Heathen Harvest: At what age did you first become interested in music as a form of artistic expression?
Uwe Nolte: At the tender age of 10, when I heard the nihilistic stomping immolation that is Slayer's “Reign In Blood” and my innocent soul was consumed whilst I lost my belief in the normal God of mortals, I sought healing and refuge in communal singing: I joined a Christian children's choir. Alas, it was too late: alia iacta est! However, from this very experience, a love for chorus, pathos, and religious expression through music has remained an important legacy.
HH: Did you grow up in a household where music and the arts were encouraged?
UN: No, my background lies solidly in the humble beginnings of a working-class family. However, my mother explained to me that her grandmother, of maiden name LUTHER, was descended from the great German Reformer. Thus were a number of mental seeds planted, roots which would later grow.
HH: What influences in your childhood do you think helped direct you towards being an artist?
UN: Now, I don't necessarily consider myself an artist. I have simply remained a child, and many things continue to influence me today, just as they did years ago. I daydream fondly of my garden pool, observe the animals and plants, living in their own habitat and tempo, without wagering and losing time, or energy, in a prescribed and stiffly regulated societal role. I am, so to speak, a typical ‘woodsman,' in the Jünger tradition.
HH: Can you explain how growing up in a country formerly divided by communist and western control influenced your development, politics and artistic expression?
UN: Despite having spent my childhood under a communist regime, I hesitate to say that I perceived any great or lasting influence. We live as children, and marvel at the brave, wide world with astounded and fascinated eyes. Some things, especially that, never change. I am not interested in political structures of influences; I relate more closely to the furthest star than to a politician, even when that politician deigns to relieve himself in a public toilet next to me.
HH: Do you seek inspiration in natural or wild environments?
UN: I often spend my nights under a clear sky, and feel the absence of time and stress as I gaze upon the stars while dreaming of the glory of ages past. In stormy times, when hail and lightning ride the skies, do I come to my finest ideas. A magical place, all too generous in spurring me on to greater inspiration, is Hiddensee, a small Island in the Ostsee, where long ago the heathen corsairs hid themselves and buried golden treasures torn from others' hands. In the footsteps of their tradition, I, in turn, hide myself from the world's glare and spend many days each year, alone and withdrawn. However, in contradiction to their plans, I turn the earth upwards, digging, searching for the spiritual, abstract treasures of lyrical text and music. The next Barditus album, “Midgards Wölfe kehren heim,” will emerge there.
HH: Your artistic expression spans a number of artistic fields. You are an established writer, painter, photographer, actor, and musician. Which of these forms of artistic expression is the most important to you and why?
UN: For me, an immersion in the Red Sea, a wandering walk through the forest, or a wild row bring with them the same results as those garnered by writing a poem. Such things are invaluable, small journeys into a buried archaic empire, free from the confines of this world's rules. I cannot say how much this or that thing may have been more important than the other, because EVERYTHING I recall has a particular, unique worth. After all is said and done, one experiences everything but once throughout the course of one's far-too-short Earthly vacation. Every moment is irreplaceable, and in every breath lies hidden the pure magic of Being. Gaining this consciousness improves your life – and eventual death!
HH: What drew you to explore each of the above mention forms of artistic expression?
UN: I would like to give my other life a purpose, by helping other people to discover their roots or to tread the path of finding themselves, the search for their spiritual roots.
HH: How does your interest in acting manifest? Are you interested in stage acting or film?
UN: Earlier, I was interested in Film and Drama. Today, no longer. This modern society is enough of a stage for me, even if it lies shortly before its collapse.
HH: What themes do you pursue when painting and taking photographs?
UN: Above all, I am fascinated by the myths which have grown up in and around this place, although I do not limit myself to the Germanic imaginative tradition. As a free human being, every one of us should possess an indemic yet simultaneously cosmopolitan perspective on existence, which allows for inspiration through the influences of many a cultural circle without ever once denying the validity of one's own roots.
HH: Do you feel as if your success as a musician has eclipsed your other artistic endeavors?
UN: Success does not interest me, at least not in the sense in which it is generally understood. Money, fame? Poison for the soul. I am privately overjoyed with every release, and for me, success lies in having provided every day with a purpose. By the way, I do not see myself as a musician, but rather as the spiritual force which drives the NolteX turbines; I am a wolf in an ever-expanding pack.
HH: Can you name some of the artists, writers, painters, and musicians that have impacted your own creativity?
UN: Among poets and authors, Friedrich Hölderlin, all of the German Romanticists, Hermann Hesse, Friedrich Nietzsche, Ernst Jünger, Gottfried Benn, and Rolf Schilling have left an impression on me. As far as painters are concerned, the pre-Raphaelites and the other Symbolists – including, but not limited to, Franz von Stuck, Gustave Moreau, and Jean Delville.
