Don’t say HNW is trendy, but the worldwide “scene” grows up daily. Young man like Kevin Jansen from The Netherlands are the future of HNW. He’s SVARTVIT, an aspiring HNW project with typical underground note or intention! We’re proud to support his harsh work in our interview serie “13 questions to…”
kulturterrorismus: Hello from Germany! We hope all fine with you? Where are you? Please, tell us your story!
SVARTVIT: Hi all, I’m fine. Hope you’re doing great as well. I’m from the south of the Netherlands and currently I’m in school. Right now I’m just waiting for this boring day to end. Yesterday the weeklong festival Incubate in Tilburg started again so I can’t wait to go back there. In the following days I’ll be seeing Nurse With Wound, Con-Dom, Chris & Cosey and many many more.
kulturterrorismus: When did you start producing noise? What or who were your early passions and influences?
SVARTVIT: I think I started producing noise in 2008. Before that I’d been getting into more and more experimental music and I was at the time very much focussed on harsh noise and power electronics. I came for a punk and grindcore scene so obviously I was more interested in the harsher and violent part of the spectrum. I started producing some demo’s under different names, most of which only held for a few weeks, inspired by the stuff I was listening at that time. Some stuff I was listening by then was Incapacitants, Sickness and Nkondi. After that period I took on the SVARTVIT name.
Somewhere in the beginning of 2009, after seeing Vomir perform, I got myself some Cannibal Ritual and Vomir releases. I found these works so inspiring that I delved deeper and deeper into the style of HNW. The mesmerizing aspects and total lack of human presence spoke to me in a great way. I felt these releases accomplished what most dark ambient and drone releases set out to do. Between then and halfway this year I solely recorded static compositions with most of the inspiration coming from projects like Die Reitenden Leichen, The Rita and Vomir. While I still like recording in this style I felt as if the gap between my recorded output and live sound was getting too big. Since my first show at the start of 2009 each show has been getting more active, violent and based around vocals and live sampling.
I think because I started out playing in grindcore bands I’m unable to translate the HNW sound to a live setting. The project is very personal and based around frustration so when performing live I can get really emotional and aggressive. At that point it is just impossible for me to keep my calm. So for the last few months I’ve been working on new recordings, shows and merchandise after a period of almost complete silence, all of these in the style fitting to my live-sound. I think I’ll always do some HNW recordings but probably just for personal pleasure or in extremely limited editions.
kulturterrorismus: What are currently your main production-challenges? Give us an example!
SVARTVIT: Due to the recent switch I’m still having a hard time figuring out how to translate the aggression of a show into a recording. While on stage I utilize a bunch of things that are not easily translated to recorded output. Things included are venue specific feedback, screamed vocals without amplification, junk metal, a saw with contact microphones taped to it and of course all the violence I project on the audience. Things like that are hard to grab with microphones or a lineout. I think so far I have a few tracks down that have managed to display these qualities but it has been a troublesome recording to say the least. I prefer pure straight to tape recordings, just one take without edits. If there is a mistake somewhere it should stay there. With the new style it is impossible to capture all of these sounds at once so for now I’ve been doing all the pedal work at once and then another take with vocals, feedback and metal over it. It works but I’m still trying to improve the process.
kulturterrorismus: What do you usually start with when working on a new piece?
SVARTVIT: When making new recordings I think I take a more power electronics based approach to my material. I just mess around with pedals until I get some atmosphere going that can suck me in. For the vocals and the saw abuse I need to be in a certain state of mind that I can only reach by making sounds like these. I work on the sounds and think of good parts for more or less vocals to come in and adapt to that. When the base is there I turn it up as loud as physically possible and record the other take over it. A lot of time goes into picking the sounds but when I’ve finally found them I only do one vocal take to keep it pure, no room for failure.
kulturterrorismus: What is better static or rhythmic style? Why?
SVARTVIT: I think I’m unable to answer this. For years I’ve had a distinct preference for the static style on recordings but the more rhythmic approach in a live setting. I guess I still do. It’s nice to just zone out to the crunching and rumbling aspects of a static recording, find all the inner textures, see how your mind gets numbed during the recording. But on stage I’ve only seen a few artists accomplish this, there I think the emotional part of the sounds should be visible for the audience to get on the same intensity level as the one performing. I would say both are great for different reasons but right now I’m getting more inspired by the rhythmic approach. Currently I’ve been spinning Sword Heaven – Entrance and Wolf Eyes – Burned Mind a lot. Both are perfect examples of recordings that get there intensity out of pounding rhythms.
kulturterrorismus: Is any relationship between sound and live or working day? Please tell us your opinion!
