Hello and thank you for giving us the opportunity to talk to you.
Could you, please, introduce yourselves to the croatian listeners? How did you decide to start a fresh new black metal band? What does the band's name mean? For most of you, this is not the only band you're active in. Tell us something about your other bands and projects.
Hello, we are Grafjammer. We are not new and certainly a long way from fresh. Grafjammer was founded in 2007 as a two-man, under the radar studio project. Since 2012 we've slowly transformed into a working, more 'serious' band. The aim has always been the same, to combine first and second wave black metal with elements of punk and d-beat.
Grafjammer translates literally as 'Gravescream', but 'jammer' is also a type of sailingship. Together with the 'grave' it's old maritime slang for a bad ship that is ill-maintained and that will probably sink and kill you.
Some of us do indeed play in other bands. Jeroen for example doubles in Necrotaph, which is a thrash band. Jahwe is playing in so many bands, a lot of them as a session drummer, that the rest of Grafjammer quite often loses track of them. The most important are our Utrecht bloodbrothers of Wrang, Weltschmerz and Wesenwille. Be sure to check them out.
What does you music represent? Who or what are your inspirations? What are the general lyrical themes (since you sing in Dutch :D ) of your songs?
Our music is based on our common love for old black metal and we combine it's raw and unpolished qualities with the energy of punk together with a fuck you mentality. We believe in simple, brutal and direct business. We don't believe in elitist, semi-intellectual bullshit or incense. Our music should be like prime cocaine. A short and agressive blow on the nose that makes you feel remorseless.
We draw inspiration from many bands but names like Celtic Frost, Venom, Motörhead, Darkthrone, Carpathian Forest, Mayhem, Carnivore, Discharge and The Exploited are among the most important.
Lyrically all our songs deal with a morbid fascination of death as Nattefrost once put it so eloquently. This is combined with a lot of maritime stuff and old and medieval folktales, mainly from around the city of Utrecht, where we all come from.
There are many black metal bands trying to merge „the old and more traditional“ sounds with the modern production and „softer“ approach. Some of them are even testing „the limits“ of black metal genre. What do you think about black metal of the 90s and the present situation? Which bands have earned cult status in black metal world? Which musicians have influenced you, both profesionally and personally?
That is quite a hard question to answer, especially in just a few lines. As a band we are still mostly drawn to the bands from the 90's and earlier, like the bands listed above. Mainly because that's the stuff most of us grew up with and that's the music that usually makes the deepest impression. We prefer the harsher and more primitive sounds of those times. Still there's a lot of decent stuff about these days that influences us as well. What exactly qualifies or ever qualified as 'black metal', pure and true or not, we don't know. We don't care either. Everybody can do as they like, we do the same. And likewise we listen to what we like and call it black metal. Or lame horse piss.
You've released your second album „Schalm & Schabauw“ in February 2018. Please, tell us some more about the album, themes, concept...
It was the first record that we took our time to make, nearly 3 months in total. The previous album, Koud Gemaakt, we recorded live and took us 3 hours. We wanted a balance between a good and pure sound and at the same time not bailing out on the rawness and spontaneity. I think we succeeded at that with the help of Wessel from Catacomben studio and the mastering by JB vd Wal . It's fast and brutal and it swings like a juicy tit.
Schalm & Schabauw is pretty much the essence of what we want to be with Grafjammer, both musically and lyrically, drawing on a lot of misanthropy, dark history and grimy folktales. We like to keep it close to home and the heart with the Dutch lyrics, the burning windmill on the cover and folkloric themes. The 'Schalm' in the title is a medieval Dutch word for death. 'Schabauw' is an archaic millers word for placing the blades in the position of a cross in times of tragedy and misfortune.
Can we expect an european tour anytime in the near future? Or maybe some shows on metal festivals? When it comes to that, do you personally like any european metal festival like Hellfest, Wacken, Metaldays...?
You can hope for it, but don't cancel your vacation plans for it yet. We are a very obscure underground band and I doubt very much that Nuclear Blast will call us this week. But we like it as it is right now. We have a couple of shows coming up again. One in Belgium and another one in Denmark among others. Concerning European Tours and mega festivals I can only use a Wayne's World reference, if they book us we will come.
Some of us have been to Wacken and Hellfest quite a couple of times in the past and had a great time. But the last few years they seem to be become more and more giant money making circusses with ticketprices and ticketnumbers going through the roof. But hey, if they book us, fuck that of course, we'll play gladly.
Can you live only from your music or maybe you have some daily jobs? I'm always asking musicians if it's even possible to make any profit in metal music, especially in black metal.
Living from our music, that would be the day. We are happy as it is to break even nowadays, meaning that with what we earn from merch and gigs we can -largely- pay for new merch and recordings. We all have serious dayjobs and don't mind that at all. We don't believe making money should have any business in music, let alone black metal. It should only serve as a means to make more music. We would hate to be profesional musicians where the paying of next month bills would become a factor in what to write or to play or not.
Have you ever visited Croatia? Are you familiar with our metal scene, maybe you know some of our bands or musicians?
We never been there as a band. Vocalist Jorre and bassplayer Jelle, who are brothers, went there once on holiday. But back then it was still called Yugoslavia and they listened to Bert & Ernie instead of Darkthrone. So it's been quite a while. After googling "Croatian Black metal bands" we saw a few names that rang a bell. Our drummer Jahwe probably knows all of them. He might even play in a couple. It certainly seems like a thriving scene you got and it would be great to do a gig there once.
Thanks again for the interview! We wish you all the best in your future work.
Thank you and likewise, cheers!