HH: You participate in the musical project Orplid. Can you discuss how Orplid was formed?
UN: At that point, we had simply had enough of the harder music, and wanted to realize our vision through another form of intensity and artistic expression. Orplid began as a musical project, founded in the summer of 1996, aimed at heading in an increasingly experimental and meditative direction from the starting point provided by the original creative process' more acoustic material. The name, ORPLID, is drawn from the German Romanticist poet Eduard Mörike's “Gesang Weylas.” The poem describes a paradise beyond the sea, a pure and unsullied world where the searching soul finds its home. ORPLID's corpus should offer our listeners a refuge constructed of Lyricism, Beauty, and Song.
HH: What was the original vision for the band and how has it changed since the bands inception?
UN: We wanted to make music that came from the heart, which is exactly where our music should affect our listener. We wanted to create an art that nurtures identity, while guaranteeing our native tongue the respect and loyalty she deserves – for ourselves, and for those who come afterward. Those were our initial intentions, and, praise be to Odin, nothing has changed.
HH: The music of Orplid is a combination of neoclassical and neofolk influences. What drew you to work within this genre?
UN: I consider myself a chance passerby in these particular music scenes. It is probably the demands imposed upon the music by the seriousness of my linguistic illustrations which have caused the music to find form in these stylistic parameters. I cannot say for sure, and do not place particular importance on saying, to which particular musical direction I belong.
HH: Did you have previous musical experience before joining Orplid?
UN: Earlier, I participated in a number of musical projects: Overlord, Scardanelli, Ruckgrat, and others. For us, it was never loud, shrill, or brutal enough. Today, I find myself bored by extremes. I have experienced them in every context, on every path, and am now concerned with describing phenomena in essence, rather than with creating emotional outlying zones.
HH: The music of Orplid tends to revolve around themes of nature mysticism, mythology, and folklore. What is your interest in these fields of thought and study?
UN: I have neither official collegiate qualifications, nor an extraordinary educational background. Everything comes to me through the wellspring of pure intuition. When I find myself surrounded by a peaceful moment, the clouds, wind, and sun whisper to me, elves dance around me, and the strains of old Pan's flute drift into my consciousness. There exists, for me, no concrete borderline between Fantasy and Reality. Nothing “real” inspires me; however, I can certainly imagine that one year ago, as I went to write the lyrics for “Oskorei,” lightning struck my home. This, naturally, immediately manifested itself in the song's title. Art can hardly be more authentic (you can even hear the thunderclap on the recording!)! My complete communication system was disabled, but for such godly signs one is, of course, more than willing to sacrifice his telephone and electric appliances to the Gods. Such sad times! Even the old Gods expect bloody sacrifices no longer.
HH: When composing music do you tend to begin with the lyrical content or do you start with the music?
UN: This question relates well to the ancient question of the chicken and the egg. Most of the time, the lyrics are available to determine the mood, length, and overarching statement of the piece at hand. Then, everyone offers his ideas to the collective. If that musical blacksmith is interested in a cohesive and inclusive end result, an interpersonal chemistry springs to life, which – to put it imaginatively – allows a third, imaginary partner to enter the room, who brings the song's development to a close. Of course, this doesn't work all the time; only among people who share the qualities Flexibility, Openness, and Dedication.
HH: Can you explain how the music project Barditus began and who the current members are?
UN: After I, in the last several years, more or less, with partial success had deceived my metallic heart, the wolf tore once again through the flimsy, filmy mask of lyrical sensitivity covering my output like a shield of cotton candy: BARDITUS will always be more brutal, more earthy than its predecessors. As a result of this, the lyrics' content will always represent a lack of defensiveness, as is also apparent in their delivery. With BARDITUS, a new era is dawning. To portray it in relation to the glorious scene in the film “Lord of the Rings,” where King Théoden responds to the worldwide catastrophe by crying, “The horn of Helm Hammerhand will sound in the Deep; one last time. May this be the hour where we draw our swords together. Grim deeds are afoot. Onward to rage, onward to rot!”
While the “Titanic,” the “unsinkable ship,” that monstrous miscarriage of modernity, sank into the vengeful flood of Nature, raped all-too-often by human misdeed, the musicians filled the silence of decline with the unperturbed notes they'd been taught to play. In their tradition, we want once again to give voice to Jericho 's horns and then plunge into the breach – toward Valhalla ! For this reason, Andreas Arndt is exactly the right friend and creative partner. He has traveled throughout the world, as a mendicant carpenter and musician. Also in the USA . He often tells me of the Hopi People, of their rites and traditions. With such a man at one's side, all battles can be won!
