreciated when writing just for info. Buy the albums if you seek something totally raw and unholy sounding BLACK METAL!.  




I second that last statement and many thanks goes out to Shatraug for giving me thorough answers and for being a great metal brother and underground worrior, write this band and Solistitium as their music is the best bm out of Finland in a long time!!. ~ Dale Roy (August 1998)…  




Click above to return to the homepage