SVARTVIT: Yes, for me it is impossible to see these separate. My whole project is based around the frustrations I feel, on a personal level as well as a more socio-political one. Without these I would feel no need for my project. I don’t think I’m bringing something completely new to the table, my main goal isn’t to please an audience. Of course I’m glad to get some recognition but in the end noise is about the most egocentric music you can make, I do this solely as a way to get rid of all the anger I’ve got cramped up inside.
kulturterrorismus: Do you feel it important that your music spread a message? How conceptional is your music or only for hearing without thinking? What await your listeners?
SVARTVIT: I guess this is closely linked to the last question. My music is based on frustration. I don’t think this is a message on it’s own but I think it can work as a message for similar minded people. Some will hear my work on recognize the feelings presented in it. I’ve had experiences like this myself before and hope some will have it with my stuff as well. It’s good to feel that you’re not the only one with these thoughts. So for some it can be a very emotional experience while for others it would be just noise.
kulturterrorismus: The role of an artist is always subject to change. What’s your view on the (e.g. political/social/creative) tasks of artists today and how do you try to meet these goals in your work?
SVARTVIT: I think with the current state of music the role of an artist is to offer up music just the way they like. With all these new ways to gain music I think people themselves can filter out what they prefer. If they want to hear very outspoken political message, there are places for that, if they want pure sounds without any message attached to them they can find those as well. The artist shouldn’t compromise towards the audience in any way, it would only give the music less value.
kulturterrorismus: There seem to be two fundamental tendencies in music today: On the one hand, a move towards complete virtualisation, where tracks and albums are merely released as digital files. And, on the other, an even closer union between music, artwork, packaging and physical presentation. Where do you stand between these poles?
SVARTVIT: I think these two approaches go hand in hand. The digital aspect makes sure that everyone can easily get the music they want to hear and the more extensive packaging makes sure that the collectors get rewarded as well. For me I offer physical releases as well as free or pay what you want downloads. Everyone that wants can get the music and if they like it they can buy the real thing or donate some money for the download. So far I’ve had great experiences with this, people paying for just downloading etc. I think with my view on society, one based in anarchism, I could not justify not offering these releases for free. Bandcamp is a great tool for this.
kulturterrorismus: Music-sharing sites and -blogs as well as a flood of releases in general are presenting both listeners and artists with challenging questions. What’s your view on the value of music today?
SVARTVIT: I think the value of the music itself is still the same or has even increased. People are combining styles of music in such interesting ways that everyone can find something they truely adore. However, I feel as if a lot of people don’t see this value. Everything is going so fast that people forget about albums from just months ago, this is strange compared to the early days when people would play a single tape for months and months. Noise is a genre that is very vulnerable to this approach because of the high number of prolific artists but I don’t think good noise will suffer from it. There has always been a lot of releases and we can still call some of them ‘classics’. I think in ten years time people will make up their opinions about the stuff that is being released right now and the good ones will surface in the end.
kulturterrorismus: Do you see Facebook as blessing or shit? Is it right, that musicians can not work without Facebook, if they want near by their fans, make cooperation with other artists and so on?
SVARTVIT: I’ve been using Facebook on a personal level for a while and I’ve always had my gripes but I can also acknowledge the usefulness of such a tool. I went on a summer tour last year and most of the contacts for that I found on Facebook. As an artist I’ve only been using it since the end of last month after ignoring it for ages. So far I have to say it works great, I’ve gotten label requests, shows, new projects for splits and a bunch of new fans through this in such a short time that I can’t completely denounce it. I think artists should use this if they feel like it but shouldn’t let it rule them in any way, never overestimate the value as in the end it’s just a communication tool. Right now I’m trying to make it more interesting for people to follow me on Facebook by offer up things people would normally miss. I hope that way I can get in touch with the people that appreciate my music so I can get it to the right ears easier with every release.
kulturterrorismus: Is money the only thing to be recognized artist? Or could non-mainstream music same successful as mainstream?
SVARTVIT: I think the money is completely irrelevant. I don’t believe in the current value that is given to these papers and never will. They make a whole lot of interaction very troublesome and only distract people from the things that really matter in life. For me the only role money has in music is having enough of it to continue. Sometimes I make money from a show and sometimes I don’t, in the end noise has never earned me anything other than great experiences and that’s what counts. I’m happy to do this and will keep on doing so in any way. With a scene this small I think money plays a smaller role and that’s what I love about it, people help each other out for the best.
kulturterrorismus: The last words are yours!
SVARTVIT: Thanks for doing this interview with me, I’m really happy with the attention that is given to my project on your website. I would like to direct people to my Facebook and bandcamp if they want to keep updated. Everything is free or pay what you want and there are some new shirts for sale as well. All the money goes towards new releases and shows so don’t be shy. If someone wants to continue the conversation about any of these subjects, my project or music in general on a more personal level they can always contact me!