One of the more exciting anouncements for the upcoming Mayhem tour was the inclusion of the intriguing Bölzer as the main support. Bölzer impressed audiences on their previous tour with Watain and Behemoth, winning over fans across the country with their atmospheric yet heavy sound. One of the truly unique blackened extreme metal bands to appear in recent years, their live shows are truly an immersive experience.The band is comprised of KzR on vocals and ten string guitar, and HzR on drums. We were given the opportunity to talk with front man KzR about the upcoming Australian tour, the influences behind the bands creative process and what they have in store for the future.

The first thing we asked KzR was if he was looking forward to touring Australia with Mayhem in the new year? “Yes of course, a massive honour for us to play with a band which we obviously admire and listen to for years now. One of the bands who was present at the very beginning of that style of music. It is a massive honour for us.” After the success of their previous tour, were the band looking forward to visiting our shores again? “Yeah our initial run of dates was supporting Behemoth and Watain, that was also a great experience for us. The reception was good. We werent really expecting that. We made a lot of new fans and we are looking forward to being able to play for those people, and hopefully some new ears as well this time round.”

Bölzer certainly made a strong impression on audiences, helping to build a strong fan base. But with the release of a new album the band has evolved. What can audiences expect a the upcoming shows? “We will be playing new material from the album which was released last year. That’s going to be a large portion of our set, as well as old older songs. Concerning stage set up, we are very down to earth when it comes to things like that. We try and focus on the music and the sound. So we might use various sparse lighting and stage props and so forth, compared to some other bands. Certainly compared to Mayhem I’m sure (laughs). But that’s something people are accustomed to yet I hope still to peoples enjoyment.”

The bands previous tour was a success but what was their impression of Australian fans? “Yeah Australian fans are different to fans in other countries.I grew up in New Zealand so I think Australians and New Zealanders share some similarities. Usually quite down to earth and up front. Most commonly no bullsh*t kind of people which we are very fond of. Very honest and direct. Very accommodating as well, more than a pleasure to be able to come back.”

The most important aspect of any band is the sound, be it recorded or live. We asked KzR to give us a description, in his own words, of the music of Bölzer. “We listen to a wide spectrum of music. Many different genres, also outside of the metal genres. Our music as such is quite dynamic, melodic as well as being heavy I would hope. We like to experiment I guess you could say. But we do keep it with in a certain aesthetic which we find makes completely brash contrasts. We play extreme metal stuff but at the same time I think we set ourselves apart with song writing and structures, the general atmosphere, especially compared to a lot of our contemporaries. So it’s a challenge with the making of music and writing. Something we see as difficult but also pleasurable at the same time. We like to push ourselves on different levels.”

Of course, the question of influences came up. With such a unique and impressive soundscape, what has influenced the band? “I don’t know, influences aren’t at all a conscious thing for writers so I don’t know what creeps its way into what we are doing, it is not something I register cognitively while we are being creative. As I said we listen to different stuff: ambient, experimental ,electronica, some neo folk, a lot of 60s n 70s rock, blues, I like jazz a lot and classical music. It’s very hard to say if anything influences us directly. If anything we try to avoid having any direct connection with what we listen to and what we create.” So they filter the experience? “Yeah that is right. I think true creativity should be a form of freedom. What you feel the need to express should come out in its most possible purest form. It is not an easy task at all. It is something that is always evolving, so as I said, it’s very hard for us to put a finger on influences.”

It is clear that Bölzer is truly a artistic experience. With such a wide variety of music and themes listed above, what led them to such a heavy genre? “We like powerful music, music that moves you, so that element finds it’s place. When I am writing I need to feel moved with what I am doing. I need to get my emotions out in an honest and unadulterated form. I guess with your teenage years you usually find your bands, for us that was extreme metals genres, black metal. But we’re not the kind of guys that just want to re create something. We want to go down our own path and try and forge something with a personal identity, which is an ongoing challenge.” Having delved into their past, it was time to look to their future. Is there new material on the horizon? Yes we’re currently working on new material as of earlier this year, a lot of new ideas are creeping up, and the concept for the next release is there. There is a thread throughout the last releases which all relate to each other, so this is a conceptual ongoing thing which will draw itself into the indefinite future. It’s not something I necessarily want to divulge on but ….it’s involving personal freedoms and personal evolution emotionally and spiritually. So kind of telling a story; the way we feel but in a different character, in a different setting.”

With some of the themes they have sung about in the past, will there be an extension on that or will they be going into very different territory? ”No definitely a different thing within the new set of songs. I guess it would be safe to say there is more of a black metal element involved, in terms of aggressive execution, and the presiding atmosphere of the lyrics is a lot darker than “Hero”. Yes there is a certain eclipse of outlooks and ideals. As I said the character is metamorphosing so I won’t go into in details. It is definitely a different vibe but you know its sound like us.” Has their touring and the feedback from live audiences influenced this evolution? “For sure. I am sure it effects everyone who is given the opportunity to play live, if that’s what you choose to do. It is going to affect you in some way. It shouldn’t diverge you from your path. It certainly doesn’t change our goals or where we are going. If you hone your skills in a live setting it teaches you a lot for sure and I am very thankful for that. Something I enjoy is the hardships of touring and playing live, it’s a love hate reltioship which is to be respected. You come in contact with your limitations, and you also given a playing field to improve what you are doing, and trying to achieve. I think our music is created with live intentions. We are not the band that focuses on pristine production or recording techniques. We are more about capturing the atmosphere. We hope is portrayed when we play live in front of people.”

Bölzer will be opening for Mayhem across Australia this January. You can purchase your tickets here: PERTH, MELBOURNE, SYDNEY, BRISBANE – /