There is a lot of activity in the Norwegian Black Metal scene these days. Satyricon, Dimmu Borgir, Mayhem and Borknagar has got a lot of both commercial and artistic success with their new albums. But behind these bands, there is also some other very interesting bands. Wallachia has got a very good reputation in the Black Metal scene, based on their two releases. The second release is a full album and we caught up with Lars Stavdal for an update.

1. Please give us a short biography of Wallachia.

Wallachia was created by me as a solo-project in the year of 1992. I started creating songs on my own `cos there wasn`t really a scene for Death/Black Metal in my hometown. I originally planned to record a demo all by myself in the autumn of 1994, but it didn`t happen due to lack of equipment and money. So I decided to put some of my plans on ice for a while. At the same time I got in touch with Eystein Garberg from the band Folkvang, and we developed a quite good contact after a while. In the summertime anno 1995 he joined Wallachia on rythm-guitar,synths and drum-programming. After a few weekends of intense rehearsing we recorded a rehearsal tape featuring two songs on a portable recorder. This recording didn`t feature any synths or vocals... And finally in november 1995 we recorded the debut "Demo 1996" in a 24-track studio. It was released by ourselves in march 1996, and sold out in 700 copies during a year...

2. How did you get in touch with Velvet Music International ? What is your experiences with this label ?

VMI contacted us after hearing about us from the editor of the Swiss "Skogen Magazine", and we sent them our demo which fell in good taste to them. They asked us to re-release it in CD-format, which we thought was a good idea, as there was still a quite big demand for this recording. So Velvet released the CD-version of the demo in the spring anno 1997. So far the experiences with the label has been mostly good. They have done what we`ve expected with the cover/lay-out and we have a total artistic freedom, so I can`t complain. Their not the biggest label around perhaps, but they have a great interest in music and they sign the stuff they like and feel good about. I`m happy with them so far at least.

3. Please tell us more about the MCD you released on the same label two years ago. What is your view on this MCD in hindsight ?

The Demo-CD was released because of a continual interest in this recording After the tape-version got sold out. It`s the exact same as the original release, but with lyrics included, as well as a few nice photos from Transylvania taken by the hungarian Vámosi Tamás (Transylvanian Damnation Zine/Manager for Tormentor)... I`m stil proud of this recording `cos it`s the first thing we ever did, and I think we captured a quite unique atmosphere on it. Of course there were some things which could have been better, but all in all I`m satisfied. Until now the CD has sold something around 3800 copies as far as I know.

4. What happened after the release of this MCD and uptil you released your new album.

Well, me and Eystein more or less slowly slipped away from each other... We did both promote the band, taking care of mail, interviews, orders, etc... We had a long break from playing, but got back together for a few rehearsals in the hot summer of 1998. At that time we also had a drummer, a guy on bass and a second guitarist. But it didn`t work. So I continued on my own together with the drummer Mikael. We booked studio time for Wallachia in January 1999, but we didn`t manage to rehearse through all the material for the album, so I had to bring in another drummer for the recording sessions. So it was a quite hectic time prior to the studio session...

5. Please give us a presentation of your new album "From Behind The Light".

"From Behind The Light" features 8 songs all in all, which includes a re-recording of all the demo-material in new versions. The other 4 songs are more or less from the same period, the main difference is that the lyrics are in English this time. We recorded the album in the same studio as we used for the demo, but we had a bit better equipment this time. There`s maybe a little bit more guitar-oriented soundpicture this time, as I think that the demo almost drowned in synths at times... But it still sounds very much as the Wallachia known from before... Both epic/atmospheric and raw.

6. Your new line up also include a drummer. Please tell us more about this development.

Yeah, the new line-up includes a drummer, in fact there are two drummers playing on 4 songs each on the album! We have Mikael which joined first in the summer of 1999, and the we have Lars Erik which joined in about two months prior to the recording sessions to the album. Mikael comes from more prog.rock/jazz stuff, as he have been studying drums for 3 years(which he got top grades in), and he has been playing some metal oriented stuff as well. Lars Erik I`ve already played with in another band called Amnesia, which is more like hardcore/crossover/death`n`roll-kind of stuff(musically speaking). I played with Amnesia from the time Mikael joined Wallachia, but now Amnesia is more or less put on ice due to different things... Amnesia released two self-financed CD`s before I joined in..... Enough about that. Apart from the drummers there`s me on all guitars, bass, synths and vocals. Wallachia will always be a kind of ego-trip thing for me, heh, but it would be nice to make a full band out of it some time, though it`s difficult here in Steinkjer.