HH: The first Barditus album is in the vein of “Dark Metal” whilst the second album is in the vein of “Epic Folk / Neoclassical.” How is it that a band can have such a varying sound album to album?
UN: As humans, we have many faces and live through many phases; why would anyone prevent these changes from being expressed in his art?
HH: The metal music projects you have participated in are drastically different from the music you create with Orplid. Do you find it difficult or challenging to spread yourself between such differing projects?
UN: For me, only the intensity of a work counts – not the style! As a result, there exist for me no differences between the manifold projects in which I have participated! From my perspective, the energy and obsession of metallic music represent no contradiction to Soul, Refinement, and Aesthetics. In fact, it's that selfsame, refreshing rawness of this artistic style that determines its special aesthetic. Songs like “Quintessence,” / “Darkthrone,” “Battle in the North” / “Immortal,” or “Open the Gates” / “Gorgoroth” stand atop the victor's column of my own personal tinnitus Olympics. The original power of this barbaric art showers me with gifts, gifts of images. Additionally, epically-realized works speak volumes to me: Battleroar's “Sword Brothers,” Bathory's “Hammerheart,” or Manowar's “Hail to England ” have inspired me for many years.
HH: The latest offering from Barditus titled “Die Letzten Goten” was based upon a historical battle between the Ostrogoths and the Byzantium Eastern Roman Empire. What drew your interest to this conflict?
UN: “The victory was mine, but he earned the laurel!” Narses is supposed to have said, as the “last of the Goths” bore away their fallen King, the Black Teja, on a pallet of spears. This is one of those rarest of opportunities, those windows into the past, where an unavoidable tragedy banishes all traces of enmity, and ill-will is shattered on the granite of human greatness. Man oversteps the boundaries of his existence's shadows, overcomes himself, and becomes the light of reason, smithed from his own light and his own legend. Such men, able to overcome themselves, their epoch, and societal norms, have fascinated me forever.
HH: What aspects of recent and ancient history interest you the most?
UN: Alongside many others, I too would feel more at home in another era than I do in our own. At present, the historical phase of cultural migration is my bread and mead – when the Old Gods still sprung eternal in the human heart. It was a time of paradigm shifts, where mettle was tested and those who passed became the innumerable great men of whose cloth legends are woven.
HH: Do you find that the themes you focus upon in your music also appear in the other art forms you pursue?
UN: The statements are certainly consistent, as I, regardless of context, remain but a medium of the same, overarching spirit.
HH: Your music and art seem to be fairly Eurocentric. Can you discuss your interest in exploring Eurocentric themes?
UN: Since I was born here, it makes sense for me to have roots extending throughout the local spiritual earth. However, my thoughts and feelings do not limit themselves, geographically speaking, to Europe . The man of antiquity stood at the apex of his worldview. As a result, I feel a greater connection to culturally-connected Indians, Aborigines, or the bounty hunters of the South Seas than to your average mindless, consumption-obsessed European.
HH: You recently launched the website Noltex. Can you discuss the intent of the website and what purpose you see it fulfilling?
UN: We wish to provide a collecting basin for aware, creative people who refuse to submit to the mandates of contemporary standards and instead concentrate on bringing their own, historically-developed “I” to artistic expression.
HH: You often collaborate with other artists across a broad array of mediums. Is collaboration an important element of your artistic process?
UN: We like to work with other people, and do so often, since it has such an inspiring effect. Collectivity strengthens. What is a wolf, without his pack?
HH: Do you find it difficult to balance your personal life with the vast array of artistic pursuits you are involved in?
UN: Whoever chooses to divide his life into Public- and Private-sectors has no life of his own. Man has but one life, and the experience of living it should reflect that, in that nobody try to be or to represent anything other than what he or she may be.
HH: Orplid has been accused in the past of being right wing extremists. How do you handle such accusations made against yourself and Orplid?
UN: I have gotten that impression, peripherally. However, I am categorically unable to understand this absolute nonsense, for I have absolutely nothing against anybody or anything on this Earth. Everybody should live his or her life according to his or her own principles! It is a point of fact that one who brings art into the light of day exposes him- or herself, as when one lies naked on the beach. The pests, the beach flies arrive by the dozens, and crawl about on the exposed, warm bottom. If you swat, shake yourself, or curse, there won't be any fewer. The only thing that helps is a stoic state of mind, because gadflies are never still and, after all, have to live too!
HH: Do you ever use your art or music to reflect or promote political ideas?
