If you never heard of WALLFAHRER you should remedy that problem fast. Besides the fact that they produce some of the best underground black metal, they also have strong principles that back the music up. I had the honour to have a talk with this mysterious entity and today I’m happy to present some of their wisdom. Don’t hesitate to go to their Bandcamp page and support their work!
Hello and thank you for accepting my invitation to answer a few questions! Would you like to present yourself and tell us your respective roles in the band?
Hello Codrin. Thanks for your invitation and your support. We don’t want to present ourselves, we don’t do that at all. In WALLFAHRER the music and the words matter, not the persons behind it.
I never expected anything less from WALLFAHRER. I always admired your desire to remain anonymous because unlike a lot of bands it feels genuine and not a simple marketing scheme. Was this something you planned to do from the beginning of this project?
Yes, it was clear from the beginning that we want to set the focus nearly solely on the music and lyrics, not on promoting a product. That’s why we keep other things in the background.
From what I could find, WALLFAHRER translates to “pilgrim”. Could you tell us why you chose this name for the band?
That’s correct. Here in Germany the term is mainly used in a religious context. A Wallfahrer is a person who is on a journey to sacred places like churches, chapels etc. and tries to find spiritual knowledge through it. Our “sacred” place is nature, away from human beings and we try to find rational knowledge instead, so it fits also very good in our case. We only had to reframe the meaning of the word a little bit.
You seem to be enamoured by nature and as a result this is one of your main lyrical themes. Metal Archives also list misanthropy as one of your motifs. Do you have anything to add to that or do you think it pretty much sums it up?
Our main lyrical theme is the human being and a critical, disappointed and questioning view on it. “Misanthropy” is the best summarising word for it. As nature is our exile and plays an important role we also try to express that in our lyrics.
One more question regarding lyrics before we move on. Everything you released up until now was in German. Obviously, for some this is an impediment when they try to get to know your catalogue better, considering that most people will have to translate the lyrics to understand them. Why did you decide to keep everything in your native language?
Of course more people would understand it in the first place but then we would have to make compromises with ourselves and could not express our views and thoughts in the way we are able to by using the language we are most familiar with. Those who want to know more about the lyrics and our messages always have to option to contact and ask us. You will get an answer.
One thing I noticed is that you always end your Bandcamp descriptions and messages to your followers with “Hail Nature. Hail Freedom.” What does freedom mean to you? How exactly do you envision it?
Particularly the freedom to think and say whatever you want and journey wherever you want without telling others what to think and say and where to journey.
You released both albums independently. I’ll make a wild guess and say that this was your choice. Was this because you didn’t wish to be associated with anything else or was there any other reason behind it?
A good wild guess! From experience we know the advantages and disadvantages of having a label contract. In either case you are dependent on anything or anyone. With Wallfahrer we want to be as independent as it gets without the necessity of compromises and responsibilities. Another meaning of the term “freedom” for us.
This is a curiosity of mine, but I always wondered why you were so reluctant to release a physical version of your albums.
We were reluctant with the first album, yes, because we could not estimate if there was a demand for it or not. But after a lot of requests we were convinced. Since Rattenritual we keep it simple: The quantity of the physical editions depends on the feedback and demand of our Bandcamp followers, which we check in advance.
That’s a great business model if you ask me. I totally understand where you are coming from. However, not too long ago you released a bonus track, but you did not make it public. People had to sign up for a download code. Why not let anyone enjoy the song (which, by the way, is great)?
We wrote that song together with the other songs for RATTENRITUAL, but had to leave it out due to time reasons. So only those who already ordered the album and those who showed real interest by following us on Bandcamp got the chance to download the song for free. You show interest in us, so we show interest in you.
This definitely a unique take and I have to say I really appreciate you for having such strong principles. This is something that is becoming more and more scarce in our current society, truly believing in something and not doing things for show.
Exactly. And that’s why we feel comfortable in the underground. There are a bunch of people who appreciate passionate and handcrafted music, have strong principles and are able to listen to music consciously and with passion in spite of the growing options to stream music along the way for a small amount of money. We appreciate it to know that we get most of the attention through our music and words and not through fancy videos, advertising or other ordinary and superficial promo stuff.
The underground can be quite hostile at times, but in exchange you can be sure you’ll have a loyal fanbase. At least, that’s how I perceive it.
Absolutely. Would say critical instead of hostile, what is good in times of an unlimited access to music. As always you can take and accept everything unfiltered what you get served or you can deal with it and/or question it.
As far as I know, you never played live. Is that correct?
Do you see that changing any time in the future?
Many bands managed to keep their anonymity even while playing live shows with mask, robes and so on. Is there any particular reason for which you choose not to play live?
First: WALLFAHRER is not a band and we don’t want to form a band around it.
Second: We don’t want to play masked. We leave this to others, it seems that it is very popular at the moment.
Third: We spent a lot of our time on the road in the past years and want to use this amount of time more stressless now for our lives. We would still enjoy sharing our music on stage with our followers if there wouldn’t come so much time killers along with it.
I have to say that I appreciate your approach to WALLFAHRER. It definitely is unique and I mean that in the best way possible. You manage put your ideology before anything else and keep to that with an enviable determination.
Nice to read. Thank you.
Before we wrap this interview I wanted to ask if we should expect new music in the near future.
We just started the writing process and pre-production of a new proclamation. So yes, you should again expect to hear new tones and words from us in the year of 2020.
That’s great! Thank you again for taking the time to chat with us. Before we finish this interview, do you have any closing words for our readers?
Thank you for your interest in us.
Hail nature. Hail freedom.
Interview by Metal Gentleman
**Please support the underground! It’s vital to the future of our genre.**