What is the literal translation to the band name, Der Weg einer Freiheit? Is there a secondary, less obvious interpretation as well?
Nikita Kamprad: It can be roughly translated to “The Way of a Freedom”, but actually I never liked any of the translations I came across. Writing and playing music live makes me feel free even though it’s just for a short moment. I don’t feel any more freedom in the world today looking at limitations in freedom of speech, privacy, religion, etc., which always causes conflicts, corruption and war. Music and this band in particular is my personal “Way of (a) Freedom”, a way to escape and maybe set other people thinking about their lives they lead. This is exactly what the name stands for. However, you can’t define a certain kind of ‘freedom’, in my opinion. In music and art I find my very own personal and individual freedom and certainly every human being has a different view on this.
What’s most important to you when writing music?
Nikita Kamprad: Each time I start writing a new album, I have absolutely no idea in which direction I’d like to go. I only write music when I’m in the mood and not under pressure or because I have to. I like the idea of letting the song ’write itself’, giving it much time to develop and finish it at 100%, not just 99%. Same goes with the whole album. After the first songs are completed a certain atmosphere or concept emerges from the material somehow automatically and I’m trying to push the whole thing further into this direction as the songwriting proceeds. This is usually also the point where I start working on the artwork concept, think about a tracklist, etc. It all comes quite naturally step-by-step. There is no master plan at the beginning which all takes much time, of course. And first of all you need that time, so I’d say this is the most important thing for me.
Der Weg einer Freiheit is a black metal act. Would you say you follow the simple tenet of black metal, insofar as you’re Satanic and write about Satanic topics or is Der Weg einer Freiheit a deeper, broader definition of black metal?
Nikita Kamprad: Experience has shown that arguing about a definition of black metal is a never ending story. Everyone has his/her own views and of course image always plays a big role in all this. Obviously we don’t look like the black metal band you know from the ‘90s, but that was never actually the plan. We’re doing what we love and feel good with it. We’ve got other things to say, which are more important to us than Satan.
You’re often compared to Scandinavian bands. But I hear a lot of German black metal in Der Weg einer Freiheit. Would you say that’s the basis of the band’s sound? And, if so, how does German black metal differ from its peers elsewhere?Nikita Kamprad: Yes, indeed, you’re absolutely right. First, I got into black metal was with German bands like Nagelfar, Nocte Obducta, Orlog, Drautran, and stuff like that. Of course, I’ve also listened to Scandinavian bands a lot, but I guess the major influence on our sound came from Germany. I’ve always loved the melancholic vibe, emotions and sophisticated lyrics in bands like Nagelfar.
Stellar is your first for Season of Mist. Is there a comparison to be made emotionally and physically to predecessor Unstille?
Nikita Kamprad: Compared to the previous releases Stellar is much more organic sound-wise. We’ve been recording in a really good sounding, large room and there was no need to add artificial reverb or rooms on the recorded tracks, which made it sound more natural. We also tried to record all instruments exactly the way they should sound at the end, so the mixing process went quite smooth without adding too much effects in form of software plugins and stuff like that. While Unstille had a quite aggressive, harsh and clinical tone, Stellar may be a little softer and warmer which fits the more melancholic and dark atmosphere very well in my opinion. Since it’s not as easy to get into it compared to the older stuff I hope the listeners will listen carefully as it’s a very dynamic album and not easy listening, which requires patience and an appropriate ambiance. If this is the case one will be rewarded with many new things and surprises on the record. Furthermore, the release on a label like Season of Mist gives us the opportunity to reach a more international audience, which is actually rather uncommon for a German-speaking band like us.
** Der Weg Einer Freiheit's new album, Stellar, is out March 24th, 2015 on Season of Mist. It's available HERE as a pre-order. Vinyl purists will have several colored options. CD nuts will get two forms: normal and deluxe.