Krieg has remained a “riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma” for the better part of two decades now.
Wayward and eccentric and having conquered several challenges and hardships over the years,
the brainchild of one Imperial has come and gone, promised to be gone, came again, and just won’t stay dead. The world is definitely a much better place as a result.
(Ed. – Thanks to Terrorist Photography)

1. FA: It’s been a long time. What’s new and exciting?

It’s odd to think how little in this world has actually changed since the last dialogue we had. Politicians and religious folks are still full of shit, there’s still a glut of overexposed and underachieving new black metal bands, and I’m still an asshole. I also have a new record “The Isolationist” out now in North America and Europe via Candlelight Records. If you’re one of the people who are in one of those new bands which I just said are “overexposed and underachieving” yet want to buy it just know, I wasn’t talking about you. For the record your music is fantastic.

2. FA: Why do you always threaten us with killing the band? How could you possibly even comprehend this? We would all be very sad!

It’s not something that will come up ever again. This time if Krieg does somehow die a natural death it will be done in a quiet fashion. The idea of closing doors that will keep getting harder and harder to reopen doesn’t appeal to me nor am I now in the sort of mental state of an ouroborus of fucking up that it would even be conceivable for me to end it. I’m a terrible quitter. You’re stuck with me for awhile more, so stock up on tissues if this makes you at all emotional.

3. FA: They used to laugh at us once upon a time, those smug Scandinavian fucks. Now who’s laughing? Our scene has come a long way while theirs becomes more and more a caricature of itself year after year.

The idea of American black metal is still pretty ridiculous in the eyes of the outside world. We’ve always been and probably always will be judged by whatever fucking puppets the rest of the world see on TV or how many shitty American companies are cluttering up their landscape. That said I will agree that we’ve come leaps and bounds over even the last five years but I don’t know who to directly attribute this to. Obviously bands like Black Witchery and Inquisition who both continue to create caustic and filthy black metal keep us going in the correct direction as do newer bands like Woe, Bone Awl, Vohlahn etc. The real underground perversors and artists (they get separate mention since both sides probably wouldn’t want to be associated with the other) have kept pushing music that has underground integrity and merit while at the same time being extremely satisfying to listen to and watch perform. Sure there’s some missteps but when you figure this year gave the world a new (and their best) Profanatica record that the US scene is doing alright.

4. FA: “Rise of the Imperial Hordes” changed my life. You heard/read me heap praises on this album since you unleashed it. Tell me which album you are most proud of. And DON’T placate me!

That album sucks. It’s a document of who I was and what I was doing at the time but I can’t listen to it today without thinking what I would do differently. Probably my favorites and the ones I’m proudest of would be “The Black House”, “The Isolationist” and the 1998 demo which is on the 4 way split w/Judas Iscariot, Eternal Majesty & Macabre Omen. Each of these three recordings represent a time where my vision was entirely realized to my 100% satisfaction. They’re all recordings I can still listen to with pride. Obviously I’m biased with “The Isolationist” since it’s the newest child but I don’t see taking the whip to it anytime soon.

5. FA: People either get this music, or they don’t. Oh some people “like” it because it gets them attention and supposed social skills. But to really, truly connect with it is a dying art. What makes all these emotions outpourings in your music come to be?

Just living in a world that completely disagrees with me. Dogma, ethics, rules, whatever you want to call “morality” just seem like excuses for politicians and rulers to exercise more control over the human spirit. This is one element. Another would be that I’ve got a laundry list of emotional problems and needs some way to channel them. Black metal is the perfect vessel for this release.

6. FA: Have you ever felt like selling out? I’m not even sure if I have the definite definition of that, but I have a pretty good grasp. We see “underground” bands doing it all the time. Must just be that hard to resist…

Well I was just called a “hipster” on some forum regarding a live show last weekend. This same gem of a human being also complained about the length of my hair and my beard. How another man looks was his definition of black metal. So to this guy I’ve obviously already sold out. So you’ve got the scoop on this one, not only am I unattractive to men, but I’m a sell out. To seriously answer you question, it never crossed my mind because in order to do this and somehow successfully convince others to give me boatloads of cash I’d have to write music that is easy to digest and pop oriented. I’ve gone almost 16 years without doing that and I sure as shit will go another 16 without it.

7. FA: You’ve been everywhere and played in some minimalist and ominous locations where glamour and glitz couldn’t even survive 60 seconds. Describe your fondest, or even least fond, memory of such a place.

I’ve been very lucky to be invited to play the places Krieg has performed. Even places most people would consider shitholes have had some kind of resonance with me. Some of the highlights have been playing outdoors in Colorado for the Gathering of Shadows fest and watching it snow in the summer, playing the intense and beautiful nation of Serbia, performing in dumps and dives across America and Europe etc. I have very few bad memories, probably the worst was a festival we played in 2009 in the midwest. We were supposed to go on around midnight or so, but load in was around 11am. We didn’t go on until close to 3am and people have the fucking stones to complain that we looked tired. Then half the band contracted the very trendy and fashionable swine flu while at the fest. A fucking disaster.

8. FA: When was the last time you felt any semblance of this mythical emotion known as love?

All of the time. In order to truly feel the deepest darkness you must first be able to feel the other side of the spectrum. I’m sure this goes against the black metal ethos but those nerds are too busy showing off their rare vinyls that most likely are bootlegs to really pay attention. Black metal can express all spectrums of emotion. The celebration of suffering? There’s joy in that. Yin and yang.

9. I think voice samples are awesome. They add an element to the music that is very foreboding and also are their own level of creativity when used to enhance the mood of a song. You used to do this all the time. What happened?

The new record just didn’t have room in it for samples. They would have suffocated the music. Now that I’m more comfortable with how we record I could see them making a return but it will all depend on if they’re appropriate and demanding rather than a simple afterthought.

10. Oh my, aren’t you involved in oh-so-many side projects? Is it all really worth it? Which ones are you most proud of and which are you planning on continuing, provided that you do in fact have that level of control yourself?

A great deal of them are over with or were just guest appearances. The only ones I’m currently involved in are Nil, Twilight, and The Royal Arch Blaspheme. I want to do some kind of power electronics project as well as another more chaotic black metal recording but a lot of this depends on my ability to commit myself as well as the usual time/money concerns. I’m proudest of my work with The Royal Arch Blaspheme since I get to sing over the music of John Gelso (Profanatica) which is a big honor for me. In terms of what I’ll continue to do: this all depends on those I work with and their willingness to continue working with me.

11. What have you been listening to these days? More “hip-hip-hop ya don’t stop”?

I have a fairly large amount of music that I listen to from day to day. I try to soak up as many new genres and bands as I can out of the need for new experiences. Recently
though my tastes have been mostly within black metal, Profanatica “Disgusting Blasphemies Against God”, Beherit “Engram”, Black Witchery 1
st full length, Woe “Quietly Undramatically” as well as some noise stuff like Dead Times and Sewer Goddess and punk like Existential Nightmare.

12. FA: I hate to sound cliché, but I am most curious; if you could do it all over again, would you?

Without hesitation. I’d try not to make the same mistakes but that probably couldn’t be avoided. But as you can tell since I can’t seem to walk away from the fucking thing, Krieg is my life’s work.