Henrik Nordvargr Bjorkk is the man that would surely confuse the Gods of Music with his so many different musical faces. Pouppée Fabrikk, Mz.412, All Hail The Transcending Ghost, Toroidh, Goatvargr, Folkstorm, Vargr, Nordvargr , Naer Mataron, and so many more that I am not sure I even know them. Each of his projects with a unique sound, a different approach, another meaning of existence. From power electronics to militant and from EBM to dark ambient, Henrik is for sure one of the most creative and unique musicians in the history of industrial music.
Hello Henrik, soon you will be performing in Athens, Greece, in a 3 day industrial and dark ambient festival alongside with many artists from the old Cold Meat Industry label. How do you feel coming to Greece to perform live for such an event?
It feels great – especially because there are so many old friends gathering. There have been a few festivals over the last years with similar lineups, but this seems to be the most condensed and focused one yet. I predict a classic festival.
And, talking about Greece, the current situation in Greece, Toroidh’s “Those Who Do Not Remember the Past Are Condemned to Repeat It” and “Europe Is Dead” comes to my mind. Those two titles pretty much reflect what the situation has been like in Greece during these recent years. Do you think that, considering how things are developing, not only in Greece, but all over Europe in general, the past is something that it is truly condemned to be repeated?
Maybe. We are not facing the same situation as during the early 1900s, but these are challenging times indeed. Honestly I have tried to stop listening to the mainstream media and the news as they clearly have an agenda. It is all propaganda. If you look closely and read between the lines you can see that this is all orchestrated by people who only have two things on their mind: money and power. What we need is love. I don´t mean that we should all hug each other and all will be fine, but if you open up your mind a bit and think and observe, you will see the patterns.
Nihilism is something that many of your works reflect. Do you actually think that only the “here and now” exists and that, in the end, everything returns to this: nihil?
Not really. Existential nihilism is not what I preach. I am more leaning towards the “nihil” as being synonymous to the Ayn sof – the “not being”, or to the state of emptiness you feel when you meditate and disconnect your ego from your actual being: the place of knowledge. As Jung put it: “Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakens.”
As a musician it seems you are pretty much active and busy. You have created in many fields, from industrial to dark ambient, from neoclassical to EBM, from power electronics to martial. You have even participated in black metal works. Considering the fact that you have a busy life besides music, having your family and your children and many other activities, how do you find enough time to be so creative in the field of the arts? Is there some inner spirit of creation, expression and inspiration that is unrest and endless?
It is just what I need to do – I have a constant flow of ideas and feelings that I need to manifest. There are times when I am less active and focused on things other than music and art, but I always come back to that. It is just the way I work.
I know that you are not only creating music but that you are painting as well. Do you think that painting, as a form of expression compared to music, can be more powerful or it is a form of expression that would apply to less people than music does? Personally, what relaxes you the most and makes you feel more satisfied: the creation of a music piece or the creation of a painting?
Painting is something that really frustrates me actually. I never feel satisfied and I never feel done, so it really takes a lot of energy for me to finish something. When I work with music, I do not have that problem at all. I instantly know when I am done with a piece. But still, painting is interesting – I never set out to paint something specific. Instead, I just let my mind and hand go and what comes out is never pre-planned. This randomness (or channeling) is amusing: not knowing what will happen.
I have seen that there are Sigils amongst your paintings; do you have a special interest in Sigil magic?
I have studied many esoteric currents, so yes, that is something that interests me a lot – to distill a thought or a wish into a symbol and, through different means, activate it in order for it to manifest. The same thing goes for my music; I am trying to summon and exchange vibrations with the listener on a subconscious level that will affect the way they think, feel and act.
You have announced a future release from MZ.412 and for many people this is their favorite project of yours. Are you still working on this release or has it already been recorded and will be available for the audience really soon?
We are working on a new album, yes. Hard to say when it will be done though. We are scattered all over the planet right now, so working on it is not that simple. But it will come into being. Half of it has already been recorded.
Out of all your projects, which one represents your personality the most?
All things Nordvargr. That is the closest you can come to knowing me through music.
When you give birth to a song, besides the hard work, it’s a result of certain inspiration, thinking and feeling. To the listener, the same song might apply the same things and feelings but it may also apply other things and different feelings. How do you feel when people get inspired by your songs? Is this something important to you as an artist?
Absolutely. As long as my music conveys some kind of feelings I will go on. Even if someone reacts negatively I am still happy – as long as it moves people in some way. I know my music can be used to “paint images” in your mind, and that is the meaning of it: to let it creep into your head and under your skin and blend with your own memories and experiences.
Do you listen to other kinds of music besides the so-called underground and dark genres? For example, a calm evening with family at home would you put on some Swedish pop to listen to? Let’s say something like Lisa Ekdahl’s songs or the like?
I have a very broad taste when it comes to music, so it all depends on my mood. I tend to return to the classic stuff (Severed Heads, SPK, Test Dept) quite a lot, but I also enjoy a dose of metal every now and then (Urfaust, Inquisition, Belketre, Portal). I don’t listen that much to the newer industrial/noise stuff (with the exception of Trepaneringsritualen and Michael Idehall).
Last but not least, what could you describe as being closest to an ideal living?
There is no definite answer to that. It all depends on your surroundings and relations. An ideal living would include always being as independent and free as possible, of course. But the place could be anywhere as long as there is love, food and health.
Photo Credits: Jörg Seiche