Kampfar at Wacken Open Air 2016: Still More To Grasp

"The audience were singing the lyrics and the guitar riffs, louder than we could hear ourselves on stage"

Norwegian band Kampfar have been captivating worldwide audiences for over 22 years with their powerful mix of Folk music and traditional Norwegian Black metal. They’ve had a very busy year so far with creating a new film clip for their song Tornekratt and winning a Norwegian Grammy award for 2015’s album Profan. Kampfar played the 2:20am slot on the Headbangers Stage at Wacken Open Air festival this year to a hungry crowd. Vocalist Dolk had some time to sit down with Metal As Fuck whilst at the festival, so myself and Laura Vezer, slushed through the mud to meet him for a beer....

Welcome back to the Holy land, you’ve played Wacken before - how does Wacken compare to other festivals you’ve played? “Well the last time I was here at Wacken was when I stepped in on Vocals for Sognametal in 2014 and that was the first time that it really hit me, that Wacken festival is so big now. I think that it’s not so concerned about the music anymore, it’s more of an experience for everyone to enjoy a good time and not a festival to only focus on the music.” You’ve played at a number of different venues over the years, how does playing at a big festival like Wacken, compare to playing smaller shows on tour? “The difference is of course the number of people for a start, for me it has always been like that, we enjoy touring because we can get so much closer to our audience and we love to play in little venues. We just played our 200th show in April in Rotterdam and we played at a venue called Baroeg, which was where we played our second show ever. There was only 350 people in the audience and we wanted to play show number 200 in a live club because that’s how it all began for us. For me, that is so much more family like. Playing there was so special because it was like we were playing for people that had been there with us the whole way. Playing festivals like Wacken is different, but also important of course because it's likely that you will play for someone for the first time. After playing in Kampfar for 22 years, we kind of forget what it’s like to be 18 and watching a band for the first time at a big festival. For me it’s like ‘Oh yes, Wacken again’, for them its special and really something that can open their mind to some different music and change everything. I still have that as a sort of goal when I go on that stage, because I know there are a lot of people who haven’t seen us play before and even if you have done this for so many years, there are still new fans to grasp.”

Kampfar has played all over the world and a lot of your lyrics are in Norwegian, how does it feel when you play a show that isn’t in Norway and you see the Audience singing along in Norwegian? “Well that’s the funny part, Kampfar has always been that way, ever since 1997, it has been like that. I can still remember the first show we played in Austria, which was many, many years ago, but the audience were singing the lyrics and the guitar riffs, louder than we could hear ourselves on stage. We were in Austria and it was like, this is not Norway and we are singing in Norwegian! That kind of struck me and I think more people know the Norwegian lyrics, abroad, then they do in Norway. Especially some places in Italy, they learned Norwegian just to understand our lyrics and that’s crazy.”

The Tornekratt video [featured below] was launched a few weeks ago, it looked like a big production, how was the experience creating the video and what has the response been like? “It felt really good, I mean, for a band like us, we’re not Iron maiden or Metallica, we play Black Metal and the reactions to the video have been amazing. It was filmed in Krakow and we have a long relationship with this production company. This is the second video we’ve made with them and we have plans to make more. The producer is a big shot actually, he is normally making movies, so it was a lucky shot for us because he is a Kampfar fan and that’s why we work so well together.”

Kampfar just won a Norwegian Grammy for the album Profan, Congratulations, such a flawless record, what was your initial reaction to not only the award, but the nomination? “Oh yes, everything was a surprise, but I mean if you asked me that question maybe even 5 years ago, I would’ve said this isn’t a surprise that means anything. But right now I’m 43 years old and I’ve been doing this for many years and it was actually really surprising and it felt really good.” Enslaved has won enough Grammy awards that they’ve literally given their trophy’s away to be used as door handles for Bergen metal bar Garage. How was it to be Nominated together with them and ultimately to win? [Laughing] “It was really funny because we were actually sitting at the same table as Enslaved at the awards ceremony and they’ve won this award so many times that they felt quite embarrassed about being nominated again. It was really cool when we won, because they were the ones that were cheering the most. They are great guys; it was a really great experience.”

Dolk was a great sport when we made him try our Vegemite, to our surprise he even thought it tasted okay and reminded him of something from Norway. We then offered him a lucky dip of our Australia themed gummy lollies and he pulled out a Kangaroo and ate its head first of course.


Profane Solstice From The North: Kampfar & Vreid + Dreamarcher 2016

OCTOBER 14 - Hulen
Bergen, Norway

Haugesund, Norway

OCTOBER 17 - Nuke Club
Berlin, Germany

OCTOBER 18 - Backstage München
Munich, Germany

OCTOBER 19 - Dynamo Zürich (offiziell)
Zürich, Switzerland

OCTOBER 20 - O'Sullivans Backstage by the mill
Paris, France

OCTOBER 21 - Nachtleben Frankfurt
Frankfurt, Germany

OCTOBER 22 - Escape Metalcorner
Vienna, Austria

OCTOBER 23 - Club From Hell
Erfurt-Bindersleben, Germany

OCTOBER 24 - Kavka
Antwerp, Belgium

OCTOBER 25 - The Underworld Camden
London, United Kingdom

OCTOBER 26 - Dynamo
Eindhoven, Netherlands

Copenhagen, Denmark

OCTOBER 28 - John Dee
Oslo, Norway