LARS BRODDESSON: "When death is at its closest, life shines brighter by contrast"


Do you consider yourself a heathen in this world era?

I do and I don´t. As much as I’ll proudly call myself a heathen to distinguish myself from the hollow, secularized currents and the confinements of abrahamic religion, I still don´t really go around defining myself as heathen or pagan or whatever. I simply believe in the things I do, practise what I do and have my faith and belonging. By definition, that makes me heathen, sure. But from a different perspective I could probably be defined as mentally ill and delusionary instead. It's all good haha! Definitions. Nothing is ultimately true in the end.

When did you realize the creative possibilities that music could offer you?

As early as I can remember. It’s always been there. Around kindergarten I start having memories of grasping music in a more complex, concrete and creative way, but I’ll say there was really never a realization. It was there all the time.

How important is it for you to challenge yourself even further with every endeavor that you do?

More important than I’d wish sometimes. It would be way easier finding a formula and just relax with it. But that doesn’t fly with me. There’s an innate aspiration for progress and challenge that I can’t deny. Take HILD for example. We have a set sound and a framework from inside which we work. But there will still be a progress, an evolution, a movement if you will, from release to release. We are working on material now. It’s gonna be HILD for sure, but it’s not gonna be ValFreiya all over. It’s organic. Growing from the same source, no doubt, but as a different flower.


Photo courtesy by: Nattmärr

What do you think is due to that need you have to express what you feel and think with music?

Maybe I’m just an attention whore with narcissist features, I don’t know haha! I can’t give you a proper answer. It’s there inside me, in how I describe and perceive the worlds around me. Part of my constitution somehow.

What do you think are the aspects that make HILD unique and different?

It’s in our composition, our blend. Nothing that we do is new or unique as such, it’s rather in how we mix things up and the topics we handle, with dead seriousness I might add. I don’t think the Valkyries have been sung about like this ever before. And I mean that also taking ancient times into the equation. It seems also that the hardcore/punk influences make us stick out. You don’t get that very often in a setting like ours.

The songs, although they deal in the dark and supernatural, they still take place in real life. Is reality important to the effectiveness of your music?

I don’t give a rat’s ass about so called “reality”. But yes, it is of uttermost importance to me that what I write about is anchored in real life-experiences. And also that these forces and their traits and feats are applicable on a timeless and personal level for anyone interested in delving deeper into them.

When new music is composed, or prose is written for a song, what do you look for in each phase?

On rare occasions, I jam out new stuff until inspiration hits and I stumble upon something. But for most, I’ll get a vision of sorts and an overall sense and goal of what I want and need to do for the song. Then I’ll just work towards that. Some of it comes in what I call “auto-mode” where at times I’m just a vessel. Some of it may come from my subconscious, sure. But some of it comes from outside me. Streaming into me. And then again, some of the work is more wordly where I use my skills as a musician to achieve something. Each phase is different from time to time. But generally, I look for whatever is best for the song and how it fits into a greater whole.

Do you use anger to write music or have a certain system of composing sounds?

Fuck yes! A lot of anger and possessed frenzy, especially when doing vocals. Generally, in composing it’s more of a heightened, inspired state than it is anger. But a lot of HILD is based on inspired anger, rage. Forward, outwards aggression. I can’t say I have a certain system.

Has the rise of digital music technology changed the way that you think about composing albums?

A bit. But not too much. It has made me more aware of the necessity of getting to the point fast if not to lose listener interest. Then again, things like that should never stand in the way of true creativity. And genuine stuff is more likely to withstand and endure in the long run anyway. One should do what the heart wishes to display. All else is just utility music. Which by all means can be fine too. I can listen to mass produced hit music. A good song is a good song, who cares. Good craftmanship is good craftmanship, right? Although, these songs tend to not last in the long run. It’s industry, nothing more.


Photo courtesy by: Nattmärr

You've played hundreds of shows over your career. Do you still get nervous before a performance? Is it adrenaline that gives you the push you need?

