Hello, And thank you for taking the time to participate in an interview with Metal On Loud Magazine. How are you today?
Thanks for having me. I’m great! Spent some beautiful days at my family’s place on the countryside of northern Bavaria. It’s so peaceful out here. But today I’m traveling back home to Vienna. Holidays are over, haha.
Can you tell our readers a bit about who you are? Who is Varg?
I’m Managarm, Lead Guitarist in Varg. Freki (Vocals) and me are also the main songwriters and write most of the lyrics together. Then there are Hati (guitar), Fenrier (Drums) and Skoll (Bass). This line up is by far the strongest we’ve ever had. We’re five guys from germany that live and breathe for music. For more than 10 years we put everything we have into our passion, writing and performing songs, releasing albums, etc. It’s not always easy, but I don’t want to change any of it!
How did the band come into existence, where did the idea come from that gave birth to Varg?
Honestly I have no idea, because I joined the band in 2008. That was 3 years after it was started by Fenrier and Freki in 2005. I know that Fenrier came up with the name “Varg” and that he and Freki had been huge Pagan Metal fans back then. That’s where their motivation to make such music came from I guess. We have a really big music scene here in Coburg. All of us had been playing in a couple of bands before Varg was started. Freki and me even had a Slipknot Cover Band once… for a couple of weeks, haha! Before I joined Varg, I’d never really heard of Pagan Metal before. I was more into american metal music like industrial metal, 90s new metal and such. But I was also a huge black metal fan, so it wasn’t that hard to find a connection to the pagan stuff.
Where did the name Varg come from?
Our Drummer Fenrier came up with the name back in 2005. It means wolf in old norse I think.
I have to be honest. When I heard the name Varg and saw your promo photo, I expected a black metal band. I was pleasantly surprised to hear what I would call German party metal! How would you describe your sound?
Well, I definately wouldn’t say party metal, haha! Except those few songs, that are more on the fun side, we actually make pretty damn serious music. Especially on the new album, which is very dark and sinister to me.
On your promotion shots you always wear black and red warpaint. Does that have any special significance for you?
Sure, especially for our live shows. Whenever we put on that warpaint, we literally become the wolves of Varg. It brings you into this specific mindset. It changes everything in you.
How did you land on your style? It sounds like a lot of fun to play live.
It sure is. We love to play, to go on tour and party with the fans.
Many of your lyrics have been written in German. Was that a creative decision? Would you say Germany is your primary market?
German is our mother tongue, it just feels natural to write and sing in german. It’s easier to express our real and deep feelings in that language. I wouldn’t say that Germany is our primary market, though. Of course the most part of our fans is from germany, but we’ve gained a following all over europe and north america over the last couple of years and we plan to expand that in the future.
For the ones that don't understand some of the words, what's a typical Varg song about?
We have songs about northern mythology, ancient stories and myths, but also completely fictional stories that deal with the dark side of the human mind. On the new album we incorporate a lot of criticism on nowadays society and system, too. It’s a wide range of topics. There is no typical Varg lyric for me.
Your most recent release is Rotkäppchen, an EP. What's on it?
As it took us so long to come out with the new full length album, we thought it would be cool to give our fans a little present to make the waiting time a little shorter. Rotkäppchen was on the bonus CD for our 2011 album “Wolfskult”, but has soon become one of our fans favorite live songs. So we felt like the song deserved a little more attention. On the EP you’ll find a re-recorded version of the song, the original version from 2011 plus more versions of the song including features from Anna Murphy (Eluveitie), Trollfest and Christopher Bowes (Alestorm). And on top of that you’ll get two completely new and unreleased songs, that won’t be on the upcoming album. All that comes in a beautiful digibook with an multi page illustrated fairy tale book telling our story of Rotkäppchen. It’s truly beautiful.
You are about to release your 5th full length studio album, can you tell us a bit about it?
We have never worked so much on an album like the new one and you can hear that. Everything is just on the point. There are no fillers, every song for me is just perfect the way it is. I think it’s our most advanced and grown up album so far. But what I like about it the most, is that it’s so rich in diversity without overcharging the listener. I’m just very confident with what we did and I think the listeners will approve.
Your style does seem to have changed a bit over the years, when I listen to your second album Blutaar (Your first, Wolfszeit, wasn't available on Spotify). How did your style evolve over the years?
We started as a pretty much standard pagan metal band, but started to experiment and evolve our sound from the second album on. We incordporated a lot of different styles into the pagan metal, that we love. Black and Death Metal, Rock and Neue Deutsche Härte to name a few. It’s an explosive mixture, but it works quite well together I think. I’m very pleased with the style on the new album. I think we might have found the sound we’ve always been looking for.
Your distingushed style differs you from other Black Metal acts, and you bring in some original way to deliver it, infused with a lot of Modern and Melodic influence.
I just write what comes out of my heart. When I start writing, I don’t have a plan. I just let the music flow out of me. That’s why anything can happen and that’s why the album ist so diverse. But this time we also took a lot of time to make sure that the album in a whole works, that all the songs fit together. “Guten Tag” was a bit chaotic and hard to listen to in a whole. “Das Ende Aller Lügen” does that way better. It feels like all the songs are from the same Mould, even though they are so varied. I’m quite proud of that actually.
What are your future plans? Where are you planning to head with your music?
For me I’d just like to continue being able to make music in the future. Being a musician can be pretty hard nowadays, with some of us living near the poverty line. So being able to tour and make music is my only goal!
This year it will be 10 years since the release of your first demo, Donareiche. Can we expect anything special?
Haha, short and to the point. I like that. Where will we be able to see you live this year? Any chance on shows outside of Germany?
I really do hope so! We have the Wolfsfest coming up with an incredible lineup, but this will only be happening in germany and switzerland. We’re working on international tours to happen again. Let’s just hope it all works out!
What music would you reccommend to the members of our Metalheads Forever community?
If you’re open minded for non metal music you definitely should check out Yelawolf. His latest album “Love Story” ist awesome.
And for all the 90ies crossover lovers I’d recommend Hollywood Undead from Los Angeles. Their 2015 album “Day of the Dead” and 2013 “Notes from the Underground” are just badass!
Any last words for our readers?
Don’t believe everything you read on the internet and stop reading comments. Life’s too short for that shit. Always be smart and try to differentiate. There’s always at least two sides to every problem. So be open minded and build your own opinion on things. Don’t trust mass media, politicians or any so called leaders, because they’re mostly just trying to fool you. Don’t fear confrontation and direct your anger to the ones in charge and not the ones below you. Seek Freedom!
Wise words. I will be following your music from here on out with great interest. Thank you for taking the time for this interview!
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