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Shining bracht recentelijk hun vijfde volledige album 'Halmstad' uit. Een fijne stuk depressieve maar zeer diverse en misschien wel progessieve black metal. Er zijn nogal wat geruchten geweest ontrent hun zanger Niklas aka Kvarforth (hij zou dood zijn bijvoorbeeld). Dus afgezien van een uitstekend album hadden we genoeg om te verduidelijken. Dat Niklas nog lang niet dood is is in ieder geval zonneklaar. Hij beantwoordde namelijk mijn vragen…

Door: Roel de Haan | Archiveer onder black metal

band imageGreetings! How are you doing in this world of wrongfully happy persons?
I am extremely fucking worn out, feel like I've been beaten up by ten body-builders and at the same time found out my girlfriend has been fucking someone else since the very start of our relationship, ain't life grand?

'V – Halmstad (Niklas Angående Niklas)' is your fifth album up to date, would you enlighten us about why you choose this as an album-title?
When I saw what direction the album was taking during the recording it suddenly felt more like I was giving an series of confessions rather than laying down the structures of what later on would become a bunch of songs. The disgusting family of mine have all their past in Halmstad and even though I spent my first 19 years in Stockholm i later moved back to the town after having attended the funeral of my grandfather, this sanctuary of mine would however later on become my worst nightmare, loosing my biological family, my new-found family as well as the very little few remaining strains of hope I might have had left, this pleasant surprise came like a whirlwind not more than 9 months ago. I choose the title thereby, also adding yet another undertitle, "Niklas Angående Niklas" which means basically "Niklas About Niklas", so in a way you might consider this, our fifth album, an absurdly personal one.

Right after the release of 'IV – The Eerie Cold', you called it quits for the band however you're here again with, by the way an excellent album, what made decide to throw in the towel and later to go on with the band?
SHINING has always have always been turbulent, and I personally have had countless of problems I've had to go through both personally and with the band all throughout the eleven years I've been doing this, and having this in mind then it's rather understandable shit might happen from time to time. I have always faced a love/hate relationship when it comes to doing this band, obviously considering as I have chosen to conjure fire, I sometimes get burnt you know. It's probably not the last time such an event might occur, we'll just have to wait and see.

Surrounding the band there has been much controversy, first a Dutch gig turned into a fight and then the alleged disappearance of the mainman Kvarforth. What's the story on both things?
At the show we were meant to have the first time at Baroeg, John Doe was still in the band and him and me were sitting in the backstage area, we hadn't slept for days and started to mutilate ourselves quite severely for some reason before the show. During the intro John Doe was threatening the audience while he tuned his guitar quite incorrectly and after we had played the first song completely out of tune John got pissed off and threw the guitar at someone, destroying a lot of the support acts equipment and all hell broke loose. Concerning the "missing front-man" thing, nothing happened really, I just decided that I had to leave my current situation back in Halmstad as things were getting a bit too much with family issues, psychological pain etc. When shit really hits the fan you don't really think about others that might be involved in your life you know and this was what happened, I left, without any words to the others and considering my medical conditions a self-afflicted death wasn't that much of a surprise to the others, something they all believed had occurred when a mate of mine who was certain of my death contacted our management and so the story goes. The rumours thereafter are merely made up by YOU, meaning reporters and black metal kiddies sitting at home in front of their computers posting in various music-related forums about things and people they don't know. However, to cut the story short, who really gives a fuck? It wasn't a weak publicity-stunt who some might believe, it was just a matter of the life and death of my "well"-being...

On to the new album then. 'V – Halmstad (Niklas Angående Niklas)' is much in the vein of its predecessor. Still, there are some differences. We can even hear bluesy pieces! How did these new elements came into your music and how would you compare the two albums?
Well, I have always strived for evolution as I see no fucking point in stagnating, remaking your old albums all over again. However, I do have to point out that the bluesy parts we have on the new album can also be found at various passages on the album prior, just take the middle-part of "Eradication Of The Condition" for example, it can't get bluesier than that! There is quite an immense progression between the last album and the new one, yet obviously, and most importantly, you can still hear it's a SHINING album you're putting on since the very first chord.