I’ll get a healthy dose of nervousness still from time to time. Which will shift into an adrenaline rush. Usually, if there is any nervousness (which is not always the case) it’s actually many hours before show time. Closing in on show time I/we will get fired up and get “in the zone” by proper aggressive warmups and some ritual techniques and practices. Then, there is no nervousness. Just wild focus and delivery.

How have you learned to deal with the enormous expectations from a band of MARDUK’s stature?

When you’re in it, you don’t really think in those terms. When I was in Marduk, we were quite a tight core. We were Marduk, we did Marduk. That’s about it. Having played in such a big and influential band does however put more pressure on trying to break through with a new project. To not just be the “former Marduk guy” stuff, you know? We need to prove ourselves harder. A welcome challenge, no doubt. Then of course, my past in Marduk does offer some PR and open channels and contacts. Can’t deny that and I’m thankful for it.

It seems like music is almost second nature to you. Can you imagine a life without it?

I don’t know if its second nature haha! But thanks. I do have a musical gift and talent, it would be stupid saying otherwise. I can not imagine a life without music making. No way.

Not only did you compose extreme music, but you also managed to explore other musical paths like The Shining Woe. What is the goal or motivation for exploring different genres?

There is no goal or motivation other than exploring my inner self and the magic of our nature and landscape. The Shining Woe is a different example of it, more aimed towards expressing awe for the holy beauty around us and hopefully awaken people’s senses to it. I like many different styles of music and some of them I feel a need and urge to work with. The Shining Woe is Rock based with lots of melody and a bit of Swedish folk music to put it simple.

You often go on big solitude walks to support your inner self. Is that your break from the daily grind?

Rather, it IS my daily grind haha! It’s about deepening my reality. Disconnecting and connecting. Losing myself to the powers and finding myself in the All. Losing my breath and to feel the currents and movements unseen in mundane states. And of course, just for my love of being out there, in nature or whatever you wanna call it. I dislike the phrase nature due to how it’s come to be used lately, where modern man differentiates from it. When in reality, whatever the fuck that is, there is no difference. It’s all nature. You can’t fight it or stand outside it. You can however destroy it and your surroundings and just about every time I get out, walking or driving somewhere, I’m saddened to see another place, another piece of the forest torn down for progress and “growth”.

Was there a certain moment in your life when things seemed to diverge from reality?

Excellent question! I actually don’t know. I think that as far back as I can remember I’ve had somewhat different ways of thinking and analyzing than folks in general. Something growing more and more evident through the years and in interaction with others. Kindergarten, school, work places. One would expect that with time I’d naturally acclimatize. But lately I’ve learned it’s going in the other direction and probably has all along. Growing up, getting a normal job and hair cut? No sir, not for me haha!

Do you think that the intuitive power of creativity is innate or is it something that can be learned?

I think it’s definitely more innate in some than in others and I do believe there is a natural, destined place and meaning to each one’s life, a true path to be found. We are all divine images in one way or another and as such we have the creative spark inside us and we are free to nurture it. But in our roles as individuals, as personas in a mutual society it is very different from case to case how much it shines through and what area you end up being good in. Like any other thing, it can be learned to certain extent. But different people are good at different things.


Photo courtesy by: Nattmärr

Beyond music you have a great interest in the dark nature of life, why do you think that these types of themes are so prevalent in the human mind?

It seems to me that mankind is smack in the middle of creation and that we are both light and dark. A little bit of everything. It’s just natural and there is no point in denying either part of it. Many so called light religions or schools of thought seem bent on denying the dark and dangerous, but as we know, this tends to cause imbalance. Not accepting the dark and suppressing it will cause monsters deep down. I tend to view all existence as a big play, both in the theatrical and more leisurely sense. And in this we take different roles and parts until it all ends. Someone has to play the bad guy, right? Or there will be no action or fun. Some people have an inclination and a deeper interest in these regions, it’s just how it is. The danger is in taking oneself, whatever “self” is, too seriously. I’m not saying I chose the dark side or destructive path or anything, but it sure is fun and exciting exploring what’s in the shadows.

