Niklas Kvarforth


Eternally reeling from controversy, SHINING's legendary and enigmatic frontman Niklas Kvarforth comes out from his shade of darkness to speak to Azmo, surprisingly about how his grandmother got him into Metal, to his uncanny relationship with Fernet Branca and DEPECHE MODE.
By Azmo Lozmodial
September 28, 2013
Niklas Kvarforth (Shining) interview
Greetings Niklas, it is a great honor to have you for this interview with Metal Temple.

Well, thank you.

I would like to begin with your early music life. Who introduced you to the Metal world and later, who introduced you to the Black Metal side of that world?

Actually, it was my grandmother who got me interested in music and Metal in particular when I was younger. Then, when the technology of the compact disc arrived on the scene she gave me her collection of LPs including everything from GUNS N' ROSES and METALLICA to a lot of heavier stuff. I got into Black Metal in 1992-1993 when I met Phil A. Cirone who I started hanging out with in fourth grade. His older brother actually played bass on the two first albums, only to be replaced by his younger brother on the third album.

SHINING's riffs are deeply influenced by the 90's Black Metal era. What are the main bands that influenced SHINING's music and who is your personal Black Metal idol?

Obviously the first bands I heard played a major role in what would come to inspire me when writing music myself. Even today I would say BURZUM, ENSLAVED, and THORNS still leave their traces in what I create. However, I have to mention that it is artists outside of the genre who have inspired me the most, such as Bowie, KENT and DEPECHE MODE for instance. I believe that the fusion between 90's Black Metal era and the supreme melancholy of more mainstream artists is what made my art stand out from other shit being released throughout the years. As for my Black Metal Idol… wow, not to be rude or anything, but that is probably the most stupid term I have ever heard.

The influences of Jazz music have appeared in the last albums. Are you a fan of Jazz music? And if so, who are your favorite artists?

No, I am not really a fan of the style per se. Yet, I do love the atmosphere only a good Jazz club can create. Too bad there none around where I live these days.

About the new album, can you describe the artwork in your own words? And can you tell us what your favorite track in the album is?

It is not a new album. It's a compilation of various pre-recordings that I have rebuilt and reinforced with the help of others. There are two reasons for releasing them today, one being to reclaim these songs as our own as a German company bootlegged the original versions about 10 years ago, and secondly it gave me the opportunity to work together with some good friends of mine with whom we had planned collaborations on other projects, which, for various reasons, never came into being. Listening to the album now after it has been mastered, I have to say they all do stand out but Gaahl's interpretation of "Självdestruktivitetens Emissarie" does have that special something to it.

What do you think about the black metal scene nowadays and why do you think SHINING is different?

I do not care about any scene, never did really. SHINING has always been an outsider, yet blacker than most who claim to belong to this "club". See, I genuinely hate people and life in all its perverse forms, and therefore, I find the mere thought of belonging to a community repulsive. Of course I do have a few brothers and sisters whom I hold dear and a cat too, but apart from these, I wish death to all.

The amazing guests on the new album have helped the album to sound darker. If there were more tracks in this album, who are the vocalists you will choose to do guest vocals?

Originally, when we were planning on re-recording the debut album, I had six vocalists on board for the project. However, the project itself went down the drain when I chose to record two other albums during that session instead. So, when 8 ½ started taking shape, all those who were supposed to be involved with the re-recording did their songs, apart from one who I have come to disagree with over the years and therefore wouldn't allow to participate. Trondr Nefas was supposed to do one as well but for obvious reasons, that could not happen in 2013, which is why I chose to include the old B-side instead. I have worked with many great artists and vocalists over the years and honestly feel that with this release, the collaborations have to stop. So to answer your question, no, there are no other vocalists I would have liked to have had on the album.

About your future work, do you have anything in mind to tell the thirsty fans of SHINING about or it's too early to think about something new now?

I have been working on the ninth album for a very long time now, and it seems like things are starting to reach their final state as we speak. But we have decided to wait to enter the studio until we have solved a few other issues within the band. Other than that, I know Martin Strandberg is working hard on the documentary that is supposedly hitting theatres in 2014.

For the loyal fans who are concerned about your health, can you tell them about your latest mental and physical condition and whether these conditions will affect the future of SHINING?

My mental and physical condition obviously has a major impact on what does and doesn't happen with the band, for both good and bad. However, I no longer feel any interest in sharing this with anyone else apart from those closest to me and yeah, sometimes with others too when too much Fernet Branca has taken its toll on my judgment.

What do you think about the following albums: Det som engang var by BURZUM, Brave Murder Day by KATATONIA, Death - Pierce Me by SILENCER, and Morningrise by OPETH, and can you order them starting with your favorite?

Det Som Engang Var is a fantastic album, of course. Brave Murder Day as well, and both have also had much more impact on my life than I'd care to admit. I never liked the early OPETH stuff and as for the SILENCER album, that is a bit tricky to answer as Andreas, aka Leere, and I more or less started writing this kind of music together and even had him rejoining the band in 2004 or 2005 when we began performing live. I do love his way of writing music but I personally think that Micke's vocals are a bit too much at times and might have worked for a song or two, but for a whole album, it's, like I said, a bit too much.

This year was a great year for the extreme metal industry. What are your best extreme metal releases of 2013 so far?

I don't really listen that much to Metal in general so this is also a bit hard for me to comment upon. The new WATAIN, GHOST, and PESTE NOIRE are amazing of course, but that's about it. I suggest you check out the new DEPECHE MODE album instead.

Anything else you would like to say to Metal Temple and to your fans?

In November we are heading out on tour once again and I suggest you buy your tickets now so that you won't miss out on an evening of some horrific experiences and unavoidable misunderstandings. 

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