The music crosses the boundaries of metal at times and ventures in realms unknown to the genre. Where do you get your inspiration to make these pieces from?
I am personally not that much into metal, bare with me I do have a few classics that spins the wheel every now and then, such as Burzum, Strid, Bethlehem and a few others. I guess my musical taste somewhat shines through on the latter SHINING albums, such as Dido, Muse, Kent, Everlast and so on. There is darkness to be found in exactly every single style of music, you just have to dig deep enough and you'll find it. I'm not saying I am directly inspired by Madonna's "Like A Prayer" and that I am trying to make something in the line of that, but considering that I listen to that very album a lot for example might result in a few drops of her juice being blended with the overall "ordinary" SHINING sound.

band imageContinuing the previous question, do you feel part of a genre, musically?

It's no secret that Shining employs depressive and suicidal topics for a long time now. How much is still left untouched? In other words how long can you keep it fresh and credible?
Oh, it never ends, there is as said darkness unexplored in each single corner of the universe, and I will extract it all. One has to understand that SHINING is not merely a suicide-ridden concept, far from it actually, all that is of a negative origin is being extracted and glorified via this ill child of mine. I labelled my band being "Suicidal Black Metal" back in 1996 in order to distance us from the otherwise mellow scene but stopped using that term with the second album, now, I see hundreds of other new bands who have incorporated the term, yet, obviously completely misunderstood what the intentions I had back then for such a sub-genre were. SHINING has never been about expressing sadness and pity, SHINING is about glorifying the very darkness of man, thus force-feeding the listener with suicidal and self-destructive ideals, with other words, the complete opposite of what these other bands are doing today. I can always keep my work sincere and absolute credible, I mean it comes from the very inside of me, I'm not making this fixation up you know, it burns in me.

This is your first album on Osmose Productions, what are the main between them and Avantgarde you previous label? Why did you leave Avantgarde?
I really don't know what to say, Osmose Productions have managed to put us on the map in a whole different way than what Avantgarde Music managed back then, however, I have been living in the blur ever since I left Halmstad so I don't really have that much overview on things as they are right now. I left Avantgarde Music because me and some of the staff had a few personal disagreement forcing the two of us to part, however all that past bullshit has been solved so there's no bad blood the two of us inbetween.

Are you going to support this album with an European Tour? If yes with whom and when?
We are working on it but at this very moment we are negotiating with various booking-agencies in order to choose a suitable partner for us, so we'll have to wait a couple of weeks until I can really answer this question properly. But whatever happens, we will tour. I see no point in going on a tour with a band such as Dark Funeral for example as that would have been like throwing pearls to swine, I'd rather tour with bands like Opeth, Katatonia, Manes, DHG or likewise where we would have the opportunity of reaching a whole different audience.

One of the elements of a Shining show is the cutting with razors. Why do you do this? Does this enhance the experience or does it put you in the right mindset? Or is there a different reason?
Notice that when I stand on stage, I never cut myself in front of the audience as I preferably do it when no one sees. There are two reasons for me doing this, first of is denying my own flesh, abusing myself, raping myself whilst the second reason is because I want to influence our listeners, or in the case viewers, to go home and do the same, causing a chain of reactions where our fans go hurting themselves and others. Might sound pretentious but I am 100% serious about this, this is actually not that hard to achieve either and having SHINING as a tool of expression I manage to reach a larger scale of people who search something to rebel with, and what is a better weapon to use against your parents for example than molesting your own flesh? That's what I am here for, presenting options and guidelines.

Asking about future plans seems rather inappropriate concerning your view on things but here goes: what's next in the Shining realm?
We will for now focus on playing as much live as possible, then we're probably entering the studio at the end of the year recording our sixth album.

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