How are the ritual and supernatural connected to you?

There are different types of ritual. Most serve to tune your perception and focus onto something, allowing you to get in the right state of mind to achieve a certain experience or get in contact with someone or something. These are predominantly psychological devices and aids. Then some rituals have an inherent power in themselves, holding in their construction true supernatural value and energy. Then there are habitual rituals we do, conscious or subconscious, to uphold our world view. I have a few of these I maintain so I don’t lose the sense of magic in my subsistence. I view the world as supernatural, magical. But in the modern world it is easy to forget that and I think we need to get back to a sense of wonder and awe and believe in greater things again. I rarely construct or use elaborate rituals in magical work although I’m very aware of the power it holds when performed with the correct focus and intent. I however do a lot of ritual or ceremonial practice on the fly, spontaneously when out and about. It bubbles up inside and I just feel what needs to done, said or sung. Usually works very well.

We have talked before about the assets and manifestations of art and music, and how the essence of darkness and rebellion can condition the artist to be alienated from the world, why do you think this is so? Have you or the band experienced that feeling?

Most people are conformed and complacent. Not necessarily narrow-minded but certainly confined and often believing that the ordinary models of explanation are altogether true and the only ones with merit. Not seldom because science says so haha! Now, when into things outside that, dark and rebellious or not, maybe just some alternative philosophy or odd art, you realize that these normal explanatory models are very lacking in content or even false. You find something else, see something else. And when the ordinary world around you denies this, it’s easy to become alienated. And also, maybe you find something way more interesting and exciting to wrap your life around than that of the ordinary world, so you willingly alienate yourself. Not from the world itself, I say you rather deepen your relation with it. But from the world of habitual flock mentality. The normal “we know best/get in line” mentality. It just doesn’t give you anything yet demands so much if you attach yourself to it too vividly. I experience it all the time, yes, I would assume the whole band does aswell. Growing up, it was enough being a metal head haha! Fuck it. Just do your thing.

Is there a historical period with which you feel more identified?

No, can’t say there is weirdly enough… Though in deep trances or meditations I can sense worlds, time epochs or places, situations,  countries and sometimes feel a sort of connection. I view things more timeless and cyclical and that everything is stored in one way or another. Radiating in the bedrock. I can go out to a power place and feel like I’m in ancient times. There’s no difference. Vikings for example didn’t go around thinking about being in the Viking age. Dinosaurs probably didn’t give a fuck either what time period it was! We’re just here. Now, then ,tomorrow. Whatever. It’s still there, perceptible at least where we haven’t fucked up the environment and landscape too much.

Any special book?

Probably. Would take too long for me to single out. But stuff with Lars Magnar Enoksen, Carlos Castaneda, Alan Watts. Always works.

On the brink of Extinction we are the most alive, what does this line mean to you?

That we need to step outside our habitual, protective ego shells to really be alive. Cease the safety junky behavior. Feel outside the comfort zone. When death is at its closest, life shines brighter by contrast. And when you’re facing death and your ultimate destiny, there is nothing left but to leap head first into it and embrace whatever is to come. The pinnacle of life, always on the edge of destruction. Either literal impending destruction of you body and mind, or having the knife against your throat in a metaphorical sense, forcing you to take decisive action and break free from the bonds of dormancy that bind and enslave us.


Photo courtesy by: Nattmärr

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Name: Lars Broddesson
DOB: November 24th
Place of birth: Sweden
Occupation: Musician, Composer

This is the online magazine of Hammerblaze. In it, our readers will find original content and interviews of different collaborators in subjects like Art, Literature, Music, Philosophy, and Science. We hope that this new initiative has the support and success of the other tasks that we execute. We are open to any suggestion, to all criticism, within the framework of respect and seriousness that drives us to carry out each of our activities.