UN: My world is composed of the four elements which made up antiquity: Fire, Water, Earth, and Air. Everything else is a temporary, petty distraction. World politics, in the last two centuries, has generally been a comedy of power plays, easily dissected and poorly stylized in its three acts: Exhortation, Stupification, and Enslavement. Let us wait for the curtain to fall along with the fire and brimstone. The harbingers of the apocalypse are visible, everywhere. It doesn't bother me, since I have once again, with BARDITUS, drawn my sword and secured a place in Odin's Hall. Bemused by blonde women and sweet, sweet mead, there shall I certainly meet Quorthon of Bathory, will raise my horn to happily celebrate and scorn the ridiculous sideshow of politics, power, and fame together.
HH: Do you ever attempt to communicate spiritual or mystical ideas through your music or art?
UN: “Become, what you are!” could be the motto for my art. Otherwise, I inhabit without a doubt a world apart from religion, though my origins connect me, inseparably, to the imaginative world of our ancestors. When I was a child, that world drew me inexorably under its influence. Coincidentally, a book about the Germanic pantheon fell into my hands during the GDR period. This topic was subjected at that point to the most extreme taboos, and almost no literature existed to discuss it. However, I knew instinctively, without ever having read into the material, that I was an inhabitant of this indigenous, mythical kingdom. Suddenly, the stories of the First Nations, the tales of the 1001 Arabian Nights, and the sagas of the figures who inhabited the world of antiquity became the second priority. Now, though, blessed with more knowledge and wisdom, I hardly differentiate at all and could, within a single verse and without a single problem, run the gamut from Loki through Prometheus, all the way to Lucifer, without losing that Germanic essence. At their core, the myths of the various cultures are nearly congruent anyway. They tell of sacrifice, enlightenment, rebirth, and return. The occult's casting of the bones and Teutonic superiority posturing do not effectively allow for communication between today and the life-affirming, preservation-worthy spiritual convictions of our forefathers, who exclusively represent human worthiness and the acceptance of other religions, and –in my opinion- say, “let every one be strong for themselves!”
HH: What kind of activities do you like to pursue when not creating art and music?
UN: I dedicate the majority of my time to strength training and martial arts, and to long walks in the woods or in the meadows, with my raven-black dog.
HH: Do you have an established belief system or spiritual belief system that you partake in?
UN: When people ask about my religion, I always allow Friedrich Schiller to answer for me:
Which religion I accept? None of those which you suggest. And why, then, none? I'm religious!
HH: I noticed on the Noltex website that you breathe fire. What is your interest in fire breathing and are you skilled in other unusual forms of art / entertainment such as piercing, acrobatics etc.?
UN: The spirit of the fire, in its inherent contradiction, which dwells in its simultaneously destructive and creative aspects, have had since my childhood an absolutely fascinating effect on me. Even then did I dedicate hours to making bombs, Bengal fire, and Silver Rain. Fire-breathing, however, I came across more randomly. Otherwise, I have no interest for the world of the Big Top, which has lost the exotic and mysterious luster it may have had ahundred years ago.
HH: You also appear to be in very good physical shape and health. Do exercise and diet play a prominent role in your life?
UN: You know what they say (and they never lie!): “A healthy body, a healthy spirit.” I steer both aspects of my Self with great discipline. If I am less creative on a particular day, then I'll go be active. When the Muses kiss me, so do I neglect my physicality. That ensures for a healthy amount of variety and spiritual activity. Otherwise, it would be very difficult, to find a new inspiration every day.
HH: Your upper body appears to be heavily tattooed. Can you discuss the personal significance of these tattoos and their individual personal meanings?
UN: The runes for masculinity and the joy of life decorate my torso, and also naturally my totem: the wolf.
HH: Are you a family man or Bachelor?
UN: I have emptied the chalice of female beauty, likely of the last of its drops! Now, my mother is the only woman whom I grant my trust and respect. Otherwise, I am married to my art. She is inexplicably beautiful, loyal, continuously inspiring, and wonderfully fertile; the children we have will live on forever.
HH: What can we expect from Orplid, Barditus and you in the future?
UN: A wonderful BARDITUS release (“Midgards Wölfe kehren heim“) is on the anvil, as we speak. The next ORPLID (“Sterbender Satyr”) and Sonnentau productions are in the cards. Otherwise, we plan to release an ORPLID collection, entitled “Frühe Werke” (Early Works) which will offer a cross-cut selection representative of our primordial developmental phase, such as several pieces from the rare album “Heimkehr.” Much of this will be available on our website. Aside from that, I will be taking part in a marathon, something which holds as much importance for me as even my art…we must arise to all the new challenges life brings us!
HH: Lastly is there anything you would like to share with the Heathen Harvest audience before parting?
UN: I am excited to learn, in the context of this interview, that there are also spiritually aware, awake people in the United States , who wish to greet Europe 's heart in this way.