Decibel sits down with Shining firebrand Niklas Kvarforth for a quick Q&A before premiering Shining's new album, IX - Everyone, Everything, Everywhere, Ends, in its entirety. Stare into the abyss, please.
You’re known to court controversy. Is controversy part of the overall plan?
Niklas Kvarforth: I guess I have been accused of courting some kind of “controversy” because that is how labels have decided to promote us, and also because some things that have occurred within and around the band during our almost two decades-long career have been completely blown out of proportion by media and the overall bullshit caused by contemporary means of communication, i.e. Facebook/MySpace and other life-affirming paradoxes. Truth be told, I don’t find the things that I have done controversial at all. I mean, people know what Shining is all about and I find it pretty weird that people then start panicking once something happens during a concert or whatever. Really, they should know that what we’re doing does come with a bit of danger, don’t you agree? And it's certainly no more than many other bands do.
Tell us how IX: Everyone, Everything, Everywhere, Ends came together musically.
Niklas Kvarforth: I had suffered from writers-block for about two years after we put together the demos for Redefining Darkness, and times were pretty rough. Also, seeing that 2014 turned out to be probably the worst year I have ever had to endure on both a personal as well as a professional level, any kind of future for the band seemed quite distant. Anyhow, one day, out of the blue, I got this e-mail from Euge containing a couple of songs he’d been working on secretly, asking if I thought any of the ideas could work for Shining. To my surprise, one of the riffs he sent put me into an immediate, mostly maniacal, inspiration-mode and within minutes the writer's block was but a distant memory and three weeks later I had more or less finished both music and lyrics for the whole new album. It’s really weird you know, as I have not been that keen on having others write, or even suggest ideas when it comes to this band, but the praise should undoubtedly go to him, as without him the mere idea of IX would not have been spewed forth in the first place.
What’s your favorite track? They’re all quite cool, but one must cling close to your heart.
Niklas Kvarforth: They are all children of mine, with the exception of “Den Påtvingade Tvåsamheten”, so it’s hard to tell. One track though that deals with a subject I’ve always tried to put into words but for many reasons haven’t been able to before recording this album is “Tiden Läker Inga Sår”. Lyric-wise this song is about the sacrifices I have had to make at times when composing, and I feel that the music accompanying this song truly serves its purpose.
Should we read into the title, IX: Everyone, Everything, Everywhere, Ends? Are you managing expectations here?
Niklas Kvarforth: This title is something that has followed me since 2006 when I lived in Norway and was actually meant to be used on the sixth album. However, for many reasons it hasn't been until now it truly makes sense. You may interpret that in whichever way you want, maybe it’s a mere celebration of Total Death or it could mean the end of something else. I leave it to you and the listeners to figure that out by yourselves.
What’s your definition of evil? I know, open question.
Niklas Kvarforth: And also something that would demand a very long answer, which we do not have time for unfortunately.
Indeed, we don't. But we do have time to listen to IX: Everyone, Everything, Everywhere, Ends in all its negative splendor. Listen on, metalheads! Let Shining razor your souls.
** Shining's new album, IX - Everyone, Everything, Everywhere, Ends, is out April 21st on Season of Mist Records. Pre-orders are available HERE for lunatics, psychotics, and music appreciators the world over.