24 August 2020


"Black Waves" is the title of the second album released by SVARTKONST from Sweden.  A one man band formed in 2012 by Rickard Törnqvist.  With two dark and powerful albums released, the man himself kindly answered some questions telling us about his devilish creature…

How did you get into Metal music? What were the first records you heard?

I guess it was my brother who got me into the heavier side of music. Can't remember what where the first records I've heard, but my parents was always listening to classic rock when growing up. I myself started with bands like Metallica, I remember buying Garage Inc and Black Album when I was very little. But the first real heavy album I bought for myself was In Flames - Clayman. I was hooked after that.

What led you to start playing this music? What attracts you most about Black Metal?

I have always been fascinated by Black Metal, and I feel like it's the best genre for creative freedom.

You started as WARG and recorded an EP under that name in 2011, then you changed it to SVARTKONST which if I´m not wrong it translates as Black Art, why did you decide to change it? Was it just a name change or do you see it as two different projects?

I see them as two different projects. Svartkonst was a step to a more matured and focused vision. So the namechange was a way to look ahead and leave the old behind and start fresh. Svartkonst is a Swedish word for "black magic" or "black art".

Was it always meant to be a one man project?

I don't think so. When I started playing I had a couple of friends who I played with. But we all had creative differences and not everyone had the same motivation or passion. So I decided to go my own way instead.

When I was searching for info about SVARTKOSNT I noticed there is another band with the same name and they are from Sweden too!! Are you aware of them? Did you had any kind of contact?

Yes I became aware of it some years after a started my Svartkonst. I think we followed each other on Soundcloud or something when we started out. I don't know if they are active anymore.

Black Waves is your second full-length released two years after the debut, I discover it recently and it was a great and pleasant surprise for me as I was instantly hooked by the sound and style of the album. How is your overall view regarding the songs and the production? 

My goal was a more refined, focused and more crushing album. A thick atmosphere of death and doom. I feel like I achieved that. The songs are vicious and pretty catchy if I can say so myself. I am very satisfied by this album

How do you compare it to your debut full-length “Devil´s Blood”? Would you highlight something that you liked more in this new album? Do you see yourself experimenting or adding different things to your style in future recordings?

For one thing I am more satisfied with the overall production and songwriting on this one, it feels more consistent than my debut. Everything is a little bit heavier, and I really like the guitar tone I achieved. I like experimenting when recording and writing, so I would definitley say that.

Regarding Devils Blood, I'd like to know what you mean exactly with the title of the instrumental track “En sten föll från mitt bröst” (A Stone fell from my chest)?

It is a nod to my father, whose name was "Sten", which also means stone in Swedish. The whole album is dedicated to him.

Now tell me about the lyrics of Black Waves, what topics do they deal with? Could you describe a bit the content of lyrics like “Stray in the Dark”, “Mountains of Flesh” or “Ruins of Splendor”?

The main themes on Black Waves is about life and death. "Stray in the Dark" is about feeling total hopelessness and despair, which may be a consequence of someone's death. "Mountains of Flesh" is about all the sacrifices and lives taken in the name of religion. "Ruins of Splendour" focuses on us as humans living and thriving on our own destruction.

What formula do you follow when you write songs? Would you also please share some details about the recording process?

It mainly starts with a riff or a melody that I evolve into something bigger. All of the recording took place at home in my home studio (Svartkonst Studios). Big focus on the Boss HM-2 and  dialing in the perfect tone. I don't know if I have any secrets that I can share. I do everything very sporadically in my recording process.

Do you consider yourself demanding at the time of the production and do you like to spend a lot of time polishing the sound?, or do you prefer something less precise that results in a rawer product?

I prefer rawer sounds, I have a hard time listening to modern bands with clean  overproduced productions. I try to leave things a little rough around the edges, and try to bring out the human elements when I'm recording. But I spend a lot of time trying to polish the sound afterwards and dialing in everything perfect for my ears, which is very time consuming. I think every artist can agree that it's very hard to decide when to put down the brush and say it's done.

I personally think that the album is a great mix of melodic passages, moments of great atmosphere and also aggressive and violent riffs. For example, two of my favorite songs in the album such as I am the void and “Mountains of Flesh” are very different from each other and are a proof that your style embraces elements of black metal and death metal. What have been your influences and how do you describe your style?

When I write music I write it for myself, and I try my best to incorporate all the styles that I'm especially fond of. Which is mostly Black Metal and Old School Death in the style of Entombed, and newer band that has evolved the HM:2-sound like Trap Them and Black Breath, they are big influences in both songwriting and sound. It's hard to describe the sound myself. But as I have written on my social medias: "One-man HM-2 driven blackened death metal band", I think that fits pretty well.

How important is the relationship between the artwork and the music? What influenced you when choosing the cover for each album? 

It is very important. Artwork is often the first thing you see, and when you find something visually pleasing you also want the music to reflect that. I got the cover for Black Waves even before most of the songs where even written, it just fitted my vision and after some fine tuning it was perfect. Created by the talented Yasinviolet.

Unlike Devil´s Blood, which was released independently, Black Waves has been released by Trust No One Recordings, how has the contact and agreement with them been?

TNOR and Tim, the man behind the label is fantastic. He actually picked up Devil's Blood just after the release, so I was just independent for a very short span. Everything has been great, I'm very grateful for everything TNOR has done.

From what I have seen so far, the reviews and reactions about black waves have been very positive, how have you felt about it?

The reviews have been overwhelmingly positive which is amazing. Releasing an follow up album can be tough. I knew Black Waves had something special and I'm glad most people seem to recognize that as well.

Would you consider recruiting musicians to play gigs or touring?

Yes, I have. And are currently rehearsing. But it's not my main focus in Svartkonst. So we will see how it goes.

What was the last concert you have attended? Was it a good show?

The last show I got to see before this pandemic was Twin Temple. It was an very enjoyable experience, if you get the chance go see them when all of this hopefully is over. I was just a couple of weeks from seeing Chelsea Wolfe which I was very much looking forward to before it got cancelled.

How important is it for you as a musician to be part of a scene? Do you agree to promote the motto "support the scene"? And how do you interpret it as a fan?

There is not much of a metal scene in my town. But I support the few things going on here. I try to support the bands I enjoy in any way I can by buying records, merch and attending shows (when that was a thing).

What´s the strangest place and the most shocking place you have been?

Don't really know.

What are your current future plans, what do you expect for the rest of 2020?

For now I'm continuing trying to promote Black Waves, producing more music for other bands, rehearsing and getting some ideas for new material.

Thanks you for your time, the final closing words are up to you…

Thank you for the interview! Check out Black Waves if you haven't already. Dyrka döden!

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