7. Please tell us more about your lyrics.

Well, the lyrics mainly deals with myths, superstitions, as well as true historical legends from the dark past of ancient Transylvania. I`ve always been fascinated by the stories of Vlad "Draculea" Tepes, Elizabeth Bathory and the theme vampirism in general, so... It`s something I got stuck to as a kid. Seeing the great old Hammer series of Dracula starring Christopher Lee, etc... Apart from that the lyrics are more focused on the negative affect of religion on the world and all the terrible things it has done to mankind for centuries and centuries. It`s a direct attack and answer to their hypocrisy, for they are the true devils. Just look at all the holy martyrs sacrificing not only themselves, but also a lot of innocents for their insane and twisted believes. It`s crazy... But I don`t see myself as restricted to writing about only one subject or whatsoever, but such lyrics goes hand in hand with the music and my state of mind, so...

8. The vocals is in the Death Metal grunts vein. Is this a coincidence ?

I`ve always been a HUGE fan of Death Metal, and I would say that Wallachia has it`s roots equally as much in Death Metal as in Black Metal. I`ve always liked the more demonic kind of voice, deep and raw. Anyway, I think we fucked up a bit in the studio, using a little too much effect on some songs, so it turned out "strange" at times. I like the combination of deep voices with more screaming ones, such as for instance Deicide does. I also use normal voice a little bit here and there. I hope to improve the vocal parts a lot for the next recording at least.

9. Your album is softened by some accoustic and electronic ambient pieces. Why ?

Why? Hmmm, I guess it`s natural, as the songs more or less create themselves after a while. I can`t tell how a song develops, but I just like the combination of really brutal and heavy parts to more soft and atmospheric parts. Ě like bands such as My Dying Bride, Opeth and the epic Bathory albums, and I guess that bands such as those have had had an influence to creating a mix of beauty and brutality. I also like some classical stuff and medieval soundtrack music, but my heart beats for real Death and Black Metal.

10. Where would you place Wallachia in the Norwegian Black Metal scene ?

I don`t really know? We`ve had good contacts with some bands/zines/peoples for many years and I feel that we`ve been a part of the scene somehow, though we have always been an independent and underground band, I think. I guess everyone knows about all the extreme happenings in the Norwegian scene, and in my opinion too many bands earned success because of this. A lot of shitty bands started up, but gladly they faded away when the media didn`t focus so much on the "scene" anymore, so they perhaps jumped on the next trend or something. Luckily there are some that were into it for real and still keeps the flame burning. I think that the Norwegian scene is still very interesting with a lot of creativity, though there are some "rockstar-wannabe`s" that has gone too far... We`re not gonna sell out at least.....

11. What is your plans for this year and next year ?

At the moment I`m serving my obligatory duty in the Army, so I will be here until the end of June 2000 at least, and both Mikael and Lars Erik are doing their civil-services now. So this year won`t be that active musically speaking. But I`m creating some stuff on my own here, and I take care of all the mail and shit, so I`m busy as fuck!!! I hope we`ll come back strong next autumn/winter with a new album hopefully!!!

12. Your hometown, Steinkjer, is only a short railway journey from Hell. Do you often take the railway to Hell ? How is life in Hell these days ?

Heh, yeah, I pass by there with train two times every fucking week, as I`m home from the army every weekend. Strangely enough it`s quite cold and rainy in Hell right now, but at least there is "Hell on earth"...

13. Steinkjer also had, or perhaps still has, a good metal scene. Please tell us more about Steinkjer and the metal scene.

There used to be a scene once with many different bands, but now there`s not much to talk about. There`s a few up and going metal bands and a lot of different shit. We have Wallachia and Amnesia of course + maybe 3 - 4 other metal oriented bands. Wallachia is the most extreme thing coming from Steinkjer ever, and I guess it won`t change that much in the future(?).

14. Where can Wallachia be contacted ? Any CDs or t-shirts for sale ?

Wallachia can be contacted through me, and that is:
C/O Lars Stavdal
Steinvegen 3 B
7716 Steinkjer

Our new CD "From Behind The Light" is available for 20 $/150 NOK, and the demo-CD is still available for 15$/100 NOK(both prices includes p & p). We`re sold out for T-shirts/longsleeves but I guess Velvet still have some left. Anyway, we plan on printing some new ones on our own perhaps, so just write and ask for stuffs...

15. Your final words ?

Thanks to you Lord Loch Lomond for this great and interesting interview!! I wish you the best with your works down there... I would also like to thank everyone that has supported Wallachia so far!!!!! Bastards of Christ - DIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!