Greetings and thank you very much for this opportunity. I’d like to start this interview by asking you to introduce yourself to our readers, please.
Hello! I am Arkan von Greifenstein, playing in Tirin Kôr and Greifenstein. I am currently 33 and living in Vienna, Austria, where I also work as graphic designer.
You are now on the process of releasing a second Tirin Kôr CD, being the first one a great split named Agitator with Dechristianisierung Europas. Can you tell us a bit about how the album will sound, if people can expect something in the vein of Agitator?
The new album will be called „Intimidation“ and contains 9 tracks. It will probably be released within the next weeks by Human to Dust as digipack version.
I think the main difference to „Agitator“ is the sound.
On „Agitator“ I wanted to give a raw oldschool feeling to the tracks, achieved through distortion and a rehearsel-room sound on the drums. I think that was very fitting for the split and I still like that sound.
But this time, I was trying to get a more powerful and straight sound, which also fits Tirin Kôr very well in my opinion. It is clearer and louder and you can hear every instrument better, while remaining at the same time very forward and driving.
The songs itself are similar to the older tracks. There are slower and fast tracks, most of them are a bit longer than the songs on „Agitator“ though. But the style didn’t change.
As for the lyrical content when it comes to Tirin Kôr, what are the main subjects that you deal with? I have to add that, much like in Greifenstein, the song titles are very interesting and some of the lyrics are very good dark poems. Besides that, will you release the new album with the lyrics being published as well?
Unfortunately the lyrics won’t be in the booklet, because the label decided for a 6 page digipack and there is not enough room for them. But I will make a website with all the lyrics. If you are interested go to www.facebook.com/tirinkor after the release. The link will be posted there, since there is no other Tirin Kôr website so far.
As for the lyrical concept: Each song has other points of view. In one the narrator is exiled in a desert, fighting the light. In another the idea was to portray how we humans strive for love and the „golden years“ that were in the past. A short excerp:
Like a feigning breath we are to each other
Clasping and embracing, but never fusing
in the end it matters not.
Gone like the warmth of a day, a fading memory –
the golden times of yore will never come again.
There are different little stories, but all of them are rather dark and revolve around themes like death, changing, war, darkness, solitude or the shattering of the illusion, that everything will become alright.
This time I asked an old friend called „Storm“, who played with me in the band „Vanguard“ 12 years ago to join me in the lyrical process. Both of us wrote lyrics by ourselves, but some were also created together. That worked very well, and soon the lyrical concept was finished.
And now some Greifenstein questions. Well, when it comes to my interviews, I enjoy asking questions to introduce the bands to new listeners and, of course, a few questions for the old fans. Please, tell us a bit about Greifenstein. It’s quite different from Tirin Kôr, I’m sure.
Greifenstein is different from Tirin Kôr mainly through the concept, but also from the music itself. While Tirin Kôr is very dark, old school and simply Black Metal sung in english, that revolve around the themes I described before, Greifenstein has a more spiritual and optimistic concept, which is mainly in German.
Also Greifenstein contains songparts underlayed with other instruments, like trumpets, piano, strings or whatever fits to create an epic feeling. The style is a mixture between Black Metal and Viking Metal I suppose. Also there are clean vocals from time to time.
The latest Greifenstein release was the “Von Inneren Welten”, in my humble opinion, a beautiful work of “Atmospheric” Black Metal. But that took place in 2008, two years after the release of the demo “Ostarrichi Black Metal”. Is there any hope for a future Greinfestein release and the reason why you haven’t recorded anything new with this band?
Yes there is! I know, it has been a long time since the release, but Greifenstein has never stopped for me. I have a full-length album, called „Der Ewigkeit krönender Abschluss“ (very fitting after that long pause, huh?) that is very far progressed. Also a split album named „Stillstand“ together with Mirkwood from US is in the making, which will contain 4 tracks of Greifenstein, which will probably be released before the full-length album.
The reason why it took me so long is that there was a time after the release, where I couldn’t work on the songs. Meanwhile I also worked on Tirin Kôr and since I also work, it is natural that you don’t have so much time to do the things you like to do. But I promise, that Greifenstein will be back! After the Tirin Kôr release, I intend to finish the split-album.
Both of your bands are “one man bands”. I’d like to know why you decided to play/ sing/ program/ whatever all the instruments/ vocals by yourself. Is there a specific reason? Also, what are the advantages and disadvantages of being on a “one man band”?
The disadvantages are, that there are fewer people who give you the asskicks to work on the albums instead of let’s say playing computer games in your free time. Also there are times where I’d like to have a second opinion or some ideas. But that really isn’t that much of a problem. You can also get opinions or ideas in rehearsel sessions with good friends that are not directly involved in the band itself, when you just play around for fun.
