First off, just want to thank you for participating in this edition of Infidel Interviews. Could you start off by giving a little information about you to the audience? Whatever you feel comfortable with, but name, age, and where you live would be pretty standard?
Hails! Shatraug the founding member of Horna here, currently residing at Tampere.
What does Horna mean to you guys in 2017? And how does that compare to what the project meant to you guys when it was formed?
Simply said it's a major part of my life, having existed since 1994. Back then I thought little of the future and would never have imagined still having the same band but as long as I have the same shadow and flame within it will go on. Horna is my madness, my possession and retreat. All the trivial goals I had in the beginning have been fulfilled tenfold and now I feed my passion.
How would you describe the composition of a typical track within your musical group? Do you have primary songwriters, or do you each take time writing individual tracks and bring them to the rest of the group to flesh out, or do you jam tracks out in a live sort of setting?
That is fairly simple - I compose everything, present the ideas to rest of the band and they add their own into it. Major roles in how each song turns out are just me, the drummer and vocalist. We practically never rehearse all together, it's a well oiled machine that does not require much to run on full speed.
Your musics aggression, and your strong stance regarding independence leads me to believe you guys have some pretty strong philosophical and political views. If you had to sum up your general belief structure into a few concise statements, how would you summarize your stance in both politics and spirituality?
We indulge in the occult, each member more or less a satanist, everyone standing behind the script of the band. To us there is no black metal without it being the musical vision of satanic decree. Any political agenda is best left out of it, does not belong in music at all and should not even be needed to underline.
Have you had any particular moment(s) that you would like to share, that you would consider to be a crowning achievement in your musical career so far, or moments that you would say truly continue to inspire you to pursue your artistic path?
From the euphoria of having our first album out to the manic moments of touring, all of it. I'm inspired by everything that is still left unsaid.
Playing live shows, recording new tracks, attempting to go live the life that gives you the experiences that inspires it all... it can be difficult to balance the time. Do you have any particular methods that you use to keep yourself focused or balanced in your direction?
Not really. The only thing I do between all band activities is to dedicate the rest of it for family and friends. I don't need much since my life does not exist without music.
What are some of the biggest challenges you have had to overcome in your musical career?
The only real challenges have been the line-up changes, some smaller and some bigger but none of it has been too difficult to overcome in the end. Some touring gone wrong has resulted in difficult times to keep personal life balanced but that's life. Shit happens, deal with it.
You've had an opportunity with your rising success to play a series of concerts and festivals with some other high profile bands. What are some of your favorite places to play, and bands to play with, and why?
A couple of our favourite bands to tour with have been Taake and Blacklodge. As for individual festivals, shows etc it's impossible to name all of them.. just too many bands who left an impression one way or another. I've always enjoyed all shows which have been more intimate or at smaller festivals, those tend to bring out the most dedicated in the crowd but the absolute best experience has been the first time we played in Colombia out of all places. There are still corners in this world left to conquer though...
When it comes to your live show, how would you describe yourself thematically and visually? Are you an energy and audience driven band in the live atmosphere? Or would you consider yourself to be more thematic or presentation oriented?
We have never made any plans for presentation, everything is as it becomes. On most live rites I elevate into a trance-like state of mind and don't even notice if there's nine or nine hundred people witnessing it. Horna is demonic energy unleashed.
If you could play anywhere, with anyone, in the world, dead or alive, who and where would it be?
This is quite impossible to answer but for the sake of it, we'd love to play in Japan and rest of the places we never played before. With who doesn't matter, as long as it's bands we can live with.
Who have been some of your biggest influences when it comes to growling and harsh vocals? Do you have any techniques you use to help keep yourself from burning out your throat on the tour?
No technique, just demonic possession. Our vocalist certainly never learned to preserve his throat on tours and he can't.. it's not work, can't avoid being caught in the flow of energies.
You have released quite a few releases over you're active musical years. What has been your favorite album you have put out so far, and how do you feel your music has evolved over the years?
There are many favourites for different reasons, depending entirely when it was done, what memories it holds, how it has held up against time and so forth but from the Horna releases, the first one "Hiidentorni" will always have it's place for being the first. Some other favourites are "Perimä Vihassa ja Verikostossa" MLP, "Envaatnags..." album and "Sanojesi Äärellä" album, but I'm also very pleased with the latest "Hengen Tulet" album as well. Horna has no "evolution" apart from being able to harness our skills to better use. Musically I still compose similar music as I've done since the early days... music from my soul.
You guys have worked with a lot of different record labels over the years. Out of all of the labels, which would you say would have been the easiest for you to work with?
The current one World Terror Committee. Absolutely no problems and have the greatest support any label has ever given us.
What do you see in the near, and far, future for your creative output?
More live shows, new recordings, new releases, more live shows. The cycle goes on as long as it feels comfortable and inspiring, although it's safe to say I will be writing music as long as I breathe.
What sort of new bands have come out in recent years that have caught your attention? Is there any bands out there you see yourself, or would like to collaborate with in the future?
I don't really think much about it or even follow what's happening these days but just yesterday a band called Light Of The Morning Star caught my attention, giving a little fresh air to black metal instead of all these pseudo-occult disharmonic jazz displays.
Would you say that your choice to pursue music has changed your life since you started? Would you say that creativity has evolved you spiritually, emotionally, or logically?
Most certainly yes. I can't even begin to imagine how my life would be without music.
When it comes to your musical self and your real world self, would you say that their is a separation? Do you find yourself getting into a character or mindset when you create, or do you find your music is a representation of your day to day self?
I'm the same misanthrope no matter the day, at home or outside, with or without musical activities.
Outside of music, what are some of your favorite past times and emotional engagements?
The occult, literature, movies, videogames, nature.
In an industry that is driven by sales, and consumerism, what are your thoughts on digital downloads (legal and illegal)? Do you feel that streaming and digital download stores aid the accessibility of music? How bout music piracy? It obviously hurts sales in some regards, but it also boosts the access and distribution of the release which could lead to potential fans who do come to shows, buy physical copies of music, and get merchandise? Do you feel there would be enough turn around in that sort of system or are you firmly against file sharing?
The music business has changed since we started Horna and there simply are no bands or artists on this planet selling millions of physical albums anymore. When everything is easily accessible people get used to it and make no extra effort. Everyone who comes to live shows these days may not even own any actual copy of the band's music, only files. I don't really care as long as the music itself reaches those who may feel inspired by it in any way. Illegal downloading and sharing is no different from the bootleggers who were there previously, and still are, doing whatever they do. In some ways it's both frustrating and flattering to keep finding different bootleg shirts for example. All this obviously hurts anyone who wants a career in music but I wouldn't be doing black metal if I was in this for the money.
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