From time to time, I involve some friends, to let them write some lyrics or sing as guest vocals.
I decided to do everything alone, which includes recording and mastering and creating the booklet as well, because I was sick of people not serious or interested enough in creating the same music. I don’t know, if that’s different somewhere else apart from Austria, I suppose not – either you have some good musicians, who are then involved in more than one band and therefore have no time or you only find people who are half-interested or bad on their instrument and after some time they don’t show up to rehearsels or leaving the band. And that sucks.
I rather spend more time myself, than having to explain my ideas to someone, who rather wants to do his own thing. Also I find it easier to make music at home, when I want to and without having to go to a rehearsel room once or twice a week. Since I don’t intend to play live, it is just easier this way for me. I just plug in the guitar and record it, when a good riff comes to my mind.
I would not refuse the thought of playing together with someone else in general though, if the intend and outcome is the same, as my own.
Again, in my humble opinion, I think you have one of the best black metal vocals. Did it come naturally for you or did you have to train since the younger ages when you got into black metal? What would be your advice for someone that wants to have a powerful and yet peculiar black metal vocals?
Thank you! Yes it came rather natural. I was playing in a band when I was 16, and we were trying things out. I couldn’t really sing in this black metal style yet, so I just tried around and one time it suddenly worked and I could get those high-scream vocals out.
As an advice I would say, try things out and find out what you are capable to do with your body. I think everything that can be done when whispering (like deep or high distorted vocals) can also be done loud, when the muscles are trained. You have to feel yourself how it can be done. Just listen to your favorite band and sing along, sooner or later you will achieve something that you like.
You are a person that takes a lot of nature pictures. Beautiful European regions filled with majestic old environment. How important for you is this contact with nature? Does it inspire you? And also, about the pictures, do they represent a special moment or simply an example of beauty and aesthetics?
Since I come from the countryside, I spent much time alone in the forest and mountains when I was younger. I think that is very important to get in touch with your inner self and nature alike. When you do that regularly, you get a more deeper understanding and connecting feeling with the forest around you, compared when you just take a walk there.
I now live in a city, so this is something that I miss of course. Whenever I have time, I try to go out, hiking or something to be there. And I also like to keep those moments by making photos. It is also nice to have them, when you make your booklets. In Austria there are plenty of wonderful places, so if you have the eye for what could be interesting on a picture, it is not so hard to find the right motive.
I don’t really know what the photos represent. A moment, a memory maybe, but also there is a moment when you take the picture and then give it a final touch on the computer, it transforms to some image that was not there before and is something else, than what you saw. Like music, when you create it, it is just there and becomes something of it’s own, that you didn’t conciously intended.
Quite a basic question, but this always interests me when it comes to the musician background. What were your main inspirations when you started to play in bands, black metal bands, more precisely and what led you to play this genre itself?
When I was younger I always felt, that the music that was around was not really my music. Then some friend gave me tapes, with Pungent Stench and other metalbands. I liked them and this got me into metal, but it was not until I had listened to Dimmu Borgir, which had just released Enthrone Darkness Triumphant, when I thought this is exactly what I always wanted to hear.
I began to buy some samplers like Feuersturm and bought most of the releases from those, like Satyricon, Darkthrone, Old Mans Child, Einherjer, Twin Obscenity and others. I also found out about Summoning and Falkenbach and instantly liked their epic styles. So that were my inspirations for me at that time, when I was 14 or 15. I started playing e-guitar and formed a band with a friend. We said to each other, that we will get all the girls, for playing in a band. Hahaha, you know how you are, when you are a teenager. Before that I had just played piano, but I already liked to make my own songs back then.
So beeing able to play guitar, sing and play keyboard, was already much of what I needed for that kind of music. Of course things very different back then, before the internet and when there were just a few metal heads around where I lived.
Since that, I had never stopped making metal or playing in different bands.
Outside music, what are your main interests, be it about movies, books, whatever you enjoy doing after composing/ playing or going home after work?
Reading books, playing computer games, going outside for a hike or biking, swimming in summer, watching movies or series and trying out different things in life in general. The usual I guess.
I’ve read an interview with you in which you ended with the following sentence “Black Metal und Bier”. Being both things that I love, I’d like to ask you about your favorite beers and beer styles.
Hahaha, yeah! I like the Austrian beers very much. Stiegl, Gösser and such. I also like to try different kinds of beer. I like most of them, except wheat beers are not among my favorite beer styles. Prost!
Thank you very much for answering this interview. I highly appreciate this and wish you the best in the future. Do you have any last words for our readers?
Thank you for this opportunity to speak about Tirin Kôr and Greifenstein. Hails to all the fans out there, you won’t be disappointed with the stuff to come!April 18, 2014